So when Allen and I started discussing the possibility of having a baby, it was rightly so a hard decision. There was a lot to consider, but one of my personal concerns was how my body would change after having a baby. It’s vain, I know.

After Addison was born, I naturally lost a lot of the weight with a little exercise and nursing. However that was 8 months ago, and here I am with an official mummy tummy.

After doing some online research, I found there are three solutions:

1. Plastic surgery

2. Living with it

3. Attempt to excerise it away.

With #3 in mind, I purchased Exercise After Pregnancy by Helene Byrne, and the book arrived today. I’m going to take the weekend to read through it and buy any equipment I need, and then Monday, I am going start training to get rid of the Mummy Tummy.

My Dad has smoked as long as I can remember, and when he tries to stop he always tells us not to ask about it. He doesnt want to feel like everyone is monitoring him. I totally get that, but I know that doesnt work for me. I need to be held accountable, and so I am telling you.

Starting Monday, I’ll be weekly chronicling my efforts. I read that if you do the program correctly, you see benefits in three weeks. So here I go, no more sucking it in, the tummy is toast.



One of the most frustrating things I have gone through since having Addison is my inability to finish anything. I start a ton of things – laundry, sewing, conversations – and yet frequently find myself wondering where I was going.

I’ve been aware of this for a little while, but it seems my lovely husband finally gained the gumption to talk to me about. Last week I washed and folded the laundry. But then just left it. In our bathroom there was a stack of towels right next to the closet they belong in. Addison’s clothes sat piled on the ottoman for a week. Eventually Allen put everything away, but the question was still asked. “Why did you do all the work and stop right before having it done?”

I’ve been told it’s a mom thing, but really? With so much to do, wouldn’t it be easier if I just finished a thing or two?

Do you have a task that seems to hang over your head unfinished?

Today is my birthday. The big 3-0. I have had such a wonderful day so far with well wishes and presents and fun. But what would truly make my day?

Can anyone convince Addison to give her Mommy and Daddy an uninterrupted night of sleep? 🙂 She was up three times before we put her in bed with us at 3 a.m. ( She is sick, so this was more than usual.) I then spent the next three hours putting the binky in her mouth every time it fell out – frequently.

It’s possible. It’s happened. But it’s been a while, and I am starting to wonder if our little love has forgotten how to do it.

I know it’s our fault. Our pediatrician told us at the 3 month appointment to start letting her cry it out. But I just cant do it. There has to be another way. I keep trying to tell myself that eventually it will just happen. One night we’ll go to bed and wake up and realize it’s morning. Oh happy day, why do you elude the Newtons?

I love when I start talking to other moms in an effort to get hints on how to get AJ to sleep through the night. Little tip for my friends out there: it is not helpful to tell me that you don’t know how your baby started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks. You are just rubbing it in.

You know that old saying, “you reap what you sow,” or “you get your actions twice as bad with your kids”? Yea, my mom said I didn’t sleep through the night until I was two. Great.

Did you let your child cry it out or did you use another technique?

Allen is the lucky one each day that gets to take Addison to school. I’ve tried to get better about waking up to feed her before I go to work, but he gets to do the fun stuff like play and get her dressed for the day.

Recently, Allen has joined the 21st century and got a texting plan on his phone. So in addition to random motivational “Go Get ‘Um” texts, he also sends a few pics of Addison before school.

I wont lie. I catch myself pulling out my phone more than usual to soak in the adorableness. Sometimes it gets me through a tough day; sometimes I have to show it to all the ladies at the office.

They have become especially valuable when I hit the road for work. I’m going to be traveling a lot the next two months, and the thought of leaving my favorite people at home makes it far less exciting. But thanks to picture phone, at least I wont miss out on seeing Addison every day.

Here are a few of the recent pics. Enjoy!

“Ready for another day of learning at school. Have a great day at work, Mommy,”

“Mom, I miss you while you are in New York. But having Meemom Newton over to feed me is the most fun!”

I love being an aunt almost as much as I love being Addison’s mom. And while I don’t get to see my nieces and nephews nearly enough, I do what I can to let them know that I am always thinking about them.

I send holiday cards to each of them for every holiday. Yes, even Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day.

Allen and I teach them ridiculous skills like running in circles and making fart noises with their arms.

And I hear them ask for obscure things and make a mission to find them.

Meet Hannah. My now 6-year-old niece, who just started first grade last week. Hannah is beautiful, smart, and could quite possibly take over the world when she is older, if she wants. I have also heard she can iron a pillowcase – a girl after my own heart. Since I was able to meet her the day she was born, our relationship goes way back.

Hannah and I have a lot to talk about. We love Zac Efron and can be found listening to the High School Musical soundtrack together while on vacation. We are also both very crafty and love homemade things. Hannah is far more into fashion than me, so I appreciate her keeping me in the loop on new trends. I’ll never forget when I sprained my ankle and tore my jeans. Hannah comforted me by letting me know that is how the cool kids wore their pants.

