Shopping on a Budget

My shopping secrets are pretty easy – shop clearance, shop sales and use coupons! Many stores also have apps for your phone that you can use to find additional savings! In this video I will show you how I bought $340 worth of items for $100. For my children, I will shop ahead of schedule for their clothes by one or two sizes. Typically at the end of each season I’ll find awesome deals in sizes they will fit in the following year.

 

My Evening Skincare Routine and Giveaway!

Hey there! I did a little video sharing my evening skincare routine! This is a non-makeup wearing routine as I don’t normally wear makeup. When I do wear makeup, I first use a makeup remover on my eyes and makeup removing wipes on my face before doing the following steps. Never go to bed with makeup on kids, not ever. I’ll list the items I use below. Thanks for watching, and stay tuned for the giveaway next week!

The products I use: Clinique Liquid Facial Soap, Clinique Clarifying Lotion, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy

 

 

 

Postpartum Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Different From Depression and Just as Terrifying

Because I experienced this disorder, I feel an obligation to share it. I’ve never in my life been so terrified and lost as I was when this happened to me – and if speaking out helps just one new mother, I will be happy. Here is my story.

As a teenager I suffered from depression, but I seemed to outgrow it and after the birth of my oldest son when I was 22, it disappeared completely. I did have a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder prior to this. It developed when I was 19. I started checking things 5 times. Before I went to bed, I’d check the oven 5 times to make sure it was off. The door 5 times to make sure it was locked. My alarm 5 times to make sure it was set. Over time I was able to stop these behaviors and all was well until I turned 25 and developed anxiety.

My anxiety presented itself in small panic attacks. I tried a couple of medications but ultimately decided to try to deal with it on my own and with counseling because I didn’t like the side effects of the medication I was taking. As time went on I managed my anxiety fairly well. It, and my OCD which had returned, were an annoyance but I was functioning pretty normally aside from certain things. I didn’t want medication because of my previous experiences with it, but also because I had a (stupid) sense of pride and wanted to “beat it” myself without the medication. I still saw a counselor from time to time to help me deal with it and felt that all was fine.

At 36 I had my son, Maxwell. He was an angel and I loved him more than anything. We were home about a week or so when the strangest thing happened. Someone stopped by to deliver flowers. The flowers had a balloon on them. I took a pair of scissors out of the drawer and cut the string of the balloon and then, suddenly, was paralyzed with fear. The following thought slammed into my mind: Hide the scissors. Someone could come in and find them and stab the baby. At first I was confused. Why in the name of God would I ever think such a thing? But in that moment it was like a floodgate opened and thoughts like that came pouring in. Plastic bag from the grocery store? Throw it away, someone could suffocate the baby. A knife I used to make dinner? Hide it, someone could stab the baby. I was so overwhelmed and horrified that I began crying hysterically. I was so wrapped in fear that I could barely breathe. I called my husband at work and begged him to come home. I told him that something was wrong with me and I didn’t understand what was happening and that I was terrified of being alone. He advised me to call my counselor. She spoke with me over the phone and helped me calm down and we made an appointment.

Leading up to that appointment, things only got worse. I remember sitting at the top of my stairs, petting my cat, and thinking What if you pick him up and throw him down the stairs? I quickly got to a point where I was not functioning. Because I was afraid that I was going to kill my baby. I couldn’t bathe him alone because I was afraid I would drown him.

At first I thought that perhaps I had Postpartum Depression. I searched online and found that the symptoms of PPD didn’t match what was happening to me. But then I found an article about Postpartum Anxiety and OCD. And I had those symptoms. It turns out, most women who have this are afraid someone is going to kill the baby. And sometimes, that someone is you. Imagine the horror that overcomes you when you are having these thoughts. I was a new mom. I was supposed to be wrapped in the bliss of bonding with my baby. But I couldn’t even pick him up because I was terrified of hurting him. But then, reading the article, I found the exact words I needed to hear, and I will share them with you. Women with this disorder DO NOT hurt their babies. You will not hurt your baby. I wept with relief. What was happening to me was real. It wasn’t in my head. I wasn’t insane. It had a name. I wasn’t alone. And it wouldn’t make me hurt my baby.

