Hellooooo long weekend! Today you can find the four of us beboppin’ around the Kansas City Speedway at the World Series of Barbecue! Who knew there was such a thing?! We’ll head home just in time to put the (hopefully exhausted) girls to bed and park it in front of the TV to cheer on the Tide to their first victory of the season. #RollTideRoll
Meet Victoria Strader, this weekend’s featured blogger! I remember stumbling across her blog 3ish years ago and just loving her site. I know you know what I mean when I say that sometimes you can get a feel for what someone’s like in real life based on the pictures they post and the words they write, and I could just tell right off the bat that Victoria is a great person. She seemed kind and fun and is just plain adorable. I was thrilled when she decided to be a part of this series. I have no doubt that you’ll love her content!
Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, friends. <3
Q: In three sentences or less, tell us a little bit about who you are. ☺
A: Hi! I’m Victoria Strader, wife to my high school crush turned college sweetheart, and mama to sweet 15 month old Beau William. Although I was born in Paris, France, I’m a Southern girl living in Texas who loves Jesus, hospitality, and monograms. 🙂
Q: Oh I have so many things I want to chat with you are! First, tell us about growing up in Paris but then moving to Texas. When did you move, and what was that transition like?
A: Well, I should clarify that my parents lived in France for a few years and moved me when I was about a year old. We lived in Georgia until I started school, when we moved to Texas. The most unique thing about this aspect of my upbringing is that all of my family members live abroad in England. I grew up going to England every summer. I think I’m so passionate about entertaining and having a big family because life growing up here with everyone else in England felt sad more often than not. My parents divorced when I was in middle school so holidays and celebrations were always just a few people. I’m passionate about cultivating a life that’s full of deep, close relationships for Beau and our future children. I will note that over the past few years we’ve gotten to really reconnect with my cousins and aunt in England, and it’s been a really sweet blessing for our little family.
Q: I love watching your son Beau grow and grow! Tell us about him! How old is he, what are his current favorite things, etc.
A: Beau is the absolute joy of my life. When I found out I was pregnant and texted a friend I’ve been close with since middle school she said “you’ve always been a mother and life has finally caught up to you.” I thought that was the most beautiful compliment, but she knew my heart. I have always been so excited to be a mama and although the journey hasn’t been what I expected, it’s been every bit worth the fight. Beau is 15 months and is the happiest little guy. People are constantly asking if he’s really as happy as photos depict, and the answer is YES! Beau was born with a few health concerns and in the past month we’ve had huge strides with him, one of which being getting news that two little holes in his heart had closed, and that we don’t have to see a pediatric cardiologist anymore. I never anticipated that I would be looking at these things as a young parent, but I am so confident in the daily grace that God has given us to walk this road, and I wouldn’t trade any of it, just because I know it’s His plan for Beau, and for us! Beau is overall a very chill little fella, but in just the past few months he started doing all of the “getting into everything” that people have been telling us about, haha! 🙂
Q: Was there anything about motherhood that you anticipated would be hard that’s actually been surprisingly easy or enjoyable?
A: This question has kind of stumped me. I feel like I went into becoming a mama pretty open handed. I knew things would be new and different. By far the biggest adjustment is just the fact that you’re not just responsible for yourself anymore. I will say that everyone always comments on how many diapers you change and how much of a hassle that is, but I’ve always just felt like it’s a two second job, no big deal!
Q: If you had a girlfriend about to have her first baby, what are a couple pieces of advice you’d give her to push through those first few months with a newborn?
A: Funny you should ask this, two of my dear friends just had their first babies a few weeks ago! Two baby girls born three days apart. We joke that Beau is The Bachelor and the girls are competing for his rose, haha!
I think what’s so important as a new mama is just to know that whatever you choose for your child is best. There are so many pressures from so many sources and ultimately no one is an expert on your child like you are. I also think it’s so important to remember that time you have to take for yourself isn’t selfish, but that you have to be whole so you can pour yourself out for your family. Lean into your close friendships as they are such a lifeline during that new time. The sleepless nights and every three hour (at times difficult) feedings feel so overwhelming but you will look back on them so fondly. The newborn time is so fleeting and enjoy every second. You are the only person who gets the experience of mothering your precious new baby and it is the most precious and meaningful time. Practically.. keep diapers, wipes, snacks, formula if needed, and a burp cloth in the console of your car. You can thank me later. 🙂
Q: I absolutely love your philosophy about traveling with Beau from such a young age. How did you build the courage to initially take him on a big overseas trip at such a young age?
A: I honestly didn’t, haha! I always had this crazy confidence about it and I have no idea where it came from. I did read a bunch of blog posts from Amber Fillerup and Shay Shull about traveling with a baby.. but ultimately for whatever reason I just felt like traveling with a baby would just be like having a baby at home, except in a different place. This is mostly true, except you’re hauling around a bunch of stuff. 🙂 I don’t know if it’s Beau’s personality or just what we’ve surrounded him with but he’s been a phenomenal traveler. I was more nervous about taking him overseas as a 14 month old this summer than I was as a two month old. Two month old was mostly easier, but he did great this summer too. If you have the desire, I’d say go for it!
Q: What topics are your favorite to blog about?
A: I think my favorite things to blog about are my favorite blog topics to read about. I love just the every day, normal life stuff. Routines around the house, days in the life. I also absolutely love recapping our travels.
Q: Where should brand new readers start on your blog?
A: Here are a few posts that will help you get to know me, a lot of baby things.. but really these stories just show you a glimpse into the things that have shaped me over the past year.
- 12 Months a Mama
- 26 for 26
- What I would do the Same + Differently in Pregnancy (this has a ton of links to posts over that whole 9 months!
- Beau’s Farmers Market 1st Birthday Party
- Beau’s Birth Story
- Beau’s NICU Story
- And you can always check out my monthly goals to get a peek into our world! 🙂
And just for fun…
Overhead lights or side lamps? Side lamps
Steam or iron your clothes? Iron
NYC or LA? New York
Statement earrings or studs? Studs
Thank you so much Victoria!
Is this your first time to Whimsical September? Welcome!
Hello, hello! I’m Erica. 🙂 I created the Saturday Sit-Down series in January 2017 as a way to give back to the blogging community and link readers with new bloggers whom they may share similar interests with. Click here to discover more bloggers that have been featured in the Saturday Sit-Down.
Want to be featured in this series?
I have openings starting in early 2018 and would love to feature you! Please fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch with you.
Whimsical September Email List
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo