Life as a First Time Mom

Hi everyone! After my last post about Herschel’s birth story I figured it was important to shed some light on a not-so-humorous time! I had reservations about writing that experience out and allowing everyone to read about it, but I am so happy that I did. So many people reached out to tell me that I am strong and how incredible I am for enduring that. And honestly, I truly feel that way! It was a rough (short) moment in our lives, but since those days in the hospital, we have had the most incredible bond. Between not only Herschel and I, but also Jared and us as a family! Adjusting to parenthood is no easy task, especially for someone like Jared who had no experience with kids before Herschel…So let me give you some updates on our lives (as parents); some good, some not so good, and how we’ve coped for the last 10 weeks!

The Days of Postpartum

Okay, I’m not going to lie. The first few weeks after baby is born are truly the HARDEST and there were times I wondered if I would ever feel like myself again. It had nothing to do with Herschel and everything to do with my recovery. My pregnancy was a breeze and honestly my labor experience wasn’t too awful either…but those postpartum hormones and anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks! This is even more so because baby spend time in the NICU. You have the general shock of bringing baby home and learning a whole new life with a little one that depends on you at all times. And then your hormones are going haywire making you feel every emotion at once, on overload. If you’re really lucky you’ll have the anxiety sprinkled on top causing you to hover over your baby at all times checking if they’re breathing (sweat emoji). Also, your body is going through major recovery, but you simply can’t slow down because that sweet little babe needs you. I won’t go into too much detail about this here, but I felt like this is something people really don’t prepare you for! I would be more than willing to write a whole post about postpartum if that would interest anyone! Just know you’re not alone if you have also experienced these emotions and it will only get easier with time.

The New Normal

In all honesty, I feel that adjusting to motherhood came very easy to me! I am 1 of 4 kids and already have two nieces and two nephews that I have been involved with in their lives since they were born. Majority of the jobs I have ever had included children and caring for them. I was a Pre-Kindergarten teacher who was in charge of 17 four year olds all day long and had majority experience dealing with infants. I knew the changing, feeding, playing, soothing, naps, and everything in between. My job was literally to change dirty diapers all day long. So when Herschel came into our lives, it was so natural to me! The only real adjustment was being the one to feed him in the nights and realizing that I am his mother and I call the shots on everything (laugh emoji). No one was going to tell me what to do with him and Jared and me were the only ones who will make decisions for him. It’s both odd and rewarding! When I asked Jared what the hardest part for him was adjusting to parenthood, he said it was, “the times he would be crying and nothing you do can get him to calm down; even if you think it’s the right thing to do , but still nothing helps.” We were so lucky to have each other daily to help with the struggles of a newborn. He helped when my anxiety was so high all I did was cry, and those times he felt helpless I could take over from there. Herschel also made it a smooth transition since he’s the sweetest easiest baby I could have ever dreamt of!

Accepting the Defeats

With the knowledge and experience I had coming into motherhood, it also made it really difficult to accept defeat. Mom guilt is a real thing and it can be overpowering if you allow it. It’s not always easy getting to know your baby and what they want or need. You really just hope that your instincts kick in. I’ve had to acknowledge the fact that I can’t always control the outcome of situations and I just gotta let it go. For example: when Herschel was only a couple weeks old we had to take him on a car ride to my parents one evening. He doesn’t like his carseat very much and in the middle of the drive (in the rain, during rush hour, I should remind you) he started screaming and then holding his breath until he turned blue and sweat was dripping down his face…my anxiety was at a 1,000 at that point. I refused to take him out of the house for awhile after that one! Or another example is around four weeks our breastfeeding journey took a slight detour. Breastfeeding was a dream up until this point, and then all of a sudden he was pulling off, screaming to the top of his lungs, and was having a hard time getting a good feeding in. After this persisted for weeks I almost gave up on breastfeeding entirely, but after many trial and errors, breastfeeding got better again! I’ve learned not to dwell on those little bumps in the road and just ride it out without the mom guilt weighing down on me.