My counselor explained it to me like this. She said that your maternal instincts kick in when you have a baby, and one of those is your protection instinct. But in women with PPA & OCD, it doesn’t hit the normal threshold. It keeps going. It extends so far that it enters an area of irrationality, believing that anything and everything is a threat to your child – even you. So you are trying to protect your baby so much that you don’t even trust yourself. Here are some of the symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety and OCD:

Symptoms of Perinatal / Postpartum OCD

Symptoms of Perinatal / Postpartum OCD vary widely from mother to mother. Some examples of common obsessions seen in Perinatal / Postpartum OCD are:

  • Horrifying, intrusive thoughts of stabbing or suffocating a newborn child
  • Unwanted images of throwing or dropping a baby
  • Disturbing thoughts of sexually abusing a child
  • Fear of accidentally harming a child through carelessness
  • Intrusive thoughts of accidentally harming the fetus or child by exposure to medications, environmental toxins, germs, chemicals, or certain foods
  • Fear of being responsible for giving a child a serious disease
  • Fear of making a wrong decision (i.e., getting inoculations, feeding certain foods, taking antidepressants) leading to a serious or fatal outcome

Some common examples of compulsions seen in Perinatal / Postpartum OCD include:

  • Hiding or throwing out knives, scissors, and other sharp objects
  • Avoiding changing soiled diapers for fear of sexually abusing a child
  • Avoiding feeding a child for fear of accidental poisoning
  • Repeatedly asking family members for reassurance that no harm or abuse has been committed
  • Avoidance of certain foods, medications, or normal, everyday activities for fear of harming the fetus
  • Monitoring self for perceived inappropriate sexual arousal
  • Avoiding news articles and TV shows related to child abuse or infanticide
  • Repeatedly and excessively checking in on a baby as he/she sleeps
  • Mentally reviewing daily tasks and events in an attempt to get reassurance that one has not harmed a child or been responsible for harm to a child

I copied this list from the following site if you would like more information from there:

https://ocdla.com/postpartum-ocd

You may not have all of these symptoms, I didn’t. But if you recognize any of them in yourself, breathe a sigh of relief honey. You are going to be OK again, and you are not alone.

Now, at that time I started going back to my counselor regularly and working through it. I still refused medication because I thought I could handle it on my own. And I did, but not as well as I was convincing myself that I was. Fast forward 2 years to the birth of my now 2-year-old son, Bennett. The same thoughts came flooding back. Now what I didn’t want to admit to myself at the time is that they had never really left. I’d have good days and bad days, but I wasn’t healed. And after I had Bennett, it escalated again. This time was much easier to deal with because I knew what was happening. It’s like my husband says – it’s not as scary when the monster has a name.

I went through life and went to counseling for about 6 months. What I didn’t know was that an avalanche was forming. As I dealt with my PPA & OCD in my own way, I was also not dealing with it completely and it was escalating in new ways. My anxiety got so bad that I was having problems sleeping. It snowballed to the point that I went to my doctor for help. I remember sitting in his office, crying, feeling embarrassed and afraid. He handled it so well. I’ll never forget what he said. Megan, you’re one of the most self aware patients I have. If you say something is wrong, I believe you. I will help you. It will be OK. At this point I was so desperate that I said I wanted medication. He prescribed some for me. Zoloft for the anxiety and a sleeping pill to help me sleep for the first week until the Zoloft took effect.

Now, this transition had it’s own difficulties. For me, I was very – very – sensitive to the medication. It made my anxiety so much worse at first. But with my counselor and my doctor and lots of online chatrooms full of people going through the same thing, I came out the other side.

