Hanging With the Huies »

 

Hi!  I’m Shauna, a 31-year-old wife and mama of two, Hailey (6) and Colton (almost 2).  I am a nursing student but when I have free time I enjoy long walks down every single aisle of Target, iced coffee and spending time with my family. I have been a fan of Hanging With the Huies for a couple of years now and love that Kendra has created this lovely little place to invite all of us to see beautiful glimpses of her life, because y’all she is one beautiful person inside and out and I have grown to really adore her and her little family.  I hope to one day hug her neck and catch up over a cup of coffee.

When Kendra asked me to join this week’s guest post, not only was I flattered and somewhat nervous, but an idea immediately came to mind on what to write about… infertility.  For so long it was my identity and my world that it seemed natural that I would use that to reach others.  But something kept pulling at me to go in a different direction, telling me I had a more important story to tell.  So, here I sit, in a raw state of emotion still not sure how I will get through this dry eyed – I am sure I won’t.

Becoming a Mom. I will never forget that morning.  The morning I woke up at 4 AM as I often did to obsessively run to the bathroom to see if today was different, and on this morning it was, because for the first time after years of trying, failed fertility treatments, a lot of tears, and a whole lotta pregnancy tests, there it was, that second pink line I had always hoped for.  I remember waking up my soundly sleeping husband yelling, “THERE ARE TWO LINES… TWO LINES!!” It is one of my favorite memories.  As most mamas do, I began dreaming about who this tiny person would be, what he or she would look like and who they would become.  Of course, when Hailey Jo arrived, she was perfect.  I loved being a mom from the moment I held her and my days were filled with pouring into this tiny being.

 Photo Credit: Ashley Rocha Photography

Parenting. I had been around enough kids to know that parenting would be hard.  I had researched, read every book, and discussed discipline views with Tim, the whole nine yards.  The late nights, the millions of diapers, the challenges, we were ready.  We were going to rock this parenting gig.  I don’t know that there is a person, or book, or experience in the world that can prepare you for the trenches we have gone through with Hailey because what none of those books could ever prepare me for was raising a child with anxiety and sensory processing disorder.

Challenges. It must have been at about age three when we really started struggling.  Others didn’t really notice a difference in Hailey but we noticed.  The challenges we faced were nothing I had ever dreamed.  At first, and for a long time, I thought I was doing something wrong, that Hailey was poorly disciplined and that this was all behavioral.  Then, we got pregnant with our sweet Colton.  At the same time, Tim began working out of town so it was just Hailey and I on our own.  I began noticing times when Hailey seemed overwhelmed with anxiousness and fear and times when she seemed overwhelmed with excitement to the point that she literally couldn’t control her actions.  All of her emotions were big.  When she was sad she was really sad, when she was angry she was really angry and when she was happy she was really happy.  I also began noticing that she would cover her ears if I raised my voice, she asked for headphones if we were watching fireworks, and she flinched at any loud noise even if it didn’t seem loud enough to startle someone.  Hailey also made it very clear when she wanted to be touched and when she didn’t.  She seemed to get better once “bubba” came along, he loves and adores her unconditionally and she seems to see him as her “safe” place and someone who she can freely be herself around, often hugging him or just laying near him when she is upset. Then when Hailey started Kindergarten, we really noticed an escalating behavior pattern and this is when we really started seeking help.

Being Different. The day we finally got the answers to why our beautiful little girl was “different”, why every single morning was a fight because everything I picked for her to wear was “too itchy” or “too tight”, why too much noise or yelling caused her to get overly excited or overly anxious, why she was struggling to get through the day at school without incident, and, hardest of all, why she only leaned in for my embrace when she wanted to and pulled away at other times, that day everything began to make sense.  Though I didn’t completely understand what we were facing, we knew two things; that Hailey was suffering from anxiety as well as Sensory Processing Disorder, specifically tactile (touch) and auditory. I spent hours that night sobbing on my bedroom floor and even cried myself to sleep.  Why hadn’t I seen the signs that she needed help sooner?  But wait there was HELP.  Tears of sadness that she wasn’t “perfect” and also tears of relief that this was something manageable poured from my eyes.  I still have those nights, on bad days, or days where there are stark reminders that the world doesn’t accept and doesn’t understand.

