Crossing Mason Dixon

Keep The Focus

So maternity leave ends eventually. Then you have to wake up at 5:00 AM and try to shower, feed your baby and pump for the baby and clean your pumping supplies and get out of the house and it feels, well it feels impossible.

But you tell yourself to keep the focus. At least that’s what I told myself. Just focus on work. Focus on everything but the fact that my baby is at home while I sit in traffic for two and half hours trying to get to work. TWO AND A HALF HOURS you all. Keep the focus. Somehow I made it to work 15 minutes early, just enough time pull myself together and walk into the office like a professional. Keep the focus.

It felt so good to be early, to be at work at all and to be able to hide the fact that I cried the whole drive in. I so had it.

Then my boss asked if I had a work release note from my doctor. I had a hundred FMLA documents but not a work release note. I had been back to work for 15 minutes and already messed up. Everyone knows you need a doctors note after having a baby. How could I have forgotten something so basic? My boss told me to go home.

Go home? Go home. My baby is at home…my baby is at home. I lost it. Just cried and cried. Luckily not in front of her but in front of our HR director. Thank goodness he has kids or he might not have known what was going on. He gave me a tissue and told me to go home. So I did and good thing because as soon as I got home, I realized what my real focus is.

All you working moms out there, you are crushing it. If you get out the door in the morning, you crushed it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just saying.



Conversations W/ My Husband: Pancake Shop

Me: I have a business idea.

Tom: Raising hogs?
Me: It came to me in a dream.
Me: Pancakes to-go. 
Tom: What happened to raising hogs?
Me: Picture this- I’ll rent out one of those amish shed things like Crabby Scott has
Tom: Crabby scott has a trailer.
Me: Even better I’ll rent a trailer and make pancakes- TO GO . Do you get it?
Me: Like different flavored pancakes, fold them over and serve them out a drive-thru window. Put the syrup in the middle.
Tom: Like a food business?
Me: Yeah like, pancakes to-go. I’d eat one right now.
[10 minute pause]Me: Flip Jacks!
Tom: What?
Me: The pancake place, I’d name it Flip Jacks.
Tom: Do you even know how to make pancakes?
Me: Everyone knows how to make pancakes.
Tom: Yeah, but do you?

Leave it to my husband, to crush my dreams. Just kidding! He keeps me honest. Because really- a food business- that’s a ton of work and I DO know how to make pancakes but mostly from a box….

I’d say don’t steal my business plan but please do because I would SO eat there.
Mmmmmm pancakes.

😛 Emily

I Wasn’t Ready To Be a Mom

When I got pregnant, stuff got real and in the mix of emotions I felt of course there was joy but I also felt guilty. If anyone asked, I would say “Nope, I am not ready for this…at all.”

I often tell anyone and everyone that our sweet baby was a huge surprise, because well, he was but also because somehow that makes my becoming a mom seem less like becoming a mom on purpose.

It is like saying, I’m not that crazy, this just happened, I wasn’t ready for this. And the guilt I felt- it wasn’t so much because I didn’t feel ready to take care of our baby (although I didn’t entirely) it was more because I felt guilty about turning into a mom. You know, the kind of person who can get into a debate about what brand of pacifier is best and posts a bazillion pictures of her baby to instagram. I wasn’t ready for any of that.

So yeah, I would joke about it until Tommy was born and now, nine weeks later I still joke about how taking care of our perfect baby consumes my whole life. In the best kind of way. I thought it was all in good fun until the other day when I realized that I do this thing, this thing where I apologize for just about everything to do with motherhood.

It started when I told my boss I was pregnant.
“Sorry that I’m going to take maternity leave”

And then once Tommy was born it started in the hospital
“Sorry I have to feed him now (when visitors came).

