Tis’ the Season {Part 2}

Trying to get caught up on all the Christmas activities we enjoyed this season! I feel like the whole Christmas season flew by, and while we did a lot of fun things, we ran out of time to do everything I had on my list. We were so busy with work and school and other commitments during the week, and I always found myself trying to cram things into the weekends. Just not enough weekends in December. We did make it to Brunch with Santa at the Chattanoogan, rode the North Pole Express and visited Rock City to check out the Enchanted Garden of Lights tour. Asher Wade got to see Santa at all of these events and was a very happy little boy. He consistently told Santa that he wanted a “police car he can ride in” (we assumed he meant a Power Wheels) and a “race car Blaze with a remote control.” Thankfully Santa came through with these special gifts;) We had some great family time with my parents and brother and also hosted a super fun neighborhood party a few days before Christmas. It was a busy couple of weeks, but so much fun…

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Oh, and Matt and I even got to sneak away to Savannah for some much needed R&R…

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Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, and cheers to a happy and healthy 2017!

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Motivation Monday {and my first half marathon!}

This has been the most exhausting and somewhat stressful last seven days.  I literally felt like I was about to hit a wall on Thursday and totally shut down.  It was just something about coming home from a fun, but exhausting Vegas trip, jumping right back into work, home and family responsibilities, plus some other weekday and weekend commitments.  I feel like I’ve been on the verge of getting sick and Asher Wade has had a nasty cold.  My parents were in town visiting, which thankfully means they’ve been able to pitch in with AW and keep him home from school so he could rest, but that also means I’ve been busy entertaining.  I’ve had doctors’ appointments and a hair appointment.  Matt had to drive to northern KY on Friday to pickup our new puppy and come home Saturday.  Then we ran a half marathon on Sunday morning after getting very limited sleep the night before, because, puppy.  I mean, seriously.  I’ve basically been in survival mode, but I’m hoping this week is much calmer.

I completely skipped doing my Motivation Monday post last week since I was out of town, but I will say that I DID work out every single day while on vacation.  Besides hitting up our awesome hotel gym most days, we walked up and down the Vegas strip multiple times and also took a day trip to the Grand Canyon.  It was a good thing I was able to fit in some exercise because I definitely splurged on some food while we were there….the restaurant scene was out of control.  One day I actually hit over 31,000 steps!  

I’ll post more on the Vegas trip, plus a whole lotta pictures, soon.  Here are my stats from this past week…

Monday 8/8: Spent most of the day at the airport, on a long plane ride, and then driving home from Nashville, so I didn’t have time for a legit workout, but I did stroll around the neighborhood that evening while Asher Wade rode his scooter.

Tuesday 8/9: 6 mile run along the river

Wednesday 8/10: Ran 4 progressive miles on the treadmill (increasing my speed each mile)

Thursday 8/11: 60 minute Orangetheory Fitness class

Friday 8/12: Ran 3 progressive miles on the treadmill (increasing my speed each mile)

Saturday 8/13: Pretty much a total rest day in preparation for tomorrow

Sunday 8/14: Half marathon day! 13.1 miles…BAM!

The Four Bridges half marathon went awesome!  I went in with relatively low expectations considering that I hadn’t properly trained (my longest run prior to that morning was 8 miles) and I’ve been teetering on the edge of getting a cold.  Then the morning got off to a pretty rough start after we totally overslept the alarm (our sitter had literally been sitting in the driveway and messaging us for almost 30 minutes) and had to throw on some clothes, jump in the car and go to make the 7:30 start time.  I had planned to get up an hour before we had to leave, drink a cup of coffee, eat a little something and just generally have some time to prepare, so I was pretty worried how I would perform on 3 sips of coffee and a couple bites of a protein bar (and let’s be honest, not using the umm-hmm, bathroom).  Apparently I run better under pressure because other than the hectic start, the race itself could not have gone better.  Thankfully I ran with a friend and we chatted the entire 13.1 miles, which made it go by faster and kept my mind off what we were actually doing.  She motivated me and kept me from over thinking everything.  The route was great (minus a few killer climbs), scenery was nice and the weather was perfect.  There was so much energy on the route with crowds scattered all throughout holding signs and cheering us on.  I swear when I crossed that finish line I was so relieved and proud.  The waffles and honey buns at the end were a nice treat too:-)  Overall, it was a great experience and I am SO GLAD I can check this off.