Judgment. I know many of us deal with judgmental women, especially when it comes to being a mama, and that I can handle.  What I have had the hardest time dealing with are the judgments and unkind ways Hailey has been treated. Adults that have been in her life that are supposed to love and nourish her have caused her immense heartache and trust issues by making her feel unwanted, unloved and even more different then she already feels.  This has proved to be challenging for me to handle because of course I have felt sadness, anger, hurt and even at times some hatred.  This is my baby, she is a child, and how could grown people not only treat me negatively at times but also do so to an innocent child?

Forgiveness and Grace. I feared the thought of bullies as Hailey entered Kindergarten.  We hear about it daily in the news and I wasn’t naïve to the fact that Hailey may face that.  I prepared her for it, we talked about and the one thing I tried to instill in her was that no matter who she was up against, no matter how unkind they were, no matter how hurt they made her feel, that all we can do is guard ourselves while also loving and forgiving them.  Luckily Hailey is a lover, she has the biggest heart and wants nothing more than to have all her friends near playing and having an amazing time.  While I had all these angry and hateful emotions inside me for those that were exacerbating what was already a challenge to handle, my little girl was using words like forgive and love. Isn’t it funny how we sometimes learn what we tried to teach our children, from them instead?  Sometimes they are the best teachers.  I had to find a place in my heart to let go of all of those thoughts and pains and offer grace and forgiveness for those who will never know how many tears I have cried on their behalf.  They don’t understand, they don’t see what I see in Hailey.  They simply don’t get it.  I wish so much they would or could understand things from my perspective, but I can’t make that happen so, instead, I have to do my best to show them the love and kindness that I hope for in return for myself but more so for Hailey.

Choosing Joy.  Hailey has changed me.  She has made me a better person in so many ways.  I am more kind, more calm, more understanding, more patient, more loving, and most of all, more forgiving because of her.  Out of all the trials, hurt and tears, this journey has taught me, the biggest lesson I have learned is that it is up to me to choose joy.  I make a daily choice not to let others defeat me or take away my happiness and I am able to do that because I see my girl do it every single day.  I choose to love, I choose to see past what others see, I choose not to judge that mom in HEB with a baby strapped to her crying as she’s trying to check out and her five year old is laying in the floor mid-tantrum, and I choose this because I was once that mom.  Instead, since I have been THAT mom, I now choose to joyfully ask her if she needs help, or simply say “you are doing great mama, you got this, don’t give up, this too shall pass” in hopes of bringing her a moment of relief.  I hope you, sitting there reading this, will also choose joy for yourself and to bring that same joy others.  Choose to be the one who sees that mama for the bad day she is having and the moment she is in and not for what may seem like bad parenting or lack of discipline, because while it may be those things, she may also just be fighting a battle that you aren’t aware of and she may need a couple words of encouragement instead of glances full of judgment.  Be the one to give her that sigh of relief and the extra push to make it to her car without breaking down.

Defining Perfect. I will leave you with reasons in which I have discovered that my sweet Hailey Jo is perfect.  She is funny, smart, kind, beautiful, strong, a natural leader, creative, energetic, honest, compassionate, and most of all this little ball of spunk was made for me, I was chosen, hand picked to be her mama, made to help her navigate through this life and because of that she is and always will be perfect for me.

