Monday, February 22, 2016

gym clothes with a purpose

I am sure most of you are thinking "workout clothes already have a purpose, you sweat in them". haha. Yes that is true. But what if your clothes also helped others? What if they could help a mom with postpartum depression, or someone on the verge of suicide? 

A friend of mine from college recently started a social purpose company called Voxerity. They offer high quality workout gear and donate 35% of the profits to one of five charities. Each charity is focused on mental health, a grossly overlooked issue in our society. It is something that plagues many people, something with an unnecessary stigma attached to it, something that needs to be addressed. "One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives." Let that sink in for a minute. Wow. 

I can bet that if you aren't affected yourself you know someone who is. I know two. I don't know if I talked about this on the blog before, but when I was 14 years old my Grandfather took his own life. He was suffering from depression and saw no other way out. It was one of the hardest times of my life. The loss, the pain, the questions. As an outsider you just can't understand why someone could do that. And yet it is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Wow. 

We need to reach out and help each other. Offer support and understanding. Give a voice to these causes. We need to "Empower individuals to be the voice of truth about mental health" ~ Linda Rangel, Founder of Voxerity.

I was so inspired when I saw what Linda had created, I had to purchase a few items. I got a Truth tank for myself and an Honest T for Matt. I gave it to Matt (and myself) for Christmas. Not only was Matt impressed with the quality of the shirt (I swear he wears it once a week or more), he thought it was really cool that some of the money went to a good cause rather than some rich person's pocketbook. When asked which charity I chose, I told him it was a harder decision than I thought it would be! I felt like I had a connection to almost every issue....

1. National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI and each of its affiliates is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. NAMI is dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI strives to educate, advocate, listen to those in need through helplines, and create public awareness about mental health.

2. Give an Hour
Give an Hour (TM) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to “develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. Currently, Give an Hour is dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of troops and families affected by the post-9/11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Give an Hour provides counseling to individuals, couples and families, and children and adolescents.”

3. Postpartum Progress
“Postpartum Progress is a peer-to-peer 501(c)(3) organization that works to create an atmosphere in which women can recognize when they need help for maternal mental illness, feel safe reaching out for that help, and know that a community of thousands of other mothers stands beside them and behind them.”

4. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention “funds research, offers educational programs, advocates for public policy, and supports those affected by suicide.”

5. Child Mind Institute
“The Child Mind Institute is dedicated to transforming mental health care for children everywhere. The organization is committed to finding more effective treatments for childhood psychiatric and learning disorders, building the science of healthy brain development, and empowering children and their families with help, hope, and answers.”

I'm a mom (although I was never affected by PPD), I'm a military spouse, my Grandfather committed suicide, and my cousin suffers from mental illness. After much thought I decided to choose the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I was affected by the pain of it first hand. Anything that can be done to prevent someone from taking their own life, or to keep a family from suffering a heartbreaking loss, is important to me. 

So today, I encourage each and every one of you to check out the Voxerity website. Explore, read about their causes, and the company's purpose. If you can, please purchase something for yourself, knowing you are making a small contribution to a good cause. And let me tell you, you will not be disappointed with the apparel! Comfy, flattering shirts and pants (I hear more options are coming too!). And when someone asks what Voxerity means, be sure to tell them all about it, as well as the cause you chose!

check out my muscles!! lol

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Since this was our first big snowstorm since moving back to the East Coast and Norah's first official snow, I thought it should have its own post. For areas that normally get a lot of snow, this would be no big thing, but for us this is a one a year, or less, event. I was super excited!!  Charlotte was thrilled. And to top it off, my Mom was visiting, so she would get the full east coast winter experience too. For once the thought of being cooped up in the house wasn't such a bad thing. We stocked up on food, alcohol, and firewood and burrowed in for whatever nature had in store for us. 

A few days before the official snowzilla we got a light dusting. It was beautiful. 
if you're happy and you know it JUMP!!
a mini snowman!!

trying to catch a few snowflakes

enjoying the feeling of snow on her face

We took advantage of the break in the weather to take a few family pictures. Nana and her kiddos!
Harley all bundled up too!
last visit, Norah 2 months............................ This visit, Norah 6 months


Finally, the snow started!!
just an hour or two in

starting to accumulate now

before bed time photo. It's all the way up to the door

harley venturing out for a quick potty break

the next morning, even with the wind, check out how much we got!

mid storm shoveling crew. 

helping out with her itty bitty shovel

harley preferred the indoor but the fire life

After it was all over, the wind stopped, and the sun came out, it was time for a little sledding!
trying out our front yard

weee!! (not quite steep enough)

Daddy giving across the street a shot. 

more shoveling. C has the big shovel this time.

earn your keep girl!!

Mommy and C trying out the steep hill! WEEE!!


sledding with the neighbors. They have the best hill.

snow angel time with H

hmmm.....where is a good spot?

Nana and Norah watching all the fun

post sledding nap time.

While Nana was here we also snuck in a few other fun activities like visiting the American History museum, doing a little shopping, and taking a trip to the ER.

President C Clute. Her face says it all

President N Clute. So serious
Chris and Brandy came with us too! We had a great time together exploring the museum. The American flag display is something to see. So moving and SO BIG!! No pictures were allowed, otherwise I would have taken some. I highly recommend it! 
the train, we spent a lot of time here. 
napping on Nana

Norah was with me, all the bags were in the stroller and C was riding on the front.
It was a fun and successful trip to the mall. 
Right after Nana arrived Charlotte got pretty sick and couldn't keep anything down. I was concerned she was getting too dehydrated so we took her to the ER. She was diagnosed with a minor case of pneumonia and her arm was given a drink. She was so brave and by the next day was back to her normal spunky self. 

baby book first: first trip to the hospital.