And when we got home I even apologized to the man who got me pregnant (what?!)
“Sorry, can you just hold him a second”

Then it went on and on.
“Sorry all we talk about is baby stuff”
“Sorry I post so many pictures of the baby on facebook”
“Oh wow, sorry there’s breast milk on my shirt”
“Sorry, I didn’t get a chance shower today”
“Sorry I had to bring the baby with me..”
“Sorry he’s screaming so loud”
“Sorry, I just have to nurse him quick”

What is that about? All of the apologizing?
Some of it is subconscious, and a woman thing. Have you seen that commercial, the Pantene one about how women need to stop saying sorry (I just googled it–>here it is) That was so me before a baby and now, as a mom, apologizing has become my way of saying “I’m still the same person, ‘sorry I have to like, be a mom'”.

So the other day I brought Tommy with me to a dentist appointment due to poor planning on my part and I apologized the whole time. The receptionist said how cute he was and then said,

“Stop apologizing you’re a mom now.”

Gosh am I glad she said that.

I am a mom now. I am a mom now and the truth is I always, always wanted this. I will never ever be sorry for our baby so I decided then and there to stop apologizing and enjoy every minute of this mom life thing because really, I was so ready for this and I’m not even sorry.

Sorry, not sorry,


Weekly Happenings: Week of May 15th

Back to weekly blog posts! So many exciting things happened this week that I just had to write them down.

…First up: we bought a minivan and it’s a total God thing. We are both so pumped to own a minivan, who would have thought?

…Because we bought a minivan we have to budget for real now. I had own up to my iced coffee addiction.

I did the math: I was buying 1-2 coffees per day which adds up to like $60/month in coffee. In coffee! Whhhhattt. So I’ve decided to only buy ONE coffee drink out per month and make the rest at home. That coffee selfie was my one iced coffee for May. Feeling strong so far but the struggle is real you guys.

…Another total God thing: I was having some intense postpartum migraines. Super intense, I even ended up in the ER from the pain. Right after college I had similar headaches that ruled my life for about four months. They are the kind you can’t get out of bed with. Well praise God, this time they stopped after a couple of weeks and I got to meet with neurologist this week. That’s actually when I bought my one iced coffee for the month of May, because I forgot to write down the appointment time and showed up an hour and 15 minutes early. Treat yo self. I thought there was a chance the neurologist wouldn’t have an explanation or he would tell me I was going to have them forever off and on. Not the case. He said the headaches were just from ‘neck trauma’ during childbirth, that he sees it all the time in new moms and it just takes time for the neck to heal and the headaches stop. Such a simple diagnosis. I cried because I was so happy. The doctor hugged me then said, “be sure to take videos of that baby everyday because that is the stuff life is made of.” I said I would and that I would tell my husband he told me too. Thank God for good doctors.

…Speaking of our baby, Tommy turned two months old this week had a great two-month check-up- he is perfectly healthy and I took at least 4,567 pictures of him. The blessing of our baby’s health is totally not lost on us.

So, I was on the fence about taking a nice picture every month- you know the one with the clean outfit and the age sticker thing- but hello- he is my baby of course I am going to do it.

Now, I’m not complaining but taking baby pictures a lot of work. You have to like make the bed, check the lighting, change his outfits, get the baby to stop crying- phew. Plus my computer is about to crash from all these pictures and he’s only two months old. So worth it though. So so worth it I mean look at that cute baby.

That’s what we’ve been up to. God is so good to us.


We Bought a Minivan, for Real.

We bought a minivan and it is a total God thing. Do you believe God loves us enough to care that we have a car to drive? We do because we’ve lived it.

Ever since we dated, Tom and I have struggled with our vehicle situation. I almost wouldn’t go out with him because he didn’t have a car for the longest time. It drove me crazy and was probably the number one point of contention in our relationship- him not having a car and my truck always breaking down. See Tom went to school to be a mechanic so I thought that meant he would have a car that ran. It was a struggle that continued into our marriage even though we had two vehicles that ran, most of the time. To his credit, Tom has never not been able to fix our cars, it’s just that our cars just needed a lot of fixing.