Photo credit: Ashley Rocha Photography

For more information on Sensory Processing Disorder SPD please visit the links below:

What is Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD

Common questions asked about SPD

For further SPD support

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Hey Y’all!!! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jordan Flowers. To sum me up in a nutshell, I am 100% crazy & wild and when it comes to sharing my life I am an open book. Sometimes I wonder how my husband, Casey, puts up with me and my crazy ways. I am also a #BoyMom to 2 adorable little guys, Caleb (age 7 ¾ he makes sure to tell you the ¾ part because that means he is closer to 8 than to 7) and Dax (who will be 2 on Flag Day… June 14th). Those three guys are my life and my everything; they are the reason my heart beats daily.

I have followed Kendra for a few years now and I consider her a friend, even though we haven’t met in person yet. I say yet, because we live like 45 minutes from each other so it will happen one day. Kendra is always so uplifting and encouraging and giving us new ways to look at life. I love her blog, her IG, her FB and everything else because it is nice to have a refreshing outlook on life this day and age. If you are new to her blog, stick around because you will LOVE it here.

Kendra asked a few of us moms to write a guest blog that related to motherhood and I wanted to write about something that most wouldn’t even dare talk about. I suffer from depression and when I get depressed I turn to food and to my bed to help get me through the tough times. The depression has affected the type of friend I am, the type of wife I am and even the type of mom I am. Being a mom is a tough job, but add in something like depression and it makes it just that much more difficult.

I love both of my boys to pieces and would go to the end of the earth for them, I would take a bullet for them, and I would give my life to save theirs…. You know, the typical things a parent would do for their child. However, when my depression hits from time to time, it is hard for me to even get out of bed to feed them or to parent them.

 

This past November I had some friends come to visit from Utah, once they left to head back home, this cloud of depression took over my life. I felt alone and I was very sad. I am not sure what triggered it, maybe it was the visit coming to an end or maybe it was just the holiday blues, but it swallowed me up and held me captive. The holidays are a time to watch the magic in your children’s eyes and all I wanted to do stay in bed and ignore my boys. Anytime Caleb would get excited about that damn elf on the shelf or wanting to see Santa Claus, my anger would grow and over the course of the next month, I was beyond frustrated with him. Dax was 1 ½ and very mischievous and would get into everything, leaving me yelling at him daily. My husband worked the opposite shift than me and that meant I was alone to parent the boys from 2p to midnight 5 nights a week. With each passing day, my depression got darker and darker and my anger levels were higher and higher… I was at the point that even the smallest thing would set me off.

On top of it all, every time I yelled at the boys or hid from them (because all I wanted to do was sleep and eat the day and nights away), a little bit of mom guilt creeped into my heart and made me feel worse than I already did. This was supposed to be the most magical time of the year and here I am ruining it for myself and everyone around me. My marriage started to suffer because of it and my boys started to pull away from me. Caleb even admitted to Casey that he was scared to ask me something because he was afraid that I would yell at him or ignore him.

Then to add to it all, my health started taking a turn for the worse. Every other week I was sick and I visited the doctors 3 times from November to January for medication. I was stressing myself out so much due to all the depression and guilt that I was making myself sick. Being a mom is hard, being sick and being a mom is even harder… I remember lying in bed one afternoon after finding out I had walking bronchitis and an upper respiratory infection and asking God why did he give me these boys? Why did he make me their mom? I laid there and cried even thinking about these questions going through my mind. I love my boys but I couldn’t take care of myself, why did God think I could also take care of these boys on top of it all.

Luckily, Casey has been around long enough to know how to handle me when I get depressed and he really stepped it up and took on my role as much as he could. He gave up overtime and spent more time at home. He sent me away to a hotel so I could have a night alone. He found babysitters to help me when he wasn’t around. He took care of groceries and meal planning. He tried his best to carry some of the stressful jobs for me so I could focus on getting better. I remember him telling me one afternoon “Jordan, something has to change, you aren’t the woman I fell in love with anymore. You deserve to be her again. Our boys deserve their mom back. I deserve the love of my life back.”… Something in that truth, hit me hard and I decided then and there enough was enough.

