a few life lessons

2:58:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments


My dearest loves,

You are so small and innocent now, but I know the world is waiting for you. Not everything in this world is beautiful; sometimes the harshness of reality can knock you off your feet. I want you to have the courage to spread your wings and soar without me, but I want you to be prepared for what is to come. My hope is that my unrelenting love and a little advice will allow you to grow and succeed. Hold these words in your heart, and know that no obstacle is ever too big to overcome.
  • Middle school and high school are hard. They will challenge you and try to break you in ways you could never imagine, but you will learn so much about life from those years. Don't let them define you. Learn and move on, and know that in ten years most of those people will no longer be in your life.
  • Don't be scared of the unknown; embrace it. You will never move forward if you don't allow yourself to be challenged and learn to tackle the most difficult things head on. No one has ever moved mountains by hiding in the corner.
  • You're not perfect. This was probably the hardest life lesson I ever had to learn. You will make mistakes, and that's okay. Perfection doesn't make us interesting. Our flaws give us character, and usually go hand-in-hand with something we can be proud of.
  • Just because everyone does something one way does not make it the right way, or the easiest way, or the best way. Learn to question and challenge things in a graceful way. Think things through, and share your ideas with confidence. The world can't evolve without change.
  • Your heart will break, but once you put the pieces back together it will be stronger. You will be stronger.
  • Listen to criticism, learn from it, and then shake it off. Never be too good for advice, but stand strong in what you know. And when the time comes, passion trumps everything.
  • Happiness is a skill. You can choose to be happy, but you must also know how to be happy. It is so much easier said than done. Think of the little things that made you smile before you knew the hardships of the world. If we all took a few minutes to enjoy the simplest things that put a smile on our face, the world would be a better place.
  • Don't get caught up in the viscious cycle of negativity. Surround yourself with people that smile, and cherish friendships with those that want to see you happy.
  • As parents we try to set good examples, but we're far from perfect. Realize our mistakes, take note of our flaws, and be better than we ever dreamed of being. You deserve more.
  • Friends can make you or break you. Choose wisely. You don't have to work hard for true friendships. When times are hard, realize who is there for you, who isn't, and who got you there in the first place. Own your own mistakes, but don't forget how important the influences around you are.
  • Even the best friendships can fade away if you let them. Never let someone forget how important they are to you. A few sincere words or unexpected call can go a long way.
  • Don't let a relationship take over your life. You will lose yourself, your friends, and everything that made you who you are long before that person walked into your life. You can never be 100% sure that someone will be around forever, so make sure you can stand on your own two feet without them.
  • Change is good. Be weary of those that always resist change, and even more cautious of someone that doesn't want you to change for the better.
  • Be honest and trusting, but always aware of the intentions of others. Have faith that there are good people in this world, you just have to find them.
  • Think wisely before you let anything become a habit. Habits are easy to make but so much harder to break, so be sure it's something that you want to be part of your life now and always.
I will always want what's best for both of you, and I will always be by your side no matter how hard you try to push me away. We're in this together, for life. There is no one in this world that understands our bond the way that we do, and the love that reaches from my heart straight into yours. I live my life for the two of you, and there will never be a day that my love for you doesn't overwhelm me.

Love forever and always,
Mom

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dear Adaleigh (12 months)

5:56:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

"Though she be but little, she is fierce!"

~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream




my sweet girl,

It's hard to believe there was ever a time that you weren't a part of this family. You have brought an energy and excitement to our home that we didn't know we were missing.

 


You are loud and fearless, and never one to be forgotten in a crowd. You have music in your soul and dancing shoes on your feet. You pose for pictures like you were born for the spotlight. There hasn't been a dull moment since you entered our lives.


You were crawling by 7 months and cruising by 9, but despite a few steps here and there you haven't fully embraced walking. It's as if you know that once you step out of our arms, you are no longer the little baby girl we brought home a year ago.

You look more and more like your brother every day, but with an undeniable beauty and grace. You're still less than the 1st percentile on the growth chart, but full of courage and independence. You know just how and when to smile to make anyone's heart melt.
It's hard to imagine there will ever be a boy that loves you more than your brother. He never gets tired of smothering you with hugs and kisses and love. He is the first to protect you, and the last to leave your side. I hope you always cherish the bond you have shared since the day you were born.

