How to Teach Your 2-year-old to Regulate Their Emotions

There seems to be no rhyme or reason for the many tantrums I witness on a daily basis. I’m sure most of you mommas and daddies out there can relate! The “terrible twos” are in full force in the Hodges abode. Feet are kicking and stomping. Voices are raising and screaming. And boundaries are being pushed out of frustration from the endless reminders to share all the toys! It’s madness!

I have learned SO MUCH about emotional regulation from my years in college, being a momma and my experience with children with special needs. Some of these tips, tricks and exercises you probably have heard of before but I have some fun twists to go along with them! Makes it more engaging for the kiddos and they really respond well to it!

DEEPS BREATHS

So we have all heard that deep breathing helps your body and mind to calm down when you are feeling angry, upset, anxious, you name it! Just taking three deep breaths can completely change your mood and slow your heart rate down back to normal. Ever tried doing this with a 2 year old? Yeah, it’s not so easy. To make it more playful, throw some pretend play in there! If you notice your toddler is beginning to escalate, make a “bowl” or “cup” with your hands. Tell them you just made some soup and need some helping cooling it down. Or pretend you are blowing out a candle. There are endless possibilities here! Use that beautiful imagination of yours! 🙂

PUSH THE WALL

These are a great way to get some healthy pressure on those muscles and create a calming sensation on the body. Stand by any wall, put your hands up against it as if you were going to do a push-up. And start pushing! You can make it fun and silly by trying to “move” the wall and act like your actually moving it! This is great to use if you’re trying to get them to sit for a book reading or maybe before bedtime, snack/meal time as well!

SILLY PUTTY

Another great way to get some deep muscle movement. Using their hands to sculpt, twist and shape the potty is amazing sensory input! And it keeps them focused on something. It doesn’t have to be silly putty. It can be play-doh, homemade slime, kinetic sand, anything similar!

Check out my favorite homemade slime recipe!! You can get any color glitter, too! So fun and lasts a long time! 🙂

COUNT TO TEN

So simple right? Maybe too simple?? It can definitely work in the right circumstance. Or sing the ABC’s. I’ve tried this with my clients and my littles and you’d be amazed how distracting it can be and engaging. It might not be the best thing if your kiddo is in a full-fledged tantrum. Maybe try taking deep breaths or try my next tip….

FEELINGS CHART

There are so many variations of feelings charts out there. I would honestly just recommend making your own! I think it’s easier for younger kiddos to identify what they’re feeling with visuals. Maybe try to snap some pictures of basic emotions you observe them displaying [happy, sad, mad, tired]. Print out the photos and write the emotion next to the picture in big bold letters. Of course a 2-year-old won’t be able to read it but eventually they will begin to learn the words next to the pictures. When you see them getting angry or sad, refer them to the chart. Ask them how they are feeling. Usually you know how they are feeling [mom’s have that sixth sense], but this exercise is for them to identify their feelings. So when they begin to cry when mommy or daddy goes to work, they know that means they are sad. As they get older you can add on more complex emotions like “hungry”, “lonely”, or “anxious”. I’m currently working on mine right now and will post pictures once I have them all captured and put together!

Also for older kiddos, around age 3-4 and up you could start to introduce the Zones of Regulation created by Leah M. Kuypers.

This is a gold mine. Children are able to learn emotions by associating them with a certain color. Schools and other child development centers and therapists use this everywhere.

REPLACEMENT BEHAVIORS

Some of the tips I’ve given so far can be used as, what is ABA therapists call them, replacement behaviors. The definition is basically in the name- an appropriate behavior that is functionally replaceable to an inappropriate behavior. When your children get older, it will no longer be socially acceptable for them to lie down and begin to stomp their feet and throw a tantrum when things don’t go their way [let’s be real it’s never “acceptable”, but more understandable when you’re a toddler]. So we must teach them these replacement behaviors! There are many creative ways we can do this! Instead of punching a wall or lashing out at someone near them in a physical way, redirect them to hitting a pillow or give them a ball to kick really hard. It still provides the same stimulation without resulting in harm to people or property around them.

Different things work for different kiddos. You just gotta find what calms your little one down. And it’s not all negative behaviors necessarily. They could just have a lot of wiggles and giggles and they need to get them out! Instead of them constantly trying to seek attention by banging on things or terrorizing your house, turn on some music and dance it out! Or take them outside and have a race! Seriously there are so many possibilities and you can be creative with these! I truly hope these help if you have an emotional and wild little one!

Are there any other things you do that help that I haven’t mentioned?? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to try them out!