I pulled myself up as much as I could and started getting back to the gym (normally, I live in the gym and I love fitness so much but since the depression hit, I gave up on myself and that meant giving up the gym too). I wish I could say it was a quick fix and I felt better within a week, but in reality it has taken a few months to start feeling better again. It took a few months before I could smile without having to force it. It took a few months to stop taking naps and instead spend the time being around my boys. It took a few months for that irritation level to go back down to normal. But when it started to change, my boys started to notice. Caleb told me last month that he loved being around me when I am a happy Mom. Dax has started wanting to come to me when I enter the room now. It wasn’t an overnight thing, but with every passing day I was able to pull myself out of the funk and get back to being the mom and wife I was created to be… instead of faking it and hiding from my life.

If you suffer from depression, please know you are NOT alone. Please know that you are loved and that even though the depression might suck sometimes, life will get better if you put in the work to overcome it. Please know that you aren’t a bad mom for yelling, for getting angry, and for hiding from and ignoring your kids… I have been there too.

To Caleb & Dax – Thank you for loving me in spite of my flaws and depression. You boys are heaven sent and I promise you that depression or no depression, I love you more than you will ever know. I promise you that I will always try to be a good mom (key word try) and I ask that you forgive me on days that I fail.

To Casey – I love you for loving me. You are my rock and I don’t know how I would survive this rollercoaster I call life without you next to me. Thank you for letting me be perfectly imperfect.

 

Want to follow me more?

Fitness Page – Facebook.com/FitByJordan

Shirt Business – Facebook.com/TheBloomingB or TheBloomingBoutique.Net

InstaGram – JordashFlowers or The_BloomingBoutique

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  • Haley Mills - Thank you for sharing your story. Depression is such a heavy burden to bear, but I try to remember that the light shines a bit brighter on us when we do find our way out. I think those of us that suffer from mental illness seem to notice more of the beauty around us in the good times, because we need to hold on to it in the bad. So try to soak in the summer as much as you can. And like you said, you are not alone. We are all here for you when you need us.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Jordan, thank you so much for sharing your story. I am certain that your words have blessed someone that needed to hear them today. You have a beautiful family and are a wonderful mama. Happy Mothers Day!ReplyCancel

Hi there, my name is Jessica and I’m a new mom to an eight month old baby boy named Steve. I enjoy photography, coffee, airports and the outdoors.  I’ve been following Kendra and Hanging with the Huies for a couple of years now. I really love watching all of the Vlogs and I enjoy all of Kendra’s beauty and food posts. She’s always been a person that I knew -if we lived near each other- we’d be the best of friends… Mostly because we both love outdoors and coffee so much.

Kendra gave me free reign on this blog post, so I thought I’d enlighten you all with my random thoughts on motherhood and how it has changed me – the good, the bad and of course, the beauty of this beautiful, messy life that I wouldn’t change for the world.

Motherhood is always something I couldn’t wait to enter. I couldn’t wait for all of the firsts, the birthdays and the everyday joys of motherhood. I helped raise my siblings that are 11 years younger than me. I always picked up every baby my friends and family had. I knew that one day I would be a mother and I was going to try my best to be a good one. My son, Steve, made me a mother on September 2nd, 2016 and changed me forever. My pregnancy was fairly easy with only minimal morning sickness, round ligament pain and my sciatica flaring up near the end. My delivery was easy and smooth and then he was here. My sweet, sweet angel. Everyone always says that a baby changes you, but I never fully understood that until I held him, smelled him and kissed him for the first time. His big blue eyes looked up at me in a haze like “mama is that you?. Is that the voice I’ve been hearing the last 10 months?”. Our first few weeks were difficult and amazing as we adjusted to each other. I struggled with getting used to having a baby and not being able to shower whenever I wanted to or sleeping longer than two hour stretches, but I knew I was meant to be his mom.