AW got his fitness on this weekend too trying some rock climbing for the first time😃 #fitfam

Friday Faves

Hey there!  I’ve been MIA for a hot second and am now trying to catch up.  Mom and I went to Vegas to celebrate her retirement, and I’ve pretty much been trying to recuperate ever since.  Not that we got all Kardashian like on the trip (we were back in our room by 10 most nights), but it was just an exhausting trip since we were on the go nonstop.  Super fun, but exhausting.  Add in the time change, and man, I pretty much hit a wall yesterday.  I have SO MANY pictures and more details I need to post, so I’ll be getting a recap up on here soon.  Until then….

*Love this new Chobani flavor!  Perfect for fall and it’s just the right amount of sweetness.  I’ve been slicing a honey crisp apple to have alongside it.  I really like dipping the apple slices in the yogurt.

*Continuing with fall goodies…new Lenny and Larry Complete Cookie flavor!  It’s a good one too.

*I ordered this door hanger awhile back and it came in last week.  Isn’t it cute?  The sweetest lady makes all kinds of door hangers (among other home decor items) out of her home in Oklahoma and I definitely see myself ordering some things for the upcoming holidays.  Her Etsy business is called “Bucks for Buckingham” (she originally started to business to help pay off medical bills for her son) or you can follow her on Instagram/Facebook @craftingandcocktails.

*I’ve been wanting to try those lace-up flats I feel like I’ve seen everywhere, but I couldn’t seem to find a pair that looked right on me, or were a nice neutral color.  I finally found some in Vegas and they are exactly what I was looking for.  They are by Vince Camuto (not shocking since I tend to gravitate towards his shoes) and they are SO comfortable and I love the pretty taupe color.

*I celebrated my one year anniversary at Unum on Wednesday, and Matt also sent some beautiful flowers to me at work to mark the occasion.  That also means we’ve been in Chattanooga for a year.  That seems so crazy to me.  I just remember being so terrified of making this move, uprooting Asher Wade, leaving the place we’d loved and called home for 7 years, and starting over in a brand new city.  What a blessing it turned out to be….all the way around.  I still miss our friends, and our church, and some other things about Birmingham, but we’ve made amazing friends here, we love our new church home, and we absolutely LOVE Chattanooga.  Who knew?!

*This guy comes home tomorrow!  Eeeekkkk!  Matt is en-route to northern KY today, staying with his parents tonight, and then picking up Cody tomorrow and coming home.  I am dying from anticipation over here.

Happy Fri-Yay, y’all!  Hope it’s a good one for you:-)

Motivation Monday (err, Tuesday) and Weekend Shenanigans

Well, Monday came and went. As a matter of fact, the whole last week came and went without me even realizing it. Apparently it’s October now. Tomorrow it will be Christmas, so you better go on and get that tree up yesterday.

I’m going to do my best to remember my workouts from last week. Normally I’m really good about documenting them throughout the week, but since I was busy decorating for Easter, it kind of fell to the wayside. Anyways, Happy 4th of July!

Monday 8/8: Really did not want to workout today, so I just bounced around and did various activities until I had gotten in close to an hour. 20 minutes on the elliptical, 15’ish minutes of a Sports Drill class (seriously, couldn’t even stay in a class longer than that) and 15 minutes on the treadmill (6.0 mph).
Tuesday 8/9: 15 minutes on the treadmill (6.0 mph) followed by a 45 minute Total Body Training class (primarily strength training using weights and some cardio bursts).
Wednesday 8/10: Only had 30 minutes today, so I ran a quick 3 miles on the treadmill.
Thursday 8/11: Ran 3 miles outside with a friend.
Friday 8/12: 45 minute Sports Drill class and then a short walk outside to pick up some lunch:-)
Saturday 8/13: 8 mile run that morning with my running buddy. It felt really good and was honestly way easier than I had anticipated. We were so proud of ourselves! We also got to see the most beautiful sky as the sun started to come up over the river (pic below). Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Chattanooga?
Sunday 8/14: Easily could have taken the day off, but was itching to get outside that evening, so I walked around the neighborhood for about 45 minutes.