Before we we even thought about having a baby we for sure knew we needed to buy a vehicle- basically anything newer than the ’93 Honda and ’97 Ford pick-up we had. But that didn’t happen. So one day last week I was driving our Honda and smoke started pouring out of the hood. Our baby was asleep in the back seat. I panicked, pulled the baby out of the car, ran into a Roy Rogers and waited for the car to explode. It never did and we were perfectly safe.

Tom came two hours later, fixed a hose and drove the car home. The baby slept the whole time.

So our friend Josh has a car lot with his dad (shout out Josh) and literally one week before the car broke down Josh told Tom about a 2006 Town & Chrysler minivan they had for sale. Tom was transfixed for some reason and would not stop talking about this minivan. I ignored him because we didn’t have the money. Plus don’t you need to have like five kids to buy a minivan? Tom went ahead and applied for a car loan- bad credit score and all.

We bought it a few days later.

Luck? Not at all. Just the fact that our ghetto Honda didn’t catch on fire is proof that God loves us. And us buying a car newer than twenty years old? Oh man this is a big deal. We prayed and prayed about our vehicle situation and when I was sitting in that Roy Rogers I prayed even harder. God answers prayer. And this is proof. For real.

See neither of us wanted a minivan- we were those people, thought we were too cool and didn’t have enough kids. At least that’s what I thought, I have no idea why Tom didn’t want one. But then I had a dream that we bought this exact van and Tom for some reason just would not stop talking about it. It was like God saying hey get over what you think you need, I know exactly what you need and here it is- oh and it’s going to be so much better than you ever expected. Because it is. Vans are like the coolest cars out there, so much room. We could have a party in the back. A dog and baby party.

So that’s our story. We bought a minivan and it is a total a God thing. The timing, the price, the mileage, the fact that we were able to get a low super interest rate, the fact that we bought a car that runs- God is so good. And minivans are awesome.

What is God blessing you with this week?


How I Landed The Best Job Ever

“Agricultural Inspector I- Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Assists with Maryland’s Contagious Equine Metritis Quarantine (CEM) Station 
Equine emphasis, needs knowledge of contagious and infectious diseases of livestock.”

It was in a newspaper job listing, folded over and circled by my second boyfriend’s sweet mother.
She put it on the kitchen table and everyday for at least two weeks she asked if I had applied to that neat job in Maryland.

I did apply, at 11:52 PM the day of the application deadline. Applications were due at midnight. It took me so long because in the back of my mind I thought there is no way- they need someone way smarter than me. 

A few weeks: a letter came with “Congratulations, you’ve been selected”.

I printed every USDA Factsheet I could find on CEM to figure out what the heck it was. Then, like a professional, I read them 15 minutes before my interview.

The truth is at that exact moment, I was a mess. My boyfriend had just broken up with me I was living in his Grandmother’s house working at a pet store and was miserable. I considered it rock bottom for my 23 year old self. I started questioning why the heck I majored in Dairy Science in college and what the heck I was going to do with my life. All of my dreams seemed a million miles away. 
But because of that two important things happened:
I prayed a lot.
I decided to give my life to God instead of trying to figure it out on my own.

And because I gave my life over to God, I got over myself. 

By getting over myself, I mean I stopped worrying, and I stopped putting my identity in my boyfriend or how poorly I did in college or wether or not I had a job and decided to just be happy and genuine, no matter what because really, one thing I was still sure of was God’s grace.

So the day of the interview I walked into the office with my USDA factsheets, some thoughts on why I’d be so perfect for the job even if I hardly passed college and I was so happy to be there. So happy. And for once I was completely myself.

For once in an interview I didn’t try to impress anyone, didn’t try to memorize things I couldn’t pronounce and I didn’t try to act like I knew everything.

Instead I said “Hi I’m Emily, I don’t know much about horses or contagious livestock diseases, but I REALLY want this job and my boyfriend just broke up with me so yeah, I have a ton of free time [Big smile].”