Making Time for Mom and Dad

Leading up to Herschel’s birth, Jared and I made a conscious point to discuss our relationship post baby. A strong foundation for a family starts with our relationship and making it a priority! You can’t teach love and togetherness if you’re not supporting that through your marriage. We’ve had so much joy planning the time we get to spend together at the end of the night once Herschel goes to bed. The first month wasn’t really possible to do this since we were always catching up on sleep, riding through Herschel’s witching hour, and I was working on recovery. Now that we’re getting the hang of things, Hersch is going to bed earlier and we have time to focus on one another! Date nights are SO IMPORTANT! If you just had a baby, try your best to set time aside to just be with your spouse, without baby, to focus on each other. My mom and sister were very supportive of this and watched Herschel while we went for beers and sushi (this was difficult for me to leave him, but I’m so happy we did). We find ourselves getting excited to put him to bed, drink a glass of wine, and just watch a show together without being interrupted. Even talking about getting intimate gives us something to look forward to and shows one another that we still find the other attractive and important even after baby has arrived!

Endless Amount of Love and Laughter

This wouldn’t be “life of a new mom” if I didn’t share the joys of having a baby, especially if it’s your first! From the moment they are born, you wake up feeling so whole and needed that you just can’t wait to hold and kiss all over them! With every new day Herschel is growing and showing off his developmental stages. I’ll never forget the feeling I have when he looks at me and smiles because I’m literally everything he ever wanted. There is no greater feeling than knowing that when he’s fussy all he needs is his mama to cuddle him. Or in the mornings when we all just woke up and laugh at every little thing he does because its so pure and innocent. Seeing my husband become a father has become one of the proudest moments to date. It’s unlike anything you can explain and it’s the very reason I’ll do it 100 times over!

Each and everyday we have to learn to adjust our schedules and accept that life will never be as it once was. And we love that! Becoming parents is something we talked about for years, and now that we’re living it, all thanks goes to God for blessing us with our precious little boy and the life we get to make with each other!

Leave a comment with other topics you would be interested in reading 🙂

Herschel’s Birth Story

Herschel Floyd O’Hara, born December 4th, 2019 at 1:44 am. He weighed a beautiful 8 pounds 3 ounces and was 21.3 inches long. He was everything we could have ever wanted and then some! I had every intentions of sharing my pregnancy journey with you (definitely slacked on the end of my pregnancy, but it was a rough ride!), which included his birth story. After it was all said and done and he was finally in my arms, I had second thoughts about sharing the experience… We didn’t get the typical delivery where baby is pushed out vaginally, has his first cry, and placed on my chest for our first skin to skin bonding. It was honestly a very traumatic experience that took me awhile to come to terms with and to be okay with what happened. But now that the postpartum anxiety has subsided and I’ve had time to talk it through with family and friends, I know it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I couldn’t have controlled what happened and God was with us that morning in the delivery room looking over our sweet baby. We are so incredibly blessed it wasn’t anything worse than it was! Some people aren’t as lucky… but what is important is that our little boy is THRIVING, recovered quickly, and we’re all together as a family!

Jared and I arrived at the hospital around 9 pm that Monday so I could start my induction. I had already gone past my due date and was almost 41 weeks! Herschel had NO intentions of coming out on his own and I was so miserable and ready to get the show on the road. I was having mild contractions all day, but had no idea that that was what they were until they had me hooked up to the monitor. They inserted a cervidill to promote dilation a little bit more naturally at first. I was 2.5 centimeters dilated when I went in to be induced. The next morning, my mom and mother-in-law came to be present for the birth. All was fine and dandy, easy going, just waiting for baby to come. When my doctor FINALLY came in to check me (around 1pm the next day) I was dilated to a 3. In the middle of her checking me, that is when my water broke! And let me tell you this…when your water breaks, it’s on! Contractions come on full force and you’re in intense labor. This is when they started me on pitocin to keep the contractions regular. At this point, everything is still normal and moving along perfectly. I had a monitor facing me at all times where I could see when contractions were coming and with Herschel’s heart rate visible.

I knew I wanted to hold out as long as I could without the epidural in hopes that it wouldn’t slow my progress down, but I had all intentions of getting an epidural because I knew if you couldn’t relax a bit from contractions that it could actually prolong your labor. Your body does best if you find a way to calm yourself and give your body rest! I only lasted like 15 minutes before asking for the epidural (lol), but it felt like a LIFETIME! Once the epidural was given to me, the pain subsided, and I attempted to get some rest. I honestly couldn’t get any sleep because I was so eager to meet my baby! I think I might have gotten 30 minutes total of shut eye. An important side note is that my hospital allowed you to distribute more of the epidural every 10 minutes as needed. So if I felt like it was wearing off, I just pushed a button to numb me up again. Remember that for a later note… 😅