MARCH with Us

It’s that time of the year again! No, not Christmas sillies….March for Babies time! It is an organization very near and dear to our hearts. Since our little Noah man was born 11 weeks early, his team in the NICU treated us like we were the most important people on the planet. Our social worker introduced us to March of Dimes and gave us a pamphlet that described what the organization was and how they help families just like us.

We “marched” last year for the first time. It was a really serene experience for me as a momma of a preemie. After we were finally able to take our bub home, I was so stressed out all the time. Worried if he was breathing. Struggling to breastfeed. Not happy with my body and just really having a hard time all around. But then I started my own team on the March for Babies website and started fundraising. It felt so good once I reached my goal! And to know that all of that money was going towards research to help little miracles like ours filled my heart with so much warmth and joy.

We had t-shirts made and they were so sweet. We don’t have any family out here in California, but we were able to have some of our sweet friends come and walk/run with us. The walk was so beautiful and peaceful. It really was a type of closure for me that I needed. Holding my sweet baby in my arms, walking by the ocean, and surrounded by other sweet babies and their families who went through a similar situation as us was very uplifting. Families come together and it feels as if we are all family. It’s a one of a kind experience that I would suggest any family who has gone through the NICU to do at least once.

This year, I’ve been a little off my fundraising game! I’m a tad late starting it going, but I have put Noah’s team page together! This year I’ve raised our goal a little bit as I would like to contribute more to the cause! Please feel free to share the team page and get others to donate if you feel it in your heart! You can click here to get to Noah’s team page and donate and/or join our team and walk with us! If you are in the area of course! It would mean the world to us for whoever donates or walks with us. We are so blessed to have our little miracle and we will walk every year that we can to celebrate his precious life and the God who make it possible!

You can read Noah’s NICU story here

If you want to learn more about the organization you can visit their website and learn why people march and how you can make a difference for these babies and their families!

13 Months

Have you ever thought about how ironic it is that the things we don’t plan are still planned out? God makes things happen in our life just in the right time and place that He sees fit.

I. Am. A. Planner.

Ask anybody who knows me. I can go with the flow as long as I can see where we are flowing. I make to-do lists for myself almost on a daily basis. If it’s possible to plan something out months ahead of time, I will do it. Ironic how military life is the total opposite, right? Try to plan anything out ahead of time if your spouse is in the military and let me know how that goes for ya! It’s almost impossible. But we make do!

Knowing this, you might be shocked to find out that neither of my pregnancies were planned. If you’ve been following along and reading my previous posts, I found out I was pregnant with Paislee two days after I graduated college! And seven months after she was born, we were surprised again with our Noah. Both the biggest blessings of my entire life, besides the hunk that helped me make ’em ;). But pretty scary right? For anyone who has been or is currently in a similar situation, let me assure you, it WILL be okay. It’s challenging, but it is very doable.

 

During one of my sessions last week with a client, I was talking with their momma and we were getting to know each other a bit. She asked me about my kids and how old they were and I watched as her eyes grew bigger and mouth gaping when I told her I had a 1 and a 2 year old. This is the typical reaction I get when I explain that my littles are only 13 months apart. And I totally get it. It definitely was not how I planned to have our kiddos. But there are a few things I want to share with you mommas that are like me. That have your babies close together on accident, or even on purpose. Some women want to have their babies close and it’s great! Here’s what I’ve learned so far, and excuse my bluntness but I’m keepin’ it real y’all…

Two surgeries are rough

I can’t speak on behalf of the awesome ladies that have done natural, vaginal deliveries because I had a cesarean with both kids. One being an emergency c-section. I knew that having a c-section with my first that the rest of my pregnancies would be delivered the same way. A v-back [or vaginal birth after c-section] was an option for my little guy until it got complicated toward the end. Having two c-sections so close together took a huge toll on my body. It has been a year and 5 months since my last surgery and I still feel pain and dont’ feel quite like my self. THIS ISN’T THE CASE FOR EVERYONE. Please know that. Don’t take my experience as the one and only. It has been a hard recovery for me and I will probably feel it for a long time.