That was it really. That is how I landed the best job ever. I was honest and I smiled a bunch. When I asked my boss months later, she said “yeah, you seemed easy to get along with, that’s all we really cared about you know- you can teach someone the rest.” 
Agricultural Inspector I, Maryland Department of Agriculture
Even five years later I can hardly believe I got the job.
So there you go. I landed the best job ever by the grace of God. Literally.

Always grateful,

Mother’s Day Week

Happy Mother’s day week! Mother’s day can be a whole week right? For my first ever Mother’s day All I wanted to do was thank my Mama because, seriously- how did she make this look so easy?

So here is me on Mother’s Day thinking my hair looked put together enough to take a picture and holding my baby like a sack of flour. (I promise I’m not strangling him) 



And here is my mom on Mother’s day, mother of four. FOUR! Notice how put together she looks holding that same baby. Gee wiz. 35 years of raising kids (she had my oldest brother and then me 17 years apart), I don’t think I heard her complain once.
And she’s so pretty. 
Now if you had to guess, who do you think got who a gift on Mother’s day? 
My mom got ME a gift. What? She said it’s because she knows how hard motherhood can be. Are you serious? My plan was to bring her dinner because sometimes, food is the BEST gift so I asked her what she wanted and she said fried chicken. If you know my mom you know she is a super healthy. So I questioned the fried chicken. 
“Really? Fried chicken?”
“Yeah I’ll just pull the skin off. “
You all, this summarizes my mother so well. Yes my mom really does like fried chicken, I mean who doesn’t but the reason she said fried chicken was because she knows her family likes it and because she knows I just had a baby and it’s easy. I mean seriously isn’t my mom ridiculous? Even on mother’s day, thinking of her kids. Not to mention who has enough willpower to eat fried chicken without the skin? She’s superwoman.

So that was my grand plan right? To buy the fried chicken for Mother’s day dinner- well I go to pick it up and my dad already paid for it.  Parents, can’t do anything nice for them.

We also spent a lovely brunch with Tom’s mom, a mom to six. SIX. She how comfortable she is with Tommy? It looks like he is just floating on her lap.

So we got her a picture of all of us kids for Mother’s day and she loved it. Isn’t that bizarre? Like here are all of us that you do so much for, we’re going to take a picture of ourselves and give it to you and you’re going to love it. And she so did. What? Moms are so crazy.

All this to say we had a lovely 2016 mother’s day. Tommy got me a camp chair that rocks so we can sit out on the deck together and I thanked him profusely for it. And even though I was a little sad my mom wouldn’t let me buy her dinner, I totally get it because I would do the same thing to Tommy. #momlife

Happy Mother’s Day week!



Tommy’s Birth Story (It’s a long one!)

Tommy Taylor is six seven, ok now EIGHT weeks old and I am starting to forget the details of his birth. Can you believe it? Probably, because there’s a reason women can’t remember birth details and it has to do with having more babies.

Keep reading if you are into birth stories, stop if you aren’t.

At 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant I walked into my doctors office and asked him WHEN was this baby coming? My due date had been March 10th. It was now March 13th. I can see now how impatient that makes me. But yeah, I was that impatient.

My doctor said how about March 16th. Then he explained that I would have to be induced. He said I would be fine, he said people get induced all the time. I cried in the elevator in his office.

Two days later, on March 15th, I was THIS pregnant shopping at Target for last minute baby things.I thought if I walked for long enough I could get my water to break and not have to be induced. I’ll give you two guesses how that went.