When my nurse came in around 11 pm, I asked her if she would check me to see if I was close enough to push. I was 9 cm dilated, but almost 10, so that’s when we started some practice pushes. Shortly after that, she said she would go get the midwife (a midwife delivered Herschel because my doctor was not on call) and it was time to push that baby out! We were all taking bets on what time he would be born, and everyone fully expected him to be born before the day was up. We were obviously wrong (lol). Jared and my mom had to hold my legs while I pushed, and I got the hang of it pretty quickly! The epidural wore off a bit (because I hadn’t pushed the button in awhile) and at the end of my pushing, I could feel everything… I pushed for 2 and a half hours and I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t out yet. I’m basically screaming and crying like crazy because I could feel all the pressure and pain from pushing. This is when everything took a turn for the worse. In the middle of frantically pushing, I heard the midwife tell the nurse to call the NICU, the baby’s heart rate is increasing.

Shortly after that, multiple nurses were in my room, Jared and my mom were pushed out of the way and now random nurses were holding my legs up. They got the little box out with all the utensils used to revive a baby and the lights were turned up to bright. This all was happening so fast and I wasn’t fully myself in my own body from extreme exhaustion and the adrenaline pumping through me. But I heard the midwife say his heart rate was racing and he was in distress and I did what a mommy does; I did whatever It took to save my baby. I didn’t take breaths and I pushed until I thought I was breaking all my bones, and out he came. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice and he had shoulder dystocia which basically means he was too big for the birth canal and got stuck. So while he was stuck and I was pushing extra hard to get him out, the umbilical cord was working even harder sucking him back in.

After he was pulled out and the cord was cut immediately, they placed him on my stomach for only a second before removing him and taking him to the little baby box. He was blue and there was no crying. I was in utter despair, crying and praying harder than I ever have. The nurse who was present my whole labor held my hand tight while I cried into Jared’s chest. The only thing going through my head was “I don’t know what I would do if he doesn’t make it.” I see a nurse lift his little hand up and it fall right back down as if he were lifeless. And that’s when I heard it; the most beautiful cry you could ever hear come from the most precious baby. My heart just sank and I yelped with relief that my baby was okay. Everything had happened in a span of 5 minutes; that’s how quickly things can take a turn. They handed him over for me to hold for a minute before taking him to the NICU for further observations. He was so perfect and everything I had just endured was nothing compared to the amount of love and joy I was feeling holding him.

I never wanted to share the first few photos I had of my sweet baby because honestly they were too hard to see. But now I look back at them and smile at how strong he was those first few days of life in the NICU. I am so thankful for that sweet babe, and again, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing I could have done differently to prevent it from happening and he is still the same Herschel no matter how he got here. I apologize for the lengthy post, but no matter how difficult the experience was, I want to remember it because that was the day my son was born. 💙

Happy and healthy like nothing ever happened! We love you Hershey!!

Always,

learnandbewithme

Baby O’Hara, Coming November 2019!

Okay…this post is W A Y overdo! I’ve known that I’m pregnant since the beginning of March and I am just now getting around to writing about it (at the end of July). Honestly, I’ve been a little MIA for the simple reason that I’ve had so much going on with my life that I was truly overwhelmed! Since my last post I have started a new job (yay for Pre-k teachers!), Jared and I moved into our first house (hello home improvements!), and we found out I’m pregnant with our first little babe (give me all the baby kisses!). So actually, overwhelmed is an understatement! But with all the new changes going on in my life, I find that happiness radiates through me and changes bring so much more fulfillment in my life! This little baby boy is about to make me the person I’ve always wanted to be, a mom!

Back in February we had the biggest achievement of finding our first home! We had looked for months, toured probably close to 20 houses, and even had a contract on another home that evidently fell through. We had no idea at the time, but it was all leading up to finding our perfect starter home where we will eventually begin our family. It was built in 1948 and placed in the middle of the cutest town! When I say this house is old, I mean O L D. It has all its original wooden doors, glass door knobs, hardwood floors, and plenty of rooms so we can grow in this house.

About a month before closing on the house, Jared and I were sitting on the couch kinda just doing our own thing. I was on my phone while he watched TV when I started playing a video on YouTube. It was this girl I follow on social media announcing that she was pregnant. She had mentioned that she went off birth control and it took about five months to conceive. I had no idea Jared was even listening, but that’s when he stopped me and asked if that was common for most women. After responding with the, “everyone is different” comment, that’s when he threw me for a loop and said “we should start trying for a baby now”. UM, WHAT?! I jumped up and assured him that this was a very important decision and we had to talk about it and decide together. We have been discussing kids for a very long time, and we knew as soon as we had a house that we would start trying, but I was honestly just surprised that he actually wanted to start! After talking it over for awhile we both came to the decision that we should start trying to conceive.