It’s been a year since I started taking Zoloft. In that time I’ve adjusted my dose up a couple of times. It’s been at it’s current dose for about 6 months now and I’m pretty comfortable with it. I still sometimes have anxiety, but the PPA & OCD symptoms are gone. I sleep well at night (well, as well as a mother of 4 – with 3 under 4 – can) and my normal OCD symptoms are gone as well. For example, my best friend and I got food the other day at a drive thru and she opened my straw and put it in my drink. Immediately she apologized because, before, I couldn’t have handled her touching my straw. But now, I don’t care. I drank from it, no issue. My anxiety is still there. I still have moments where I am anxious. In these moments I consider upping my medication. But then they pass and I keep moving forward.

I can tell you this. I am happier and more relaxed than I have been in years. So my advice to you as someone who has been through it is this: Don’t be afraid to get help. Because this IS treatable. And there are counselors and therapists and doctors and support groups who can help you. So if you find that you are going through this, don’t be afraid – but get help. You can’t do it alone, and you shouldn’t feel the need to. There is no shame in the game, baby. You get what you need to move forward and be the best Mommy you can be. You’re a good mother, and everything will be alright.

The Love of an Animal

It’s hard to explain the love we have for our pets. Some people don’t understand it. They think animals are just animals – their worth not equal to that of a person. I disagree. Sometimes I think they may be worth more. They have the capacity to love and yet retain an innocence that people typically leave behind once they enter adulthood. I once had an idea – perhaps pets are angels. They are sent down to live with us, to comfort us, and help us in difficult times. To show us unconditional love and to remind us to be kind and to care for those who are unable to care for themselves.

When my husband and I moved in together, we decided to get a dog. We already had a couple of cats at the time. My cat Sadie, and his cat, Larry. I saw Bruno on Petfinder. His big, smiling, happy face made me smile when I saw it. He had been rescued by a couple who tried to rescue dogs who would be euthanized. Bruno was a Bernese Mountain dog/Rottweiler Mix. His foster parents had rescued him from the pound and gotten him up-to-date on everything and microchipped. We went through the adoption process for him and then we brought him home. They believed him to be about 3 years old. When we took him to the vet for  the first time, however, the vet thought he may be older than that.

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Our Bruno, in his youth.

Bruno would follow me around everywhere. He would just stare at me. He had come from a home with other dogs, so I though maybe he was lonely. So we rescued a puppy from the pound and named him Brautigan. They quickly became best friends. But Bruno still followed me. Still stared at me. I realized that I was his person.

Bruno was incredible. He loved other dogs, all people, cats, and children. Good lord, he especially loved children. We’d have to hold him back whenever kids were around. He’d knock them over trying to lick their faces. When we got him we were trying to figure out a name for him but ended up keeping the one he already had. I did give him an official name, however, as I do with all of our pets. He was HRH Prince Bruno Roth of Switzerland. Over the years he received many nicknames. Brune-Brune, gentle giant, baby bear and pupper. We had him 10 years, which means he was at least 13. That’s a nice long life for a dog whose breeds average a 9-year lifespan. But still, it was hard to let him go.

I think one of the hardest things in life is deciding to put a pet to sleep. Sometimes it’s obvious. A terminal illness or a vet recommendation. But sometimes, it sneaks up on you. A few years ago Bruno developed a tumor on his side. The vet said it was a fatty tumor, probably not cancerous. He lived with it for years. As he got older it started to interfere with his ability to turn around on that side. And then he started falling down. At first it was down steps. So we tore the outside stairs down and my husband built wider, less steep stairs that Bruno could use much more easily. And when those started to be hard again, we added non-slip coverage. The he started falling on the hardwood floors from time to time. Then he started falling everywhere. Now by this time he was practically deaf and partially blind. And he started to spend most of his time sleeping. But he still went wherever I was.