We checked in for our 8:00 PM at exactly 7:56 PM and I was exactly 0 centimeters dilated.
Now, I don’t claim to be a labor and delivery expert but I thought I had a pretty good idea of what was about to happen. Let’s just say it’s way different when it’s you and every animal I have ever seen give birth handled their business like a champion compared to me.
Seriously. Champions. 
I had my cervix manually dilated with a foley bulb then tried to sleep but just watched the baby’s heart beat on the monitor all night long. Then it was 6:56 AM and I was 3 centimeters dilated and was ready to rock and roll. 
I got some pitocin and started having contractions 5 minutes apart. 
10:40 AM the doctor on call from my practice broke my water. The doctor’s exam was really rough, but otherwise I couldn’t feel anything, just a trickling down my leg. He said I was 4 centimeters dilated and that felt like a big deal. Tom was texting friends and family saying we were on the way to having a baby. I felt like I was rocking at this labor things, just cruising through contraction after contraction. I was smiling a lot and super polite to everyone. 
The thumbs up ‘I’m in labor’ selfie seemed to be important so I took a lot of them. 
Then BAM. 1:15 PM all of a sudden contractions were one minute apart and GOOD GRACIOUS they hurt. There was no rolling through anything. I wanted the epidural stat. Tom chose right then to get lunch probably because I told him he could….when he got back I just about ripped his hand off and asked where he had BEEN. I told Emily I thought I would need the epidural soon and then the next contraction I told her I no, I needed it NOW.  I was 4 centimeters dilated and asked Emily if I should wait to get it, she told me it was totally up to me. 
The birth class we never took, yeah it seemed really important all of a sudden. 
2:13 PM Still only 4 centimeters dilated,  I decided to go for it, the epidural was in in 7 minutes flat and I was on a cloud. Everything was good again. I was back to being polite and smiling. The epidural totally worked for me, but I kind of see why there is so much debate about getting one. Anyway, it was way WAY worth it for me. 
I stayed 4 centimeters dilated for seven hours. (Some people say epidurals slow down labor so maybe it was the epidural’s fault but who am I to judge) 
Then my doctor came in and said I needed a c-section. That totally messed with my mind. I started thinking I wasn’t meant to deliver this baby. Tom and I started praying. 
Almost immediately after we started praying I felt something change. Suddenly, there was so much pain that I couldn’t deal. I asked Emily (the nurse) if the epidural wore off. She told me no, the baby was just moving down. Well HELLO, I thought that was what the epidural was for. 
Turns out an epidural was just for contractions, or something (I’m still confused)  but I know it hurt a ton. I asked Tom to put worship music on to help me focus of Jesus instead of all the pain. I wanted to start cursing the pain and Tom and everything and everyone but Tom kept reminding to call out to Jesus instead. I did. Jesus was all I was holding on to. 
8:00 PM Boom. I was 8 centimeters dilated. It felt like a miracle because it was a miracle. God answers prayers and we had a whole lot of people praying for us. The doctor came in and basically said wow, I wasn’t sure your body was going to do it either but you got this now. You’re going to have a baby!
What happened next is a bit of blur. In my mind we changed rooms but in reality two hours passed and I felt like I had to push the whole time. Actually I felt like I had to poop the whole time. True story. Just keeping it real. That’s all I could fixate on, how much I had to poop. Apparently it was the urge to push but I was only 8 centimeters so it wasn’t time yet.
I now totally understand, a few things. One: it would be really hard if not impossible to deliver a baby on your own. Two: dads deserve just as much congratulations for surviving a baby’s birth as moms. Three: labor and delivery nurses probably don’t get paid enough. 
All that to say for two hours I completely and utterly lost my cool. Between screaming that I had to poop to breathing way too fast to almost twisting Tom’s fingers off, I was not keeping it together and I didn’t care what happened next as long as someone got that baby out of me and fast. 
For two hours I screamed and for two hours Rhonda helped me breathe and kept me from pushing before it was time. She totally told me to got ahead and poop if I had to but that what I was feeling wasn’t poop it was the baby. I screamed that she was lying. Tom, well I’ve never seen that look on his face but he kept it together too and he was a rock. He tried to help me breathe but I wasn’t having it.
I love my husband though. At one point Rhonda told me the baby’s head was right there, that I was doing so good. I screamed that she was lying. Since I didn’t believe her, Rhonda told Tom look at the baby’s head coming. That is how I know my husband loves me, he looked because he knew I needed to hear it from him. His whole plan was to do whatever I needed but he didn’t want to see anything down there if he could help it. Sure enough Tommy’s head was right there. 
10:00 PM, I’m not sure when my doctor came in or how long she had been there but we went from me yelling at everyone to her calmly telling me to push. I couldn’t believe it. I pushed and nothing happened. (So much for the baby just falling out at 37 weeks like I thought he might). I pushed and pushed and screamed and pushed. And then I was so exhausted that I started falling asleep. As I was pushing. I told myself I would go until 10:30 and then I would ask for a c-section. 
10:34 PM They told me to push one more time. I said I couldn’t. I did it anyway. 
WHOOSH it felt like something hard and followed by a whole bunch of jelly coming out and that was my baby. He came out screaming louder than I was. 
Within minutes he was on my chest and I was in shock and in love. 
I never told anyone but I was nervous I wouldn’t love my baby right away, like he wouldn’t feel like mine but the love was instant and it was intense. There was no doubt that he was mine and my heart was so full. My heart has never been so full. 
Thomas David Howard Taylor Jr. weighed 8 lbs 7 oz, and measured 21.5 inches long. And he was perfectly healthy. 

