I Am The Oldest And I Will Always Protect You

I Am The Oldest And I Will Always Protect You

A lil love letter to my cousins.
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Let me start by saying how lucky Jack, Adam, and I are to have ten AMAZING first-cousins. I have the privilege and honor of being the oldest cousin on both sides of the family, and I have been able to watch each and every one of you grow into kind, thoughtful, and genuine human beings. Some of you are still little and some of you are almost as tall as me (maybe even taller UGH). Some of you live on the other side of my town and some of you live in another state. But every single one of you is loved, treasured, and admired by the people around you; especially by me. Your parents (all my awesome aunts and uncles) deserve a shoutout for raising such amazing little people.

I am the oldest and I will always protect you. That is my promise. This one's for you <3

Jessica and Nathan:

My Giggle Sister and My Handyman

I will never forget the phone calls and random acts of kindness in July, or the various (and creative) happy birthday messages in November. I will never forget you guys driving all the way to Stonehill to hand-deliver a care package (complete with homemade cookies) and taking me out for ice cream. Jessie, you are my oldest friend, my truest supporter, and my favorite baby-sitting partner (especially when we mom-it-up at Panera). Nathan, you have traded your fire truck collection for actual Chevy (NOT FORD GUYS NOT FORD) trucks you can drive, you are always willing to lend a helping hand, and you appreciate the little things more than most people your age. Auntie Bear, thank you for taking me out for my birthday dinner and making me feel so special. Uncle Zoo, thank you for always sharing those posts about people you love with diabetes. Your part of the family is filled with generous gems that shine from the inside out. <3

Ryan and Addison:

My ROTC Boy and My Snuggle Bug

I will never forget the “daisy days”. The days where Ryan practiced writing his name at my kitchen table and sang songs on my living room floor. The days when I would open the door to see Addison's smiling little baby face as she woke up from her nap, then I would cover her with kisses and change her stinky diaper. Ryan, you are a karate master, a fierce protector of your loved ones, and a technological wizard. Addi, you are the best helper a daycare worker could ever ask for, my favorite snuggle-buddy (you’ll still fall asleep with me on the couch), and the hardest person to find when we play hide and seek. Auntie Ange, thank you for always sewing pockets into all my dresses for my insulin pump (and making adjustments as necessary!). Uncle Matt, thank you for teaching me how to “share” a hug and for texting our family group chat every single day because it really makes my heart happy (Ilytm;). Your part of the family is filled with memorable marbles that always know the right path to take. <3

Jared, Bryan, and Sadie:

My Tightest Hugger, My Basketball Boy, and My Lovie Girl

I will never forget those summer days when Jared comes to visit and we have countless adventures involving ice cream and mini golf. I will never forget all the times I've been able to babysit the twins (from before they could walk to now) during the annual Christmas shopping trip. Jared, you are my loving, sarcastic partner in crime, you proudly take the most unflattering pictures of me, and you just get me without me having to saying a word (true talent right there). Bryan, you are simultaneously an ocean wave of energy and a shy starfish, an adorable basketball enthusiast, and those cute little eyeballs will always be one of my favorite things about you. Sadie, you are a serious, considerate, and thoughtful little love muffin, you are always up for a selfie (with and without filters), and you remind me so much of myself. Auntie Katie (I mean awesomeauntiekatie….), thank you for always fulfilling your godmother duties and for hyping up everything I post on social media. You are truly one of the strongest people I know and I don't think anyone tells you that enough; I am so proud of everything you are. Your part of the family is filled with rays of sunshine that quite literally melt my heart. <3

Kyle, Aidan, and Luke:

My Meme Master, My Tickle Monster, and My Lukie

I will never forget making construction paper crowns on Nana and Grampy’s porch and performing the play we created from our imaginations. I will never forget visiting Florida for Luke’s first birthday and swimming the days away. I will never forget the summer adventures we were lucky enough to have two years in a row. Kyle, you are sensitive and kind, you have a relevant meme for any and all occasions, and you have the subtlest sense of humor (I make sure to pay close attention to when you say something funny because I find you hilarious). Aidan, you have the best giggle of anyone I’ve ever met (you are ticklish EVERYWHERE), you love a good running gag (cue heavy labor breathing), and I love when you snuggle right into me. Luke, I wish you could visit more often my darling because you are growing into a sassy little firecracker and I look forward to watching you grow. Uncle Markie (Stinkfoot), thank you for giving me these three boys, for turning any bad situation into something funny, and for finding me ridiculous Christmas cards. Your part of the family is filled with bubbles of giggles and I wish all you guys lived closer. <3

I am the oldest and I will always protect you. That is my promise. I love you <3

XOXO

Your Cousin Hannah

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Withee

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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10 Things That Happened When God Gave Me A Little Cousin

Because they're not just family, they're a blessing.

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I lost my Grandma when I was ten years old. She was the woman I looked up to and as I continue to grow up without her, the more I admire her strength. After losing someone so dear to my heart, it felt like a piece of my world had gone missing. A year later, God blessed me with a little cousin, Emma. Here we are seven years later, and she is exactly what I needed after losing my grandma.

1. I felt like I finally had another "sibling"

The day Emma was born, I immediately took the role of "big sister" and not just because we both only have brothers. Yes, I take it upon myself to paint her toes and go shopping with her simply because that's what we do best.

2. I began to spoil her

From the minute she was born, I couldn't help but go through the baby aisle at Target and grab the cutest new outfit for her. Even now, her big and sweet brown eyes always convince me to buy her that unicorn bath bomb or get her a shirt she spies at the store. Of course, every dollar is worth her big smile.

3. I found my best friend

I could talk with Emma all day long. Listening to her chatter about school or her new toys makes me smile from ear to ear. I could tell her anything and I know she would try her best to understand everything even if it's over her head. I see her as much as I can and miss her like crazy if it's been too long. Yes, she takes up 90% of my camera roll and there's nothing better.

4. I knew what pure joy felt like

I'm not sure the first time I realized it, but in the past seven years I have had multiple "Kodak moments" where my heart feels completely full. Maybe it's her laugh when I tell her a joke or the way we share fun memories together. Whatever it is, I'm a lot happier because of Emma.

5. I started to smile more

Nothing makes me smile more than seeing Emma after a long hard day. Hearing her laugh, going on adventures together, and having countless sleepovers is always the highlight of my day/week.

6. I became more selfless

Emma has taught me that sometimes you should play dolls with her even if you don't want to. You do the right thing even if it isn't the easiest and always think about others before yourself. There has been times when I'm crying and she will immediately stop what she's doing to come sit next to me and hold my hand.

7. I learned that she is who I want to be when I grow up

Even though I'm older than my sweet little Emma, I definitely look up to her. You don't meet very many completely selfless seven-year-olds. I'm lucky enough to know one. Emma would do anything for anyone, she always sees the best in things and is full of faith. She's smart, funny, and extremely outgoing - everything I desire to be more of.

8. I changed the way I looked at the world

Kids often show us that life can be a lot simpler and a whole lot less complicated than we make of it. Emma's innocence has shown me that sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and simplify everything I can.

9. I learned a lot about my faith

You've probably heard about the "faith of a child" and having Emma around certainly has made an impact on my faith. She memorizes Bible verses left and right and loves singing hymns. Seeing such a young heart that is full with God's love is truly inspiring. She is a constant reminder that God is certainly good.

10. She became a reason I needed live

When God blessed my life with Emma, He definitely knew I needed her more than she needed me. Struggling with depression makes life challenging, but she always happens to be a cure when I need it. Once I was at an extremely low time and contemplating suicide when someone reminded me that Emma loves me. Emma needs me around. The thought of her never understanding why I died absolutely struck me. Even on the toughest days, a FaceTime call to Emma or simply browsing through pictures of her brings a smile to my face.

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