Halloween Is Different As A Parent

Halloween Is Different As A Parent

And why it's so much more than candy and costumes.
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Growing up, Halloween was one of the most exciting holidays. Besides Christmas and birthdays, Halloween was on the countdown calendar. Food, candy and costumes, what more could a child want? Today Halloween means so much more. Maybe it has always meant so much more, but until this year I never knew what Halloween could entail.

This year we have gone to two different pumpkin patches, Cedarwood Pumpkin Patch in McMinnville, Tennessee and Lucky Ladd Farms in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Cedarwood is pretty amazing and has so much to do for children and adults alike. There is a bounce pad, corn maze, hay maze, and of course a ton of pumpkins. While it is a drive nearly an hour from Murfreesboro, it is definitely worth it. If you plan on going there, dedicate several hours to it in order to get the most out of it. Check their website for hours and pricing. Lucky Ladd farms is a bit smaller, 40 acres smaller, but still has a lot to offer adults and children. The farm has several mega slides, a corn maze, a whole play area for toddlers, and tractor rides. I would suggest this one for parents with small children only because it is a bit smaller and a bit easier to navigate. The farm could be done in a matter of two or three hours depending on how fast you want to get through it. Check their website out for hours and pricing.

We have also gone to two different Halloween bashes and have more to go to. As mentioned in plenty of my previous articles, we are a one income family, so cheap or free is always welcome in our house. One we went to was Middle Tennessee State University’s Alpha Delta Pi Trunk or Treat on campus. This was a first for us and I was really pleased. I was only expecting a few cars to hand out candy, but instead was greeted by over a dozen cars. There were also several bounce houses, slides and a rock climbing wall for the little ones. Oh, did I mention it was free?! We were there for nearly two hours and walked away with exhausted little girls and two buckets full of candy. We also attended a boo bash with our mom group and had a blast! It’s always nice having adult interaction while kids have friends to play with.

One Halloween bash I am so sad we are missing is World Outreach Church’s Hoedown. Everyone has been telling me how awesome it is and I’ve been seeing little snippets here and there from previous years. Due to time constraints this year, we will not be able to make it, but I can’t wait to see the pictures uploaded later this week. In previous years they have had a petting zoo, tons of candy and several bounce houses. And of course with it being at a church, it’s all clean fun. A lot of people attend, so be prepared for lines.

Halloween is more than candy and costumes to me now that I’m a parent. It’s creating memories with my children. They didn’t have to go to two different pumpkin patches or two different Halloween bashes. They didn’t have to get costumes or have plans to go trick or treating tonight. But I have been thanked many times over these past two weeks. I have had more hugs and kisses than I can remember. On top of all of that, I have created so many memories with them that are going to last a lifetime. Maybe that’s what it has always been about and I just never noticed. Maybe that’s why my parents always made sure one of them took me trick or treating. Maybe that’s why there are so many Hallmark Holidays. Or maybe I’m just being a sappy momma. Happy Halloween.

Cover Image Credit: Tiffany Rawlin

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Struggle of Taking Classes During the Summer

It can put a bit of a damper on summer fun

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To everyone reading: I hope you're having a nice, relaxing summer. Even if you're working I hope you can get a few days off to hang out with friends, go to the beach, and have some nice downtime. Not me. I am currently in the process of completing two four-week long summer classes. I'm taking them now to get ahead for next semester and to keep my overall schedule on track. It certainly isn't fun, but the reminder that it is only four weeks is what really keeps me going. If you are in the same boat as me, you'll relate to this list like no one else can; if you're not taking summer classes, don't let this list scare you, but use it to mentally prepare yourself for any you may have in the future.

1. Studying and homework

The homework isn't too bad with some summer classes just because you don't have time for a lot of intense projects. Still, since the class is so short you have to do some kind of homework pretty much every day. Make a schedule and spread it out so you don't get too behind.

2. Actually going to class

I am in two classes. One meets in person every day from 10 am to 11:45 am. The other is online. Let me be the first to say that getting up for class during the normal semesters is hard enough, but knowing my little brother gets to sleep in while I have to wake up early and go class is a real motivation suppressant.

I will say, though, it's kind of nice being on campus when it's basically empty.

3. No going out...

You'll probably be a little down because you might not be able to really go out at all during the time you're in class. For me, I go to lecture every morning, come home and do homework for that class, then do homework for my online class. I have some free time on the weekends, but I try to use those lecture-free days to study or work on papers.

4. But being super busy

Even though you might not be able to go out like a summer off, you'll be keeping yourself busy with all that super fun homework I mentioned.

5. Stress

Yes, summer classes can be a little stressful and it's pretty much all thanks to how fast-paced they are. Just do what I do: make a homework and project schedule as soon as you can and remind yourself how short it is.

Summer classes are not the worst thing in the world, and if you choose to take one at some point it won't be absolutely horrible. The nice thing about them is it's like ripping off a Band-Aid; it may be a little painful and annoying, but it's over so fast you don't suffer. Pick your class and professor wisely and get down to business; taking the class means you're one step closer to graduation!

So, to anyone else taking a summer class: good luck and you got this!

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