He was everything we had prayed for. 
God knew exactly what was up when I got pregnant before I thought I was ready and He was in control the whole time. Each time I told Tom I was afraid of something: whether it was losing the baby, or the baby having the most recent genetic disease I googled and even in the midst of the hardest most painful part of labor Tom always reminded that God brings everything together for our good. Always, no matter what. (Romans 8:28) 
For his reminding me of God’s faithfulness and for a thousand other reasons I am glad we named this baby after my husband. I couldn’t have had a baby without him. I mean seriously he had a lot to do with it.

 And that ladies and gentlemen is how we had a baby.

Week Three: We Went Out

Big news. I took our baby to the grocery store, two thrift stores and Ollies Bargain Outlet. 
It is week three and we got out of the house.
It all started because we ran out of 0-3 month baby outfits. I told Tom I needed to go to the thrift store to buy more baby clothes. He said I needed to do laundry. Update: I have done laundry since and Tom was totally right, our baby was way too many clothes. 
Anyhow, we managed to get out of the house after two attempts.  I was torn between keeping the baby in the car seat or taking him out and putting him in our baby wrap. So I did both. The first stop I kept him in the car seat, then I fed him, and put him in the Solly wrap to carry him through Ollies and Goodwill. I was able to get him in the Solly wrap in four minutes flat in the Ollies parking lot and he fell right asleep; confirmation that the Solly wrap is the best thing ever.
Carrying the baby on my own (his car seat is HEAVY- or am I just a wuss?) and feeding him in the Ollies parking lot made me feel like a super hero. Seriously. Our trip was a success for those reasons alone. I also scored three outfits for the baby and three outfits for me for $23.25 at Community Aid. That’s good right? Tom said he would have been impressed if it was under $6.00 but true story- thrift stores aren’t as cheap as they used to be- little baby pants were $2.99 a piece (whhatt). 

Easter Love

Easter love is Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead three days later. 
Jesus Christ coming back to life- oh man it is good news, the very best news because Jesus rising from the dead means we get to have eternal life. Say what. So Easter is the best kind of celebration. 

We celebrated at home and Tom’s family came over to celebrate with us. They brought ham and all the food. We brought the baby. Tom’s mom brought the bunny ears.

I insisted we start a family Easter photo tradition because traditions are important. I think for once Tom agreed when he saw how cute his baby looked in bunny ears. I think he is going to look just as cute every year until he is eighteen. Traditions are important.

We love Easter so much. We thank God for the new life he gave us in Jesus Christ and for the new life of our baby boy. Happy Easter!

The Taylors

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