I had a week left of birth control, and every day leading up to it I asked Jared if he was 100% sure of our decision (lol). With each day it only became more and more clear that that was our next step in life. Once we started trying, I soon realized that waiting for that positive test is agonizing! With each day I wondered if I was pregnant or if we’ll have to try again the next month. When it came close to my period time I went out and bought a pregnancy test. Most you can test up to four days early, but I was a little eager so I tested it at five days :P. It came back negative. That was a little disappointing, but I just went on with my weekend like normal. I was convinced I wasn’t pregnant and Jared encouraged me to wait until I missed a period to take another one. But something was telling me I should take one more test (two days later) just to be sure. I didn’t have any symptoms, but it’s almost felt like God was saying to do it. So I took another test and it had a faint positive sign…

Jared was in disbelief, but being a woman I knew that even if it’s faint it’s still most likely positive. I was freaking out at this point! We then ran to the store to grab a digital test for a more clear response. And what do you know, “pregnant” pops up across the screen. Just thinking back on it makes me giddy. I am so incredibly thankful that God blessed us with the ease of conceiving on our first try. I know so many women have the heartache and frustration of trying to conceiving and failing time and again. Or maybe they’re able to conceive, but aren’t fortunate to carry out the pregnancy. We have dreamt for so many years of raising a family together, and God blessed us in so many ways to allow us this journey of a home, a family, and a future!

Now we are settled into our home, working on a nursery for a little baby, and throwing out possible names for him (which we are 98% sure we have decided on a name 🙂 ). I would love to continue sharing my journey of pregnancy and experiences of first time parents. This blog truly is my creative space, and now that I feel less overwhelmed (and myself again) I want to create some helpful and truthful content for my readers!

Always,

learnandbewithme

Meet Honey!

This post is so exciting for me to write because our little family of three just became a family of four! I wanted to explain within this post of how this spontaneous decision of adding another puppy to the mix came to be.

After getting Mozza in March of 2017, we knew we were going to be a two dog family. We loved having a fun puppy to watch grow up and felt it always brought excitement to the day. He was (and still is) a handful! But we definitely felt like he needed a friend. Besides, when we went to pick out a puppy the first time, I wanted a girl puppy but Jared fell hard for the rambunctious Mozzarella. So of course I was going to eventually demand a girl!

We originally talked about getting another puppy directly after I graduated since that would be the perfect time for training. I was only working part time since the wedding was coming up and I would be home for most of the day. That’s how it was with Mozza and it made it easier for us and for him. We started searching around and we could only find puppies available in Ohio or Texas. And since we live in Virginia, that was way too far to travel for a puppy. We found a couple located a short drive away, but they were ready to come home late August, and since we got married the beginning of September, we didn’t think it would be right to get a puppy right before leaving for a honeymoon. So we put it on the back burner.

Two days before the end of our Ithaca adventure, we face-timed my sister to see Mozza. We both were missing him so much and started reminiscing about when he was a small puppy. That’s when I remembered that all of the puppies we originally looked at were located north. I pulled out my laptop without saying a word to Jared, and started searching. He asked what I was doing and once I told him, with a smile on his face he said “do it!”

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Honey the day we brought her home

It took a couple of hours and process of elimination to decide on what dog would be best. We knew we wanted a bigger dog than what Mozza is and any dog we got had to be hypo-allergenic due to my allergies. That’s when we decided on “Jasmine” the goldendoodle. She was brown with pretty white fur on her tummy and face. I saw that the breeder’s number was listed in the description and I shot her a text even though it was 10:15 p.m. I immediately got a response saying that Jasmine had been sold earlier that morning, but her sister was still left. She sent us a picture of Honey and I instantly fell in love. I thought back when we got Mozza and how he wasn’t the puppy we originally went to see, but instead he was the one we were meant to have. Everything happens for a reason and both Mozza and Honey were meant to be O’Hara’s.

