Happy 60th Birthday, Southern Dad!

No, my dad will not read this as he’s not much for the internet, but I can tell him about it.

What can I say about Southern Dad?  In a lot of ways, we are very much alike.  I even think I favor him more than Southern Mom. 

My dad jokingly calls me by one of his cousin’s names who remembers everyone’s birthday AND how old they are!  Each year I remind him just how old he’s getting.  But he also turns the table on me a time or two. 

Growing up, I couldn’t wait to see my dad; to me, going to Hilton Head or Jacksonville was a vacation.  I remember sitting on my daddy’s lap as a little girl, watching tv and rubbing his beard.  I’m fiercely protective of my parents, maybe because they were of me…and quietly still are.

My dad has challenged me in ways I never thought imaginable.  And even though I’m sure he has wanted to keep me as his “Little Boo Boo”, he has allowed me to grow up. 

So, to my daddy, retired educator, avid golfer, brother, and uncle, I wish you the happiest of birthdays this year.  You have touched so many lives, from your students, nieces and nephews, and especially mine!  Enjoy your day, and go play a round of golf!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday!  Growing up, it was definitely because of the gifts.
🙂 Now, it’s because I get to spend time with my family.  Last night, my maternal side had Christmas Eve dinner a day early.  It was awesome seeing my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I especially enjoyed meeting my two new baby cousins.  Most important, I get to spend time with Southern Mom!  We’ve hung out, talked, cooked together, and even did a little shopping!  Tonight, we’re going to see Christmas lights.

I’m excited about going to visit my paternal side on Christmas Day for our annual family dinner.  Southern Dad and I get to hang out a little, which we haven’t really done since I moved to DC.  Although I won’t get to meet my Godson this time, I can’t wait to see my other family members.  Southern Cousin and I are getting our run in on Wednesday, and the rest of the clan is supposed to go see “Django Unchained” later in the day. 

I missed out on spending time with family last year, so I’m enjoying every moment of being back in my home state.  And I think my family has and will enjoy it, too.  Especially my older cousins that still pick on me.  And I wasn’t ready for my younger cousin, who alerted me to his high school graduation next year, saying “Yes, ma’am” when I confirmed that he was in fact a senior.  I told him to pump his brakes-you don’t have to call me “ma’am”!  But I am glad to see his parents are raising him right.  Those children in DC don’t say it. 

So, whatever your traditions, make sure to enjoy this time with family and friends.  But don’t forget the most important reason for this season-Jesus.  I wish you all a happy, safe, joyful, and blessed holiday!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Some of the Big Changes and Decisions Faced After Childbirth

Today, we have guest blogger Katie Moore lending a post to SGITC.  As someone who has 2 cousins that are expecting and comes from a family where someone has given birth each year, child-rearing and preparation is very important to me.  And I hope it’s important to you.  Even though you may not be planning to have children anytime soon, the below is pertinent and includes information of which we all should be aware. 

Preparing for the birth of your child is such an exciting time, and new mothers are often nervous about the changes their life is about to undergo.  It’s true that there will be sacrifices, but they are balanced out with an incredible amount of joy.  Here are some tips to help you prepare for what truly is a magical and wonderful time in your life.

Your Sleep Schedule is Optional
If you are nearing your due date, then you are probably already encountering some sleepless nights.  Friends and family are probably encouraging you to sleep whenever you can, even if that does mean indulging in an afternoon nap.  This is excellent advice that will serve you well now and in the early weeks of your child’s life.  Don’t get hung up on your exact sleeping schedule, especially if you are plagued with insomnia.  Sleep when you can.  Once your baby is safely home, you will learn how to nap when he or she is napping, allowing you to wake up for those nightly feedings.

You Still Need a Support Group, But it May Change
You probably have a network of friends and family you can call on when you’re struggling with something.  This is important, and after your baby arrives it will be even more important.  However, don’t be surprised if it starts to shift.  You will find yourself calling on your friends who are already moms more often, because they can relate to what you are going through and offer great advice.  You do not have to ignore the childless friends, nor should you.  However, rest assured that it’s normal, natural and okay for your support group and circle of friends to start gradually changing.  If you have childless friends you are particularly close to, then you might want to make an effort to stay in contact with them and get together on occasion.

You Will Be Faced with Big Decisions
From circumcision and baptism through to teaching your child how to drive and beyond, you will have to make some big decisions as a parent.  One of the earliest ones regards immunizations.  The MMR vaccine in particular was once thought to cause autism, but you can rest easy knowing that these vaccines are completely safe.  The CDC has done extensive studies on the safety of vaccines and they have found them to be safe and necessary to prevent your child from contracting some serious and potentially deadly diseases.  

Another decision you will face even before having the baby is whether you will invest in cord blood banking and save your child’s cord blood.  The stem cells found in this blood could potentially be used in medical treatments in the future; so many people opt to make the investment.

You will also need to decide if you will breastfeed or formula feed.  Countless studies support the fact that breast milk is superior to formula.  It is great for the babies, and it’s free. If you have concerns about your ability to breastfeed, talk to the lactation specialists at the hospital. They can address any of your specific concerns.  Even if you only breastfeed for the first few weeks, your baby will still benefit greatly.  However, if breastfeeding does not work out for you, don’t be too hard on yourself.   Your baby will thrive on formula, also.  The important thing is that you love your child and protect him or her.