Plus the mental state you have to be in just to have the surgery. I mean a big needle in your back and your insides being all exposed….you gotta mentally prepare yourself. Plus the disappointment of not being able to hold your baby right after they are born. That was the hardest part for me [your arms have to be strapped down]. You can most certainly request immediate skin-to-skin though after they deliver your baby. Even though both of my pregnancies were classified as “complicated” I was able to get some brief skin-to-skin after they were born and I got to kiss their little heads before the doctors had to do their thing. I follow an instagram, @bumpbabyandco , and they show some very real and honest pictures of women during the labor process, birthing experience and everything thereafter. One picture in particular, featured below, that just shows the rawness and realness of the entire experience in my opinion. I so wish I had a picture like this of myself just as a reminder of what it was like. You can visit the post here. Again, this isn’t to scare anyone, I just want to share my experiences.

Photo credit: Lemonade Lane x

NO, my babies are not twins

Although it feels that way sometimes because they are so close, no they are not twins. People ask us this all the time. Yes, they look alike and you can totally tell that they are siblings, but it’s pretty obvious that Noah is younger than Paislee. Maybe it’s easier for me to distinguish the characteristics because they are my kids, but I guess y’all can tell me what you think!

They are a a little younger in this pic than they are now, and looking back at it I guess I don’t blame people for making that accusation! They’re pretty identical!

There are so many diapers

You think one baby/toddler goes through a lot of diapers?! Double it. Costco for the win! Luckily, we are at the point now where they are both in the same size. Hallelujah! It was rough there for awhile. Paying for double the diapers AND formula. Talk about breaking the bank. Our oldest is slowly transitioning to full-on potty training. So hopefully only diapers for one soon!! Pray for us please!

And the last thing that I will share with you all about having your babies so close together is…

They will be best friends

I feel like this was the thing I heard the most when I was pregnant with Noah. And they weren’t lying. They already play so nicely together. They’ve started fighting nicely together too. Siblings fight no matter how close or far apart they are. I was the oldest of the two other sisters. They were very close in age too [about 14 months]. There was a 5-6 year difference between me and them. They were always so close growing up and apart of me was a little envious of that. I have a wonderful relationship with both of my sisters and wouldn’t change any of our lives, but I’m so blessed that our children will have that relationship as well. They could possibly even be in the same grade! How crazy is that?!

 

I wouldn’t call these things “pros” and “cons”. I see my kids and everything that comes along with them as blessings. I would go through any kind of pain, lose as much sleep through the teething and growing spurts, and sacrifice anything I might want in order to provide them with what they need. It wasn’t in my “plan”. But was in His. And who can argue with that? 🙂

God Bless!

Brittany

Why I Keep My Kids Active

Ask about any child in elementary school what their favorite subject or class in school is. Nine times out of ten they will say recess or P.E. Most children LOVE to be outdoors. They get to socialize with their friends, play sports they like or some just like the fresh air. These are just some of the reasons I like to keep my littles active!

Luckily my kiddos love to play outside. Honestly, some days that’s all they do is play outside. And I think it’s so great. Playing outdoors and being active has so many benefits!

According to a study conducted at the University of Missouri in 2010, outside play has a huge impact on brain development. AND it can start as early as three months old! It helps with the development of baby’s senses and [fine and gross] motor development. I see this ALL THE TIME working as an ABA [Applied Behavior Analysis] therapist. I help teach my clients so many things through play. Play therapy is best thing, in my opinion. Helping children identify different senses of the body and playing socially with their peers is all apart of it! What kiddos might think is a super fun game of hopscotch is also a great way to work on those gross motor skills! I’m all about learning while having fun!

In the study they also pointed out that in addition to brain development, outdoor play helps increase children’s creativity and imagination as well! Playing pretend and running from the dragons to save the princess! Who doesn’t remember playing that when they were little?! So many other things- coordination, spatial awareness, learning abilities, increased blood flow, and countless other benefits are associated with outdoor play! You can visit and read the full study here. I highly suggest reading this! It has great ideas on outdoor play activities you can incorporate in your day-to-day routine with your littles and it’s very educating!

The study gives you awesome ideas, and I might have some of the same but here are a list of outdoor play activities I like to do with my kiddos:

  • Bubbles [I was at Wal-mart yesterday and they have A TON of bubble toys for super cheap!]
  • Chalk or chalk paint [amazon is my go-to for these, or Costco!]
    • You can draw roads and play with cars
    • Hopscotch
    • Practice writing or drawing shapes
  • Trampoline [sometimes I do my workouts around the trampoline while the kids jump]
    • Put water and bubbles on for some water play
    • Put balls on the trampoline for some sensory fun
  • Water play [lots of different ideas for this one]
    • Sprinklers
    • Kiddie pool [you can get these super cheap at Wal-mart]
    • Water buckets or water play tables [you can fill these up with bubbles and bath toys even]
    • Water beads [not gonna lie, these are fun for kids and adults!]
    • Slip-n-slides for older kids
    • Water guns [if your kiddo doesn’t like to get sprayed you could make some DIY targets and put them around your backyard and make it a game to see who can get the most points!]
  • Tag or hide-n-seek [would be fun to play somewhere out in the community or neighborhood if you don’t have a lot of hiding options in your yard]
  • Park [this is a big one for us and PERFECT for socializing with other peers]
  • Go for a walk or hike/ ride bikes or scooters
  • Ball play
    • For older kiddos- dodgeball, football, softball, basketball, etc.
    • For younger kiddos- rolling the ball, kicking the ball, bouncing, throwing, etc.
  • Dog park/beach
  • Beach/Lake
  • Building sandcastles
    • If you have really little ones you can bring along your kiddie pool and fill it with sand or water
    • Dig a big hole
  • Camping
  • Pick some flowers, search for sticks, pinecones, and rocks for painting [or make fairy wands!]
  • Make a fairy garden
  • Plant some flowers
  • If you get a group together to split one, you can have movie night in your backyard! Make popcorn, hand out glowsticks and watch a fun film!

The last thing I will add and some advice that I will give out from my experience is….LET THEM GET DIRTY! Let them play in the mud. And join them! Make some mudpies [actual mudpies not poop] with them. Let them experience that sensory input! It’s so good and healthy for them. A little dirt don’t hurt nobody 😉

 

The Life of a “Younger” Momma

Being a momma is the best job there is. And it helps when your kiddos are the cutest human beings in the world! Since I was little I wanted to have kids. I knew I was destined to be a momma and raise little babies. In my mind I always thought I would be married for at least a year before my husband and I would start trying for kids.

But God had a different plan for me.

I graduated college, and literally two days after found out I was pregnant with our first. Then 7 months after she was born, God was like yeah that’s not enough. I try to think what He was thinking in that point of my life. Like, “You just got the hang of this, so let me throw ya another.” Or, “Oh it won’t be THAT hard, you got this.”

All jokes aside it was probably more like, “I’m going to give your heart twice as much joy, you just wait and see.”

Now that my children are little tots now, I think about how freakin’ awesome it is to be a younger momma. I’m 25 [26 in April!!] and will be in my early 40’s when they graduate high school. So that’s pretty cool 😎. And hopefully my sweet hubby and I will be around for a long while and see our great-grandbabies grow up! Man would that be a blessing!

Also, now that my kiddos are tots, I’m exhausted y’all. I might be younger but I don’t feel like it sometimes. My joints hurt, I can barely hold my eyes open most days and I’m pretty positive I strained my back yesterday stretching in bed…..for real.

We live in military housing so we are surrounded by young families. It’s not considered “abnormal” to see a 20 year with 2 kiddos [side note…you go girl!]. But when we go out into town, I get looks sometimes when I’m trying to calm my babies down in public. Or just taking my littles to the park I see older mommas look at me funny. It’s totally a thing! Even comments like, “Oh wow you have TWO kids?” and “I wasn’t even thinking about kids when I was 25.” Which is cool! Just a tad condescending and a little annoying, but I’m used to it. I’m sure y’all can relate!

Whether you’re 18, 23, or 34, being a momma is tiring. It’s trying on your body and your mind. I feel beyond my years sometimes because of the things I deal with on a day-to-day basis. I’m not complaining, I wouldn’t trade anything in my life for the world.

People talk about how becoming a parent has “changed you”. Uhh yeah. Of course it changes you! It ages you. You pop out a person and you’re responsible for a whole ‘nother life! It makes you grow up real quick! It also gives you a better appreciation for life. At least, it did for me.

Mommas that are a little older than me used to be extremely intimidating. And I’m not quite sure why. Maybe we put so much thought into age. We think women who are older would be better moms or might know more about motherhood because they’ve simply been on this earth longer. But that’s just simply not true. Any woman, any age, can be an amazing mother. All it takes is that first warm touch from your sweet baby. And it’s like a light switches on.