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Once it was time to check out of our airbnb, instead of driving to New York City for the night, we drove to Ohio to pick up our new baby. It was a long, anxious drive because I was scared we would travel all the way there to discovery she wasn’t right for our family. When we finally pulled up to the house, there was Honey running full force off the porch, stumbled, and face planted. That’s when I knew she was the puppy for us (lol). She was fat, fluffy, and super sweet and playful. So we put her in the car and started home. We didn’t tell anyone about her before making the decision to keep her. We wanted to surprise our family, especially our young niece and nephew. They all thought we were crazy since Mozza still acted as though he was a puppy himself. And trust me, having two dogs is so much different than one!

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Now, were all getting used to the new normal. Mozza is learning to share and is warming up to having a friend to play with at all times. Jared and I are remembering the little training tricks we used with Mozza, and Honey is learning that were her new family. Jared and I are so excited to watch her grow up to be a cuddly, red teddy bear!

Always,

learnandbewithme

Our Ithaca Honeymoon

Denial. That is my current state when it comes to the wedding being over and done. LIKE, WHAT?! Months and months of planning, a full week of wedding festivities, a short ceremony and reception, and just like that it’s all over! Jared and I are so excited for our future and these past couple of weeks have been a dream.

When it came to our honeymoon, we were indifferent about a lot of things. We originally booked a trip to Punta Cana and then eventually cancelled the trip to save money for a house. We decided a trip such as that one would be well spent on our one year anniversary. That’s when we decided to go south to Savannah, Georgia. A place I have never been and have always wanted to experience. We were going to go to a cute bed and breakfast, roam around the city, and take in the cute southern scenery. Due to hurricane Florence making her appearance a few days after the wedding, she spoiled our plans of heading south to the Atlantic.

The Sunday after our wedding we were sitting on the couch still unaware of where we would be going for our honeymoon. We both had a week off of work and knew we would go somewhere, but completely oblivious to where that was. We decided somewhere close enough to drive was important, but not somewhere too far that it takes a whole day to travel. We knew we wanted to go north to avoid the hurricane, and we wanted it to be somewhere both of us have never been. That’s when we decided on Ithaca, New York.

It was only a 7 hour drive from Richmond, had beautiful wildlife, and was a complete mystery to both of us. It was perfect. We woke up Monday morning with no plans other than an airbnb to stay in. We had no idea what to expect and didn’t even know if there would be anything worth seeing, but we were just excited to be together and enjoying our honeymoon.

Ithaca just happened to be home to 150 waterfalls and we made sure to see as many as we could. Our airbnb was a short drive to Cornell University (if you’re a huge fan of The Office like me, than this is exciting to you) and it was full of incredible, historical buildings. The Ithaca Commons had many restaurants and bars worth visiting, and don’t get me started on how many wineries and breweries are a short distance of each other. Some of the wineries we visited were Hosmer, Americana (and Bacchus brewery), and the Thirsty Owl (which was my favorite).

One of the best parts of the whole trip was the back yard of our airbnb. In the mornings when we would sit down for breakfast, we’d stare out the grand window that looked out to the back yard and watch deer graze the land. There were multiple doe and one buck that roamed the land in search of yummy food while we kept very quiet and still to watch them do so. Ithaca was anything but planned and we had no idea what to expect, but I would go back in a heartbeat. It was beautiful and the perfect kind of relaxed and active environment we were hoping to experience for our honeymoon.

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Always,

learnandbewithme

 

Engagement Photos With V!

I originally posted our engagement photos just as a simple post that acted as a photo album. But then I decided I wanted to talk about our whole experience because it honestly was amazing and I couldn’t have loved our photographer more!

We decided an urban scene best fit our interests since our relationship started in Richmond and it’s where we currently live and love to explore. I had every intension of capturing our pictures walking up and down Monument Avenue, but while driving to meet our photographer, I decided to change it to Meadow Street last minute. There were beautiful pink colored houses, cobble stone alleys, and a quaint little park all within three blocks.

Our photographer Veronica Martinez was so sweet and had no problem switching locations up. She drove all the way from Florida to take our (and a couple of other couple’s) engagement photos, so that simply was amazing of her! We then started up and down the street where she captured the most beautiful photos of Jared and me for our wedding book.

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We had to postpone the session at least three times due to bad/cold weather. I felt like winter would never end! Since summer decided to hold out as long as it could, I was actually freezing the entire time (lol). Jared was constantly warming me up by rubbing his hands up and down my arms, which she ended up catching in a few snap shots.

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One of the best part’s of the whole experience was when we were taking a few pictures in front of someone’s house with beautiful yellow flowers, when the owner came out and explained how she had a bunch more in the back that would be much prettier. So she escorted us to the backyard where we got the most stunning shots!