One day while at Meemom Newton’s house, Hannah noticed her cousin Lily’s legwarmers. I have to admit, Lily was rocking the legwarmers. They looked great. I didn’t know they were coming back in style, but they are, and the elementary school kids are hip to it. I dabble in crochet a little bit, so I casually mentioned to Hannah that I would see if I could make a pair. Famous last words.

Hannah has asked about them three times since then. So with the help of Boss Lady Emily, I have been diligently working on Hannah’s legwarmers. It’s taken me three weeks, but I almost have the first one down. Would it not have been easier to just get her a lava lamp, accessories, or cash like gifts in the past? Why, oh why did I get myself wrapped up in this insanity?

Because I love Hannah. How could you not? Just look at that face.

What is the craziest gift you ever went after for someone you love?

No one wants to admit that the beginning of motherhood is not all love and cuddles. And even though I was warned by countless mothers to “be on the lookout” for depression, I didn’t even know what to be on the look out for.

After Addison was born I cried every night at 6:30 for three weeks. It was like clockwork, and it didn’t matter where we were – my in-laws house, the dinner table, walking around Target – it was unrelenting.

One day I opened up to Boss Lady Emily about my constant bouts with crying. God bless you, friend. She said something similar happened to her, and it was because it was getting dark. “It’s because you know it is about to be bed time. She wont be able to sleep; you wont be able to sleep, and you are dreading it.” She was right, I felt like a sleepless failure.

What saved me? Work. I know that it sounds ridiculous, but it is true. Everyone thought I was bonkers for agreeing to work 8-12 on Fridays while on maternity leave, but in the end, it made all the difference. For those four hours once a week, I remembered I was good at something. It didn’t matter that Addison wasn’t eating well or Wrigley hadn’t had a decent walk in days or that there was an inch of crumbs on my kitchen floor. I might have been failing as a mom, wife, and homemaker, but I was able to book media interviews and help out my great team at work.

The truth is I wasn’t failing. Learning to be a mommy is tough. And looking back, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I love my daughter and our new life, and everything happens for a reason. This was an early lesson for me that doing it all was no longer an option – a hard realization for a nonstop do-er.

– Stephanie

I love a handwritten note. My life is decorated with messages from friends and colleagues. Currently I have a postcard from BFF Jenny’s vacation on the fridge, a card of encouragement from Boss Lady Emily at my desk, and a loving note my husband Allen sent to me while we were in college in my wallet. I wonder ten or fifteen years from now when Addison is a writer, how archaic handwritten correspondence will be.

When my Grandma Edmonson died a few years ago, we found letters that us grandkids had written her stashed all around the house. It was a comfort to me when I found one of my letters from college and a clip of a story I wrote for the newspaper in her living room end table. Did she reread them when she thought of us? Is she where I get the need to be surrounded by years’ old correspondence?

When Addison was still in utero, I wrote thank you notes for her shower gifts on her behalf. It made me smile the other day when I saw that my co-worker Kristi still had Addison’s note on her desk.

What does it cost to send a personal note – a dollar for the card and the amount of USPS postage? But maybe it is the cost of the sender’s time that is the most precious gift. While BFF Jenny was on vacation, she thought of the Newtons. And while the thought was fleeting, she took the time to send us a note, and let us know we were with her at that moment.

I hope that my daughter remembers that while we are busy and stressed, it’s the little things like taking a moment and writing a note that can show someone their true importance in your life.


Is there an old note that you still hold onto for sentimental reasons?

P.S. In full disclosure, my fabulous sister Ashley works for the Murfreesboro, TN, post office. All references to encouraging handwritten, USPS mailed notes are intentional for her job security. Keep Saturday delivery! SCN

Sometimes I am doing well if I can remember to breathe. I don’t have any misconceptions that my life is any harder than the next mom’s, working woman’s, family member’s. But now that I have Addison, things are different. I need to remember more than just to breathe, I am officially in charge of training a person.

Addison is teething … I think. She is drooling more than our basset hound, Wrigley, and everything is going in her mouth. A few weeks ago, she started sucking on my shoulder. After I pried her off, which was a feat because she had strong hickey-inducing suction, I told her, “No, you can not eat Mommy. You need a Mommy. There are somethings that Daddy just cant teach you.”

That night as the trio of daughter, husband, and doggie-son snores kept me from sleeping, I thought about what I said to Addison. When am I going to find the time to teach her how to make biscuits, or explain why her middle name is Jean, or show the importance of the marching band at football games, if I cant even find the time to vacuum the rug more than once a month?

I definitely don’t want her to think that Mommy can do it all. I cant, and I don’t want her to have unreal expectations of what she can accomplish, if she is ever a Mommy. But I also don’t want to be so busy living day-to-day that I miss the opportunities to help her grow into a well-rounded, honorable lady.

So, here is “Letters from Loxley” – a blog not just for Addison but to remind me that there are more important things than budget numbers, dirty dishes, and chipped toe nail polish. I cant wait to share and learn from all of you as well.

– Stephanie

What are some of the everyday things in life that take away from your true mission?

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