YCN #8

At my baby shower, I received a few things that I never thought would be my saving graces, but they became so. I should have had faith in the women who gave the first two gifts, as they were already mothers themselves and knew what they were talking about. As for the third gift, I still say my husband just got lucky.

Most useful gift #1: Cloth diapers

My grandmother bought me a few packages of cloth diapers for the new baby. They were not for what I thought, however. Today, burp clothes are thin and flimsy. Grandma bought the cloth diapers to be used as burp clothes. They are thick, super absorbent, and cover a lot of real estate. What is the point of a burp cloth that is none of those things? I felt the cloth diapers were a god-send and we still use them as burp clothes, napkins for bigger, toddler-sized messes, etc. Thank you, Grandma. You are so smart!

Most useful gift #2: Nightlight

My aunt gave me a nightlight for my first baby, but it was so much more than that. It also plays music. On those nights when I was tired and beyond singing to soothe the baby, I did not have to sing or hum to him. The nightlight did it for me. He absolutely loves it. When my parents come to stay with us, they even say they would not be able to fall asleep without hearing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Also, just the nightlight itself makes checking on the baby before bed easy. I can go in and cover him back up without disturbing him by turning on the overhead light or using the light from my phone.

Most useful gift #3: Fleece blanket

Not all blankets are created equal. I assumed that as long as the baby was covered and warm, any blanket would do. This is not the case. I have found that all babies will have their favorite, whether it be silk line, soft on one side, knitted by grandma…
My husband is a great Batman fan and found a fleece Dark Knight blanket and bought it for our son. The boy will not sleep without being wrapped in it; he must just love the feel of the fleece against his skin. Bedtime, nap time, Mommy always has to know where the blanket is.

YCN #7

When my sister and I were younger, my parents took us on some long road trips. We drove to Walt Disney World. We drove to the Grand Canyon. You get the idea. My sister and I had some epic fights over the cooler that separated us in the back seat, but we also took some awesome pictures.

One summer, my mother decided we were going to drive to Roswell, New Mexico. We had been watching “Roswell” ever since it premiered on television and thought it would be cool to check out where it was all taking place.

There were museums about UFOs and space and we even got to eat at the Crash Down Cafe which is one of the locations where the show takes place. As we were walking back to the car, we came upon a little out-of-the-way place that looked intriguing and had only a $2.00 entry fee. We went in and it was amazing. The proprietor had scenes set up were you could take photos with “aliens.”

At the time, we were really excited. We took lots of silly pictures and thought that they were great when we got them back. Now that I am an adult, I look back on these photos and I am really embarrassed. I cannot believe I at any point thought what I was doing was cool. In one picture in particular, I look a little drunk and I really wish that I had been, because at least that would explain why I allowed my picture to be taken in such a way. Thanks, Mom and Dad. You had to realize we were not cool.

These awkward photos will forever be proof that I was a “weirdo” and there is no denying it. At least my sister was equally guilty.

YCN #6

My most memorable concert experience is not because of the concert itself. My favorite moment happened before I even entered the venue doors.

My sister and I went to a Cobra Starship concert when I was junior in college. My boyfriend had gotten us discount tickets as the band was playing where he worked at the time. We were so excited because it was our first concert. We saved for weeks so we could buy as much merchandise as we could.

We left early to avoid the traffic, but we had an easy ride in. We expected a long wait in line to be screened before we could enter the venue, but the queue moved swiftly. Right before the doors, there were security guards checking bags. As I had driven that night, I had a small purse with me. I held it open as I approached security, but continued my conversation with my sister as I knew there would be no issues.

I halted in talking to my sister when I realized the guard was not letting me pass. He was shining a flashlight into my purse on something in particular. From my angle, I could not tell what he was looking at and my mind raced to think of what I could possibly have in my bag that would cause security to keep me from entering the concert.

The guard called his female co-worker over to my sister and me. He motioned into my bag with his flashlight. The female guard shrugged; she did not know what he was looking at either. He reached his hand into my purse and pointed to the object. She rolled her eyes and said to him, “You’re an idiot. That’s a tampon.”

I am still not sure who was more mortified by this: him or me. I do know that I have yet to ever see another human being display the same amazing shade of red upon their face.

I honestly barely remember the concert – I know we had fun, the music was great, I bought a hoodie that is still my favorite one – but I will never forget the look on that poor man’s face over thinking a tampon was some unknown, possibly dangerous object. Embarrassing, somewhat. Memorable, definitely.

YCN #5

We all learn lessons from our Exes. Some of these lessons were hard to learn and even though, at the time, I wished I had not learned them, I am glad for the knowledge these exes gave me.

Lesson #1: Like father, like son.
John was funny and charming, just like the father he was named after, but during our phone conversations, I began to notice something. His father was a yeller and he seemed to always be upset about something. The longer we dated, the more mean John became. He yelled at me for things and was just downright miserable. My mother sat by me and held my hand after she told me that no 16 year old girl deserved to cry so much over a boy. Thanks, Mom.

