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Being a Grown Up

Sometimes, it’s hard being an adult.

But what I’m finding even harder, is transitioning all parts of my life into adulthood. I’ve got the whole job thing, responsibility thing, taking care of another human thing down (well, pretty much), but what I don’t have is the ability to transition the seemingly mundane categories of my life into full-fledged adulthood.

Getting up early is an example. I know that getting up earlier can have lasting impacts on your brain function and efficiency. I know that I need quiet time with God to pray, reflect and enjoy moments of peace before the rush of the day. But, I still cling to that alarm clock like it’s going out of style, rolling myself out of bed dangerously close to the “you’re going to be SO late” precipice and dancing dangerously with what’s appropriate hair styles going on day 3 of no shower.

Another example, my makeup bag is woefully comprised of the same products I used in high school. The same grocery store and Clinique counter products that I love are still in rotation. Now, nothing is wrong with those items, I will continue to buy them, but I REALLY need to update and upgrade my beauty and makeup routine. Less Lip Smacker, more Sephora. I’ve started watching some makeup tutorials on YouTube, like this , and I’m starting to get more into it.

Also, one of the hardest transitions into adulthood/mamahood is carving out time for yourself. You go from a self-focused world before marriage, before kids where it only matters what you do. But now I’m responsible for other humans and it is sometimes exhausting. Self care, taking me time, whatever you want to call it, it’s important. So I’m looking to set aside time each week to do something I like to do: read, take an online sewing class, take a bath, etc.

Whatever it may be that helps this whole transition into an adult easier, I’ll take it, try and let you know how it goes!

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I took a mental picture today. A mental picture of about 8 minutes during an otherwise uneventful, errand-filled hot September day. Those 8 minutes allowed my Audrey Faye to experience joy, and in turn, reinvigorate my heart and fill it with joy. The simple pleasures of a swing, a slide, some sand and a little neighborhood park can serve as a quick, easy lesson to breathe, get out in the sunshine and just enJOY.audrey swinging audrey sliding


Baby’s First Beach

We hit another milestone earlier this month when we took Audrey to the beach for the first time. What a trip! Not only did she love the sand, the water and the sun, she also loved not sleeping, practicing her diva moves and biggest of all … walking! We have a little brave one on our hands. She absolutely loved it. Rolled around in the sand, played in it, played in the waves, swam in the water, she did it all. And she took those first few precious steps (naturally in front of an audience) and when we came home I looked at her and saw a little girl, instead of my baby. I’m not sure if I love it or hate it 🙂









The War Inside

I have always been very hard on myself. Always pushing to be perfect and the best.

This is evidenced by the “races” I used to have in 1st grade with another boy on tests and homework to see who could finish faster and get an A.

Also evidenced in the manic way I would amass stickers on my 4th grade behavior chart marking how “good” I was that day, usually feeling absolutely devastated if I did not fill my 5×5 grid of empty boxes, each box somehow symbolizing a square inch of self worth.

Seen also in the student council, class president, club president, sorority officer, alumnae officer positions I take on, run for or volunteer for to somehow stay involved, stay connected, stay on top of things to be in the know, to be with those who know and just to know.

Or shown in how I will speed clean my house the second I hear someone is coming over so they will see a spotless house, complete with a fresh scent of faked cleanliness, and think I keep it that way all the time. Yeah right. Right now, my kitchen has two empty pizza boxes, a can of Pringles and expired chocolate milk in the fridge, a pile of Audrey’s spit up caked on the floor and the couch smells like Sadie pooped INSIDE this couch, not on it, IN IT).

It’s always been there. I just know this about myself. And thank you Jesus that you brought Jason into my life who every day reminds me to JUST RELAX.

But never in my life did I foresee the levels this personality would push me to once having a baby. Every single decision, outfit choice, thought, action, etc. is amplified by my insatiable need to be perfect.

The latest “war” is breastfeeding and formula. I have breastfed Audrey until now (5 months) but have slowly been unable to make enough bottles to send with her the next day, depleting my freezer supply and teetering on the edge of needing to supplement for some time now.

Well, a week or so ago was the tipping point. I didn’t have enough to send the next day (unless I pumped during the night and again the next morning and used my last 3 oz from the freezer), and she hasn’t been sleeping, so I devised a plan to give her a bottle with half breast milk and half formula to introduce it, hope it helped her sleep and to throw this monkey off my back. The evil, demon monkey of mommy guilt telling me I’m ruining the “pureness” of this child by giving her something foreign. How dumb is that? My baby is still perfect after a bottle of formula, she took it like a champ, never knew the difference (still didn’t sleep), but is no worse for the wear and you would think I laced her bottle with arsenic because of the amount of thought I put into this decision.