He made me so proud and even on those long sleepless nights, I tried to embrace those moments because I knew they wouldn’t last forever. Steve has changed me as a person forever. One of the struggles I faced in the beginning was breastfeeding. My milk took five days to come in and then when it finally did come in I had to use a nipple shield and my supply was barely enough. My son would latch for maybe 10-15 minutes whenever he ate and then he’d cry and cry because he was still hungry. I struggled a lot with breastfeeding. I always felt defeated and less of a mother because this beautiful, natural thing I couldn’t do. I wanted so badly to make it work, but after two months of trying and meeting with lactation consultants I decided to just exclusively pump. He was getting formula at night from the beginning because I never produced enough. I pumped every two hours for five months. It was wonderful and stressful being hooked up to that machine. I loved knowing he was getting my milk, but I hated having him cry and want to be held while I pumped alone. After five months of exclusively pumping, I decided to stop. My supply had nearly diminished and I was barely pumping 7 ounces a day. I kept hearing from a close friend that a happy mom will equal a happy baby. I still struggle knowing we didn’t breastfeed for long and when my supply dropped I had to stop pumping, but I know I did my best. He is a healthy, happy and thriving baby boy and as my doctor would say. He’s off the charts with his weight and height. I’m proud of myself for getting through that struggle and I’m a better mom because of it.

I also struggled with going back to work after my 12 weeks of leave were over. I loved being home with him every hour of the day and seeing him grow and change. I knew everything about him. I hated thinking that I would be missing out on so many things with him. I still get teary eyed when I think about the time he spends away from me, but I now know it’s for the best. My family needs both of our incomes to live the life we want and even though it took me a long time to admit it, I liked getting back into a work routine. Now I cherish all of our time together so much more. I live for the weekends and I live for those morning giggles.

Like most women these days I struggle with my body postpartum, but most days Steve helps me realize what my body created. How could I be unhappy with it when it gave me the best thing in my life. I love this body I’m in- stretch marks, flabby skin and excess weight and all. Before having my son, my main focus was always on the scale and losing weight and wearing a size small. I still struggle with my body some days, but It created life and nurtured a baby with breast milk for five months. My goal now is to try and live a healthy and happy life. If that includes an ice cream cone or a glass of wine on a Friday night, then I’m fine with that. I will be healthy with my food about 80% of the time and that’s great because then I don’t have the urge to binge. Finding that balance is what I still struggle with, but I’m making it work.  I want to keep loving the body I’m in and set a good example of a healthy life for my son.

To end my thoughts and rambles, I just wanted to say–

Motherhood has changed me forever and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the person I have become and I can’t wait to see how I keep changing with motherhood as my son gets older and future kids get in the picture.

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  • Lisa - Beautifully written! Motherhood is the hardest job we’ll ever love… thank you for sharing you’re story and adorable son with us today.ReplyCancel

    • Kendra Huie - Isn’t her son a doll! Thank you for leaving Jessica some love. She did such a good job taking over for the day!ReplyCancel

    • Jessica - Thank you, Lisa! I really appreciate your sweet comment. I’m glad you enjoyed my post!ReplyCancel

  • Kiersten - Thank you for sharing your story! I am exclusively pumping with my second child and it takes a lot of effort, I’m so proud of you for keeping it up for 5 months! What an awesome accomplishment! And I really like how you touched on the subject of your body image as I have had the same thoughts and feelings about my postpartum body. But you’re right, it’s important to remember that this body created life and that is the most amazing thing. Great read!ReplyCancel

    • Jessica Awad - Kiersten– that’s wonderful that you’re pumping for baby #2! It’s no joke and definitely a hard task especially with cleaning the pump and the bottles and feeding after you pump and being hooked up to the machine. I’m happy and so proud of you for pumping! How long have you pumped? I still struggle with my body image, but I’m doing my best to just live a healthy life. That’s all I can do right? What’s your IG name? I’m (feghals) I’d love to follow you!!ReplyCancel

Howdy just wanted to pop in and quickly share some exciting things we have coming up on the blog this week!