When the day comes that you are ready to leave home, I hope you fly with open wings and your head held high. The world doesn't know what awaits them in your petite little frame. I hope you reach for your dreams, and never settle for anything less than what you deserve. You are full of strength and will that will take you far.

Here's to one year down, and a lifetime of joyful memories and beautiful journeys together. Forever and always, you are the most special girl in my life. Whatever life brings or wherever it takes us, you will be a part of my heart forever. I love you, sweet girl.
love always,
Mama

 

 

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watch me grow! (adaleigh weeks 25-35)

8:47:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments













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dear Adaleigh (6 months)

9:08:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

"Let her sleep for when she wakes she will move mountains."
~Napoleon Bonaparte


my sweetest girl,

Those words describe your blossoming personality perfectly. There isn't an obstacle too big or distance too far for your tenacious spirit. You are wild in the best of ways.


It doesn't seem possible that there was ever a time without you in our family. You are a ray of light in our home, and even your brother can't take his eyes off of your beautiful face. We are addicted to you.


You have your mama's looks, your brother's giggle, and a heart for your daddy. I don't know what we did to deserve you, but I thank God every day for bringing you into our lives.


You are a free spirit, and show no fear of the world around you. I hope you never lose sight of who you are and what you hope to become. I pray that you know just how much you are worth in this world.


I hope you know that you can dream; never let anyone think you have to settle in this world. There may be a way that everyone else is doing something, but open your mind and your heart, and lead with courage. You were made for great things, and I will always be here to remind you to keep striving for more.


The doctors worry that you're small, (12 lbs at 6 months!), but they don't realize how much you have packed in your tiny little frame. You are petite, but mighty. I know better than to ever underestimate you. 


You are our most precious gift. Your wide smile and contagious laughter fill every room in our home. No matter how trying the day, or how sleepless the night, one simple look from those beautiful eyes reminds me that it's all worth it. You, my dear, are worth it.


There's something special between a mother and daughter, and I've felt it from the moment I laid eyes on you. There isn't a girl in this world I'd rather be with. No matter how long I hold you in my arms, it is never enough.

There will come a time that our little family isn't enough for all that you want in life. No matter how far you travel, I hope you know that there will always be 3 people in this world waiting behind with a shoulder to lean on. We will protect you, love you, and let you fly free.


We could spend 100 years together, and it would never be enough. You are my sweet sunshine in a world of trial and hurt. You and your brother make this world a beautiful place.

Love always & forever,
Mama


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Parenting is hard.

8:20:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

As I sit cradling my precious little girl with all the love I have, her feverish body burning my chest, unable to sooth her cries, I'm reminded just how hard parenting is. 


I remember hearing the words often when I was pregnant with Logan. I ignorantly thought those words of wisdom referred to long, sleepless nights, never ending expenses, and the great lifestyle change that comes along with a first born. I was so very wrong. 


No one can prepare you for parenting. You have no idea how it feels to have your heart break into a million pieces when your child hurts and you can't take the pain away... The anguish you feel when one day your 2-year-old no longer wants to go to daycare and you have no idea why he's had a sudden change of heart... The agony you feel when your 7-month-old is tortured with catheters and needles and you can't explain why you can't save her. The never ending worry and fear that consumes your life once you have children. 


I really thought Logan's colicky months were the hardest that parenting would be. I couldn't understand that it isn't the lifestyle that's hard, it's the lack of control and inability to protect them from everything and everyone. It's the unknown. 


What I know now is that it will get harder. There will be ER visits, broken hearts, mean friends, and lonely nights. I can't even bear to think of watching my kids struggle through the challenges of life, hurting inside and out. I think of everything I experienced to become who I am, and I know that even the best parenting can't protect them from all they will face in the years to come. Life is just not fair. 


There is no rule book, no guide, and no answers for all of life's questions. Only the relentless, undying love of a mom for her children. I can only hope it's enough. 




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dear Logan (2 years)

10:56:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments



my dear, sweet Logan,

You are TWO!