In other news, we had a great weekend. On Saturday evening Matt and I attended “Wine Over Water” which is basically a wine festival where 100+ wineries have tents setup along the Walnut Street Bridge (which crosses the Tennessee river) and you get a wine glass and basically try as many wines as you can handle without falling into the river. As far as I know, no one actually fell into the river, but there were some close calls I’m sure. Let’s just say it was good people watching, especially as the night went on. Our sitter stayed overnight so Matt and I were able to have a little hotel getaway. Can’t beat a getaway that is 15 minutes from your house. It was a fun night for sure. After we got home on Sunday I took Asher Wade to a local fall festival, where he of course had a blast. Love how October is full of all kinds of fall activities and events. It really is the best month.

Motivation Monday

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend, and hope everyone had better weather than we did here in east Tennessee. Other than a little tease we had last Monday, it’s hot as all get out, and humid, and rainy, and just generally unpleasant. Thankfully the mornings are somewhat bearable and dry, but I ran a 5K on Saturday morning and still looked like I had jumped in a pool at 8 a.m. 24 days till fall, but who’s counting, right?

Stats from the week, and some pics below…

Monday 8/8: There was a nice 10 degree drop in temps today so you better believe I headed outside! 65 minute walk along the river, and it was glorious!

Tuesday 8/9: 10 minutes on the treadmill (5.8 mph) followed by a 30 minute Step class and 15 minutes of core work

Wednesday 8/10: 45 minute Power Yoga class and then walked outside for about 15 minutes

Thursday 8/11: Took a 60 minute Orangetheory Fitness class

Friday 8/12: 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes of upper body strength training and some core exercises

Saturday 8/13: Ran a 5K that morning (pushing AW in the stroller) and did a sunset stand-up paddleboard session with Matt that night

Sunday 8/14: Had no motivation today, BUT got my butt off the couch that evening and walked around the neighborhood for 35 minutes

Like I mentioned above, I ran in a 5K with some friends on Saturday morning. we pushed our kiddos in the strollers and man, it was a workout. I finished in 32 minutes and ran the whole time, so I was pretty pleased. Asher Wade enjoyed himself until we got to the finish line. All the people cheering and the loud music freaked him out a little. Then someone handed him a Moon Pie and all was right in the world again:-)

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Kenzie and AW

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About to take off

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Mother runners!

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Post race…sweaty, but happy with our Moon Pie

For date night on Saturday Matt and I decided to mix it up a little and headed out for a stand-up paddleboard session at sunset. A storm had passed through a couple hours prior, and it was gorgeous out. So thankful to live in such a beautiful city, and to have access to all these great outdoor activities.

 

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{Almost} Wordless Wednesday

{Thought I’d do a little iPhone photo dump with pics from the last week or so. Lots of randomness!}

Feeling proud after a back-to-school haircut

Breakfast with daddy one morning

When you have no clue who you’re going to vote for come November…

Sweet Annie…getting so big

Date night last weekend…finally!


First day of preschool…be still my heart

After much deliberation, Asher Wade finally picked out a Spiderman backpack and lunchbox, but was a little jealous when he saw his neighbor’s Paw Patrol ensemble;)