So I guess my point is, don’t let anyone tell you you’re too young to be a momma. A good momma. It’s scary and a little overwhelming but YOU CAN DO IT. Your 20s are the best years of your life right?! Mine definitely are 🙂 I get to spend them watching my beautiful babies grow! God has blessed me in unimaginable ways in my 25 years of life! And I couldn’t be happier! 🙂

11 Staples to Always Have on Hand for Your Hungry Toddler

Oh the toddler years have immersed here in the Hodges household. I’ve got an almost 1 1/2 year old who is cutting all of his bottom teeth and going through a growth spurt at the same time. Then on the other end I’ve got an extremely sassy and independent 2 year old who LOVES the word “no”. They definitely keep me occupied and very entertained. Having toddlers in and of itself is exhausting. But oh yeah! You gotta feed them too. And let me tell ya….I have never seen two tiny little humans eat so much food in my life. If I just laid out all the food we have in the house out in front of them, they would never stop eating. Seriously. Their stomach is probably the size of both my fists put together. How do they eat SO MUCH?!

In my short 2 1/2 years of being a momma I have compiled this “must have” list of snacks and other items that I make sure to stock up on every time I go to the grocery store.

This. List. Is. Everything.

If you always have these items in your pantry/fridge you’re mom of the year sister!

1. Gummies [fruit snacks]

Yes, I put this as #1 for a reason. Literally every morning when Paislee wakes up she asks for gummies. No joke. Every morning y’all [Don’t worry, I don’t let her have gummies for breakfast]. These are essential for any outing we go on. I usually pack like a whole handful for a trip to the grocery or doctor’s office. They’re also a good desert or treat I give them throughout the day. Typically, I buy the big box of Motts at Costco or Walmart because there’s so many and they last us a long time!

2. Goldfish Crackers

My son absolutely loves goldfish. They are the perfect snack. These are great for outings too. I will also add that these little snack cups are so useful!

I just fill that puppy up with some goldfish and we are good to go! And personally, I like to buy the big carton of them instead of the 12 pack. Then I can pour however much I know the kids will eat without wasting any!

3. Mac n Cheese

Lately, this has become my kids’ favorite lunch. I probably make a box of Mac n cheese a least 3 times a week. So I always make sure I’m fully stocked! And most grocery stores usually have really fun-themed noodles and such. My daughter is really into the Trolls ones right now. When I can splurge a little I like to get the organic Annie’s Mac n cheese too. They have white cheddar ones that are delicious! [as you can tell I might have a bowl or two myself ;)]

4. Good ole’ PB & J

Peanut butter and jelly is the bees knees. It’s easy, fast and most kids love it. It’s great for packing lunches and I like to cut my kid’s sandwiches up in cute shapes sometimes. If you make the food fun, most likely your kids will eat it! Always good to have this on hand for sure!!

5. Yogurt

Okay so you have a toddler or toddlers….this one is messy. But it’s a healthy snack and [shocker] my kids love it. And I love it because I can give it to them for any meal. Any time of the day. I like to mix fruit in it sometimes or use it for smoothies. Or I like to freeze it sometimes and make popsicles. My daughter loves popsicles. The possibilities are endless. I usually get a tub of it and I like the on-the-go ones as well. So great for them to have on a sunny day!

6. Fruit

This is a general one but I ALWAYS have some kind of fruit on hand. My kids favorites are bananas [my son usually has one for breakfast every morning], apples, strawberries, grapes and those little “cuties”. And again, great for any meal. And such a healthy snack. Fruit can be expensive sometimes so I like to stock up when they’re on sale. Or Costco usually has really fresh fruit for a great price. AND you get a boat load of it. Win-win.

7. Chicken Nuggets

This is another biggie y’all. These are the perfect go-to for lunch or dinner if you are on a time crunch or just don’t have the energy to cook. I buy these from Costco or the commissary usually. But I think any grocery store has them.

I will go to town on these chicken nuggets. So good. And you get a ton. I’m all about value size-in it! And dinos are my favorite thing. There’s no harm in playing with your food if they’re in cute little dinosaur shapes right?!

8. Breakfast Bars

We’ve got nutri-gran bars for days in this house. When we’ve got some extra moola I like to buy the big box of z-bars at Costco. They’ve got lots of protein and other good nutrients for the kids in them and they’ve got more hearty flavors!

9. String Cheese

Are you starting to catch on that most of these little foods are all great to-go snackies? If I can’t ever find a side to go with their chicken nuggets or PB and J, my go-to is always string cheese. A great staple to have in your kitchen!

10. Applesauce

We probably buy more applesauce than we do milk….and we buy A LOT of milk. And I’m not picky about what kind I buy. Most of the time I get the go-go squeeze because they have an assorted flavor pack that my kids like. But I also have been buying the Dole packs too. My daughter likes the look of them I think more than anything. But they’re good and are great paired with some string cheese!!