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Veronica was so great at making us feel comfortable in front of the camera (which isn’t something either of us are naturals at!) She got us to tell her stories that resulted in laughing fits, she had us play little games (like humming a song and the other had to guess what it was; and randomly I went with Mrs. New Booty? lol), and had us feeling excited and even happier by the end of it.

She was super flexible with locations as well, she willingly drove to where it all started just so we could get a reenactment of our first kiss!

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Yes, our first kiss was in front of a diner where I’m sure a million people saw us….haha

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Veronica will be doing our wedding photos as well and were so excited to see what she creates then! If you are ever looking for someone to do your wedding or engagement photo’s, we highly recommend Photography by V!

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Always,

learnandbewithme

Get To Know Me!

Hi everyone!

I’m Tori and if you’re here then you have discovered my blog. Yay! I know that if it were me stumbling upon a new blog, reading posts from someone I may or may not know, I would want to learn a little bit about that person. So here it goes!

I’m currently in my last semester of college where I will be graduating with an English degree. Shocking, I know, that an English major would create their very own space of ideas. That’s exactly why I am here to be completely honest. I find myself wanting to write things down often in times of stress, happiness, boredom, etc. I have kept a journal on and off for years where I would write down just about anything I could think of. I would find myself sitting for hours just writing page on page about what happened that day or just recalling an old memory I might have. I’ve even have dreams and aspirations of maybe writing my own book one day! I have no idea what the genre of that book will be, nor how I would BS my way through it. Seeing as I have never had any real experiences with writing other than lousy research papers. One day we shall see. Until then, this is exactly what I want to be doing.

A little bit more about my hobbies and passions would be focused on my family, the gym, and lifestyle! Not only do I want a place I can come and be creative and let my ideas and thoughts be free, but I also want a place to share knowledge I have learned or experienced with the people who choose to stick around and hear what I have to say. I am currently engaged to the most wonderful man I have ever had the pleasure of doing life with. So that in itself is a big life change that we can go through together. Becoming a single woman just trying to make it through school without falling into a pit of despair, to becoming a woman with another last name and going on this journey with another human by my side at all times. It’s so magical to think about. When it comes to my fitness journey in life I have been a dedicated lifter for four years now. I am very passionate about exercising and health and I would love to share that with you all through this nice little portal I’ve created. Lastly, I hope that this blog can create a safe place for me to allow my dreams and ideas to flourish. I love expressing myself through home decorating, planting (although, my green thumb is not there, but I hope some day to better that), cooking, and writing.

I want to be here to inspire all of you to go outside of your comfort zone and to try new things. Because believe me, this is really pushing myself out of the box! Every one of us has talents that we are not aware exist, and you will never know of those talents if you don’t try new things. So lets learn and be together.

How I Managed School and Planning a Wedding at the Same Time

If somebody told me when Jared and I met, that three years down the road I would be preparing myself for graduation and planning our wedding all at the same time, I would have never believed them. But something I have learned through this journey is that life never goes as planned, and I couldn’t be more happy about that! Originally, my advisor didn’t want me to pursue graduating in four years since I was behind from transferring, but that was a goal I was determined to make. After long semesters of 18 credits worth of criteria, I persevered and was informed that I could graduate after only four years of school. Getting closer to the end of my journey, Jared and I were getting more and more impatient about marrying each other. We knew we wanted to be together forever and had dreams of buying a house, owning a farm, and having many kids together. We didn’t want to waste anymore time. I set restrictions on our relationship saying that he had to wait until I graduated to propose because I didn’t want to get caught up in getting married and letting my dream of graduating in four years slip from under me. His original plan was the ask me the day of my graduation to marry him, but like I mentioned above, life never goes as planned and he asked me to be his forever at the start of my last semester of college. Which meant that I had to finish off school, and get to plan a wedding all at the same time, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Do Your Research

If you’re newly engaged than the first thing you need to figure out is what your ideal wedding looks like. I created Pinterest Boards, took quizzes about what theme fits my style, and started shopping. The best thing you can do for yourself is find a wedding planning website that fits your needs and sign up immediately. I use TheKnot to organize everything into one platform and used the search engine to find my venue and photographer. It can also assists you with setting a budget and tips on how to stick to it. Which leads me to my next point, set a budget and figure out what is realistic for your dream wedding, and what belongs in your fantasy. I am not a millionaire (sadly) so i can’t afford everything I would ever want and that’s okay! Doing my research first is what has helped me narrow down what I want and need for my wedding later on in the planning process. Trust me, it can get overwhelming, but as long as you are aware of the costs then it will relieve some of that pressure.