Motivation Monday and Whole30 Update {Week 3}

Heading in to week 4 of Whole30, y’all!  I’m still going strong.  It kind of just feels like my norm now.  I don’t even really think about the “no-no” foods…I just go straight for what I know I’m supposed to eat and what makes my body feel good, even though I am getting sick of eating the same things.  In an effort to mix it up, I had a veggie burger the other night, but it did not sit well.  This is the first “packaged” food I’ve had since starting Whole30, and while the ingredients were compliant (although it did have quinoa, which is technically not compliant on strict Whole30, but allowed on the modified vegetarian version), I’m wondering if there were some sort of preservatives in it?  Or maybe it was the quinoa?  Even though I can have quinoa on the modified plan, I’ve been avoiding it for the most part and following the strict Whole30 guidelines.  I think I had quinoa one day during my first week, but haven’t since.  I guess that could have been what upset my stomach.  Point being, there is obviously some magic in this program.  Whether it was the quinoa or some sort of added preservative, I think that was my body’s way of telling me to stay away.  I haven’t had one single stomach issue since starting Whole30, where I used to have issues all the time, and then suddenly I veer off a tiny bit, and I have a stomach issue.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.  So I’m definitely going to follow the strict guidelines for the remainder of the 30 days and not even allow myself the vegetarian modifications.  I feel like I am getting enough protein as it is anyways.

What I’m eating. Big, huge salads.  I literally just fill a large Tupperware container with all sort of randomness that I have on hand, and then shake it up with some EVOO and red wine vinegar (I included a pic below, which isn’t pretty, but it was delicious).  I enjoy going to places like Moe’s and Taconooga (local to Chattanooga) and getting made-to-order salads chockfull of veggies.  Still eating lots of eggs, cooked all different ways, salmon, shrimp, or whatever seafood is on special at Whole Foods for the week, nut butters, roasted veggies, fruit and my RX bars.  On another note, I have been super hungry this week.  I did workout hard this week, so maybe that has something to do with it, but I’ve been having big meals and still wanting snacks in between.

What I miss. Quest bars (especially since they just came out with a new flavor that I’m dying to try), red wine, cereal and every now and then a bagel.

Where I’m struggling. Not really struggling with anything now – it’s really all just habit.  I guess if anything I’m still somewhat struggling with the meal prep and the time it takes to plan for the next day.  I’m tired of having to put so much thought into meals and I want to just be able to grab something quick.

How I feel. Really good!  I’m sleeping well and I have plenty of energy to get me through my workouts.

Other thoughts. I feel like this is the week where I’m going to start feeling “over it” and want to throw in the towel.  Again, not because it’s overly challenging, but rather because I’m just kind of tired of thinking about it so much.  I’m also getting to the point where I’m tired of eating the same things over and over.  It’s not like I’d even go crazy with unhealthy foods or anything…I’m talking like I would just love to mix in some oatmeal, yogurt and maybe a little granola.


My workouts were must better this past week; I assume because I’ve made it past all the slumps and am now in the phase that the book calls “Tiger Blood.”

 Monday 7/18: 15 minutes on the treadmill (5.8 mph) and a 45 minute “Sports Drill” class (cardio intervals and strength training using free weights and body weight)

Tuesday 7/19: 15 minutes on the treadmill (5.8 mph), 30 minute Step class, 15 minutes of core exercises

Wednesday 7/20: 30 minute HIIT class (high intensity interval training, which is basically a Tabata style workout) and 20 minutes on the elliptical

Thursday 7/21: 15 minutes on the treadmill (5.8 mph) followed by a 45 minute Total Body Training class (strength training using primarily free weights)

Friday 7/22: 30 minute run on the treadmill (5.8 mph) and then I tried something new…stand up paddle boarding! I went with some friends from work and we had a blast.  Such a good core workout and my legs were also sore the next morning from standing up and holding my balance. Pics below! The scenery was gorgeous.

Saturday 7/23: 60 minute Orangetheory Fitness class

Sunday 7/24: Totally took the day off, other than doing a little water skiing when we were out on friends’ boat.

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When the cat’s away, the mouse will….