11. Juice

So this isn’t food, I know. But i always dilute it with some water and switch it out with their milk during the day. They would probably drink an entire gallon of milk in a day if I let them. So it’s always nice to give them a little change and flavor other than milk. I also use it to make popsicles. Y’all I wasn’t kidding when I said my daughter loves popsicles. She’s obsessed. Just for the occasion, I bought this popsicle tray for a whopping $1 at Walmart. And it’s the best dollar I ever spent y’all.

AND another plus…these are magic for teething babies. Mine are currently munching on them as we speak…

Just my food for thought 😉

My Old Soul[mate]

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I’m going to join in on the Valentine bandwagon! [Sorry, not sorry] I’ve never been gung-ho on Valentine’s Day, but I am such a romantic at heart. Although I love the idea of this day and the way people celebrate their love…it’s beautiful and I love seeing it. In my eyes though, your love should be celebrated everyday. Maybe not in the extravagant of ways as we celebrate on this day, but in sweet subtle ways. But don’t just celebrate your love…appreciate it. Be thankful for it. God made you a soulmate, and if you are blessed enough to find them, by-golly you better hold them tight and never let them go.

I guess you could say we were “technically” high school sweethearts? Although we never actually dated in high school. We did date in the 7th grade….does that count? Psh. It counts. I mean he did take me to my first dance. After that dramatic break-up [I broke-up with him in a note- good one Brittany], it’s pretty accurate to say that I was not his favorite person. We didn’t really talk or start hanging out again until our senior year of high school. We ended up having study hall together and he started dating my best friend at the time. I was so jealous. I flick myself every time I think about how much of a chicken I was. Only later did I find out he felt the same way about me! Ugh tragic, right? Not really, but now that we look back at it…totally tragic. We became best friends and spent so much of our time together. We continually dated other people even though deep down we always just wanted to be with each other. It just never seemed like the right time. At least that’s what we always told ourselves. Our lame excuse.

My junior year of college is when things finally began to fall into place. This was also the time my sweet husband made the courageous and life-changing decision to join the United States Marine Corps. The day he officially swore in was the day before my 21st birthday. I was with somebody at the time and we all decided to go out to one of our favorite spots and stay until midnight so I could order my first legal drink! Cheesy, but such sweet memories. I went home with my best girlfriend and roommate at the time and spilled my guts about how I felt about Tommy [my hubby]. I’ve never been the type of person to make rash decisions or take a risk on something. But that next day [my 21st birthday-horrible timing] I woke up feeling like an entirely different person. I didn’t want to settle. My boyfriend at the time was very sweet and kind-hearted. He was good to me and would never hurt a fly. But it felt too safe…is that even a thing? It didn’t feel right in my heart. I knew Tommy was the man I was supposed to be with. I felt it with every bone in my body. So I was a totally horrible person and broke up with my boyfriend on my birthday…I mean at least it wasn’t his birthday? I guess there’s no justifying it. It was messed up and I could have handled it way differently, but I just couldn’t hold my feelings in any longer. I didn’t go running off to declare my feelings afterwards. I felt so terrible that I just kind of laid in my bed most of the day. Being the amazing person and friend that he was, Tommy came to my rescue. He absolutely refused to let me wallow on my birthday. Then I guess you could say the rest is history? Everything just fell into place and felt right. It was finally our time. It wasn’t until about a month later [a month and a day to be exact] that we made things official. We spent the night at a friend’s wedding and danced the night away. It was perfect.

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And we never looked back. We dated for about a year when he proposed. I was still in school, in my senior year. I cheered for half of my college years and loved it so much. The football field held so many memories for me and was my favorite place on campus. Knowing this, my man went above and beyond to make his proposal one-of-a-kind. Something I just HAVE to share with y’all…

Our proposal

I will never forget it as long as I live. It was so thoughtful and everyone I love was there to witness it. It was just perfect in every way. He proposed after he graduated from boot camp. He got 10 days of leave after his graduation then had to go straight back to school. Needless to say, wedding planning is extremely hard when your other half isn’t there to help you with all of the details and juggling family issues and trying to make everyone happy. I honestly wish we would’ve just gotten a JOP wedding, but hey what’s done is done. Our wedding was small and beautiful. Due to the weird situation we were in with him being a new Marine, we were crunched on time so the wedding was a bit rushed. But we soaked up every minute of it.

We did it! And we’ve been doing life ever since! Every obstacle, every adventure, every new life we’ve created. We have conquered all of what life has thrown us. I’m grateful for this love that God has blessed us with. I pray our littles grow up to find a love just as strong someday. Happy Valentines day all you lovers out there! Love your love!