We have such a wonderful community centered around this little space of ours.

Some of you have been following along since the beginning.
Some of you have hooked up with us along the way.
Some of you are new to our blog.

No matter how our paths have crossed we’re so grateful that you’ve joined our little community here and I want to celebrate YOU!!!

I jumped in our private Facebook Group (Hanging With The Huies Friends you can join the group here) and asked if there were any mama’s that would like to guest post the week leading up to Mother’s Day.
And you know what……there were YAHOO!

I only opened a few spots this round but I hope to make this a more frequent thing and not just for mamas.
I would LOVE to feature people from our blog community from all different walks of life!

Since we’re quickly approaching Mother’s Day I thought it would be fun to invite fellow mothers to take over the blog chat about topics centered around motherhood.

They’ve picked some pretty heart touching topics to share with you this week.

Our guest post start tomorrow morning and I’ll be bringing up the end on Friday with a post packed of my favorite mama podcast!
See you back here tomorrow!

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We recently road tripped to Hot Springs, Arkansas. I had some work in the area photographing cabins (cabin tours and family trip vlogs coming up) so we decided to make a mini family vacation out of it! I thought you guys might like to see what our van looks like all packed up for one of our road trips so I pulled out the vlogging camera and took you on a tour before we hit the road.

To watch directly via You Tube click here.

 

As I mentioned in the vlog this was a shorter drive for us and didn’t require all the planning that I would typically do for one of our longer road trips or plane ride. If you would like to see all the planning that goes into one of our longer trips be sure to let me know below! We have a 14 hour road trip coming up on a few months and I would be happy to share some of my ideas and tips!

 

  1. Touch & Teach Word Book – This has been an in home and travel favorite for a while.
  2. Little People Planes, Cars, Trucks, and Trains – Can’t go wrong with a lift a flap book for toddlers.
  3. Bubbles Buckle Toy – In the van tour I mentioned this toy. It wasn’t a hit the 1st time around but my youngest loved it this time. He was able to buckle it all up and even matched the colors.
  4. Travel Color & Paper Pack – Do not buy it from this link unless you absolutely have to have it. I purchased ours at Target for $3. If you’re no longer able to find it at Target look on Etsy for something similar or toss some crayons and paper in a baggie and call it a day.
  5. Camelbak Kids Insulated Water Bottle – We love these Camelbak water bottles for travel. We not only use them in the car but throughout our trip as well. The boys are easily able to cart them around (our boys are 3 & 2), they really are spill proof (don’t you love when children’s water bottles say they’re spill and leak proof but totally lie), they’re easy to clean and if for some reason you need to replace the straw and it’s easy to purchase a replacement pack. The insulated version of this water bottle is our favorite!
  6. Soft Quiet Book – Both boys enjoy playing with this! It comes with several different plush animals. Each page has a different animal home. The child can match the animal with their home and place them inside. It’s super cute!
  7. Travel Tray – On long road trips this thing has saved me! It’s not 100% flat as it’s a soft surface tray but I actually like it better that it’s soft and somewhat bendable. It still provides just enough structure for play, books, and coloring while still being comfy for the child to use for long periods of time.

Do you have any road trip hacks? Share in your comment below!

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  • Kiersten - LOVED this blog post! So helpful with some great activities for the kids! Thank you for sharing!!! And I would love it if you shared what you pack for the long road trips!ReplyCancel

    • Kendra Huie - Yay! Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed this post! As we start packing for our next trip I’ll document some of what I do to prepare. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • laney - Thank you for the tips. We will be traveling with our 6 and soon to be 2 year old, this summer. We have noticed neither will sleep on long car roads, but put them in car for a twenty minute drive to Little Rock and they are out before we hit the interstate! Craziness! You always have the best tips. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Kendra Huie - Hi Laney! Thank you for your sweet words and for letting me know you enjoyed this post! Yay for summer trips! Hopefully I shared something that will make your journey a touch easier.ReplyCancel