Matt took Asher Wade to Kentucky to visit his parents for a few days, but since it wasn’t a good time for me to take off work, I held the fort down in the ‘Noog.  Some exhausted wives/mothers may look at these 3.5 days of solitude as an opportunity for spa days, movie binges, shopping excursions, eating Ben & Jerry’s by the pint, and most importantly, sleeping in, but I guess I am not like other wives/mothers (although I AM exhausted 99.9% of the time) because I packed my days with exercise and outdoor adventure, and I did not sleep in.  Now granted I did go get a pedicure, and I did walk around Belk for 30 minutes, and I may or may not have watched like seven episodes of Parenthood, but I also got up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to run in the Chattanooga Heroes Run and then again on Sunday morning for a downtown kayak tour.  I did not touch a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, because, Whole30.  This is just what I prefer to do when I have time to myself.  I love being outside and I love being active.  I would prefer to have some Ben & Jerry’s post outdoor activity, but that’s neither here nor there right now.  Ask me again in 15’ish days.

 In all seriousness, I love being a wife and a mother more than anything in the world, and nothing makes me happier than weekends where Matt, Asher Wade and I are hanging out together, but I definitely have some introverted tendencies (particularly as I’ve gotten older) and sometimes it’s nice to have a little “me time.”  I felt guilty about this for a long time – I think because I’m already away at work 8+ hours per day – and I still struggle with making myself check out every now and then, but then when I finally do I’m reminded how good it is for me mentally.  Taking some time to let go of mothering duties, do things on my own time and recharge my batteries…it really gives me a renewed sense of energy.  When Matt pulled in Sunday afternoon I was rested and refreshed and so ready to hug and kiss my guys.

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The Heroes Run was an incredible event to be a part of.  Saturday was the one-year anniversary of the shooting at the Marines/Navy Reserve Center that happened in Chattanooga last year that took the lives of five servicemen.  Five servicemen that simply showed up to work one day, never in a million years thinking it would be their last.  The shooting happened just a few days before I drove over to Chattanooga for my interview with Unum.  I wrote about this on Facebook the other day, but I just remember feeling a little weird and guilty that this interview was still taking place.  I just knew that the community had to be so hurt and angry and confused over what had happened and it just seemed hard to me to assume that life was going on as usual, in spite of what had just happened 72 hours prior.  I guess I felt guilty to think that my business agenda was going on as usual.  I was so surprised when I arrived in Chattanooga and saw how much the community had come together.  It was evident in the people I met that day, the signs all over the city and in front of hundreds of businesses.  The community was strong and the people were proud to live there and support one another.  It was incredibly humbling.

It was so surreal to be running in this race on Saturday, considering the fact that one year later from that awful event, we now call this city home, and we too are proud residents.  It was also surreal to think about the reason why we were running and to think that something so awful could happen right here in our sweet, Southern hometown.  There’s so much darkness in this world and so many scary things happening around us, but there is also so much light and so much good.  It was evident the day of the run when I looked around and saw just how many people came out to participate, whether they were running or volunteering their time.  It was so encouraging and I was so honored to be a part of it.

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On a much lighter note, I don’t know if it was the adrenaline, or the enthusiasm, or all the people, or the Whole30, but I ran better than I ever had. I don’t think I’ve ever run five miles without a single walking break, but I nailed it that day.  It was hot as Hades too, but I pushed through and was so happy to cross that finish line.

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 On Sunday morning I got up and headed to the river for a guide-led kayak tour. I have never kayaked before (at least that I can remember) and I really enjoyed it.  Thankfully we were out in the morning before it got super hot and it was so peaceful on the river.

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After my kayak tour was finished I finally went and checked out the Chattanooga Market. People can never believe it when I tell them we haven’t been to it yet, and now I can see why.  It was amazing, and huge.  I had no idea there were so many vendors and tables, with everything you can imagine from farm fresh fruits and veggies, local meats and dairy, clothing, candles, soaps, jewelry, fresh flowers, home decorations, baked goods galore, literally anything you could want.  There was also live music and tons of food trucks.  It was quite an event and now I’m mad we haven’t been going all season.  We will definitely be back next weekend and you better believe we will be back when Whole30 is over so I can sample some of those treats.

Meanwhile in Kentucky….

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This little boy LOVES his cousins!

 

 

July 4th Weekend

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. There’s just something about the patriotism and pride that’s always so present and alive throughout our country and communities. Not that we shouldn’t feel patriotic every day of the year, but it is nice to have a day where everyone seems to come together and salute this great country and the men and women that have selflessly given their lives so we can live in the land of the free. Freedom is certainly not free, and we get to live in the land of the free because of the brave, and for that, I am thankful.