Post snowstorm, on our way to the airport...cheeeeessssee!!!

the girls next to our big pile of snow. 
I would guess we got a foot and a half total. Not nearly as much as other areas. The storm ended Saturday, and by Sunday morning all our streets were clear. I think living in a more rural area with fewer roads helped get us all dug out early. My Mom was supposed to head home on Saturday and eventually was able to get a flight mid day Monday. When we drove her to the airport I was shocked at how much snow there still was on the roadways. Most of the main roads were fine but side streets and parking lots were a mess. Overall it was a blast and I would love to see a few more storms like this one! :) Ask me again in a couple of years and I am sure I would have a completely different opinion.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy 6 Months Norah!!

Norah ~

Happy 6 months sweet girl! 

For your photo shoot this month I went with a Hawaii theme. A onesie from Kauai and a headband from Maui. The first things we bought you once we found out you were a girl! Ah memories!!

how old am I? I can't see the sticker!

me? 6 months?! no way!!

I seriously cannot believe you are already half a year old. I have no idea where the time has gone. It seems like yesterday you were a newbie, sleeping all day long and snuggling with me non stop. (You actually decided to snuggle with me on the couch yesterday. OMG so cute. I couldn't stop staring at your face while you slept) It is amazing to watch you grow and change every single day. You are so wiggly, wanting to be crawling or moving about so bad. I know we will be in trouble once you start crawling. Oh my. I forget what life is like with baby gates everywhere but know I will be reminded very soon. 

me? trouble? no.

You now weigh 16 lbs and are 25.5 inches long. 50% for weight and 30% for height. 

one future heartbreaker and one whaley cute baby

You have a super baby grip, constantly grabbing on to hair or shirts or anything within your reach. A little koala bear. You are not a fan of tummy time, but tolerate it occasionally. And you have recently started swinging your arms around, sometimes even whacking yourself in the face. It doesn't seem to bother you either. I guess you are just learning to control them. 

You are still a drooling, chewing, and sometimes fussy machine. I can see those bottom teeth but none have popped through yet. I wish they would, I think you would be much happier. 

We have not started you on any solids yet. When the opportunity arises we let you try new foods. You have nibbled on avocado, bananas and applesauce. You always want to eat when we are all sitting down for a meal together. But you make the funniest faces!! 

I think we are going to do baby led weaning with you. I don't think I have the energy or time to puree foods for you like I did for Charlotte. Plus, I feel like it is a waste until 9 months or more. It's practice, which is great, but not needed for nutritional value. 

Your big accomplishment this month is being able to sit up on your own! You do, occasionally, fall back but it's rare. You are much more stable than you used to be and so happy to be a part of the party now. You were getting sick and tired of lying on your back playing with toys. Sitting up is like a whole new world!

trying to get those toes from a new angle

distracted by the chair. it's the little things in life

You also love time in your bouncer. You still can't touch your feet on the ground, even on the lowest setting. Soon enough my dear, soon enough. Then you will really be having a blast in that.

the fur boots helped yo to occasionally touch the ground

We celebrated our second Christmas this month. You, your sister and cousin Jack are the most adorable kiddos in the world. Who else could rock monster pants like this?!

Nana came to visit you this month. It's hard to believe it has been 5 months since she saw you last. You really enjoyed spending time with her, and Mommy was happy to have some help. I was actually able to go shopping and try on a few things! 

Nana and her girls

asleep in Nana's lap

You also saw your very first snow this month! For Mommy (who grew up on the west coast where it didn't snow) this was a super big deal. I don't think I even saw snow falling until I was at least a teenager. For you, snow will be just a regular occurrence. No big deal. Charlotte sure was excited to go out and play in it. Next year will be so much fun with both of you out exploring the snow. 

I can finally say that your room is complete!! The last piece came mid January....

the beautiful name sign. Purple?

or gold?

we also hung the other shelf and pictures

I just can't decide between the two....who am I kidding, I could care less.

Goals for you for next month: learn to take a bottle and no more swing. I want you to be able to drink some breast milk from a bottle so Mommy and Daddy can maybe have the chance to go out for dinner or a date. You prefer Mommy's milk from the source, which is fine, but it definitely limits us. And the swing. Right now you take all your naps in it. It might be a tough one to break. Might take more than a month. You are perfectly capable and it would only mean a few tough days/nights but then again why give up something that works? You really enjoying sleeping in it.

All these things: swing, solids, etc just remind me that you are growing up. And Mommy does not like that at all. I can't believe you are six months old!!

Here are some more adorable pictures of you from this month:
checking everything out at gymnastics

story time with sister

twinnie day!!

out for a January!!

Mmmm toes.

enjoying your first time in the high chair

you really are the best baby sister

taking a turn at the guitar!

C on vocals, N on xylophone

sing it Norah! "Let is go..." 
one of my favorites of you girls.

Your sweet and smiley little personality is really starting to show. You are a beautiful little baby and we just love you so much!

Mommy & Daddy

When I asked Charlotte if there was anything she wanted to say to you Norah, this is what she told me:

I love her! I want to give her baby treats! And kisses! And make her laugh! haha