From the moment we brought you home, you have filled our lives with laughter and smiles. Your happiness and confidence are inspiring, and I'm so proud to call you mine. The fun is never ending, and my heart grows with every passing day as your mom.

Sometimes I think that I couldn't love you more, and then I wake up the next morning and find that I do. The love you have for your mama gives me a feeling I never knew before I met you. I cherish the feeling of your arms wrapped tightly around my neck, with the weight of your head resting on my shoulder. The gentleness of your fingers wrapped tightly around mine lets me know that this is exactly what life is all about. You are proud of me in a way I never expected, and the smile on your face when you tell every passerby that I'm your mama brings tears to my eyes. You have given me more love than I ever deserved.

I want to capture the sweet sound of your voice as you learn the world around you, the silly songs we sing in the car, the sound of your bare feet running across the hardwood floor, the shrieks and cries when you can't stand the tickling any longer, every word and phrase that flows from your lips, the look of awe and excitement on your face as you discover something new, the way in which your whole body nods along to a purposeful "yes"... It's all moving by so fast and I can't hold on.

Your sister adores you in a way that only a little sister could understand (and you're quite fond of her, too). I watch the bond grow between you every day, and I know that I'm witnessing something magical. I can see the love in your eyes as you practice patience and compassion in every moment you share. You wear your heart on your sleeve. No lock or barricade could protect your sister more than having you in her life.

There aren't enough words to express what you mean to me. There has never been a moment I didn't want to share with you. You make even the most mundane days the best of my life. You will forever hold the key to my heart.

love always & forever,
Mama

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2013: year in review

4:35:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

2013 was quite the year. In twelve short months we became a family of four, built a new house, and Nick and I started new jobs. Our hearts grew, we learned patience and forgiveness, and we watched our lives fly by in a blur.

We started the year with planning and preparation for Logan's 1st birthday party. Family and friends gathered to celebrate the sweet little boy that had changed our lives forever.



In February I said goodbye to everything I had known in nursing, and began my new career as a home health nurse. It has been challenging and frustrating in so many ways, but I love it. My patients have become my family, and my heart has grown with a place for each of them.

We spent our weekends in the spring and summer celebrating new friends and watching Logan explore the world around him. The days were never long enough, but we enjoyed every minute we had together.




Nick left for annual training in July, and I struggled with the task of working full-time and taking care of a walking, energetic toddler... all while 9 months pregnant.


Logan and I survived, and Nick returned home just 2 days before we welcomed our sweet Adaleigh Rose to the family. On 8.8.13, at 2:22pm, she stole our hearts with a full head of dark hair and big, beautiful eyes.


At the end of September, we finally moved into the house we had fallen in love with over 5 months before. It had space for our growing family and touches that made it feel like home from the moment we walked in.


In October we made our annual trip to Honeysuckle Hill Farm, and left with kettle corn, pumpkins, and memories.


We celebrated Halloween with friends alongside our very own Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. It was storming and cold, but our hearts were warm and full.



We welcomed family any chance we could get. Living so far away from the ones we love the most never gets easier, but we've learned to cherish every moment we have together. 




 I turned 30 on Thanksgiving and celebrated the only way I knew how... by working. Nick cooked an amazing dinner to share with friends. We spent the weekend decorating, listening to Christmas carols, and visiting Santa at Opryland.




Nick left his career in security in December, and began the adventure of learning IT recruiting. With it becomes hope and possibilities that are sure to make the next year interesting.



We traveled to NC for a short trip in December to celebrate the union of Bob & Carol, and returned to TN quickly to prepare for our first Christmas together, at home, as a family of four. We spent Christmas Eve at church with friends, and started new traditions as we anxiously awaited "Ho Ho" to arrive down the chimney. Christmas lasted for days, as the grandparents arrived for the weekend with more and more presents. We took a short day trip to Chattanooga before it all came to an end.







We rang in the New Year quietly on the sofa in our new home, with sweet little ones asleep just down the hall. We made plans for 2014, and shared our dreams and goals for the new year.



Like every other day of our lives, 2013 was beautiful chaos. Here's to 2014- the year of no (new) babies!




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