If I agonize this much over every decision as a mother, Lord help me. What’s healthiest for Audrey right now is sleep. She needs more and I need to do what I can to get her there, which I believe is feeding more during the day. What is also healthiest for this family is sleep and a rejuvenated Mama. I’m learning this all a give and take. If I take from here, something has to give over there. And I’ll tell you, the day after this happened and I didn’t have to fret over getting up before the chickens to pump, I was OVER IT.

But why do we beat ourselves up so much? If it’s not formula, it will be pre-packaged baby food, and then preschool, and then giving them fast food, and then private vs. public school, and then, and then, and then.

What I want MOST in the world is that Audrey is healthy, happy and learns to love Jesus. That’s it. I want time with my husband. I want more babies. And I want my sanity. And I’ve got to learn to LET IT GO. My sage (aka sister) gave me the best verse for this:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever thingsare of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

OR in crazy, sleep deprived Mama terms: GET OFF FACEBOOK AND THE INTERNET AND STOP READING WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING OR DOING AND JUST DO YOU. Do you. Do me. Do Stephanie. Be a Roussell (and an Ortego) and go with your gut. Do what I feel is right, focus on what is good in my life, what I feel is healthy for our family as a whole and move on. The decision I made a few nights ago will not define Audrey’s life, nor mine. It will be a blip on the radar of life, and every decision I will make with heart and faith, but remind myself that not every decision that winds me away from what “I thought should happen” is not failure, it’s life.

Can you tell I needed a pep talk? 🙂 And I’m always happy to talk to myself!

In other news, here is Audrey’s new look of trepidation during “rice cereal” time. I mean, she’s gotta be the cutest baby you ever did see, right??audrey rice cereal

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One Word

There has been a trend through the blogosphere lately that suggests you pick one word to describe your upcoming year. Each New Years, bloggers will choose the word that describes how they want to be in the new year, how they want to be known or other aspirations they want to strive for. Popular words have been: brave, courageous, active, etc.

And as I looked back at probably the most significant year of my life, and then looked ahead to 2014, I knew this would be a perfect exercise for me.

2013 was killer. I mean, hands down, one of the craziest, most wonderful, most emotional and hardest years of my life. Let’s recap, shall we?

And now, it’s 2014 and I look back with exhaustion, pride, a full heart. I know everyone has busy years. I’m not abnormal in that claim. But, looking toward a new year, Jason and I couldn’t help but agree that this year, we want less. We want slow. We want roots. We’ve moved, floated, lived the nomadic way for a while, but now with roots and our Audrey, it’s time to stay for a while.

So, my word for 2014 is: STILL.

And not just being still in the physical sense, although that’s a big part of it. But also:

  • being still and knowing of God’s absolute presence in our life (Psalms 46:10; Exodus 14:14)
  • being still in the moments I try to do too much
  • being still and letting go of the fear and anxiety in my new mama heart and head
  • being physically still in Baton Rouge, in our home, in our jobs, in our church
  • being still by embracing quiet mornings, slow weekends and long holidays

I probably jinxed myself by making this my 2014 word. This usually sparks a completely opposite reaction (see: pregnancy fall in August after just the day before saying “let’s not do anything baby this weekend, let’s just relax” yeah right). But I want to be deliberate in this word this year. Be still and watch Audrey blossom and grow. Be still and love Jason more each day. Be still and enjoy this beautiful life.

I hope you can find a word to relate with this year as well! I’d love to hear what they are, if you do. Happy 2014 friends, let’s make it a great one.

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First Week Back Crazies

So a week or so ago I wrote a loving, flowy post about my pregnancy and maternity leave and how wonderful the long, lazy days with Audrey were and how my new adventure as a working mother was about to begin, and everybody please send me warm and fuzzies about starting because I’m going to need it….

…well here I am on the other side, and LORD HELP ME.

tummy time

Audrey says “be cool, Mom, I got this”

This job is hard, ya’ll! My mornings start about 3 hours earlier than is normally human, only a few hours after Audrey decides she wants a 3 a.m. snack and Sadie jumps in my spot in the bed because it’s way warmer than the freezing cold house this Mama won’t heat at night because she’s too paranoid about carbon monoxide poisoning.

High heels and baby carriers do not mix. My poor feet haven’t worn heels in about 6 months and my calves hate me, along with my toes. My neck is permanently “cricked” from falling asleep in the rocker at 3 a.m. and my poor house is so dirty I’m afraid TLC will try to come film an episode of Hoarders.

smiling audrey

Audrey thinks my pain is funny

But, after ten WHOLE DAYS of being a working mom, it has also brought me good things. Like using my smart brain again, the joy of picking her up from the nursery every afternoon and my weekly sushi fix. I miss her during the day, but the days go fast and I’m right back with her before I know it. Plus I get to wear cute clothes again.

baby selfie

Baby’s first selfie at the doctor’s office

So here’s to all you working moms out there! I’ve had good role models, both my grandmothers and my own mother and mother-in-law have provided a pretty good model for how to be a Southern lady, while working and raising babies. I hope I can only continue the tradition!