Lesson #2: Pay attention to how he treats his mother.
If he treats his mother like a queen, chances are he will do the same for you. Beware that he does not cross the line into a “Mama’s Boy,” however. Sean was a sweetheart who picked you up for dates and held open doors. He did everything his mother asked of him; even break up with his girlfriend. I was deemed to be taking up too much of HER time, it being his senior year and all. No more “Mama’s Boys” for me.

Lesson #3: Saying “no” is hard.
Draw your line and respect it. Do not let a single person make you compromise your convictions. Rob, a different Sean, and a few more nameless fools all decided that because I was not ready, I was not worthy. After once, or even twice, of having a boy break up with you over something like this, it can make you start to question your choices. Saying no may be hard, but you will have more respect for yourself in the long run.

Lesson #4: Not all men deserve your trust.
While in college, I was seeing Ian. I came back from soccer practice one night, wet and exhausted. My roommate had the “code word” written on our door and I had to wait in the lounge on our floor for three hours. At the end of this time, Ian left our room. Guess we were interchangeable.

Lesson #5: Follow your heart.
There is always a gut feeling when you begin dating someone. Listen to it and you will save yourself time and heartache. You cannot change someone who is not willing to change themselves; you should never try. The “bad boys” will always remain as such and they are not the kind of man you want for the rest of your life.

YCN #4

When we have the time to try an experiment from Pinterest, occasionally we find that what we have been promised is not exactly what will be.

I have extremely straight hair and have tried many things over the years to remedy this. My hair will not hold curls, it will not even hold a perm. I found a suggestion on Pinterest to get gorgeous, “beach waves” in your hair. The steps were easy. It did not require a curler or hot rollers. I thought I was in business.

The directions were foolproof. I was to section my hair into 5-10 groupings and then braid them. Then I was to run a flatiron over them, let them cool, hairspray them, and take them out. Simple, right? Apparently not. My only guess it that I must have cinched the braids too tightly.

After the braids were taken out, my hair looked like it had lost a fight with a crimping iron. This was not okay. I attempted to comb it out, but this only made the matter worse. I then looked like a lioness with a crazy mane. I did not have time to do anything else with my hair before I went out, so I had to put it up in a severe bun in order to hide the mess I had made of my hair.

I learned an important lesson that day: DO NOT experiment with Pinterest ideas, especially beauty tips, right before leaving the house. It should be done on a day when there is plenty of time before you have to see another individual just incase it is a complete FAIL.

YCN #3

This article was supposed to be a #TBT about Easter time.

When my son was 11 months old, he scammed me out of $16.19.

We were at the mall and he was holding my hand while walking down the concourse. He was being a good and happy boy and we were having a wonderful time. All the sudden, he saw something that stole his attention. He dropped my hand and ran for it.

When I located him, my son was sitting on the lap of the mall Easter Bunny and the photographer was snapping away. I rushed over and questioned the photographer about what he was doing. He had thought my son was one of the children with the lady in line who had four of her own. The Bunny had just picked up my son, got him ready on his lap, and away they went.

You can tell from my son’s outfit, that I had absolutely no intention of getting his picture taken that day. In all honesty, I am completely embarrassed about these pictures and I almost did not hand them out to family; I did not want a whole bunch of them around my house though either as he did not smile in a single one of them.

I will always remember that Easter as the one that my son helped scam me out of money for a silly mall picture. He must have really, really liked that Bunny to just rush over and want to be picked up into its lap. Once he saw me, he was very proud of himself for what he had done and I could not be upset with that adorable little boy who just wanted to investigate and say, “hello.”

This article was accompanied by a photo of MJ sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap with wind blown hair and in a pair of sweatpants. Not a look I would have chosen to have photographed on a normal day. 🙂 Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find the picture on my computer to add to this article and I am not sure if the hard copy still exists around the house somewhere. I hope it does.

YCN #2

Here is my second article for the YCN. It was supposed to be on when you (the author) decided it was the right time to start a family and if you thought it was advice to share with others.

My husband and I were engaged for three years before we got married. Why did we wait? We wanted to finish school. We were married for two years before we bought a home. Why did we wait? We wanted to be established in our careers.

As we neared thirty, we began to consider starting a family. There were always reasons to wait: someone changed their job, someone’s car broke down, etc. How much time did we want with just us?

I was talking at family function with one of my aunts and she informed me that there is never a perfect time to start a family. There will never be enough money. There will never be enough time. You will never be at the right point in your relationship.

My husband and I sat down and really considered this. She was right, no doubt about it. We decided to go ahead and do it. We only tried for two months before we found out we were pregnant and it was an amazing feeling. Nine months later, our beautiful little boy was born.

Times are hard, things get rough, and I never have enough hands, but I would not trade my little guy for anything. In fact, every time I look into his big, blue eyes, I cannot wait to make him a big brother.

I briefly considered if we make enough money. Do I have enough time to devote to two children instead of just one? My husband and I get along, for the most part. But wait. Here come the words from my favorite aunt:

“There is never a perfect time. If you want children, have them when you want them, not when you think you can afford them. You can always find a way to make it work.”

I am so glad we decided to listen to her and I freely give that advice to others. If you are seeking the perfect time to have your first, you will never find it and time you could be rearing your child will slip away. If you want a child, while you want them, now, is the perfect time.