There is no doubt that your life will soon change.  It can seem overwhelming at times, but the changes will lead you to an incredible joy that nothing can replace.  Be prepared to change your schedule, and don’t be surprised if your circle of friends slowly shifts.  This is also a good time to research some of those big decisions you will have to make, so you will know what to say when asked about circumcision, breastfeeding, cord-blood, vaccines and other important decisions.

Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.

 

An Ode to Grandmothers…

I have one grandparent who’s still alive.  She’s currently in a nursing home recovering from an infection.  I’ve always loved my maternal grandmother, and I affectionately began calling her “Granny” when I was in middle school, just like my friend Crystal called her grandmother.  For Christmas, my Granny gave me this beautiful bracelet with a heart charm.  On the inside reads the inscription, “Granddaughter, you will always be in my heart”.  I thought this was the sweetest thing.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to realize that I should appreciate all of my loved ones, especially my grandparents and parents, while they are here with us, and I should let them know how I feel about them.

My great-grandmother (Granny’s mom) used to always say, “Give me my flowers while I’m living; don’t wait til I’m dead”.  So I told my mom I wanted to buy some flowers for my Granny while she was going through her physical therapy.  My mom and I chipped in and bought some roses and an angel figurine (which sits on her nightstand).  She LOVED them, and she even sent me a “Thank you” note.  I’m so happy that I was able to let my Granny know how I felt about her while she’s here, and that she was able to see her flowers.

My paternal grandmother passed on May 5, 2010.  She had been sick for awhile, but I thought she was getting better.  I was devastated when one of my cousins called and told me she passed.  I took her death much harder than I thought I would.  This was the woman who I spent every summer with and every other holiday while I was growing up.  She cooked me breakfast every morning, with the exception of the last Christmas I spent with her; she was too weak.  I spent my summers shelling peas for her fruit and vegetable stand, and she always gave me a few dollars.  Every once in awhile, it hits me that she’s gone; sometimes I feel like it just happened.  It feels weird going back to her house and knowing she’s not there.  But I know she’s enjoying her time in heaven. 

I don’t mean to shun my grandfathers. 🙂  My paternal grandfather passed away the year before Southern parents got married, and my maternal grandfather passed the summer after I graduated from high school.  (I can’t believe he’s been gone almost 12 years…) And after my graduation, he gave my mom $100 and told her to use it towards my college tuition.  I will always love and appreciate him for that; when I think about it, it still brings a smile to my face. 

I wanted to write this post to let my grandmothers know how I felt about them, even though one has already moved on.  I am in awe of their strength, determination, and perseverance.  I hope I make them proud and that I grow up to touch as many lives as they have touched in such a positive way.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

“Sperm Donor” and Other Revelations

Earlier this week, the Style Network premiered the new show “Sperm Donor”, which follows a man who donated sperm, one of the women who chose his sperm, and two young girls who have the same biological father.  While I’m very happy that the two sisters found each other, this post is going to focus more on the donor we know of, Ben, the mother of two of his children, Sharon, and my own thoughts about sperm donation.

While in law school, Ben donated sperm for some extra cash.  He is now engaged and has discovered he has 74 (yes, the number is correct) children.  Understandably, his fiancee was concerned.  The mother of 2 of his children has come forward, and she’s concerned that more will be reaching out.  He thinks she’s worried for nothing; but he did tell her on their 3rd date that he was a sperm donor and has “children” in the world.  Now Sharon’s dilemma is a little more difficult.  She has to explain to her oldest, her daughter, that Ben and Mommy were never together and that he’s engaged to another woman.  As most children do, Sharon’s daughter has concocted this fantasy that Mommy and “Daddy” will be reunited, get married, and live happily ever after.  But what’s a 7 year old to think?  I have to admit, there were times growing up when I wanted Southern Mom and Southern Dad to get back together.  It wasn’t until I was 10 or 11 that I realized that wasn’t going to happen.  Sharon was able to get through to her daughter to make her realize that Ben wasn’t going to marry her.  They had a great meeting and have decided to keep in touch.

To my VERY close friends, I have mentioned that if I am not married or in a serious relationship by the time I’m 40 (up from the close age of 35), I will get artificially inseminated.  The show “Sperm Donor” has brought my worst fea rs to life.  What happens if I go to a sperm bank, pick a man that is “highly desirable”, and find out 50 other women picked his sperm, too?  And I don’t know too much about the whole sperm donation thing, but I thought that everything was supposed to be anonymous?  But I guess with this new sperm donor website, where you can find a man based on his donor number, nothing is a mystery anymore. 

So, my thoughts on the show and sperm donation in general?  I definitely think that sperm donation is a great thing for women who want their own children or for couples who cannot conceive naturally.   However, I definitely think there should be a limit on how many children a man “fathers”.  And I thought the whole point of using an anonymous sperm donor was to say “anonymous”…  I have to admit I was afraid of the whole picking a random dude based on a list of things.  I’m kinda re-thinking this whole sperm donor thing.  Hopefully, I won’t have to make this decision, because I know it can be a hard one.   If you saw the show, what did you think?  Or what are your thoughts on sperm donation in general?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!