Plus, I love any excuse to don a red, white and blue color scheme;)

In all seriousness though, it’s important to me that Asher Wade start to understand the importance of these holidays and the reason why we celebrate, and I like planning outings and activities to make the holiday feel special and important. We enjoyed our little 4th staycation and a 4-day weekend. Other than spending lots of time outside and at the pool, we also attended a birthday party, attended the firework show on the river, spent the night in a hotel downtown, visited the local children’s museum, and just generally had a lot of family time.

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LOVE our beautiful city!

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On the afternoon of the 4th we delivered cupcakes to our various neighbors that have served our country. We have quite a few veterans in our neighborhood, and we are certainly very proud to know them.

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Hope you had a wonderful July 4th as well!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery. ~Galatians 5:1

Mother’s Day 2016 (and other weekend shenanigans)

Ah, what a beautiful weekend!  I was sad to see it come to an end.  We don’t always get such gorgeous, perfect weather on Mother’s Day, but we were certainly blessed with it this year.  We had such a fun weekend and spent a lot of it outdoors.  We started off Friday night with an event hosted by our church called Shine.  Basically we throw a prom for those in our community that have special needs, including their families and caregivers.  We ended up with over 500 guests!  This was our first year to be involved with this annual event and it will definitely not be our last.  Besides having so much fun with all of the guests, it was incredibly uplifting and good for the soul.  So many sweet spirits in attendance and I loved getting to meet them all.  The theme was “A Night Under the Big Top” so we decorated everything to look like a circus.  It looked awesome!  To go along with the theme we had an area of carnival type games, and Matt, being the good sport that he is, volunteered to be in the dunk tank, which was probably one of the most visited games of the night.  All in all it was just a great event and we were so blessed to be a part of it.

Saturday was Asher Wade’s last soccer practice of the season.  We’ve had to miss a lot of Saturdays due to travel, but thankfully we were able to make the last one.  This has been a fun activity for AW and although he still has a lot to learn, I think he made some progress throughout the season.  He definitely has the dribbling and shooting part down…the problem is that that’s all he wants to do the whole time;)  Seriously though, there’s not much funnier than a group of two and three year olds playing soccer.

Sunday morning I was surprised with breakfast in bed (which ultimately ended up in the kitchen to avoid a potential syrup-in-the-bed disaster with #toddlerAW) and then a couple of beautiful cards, my favorite protein bars and cookies, and a Fitbit Blaze.  My boys know me well:-)  After church we changed clothes and headed up to Lookout Mountain for a little hike and to check out Lula Lake Falls.  I’ve been wanting to visit Lula Lake since we moved to Chattanooga, but since it’s only open one weekend per month and we’ve always had other things going on, this was the first chance we got to go.  It was seriously so beautiful.  Just so natural and peaceful and definitely one of the gems of our city.  I’m constantly amazed at all the beautiful places we continue to discover since moving here.

After a picnic at the foot of the falls, we packed up and headed home, stopping for ice cream of course;)  Matt cooked one of our Blue Apron meals that night and we opened a bottle of wine and toasted to another successful Mother’s Day…my fourth one!  Each year gets better and better and I am truly so thankful that God chose me to be the mother of such a precious little boy, and the wife of such a sweet husband.  My boys certainly know how to make a lady feel special.  I definitely felt it yesterday.  Although I always feel so much joy and happiness on Mother’s Day, I also can’t help but notice a quiet sadness deep in my heart as I think of the mothers out there that have lost a child, or that are longing for a child, or the child that is grieving the loss of their mother.  Like many holidays, this is one of those days that can often bring up a lot of sadness and darkness for some.  It can also bring up hope too, though.  It’s also a reminder there are so many different ways to be a mother, and ALL mothers should be celebrated.  So, whether you are a birth mom, an adoptive mom, a fur baby mom, a grieving mom, a longing mom, or simply a mom at heart, Happy Mother’s Day!  Moms rock!