If you want to see some of my ideas, check out my Pinterest board!

Start Early

Something that I have found that has helped me through the planning process is to get the major details checked off my list early. I was fortunate enough that I could start planning for our big day during school breaks like our winter break, so I had basically a month to dedicate my time to wedding planning while no school work was required. Setting a date is the most crucial part, so if you plan on getting married within a year of your engagement, than it is never too early to set a date. Once you find a venue you love, pick a date and stick to it. Once you have the date you can order your save-the-dates and get those out whenever you’re ready. Starting early will also help you get the date you want, if you have a specific time in mind, because trust me, you’re not the only one who is engaged and you’re most likely not the only one who wants that specific time period. So the earlier you start, the less likely you’ll have to settle or wait another year to get married.

Get the Big Finances Out of the Way

Okay, I don’t mean blow all of your life savings or spend your entire budget upfront, but start booking the ‘big picture’ things. The good thing about weddings is that you make everything in payments! So as long as you have enough for a down payment, than you’re booked and they save your wedding date and you don’t have to worry about it until the next payment is due. So start scheduling appointments to view the venues and get it booked! Once you have the venue I would focus on finding the band or DJ you prefer, the florist, caterer if your venue doesn’t require you use them for food, who’s making your cake, and most importantly, your dress. If you get those big finances out of the way early, you’ll set yourself up for a less stressful ride.

Step Away from Planning When Necessary

Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times of your life, but it can also be the most stressful. Thanks to my winter and spring break and some reading days, I really had time to focus on wedding planning outside of school work. But if you’re like me and life is happening all at once, you need to be able to separate the two. I had an online class on Excel worth one credit that was work at your own pace. I had to learn how to operate all the function in each chapter, show up for an exam that you had one chance to pass, and get an 80 to receive the credit. It was essentially the one class that could hold me back from graduating. When it came close to exam time I realized I couldn’t focus on any wedding planning because my time belonged to studying. Which is perfectly fine! It is okay to step back and put planning on hold for awhile. Don’t worry, you’ll still get everything done in time for your big day! I kindly told my family members that I couldn’t answer any wedding questions until my exam was over. That meant no texting about decorations, taking a break from Pinterest, and no emails. Taking a break from planning can also be good for you when it’s something you have been focussing on for months at a time.

Don’t be Scared to Ask for Help

Planning a wedding is no joke, and it will be one of the biggest events you will ever plan. I mean, being a wedding planner is a real job with people out there getting paid everyday to direct it all. But if you want to save money by skipping the wedding planner, you’ll still need to ask for help every once in awhile. My mom, future mother-in-law, and sister have been a tremendous help to me. If I am busy with classes or studying, there is nothing wrong with texting one of them and asking if they can contact so and so, or email this person, or research the price of this or that. Planning a wedding is definitely a full time job, and it’s smart to divide that time between the people who will share that special day with you. It’s important that you ASK for help, not TELL your friends or family what to do. No one is going to want to help you if they see you are becoming a bridezilla and not appreciating their assistance. Lastly, if you have a vision of something you want, tell those who are helping you plan. They aren’t going to know your exact idea if you don’t communicate with them and then you both can get lost from your dream wedding.

Don’t Forget to be in the Moment

Once the dress fittings begin, the save the dates go out, and the decorations start to accumulate, you can’t forget to pay attention to the life you’re living at this very moment and to stop thinking about the future ten months from now. I’m still in school and I have plenty of friends who aren’t on the path of marriage yet. I have to remind myself that it is okay to just be a college student who just wants to drinking $5 margaritas. It’s okay to put off planning and daydreaming if it means spending time with your friends, because you have to remember that they are also starting their new lives and everyone will go their separate ways in the end. I had engagement photos one day and cap and gown photos the next. You can’t forget that you wont get these moments back and everyday of your life is just as important as the day you marry your soul mate.

 

These tips really only apply to you if you’re one, getting married while in school, and two, you’re planning your own wedding rather than opting for a professional planner. Either way, I hope these tips are helpful when it comes to you planning your own big day!

Always,

learnandbewithme

*Image by https://photographybyv.pic-time.com/portfolio*