At night, after my kids were in bed and my husband went to sleep, I would do the dishes. Bruno would always join me. Sometimes he would lay right at my feet and I’d trip over him and say things like, “Dammit Bruno, do you have to lay right under me?” But even then I knew the day was coming when I’d miss tripping over him. I’d turn on some music and in the quiet of the evening, load up the dishwasher while my big old dog snored. It was a relaxing way to end every day.

Then Bruno started refusing to leave his kennel in the morning. I started reading articles about knowing when it was time to put a pet to sleep. No one really seemed to have the answer. Some said you’d just know. But I didn’t know. He was having good days and bad days. But then I read something that talked about pets having accidents in the house. And Bruno never had accidents. So then I thought, “That’s how I’ll know. If he’s going to the bathroom inside, I’ll know it’s time.” A couple of weeks later, he started to have accidents. It was a couple a day and it was like he didn’t even know it was happening. And even though I said that if that happened I would know, I was still unsure. But then I remembered an article that said something along the lines of it being better to be two weeks early than a day late. We have the ability to let them pass before they are in agony, so why wait until then. I had already made that mistake with my cats. Tony and Sadie. I waited longer than I should have and they suffered. I didn’t want to make that mistake again.

I called the vet and I set everything up. I prayed that he would have an awesome last day. And he did! He had more energy and seemed more like himself than he had in quite awhile. He seemed happy and full of life again. It made me second guess my decision. But that night, as I was doing the dishes, and crying, I looked over at him and he was looking at me. I said, “I just wish I could know that I’m doing the right thing. I wish you could tell me that it was OK.” And I swear to God the most incredible thing happened. My dog responded. He made 3 little growly sounds at me, and then laid down. He’s never done that. Not ever. So I decided he understood me and he told me it was time.

The next morning we took him in. I brought his blanket so he’d be comfortable and it would smell like home. He was laying in the waiting room and when it came time for us to go back he couldn’t stand up and the vet tech had to help us get him up. He’d lost weight, but he was still a big guy. We went back and he laid down. They gave him a shot and my husband and I petted him. I was laying on the floor with him, crying, but trying not to. We told him what an amazing dog he was. How much we loved him, and how much we were going to miss him. He fell asleep. We continued to pet him until the second shot stopped his heart. We left. I had made arrangements for the funeral home to pick him up and cremate him. He was too big to bury in the yard but we wanted to bring him home. The funeral home dropped his ashes off to us the next day.

It’s been several weeks since he’s been gone. I had to wait that long to write this because I knew I wouldn’t be able to. I’m crying now but not sobbing hysterically as I would have been if I’d tried to write this any earlier. I find solace in him being home. I find solace in knowing, in retrospect, that it was definitely time and that we did the right thing. But boy do I miss him. My big gentle giant. He was such a lovely soul. I wonder if I’ll ever have a day when I don’t think of him. For now, I keep his collar in my dresser drawer, and I do the dishes in the daytime – when the kitchen is filled with distractions.

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Us, on Bruno’s last day.

 

 

You’re Not A Bad Parent, They’re Not Bad Kids (or Pets)

My children can perform some pretty impressive feats. Is it magic? Do they have some sort of time machine they can use to stop time for me but allow them to keep going? This rule applies to pets too – because we all know that fur babies can perform this same magic.

I once said that it didn’t matter if I hid/threw away/locked up every writing utensil in the house. The Universe has a special wormhole that will open up and distribute a writing utensil if there is a toddler who wishes to get creative. If they want to draw, then they will indeed draw. For fun, and proof, I’ve attached some pictures to this blog of some of the messes my very own darlings have created. And the reason I say it’s magic? Because they find ways to get things that are out of reach and put away. They manage to make a colossal mess during the time it takes me to do any of the following things: Make a bottle, change a diaper, pee, preheat the oven, and much, much more. Now for some of these I did make the mistake of walking out of the (very loud) room to take an important phone call or do the dishes. Those were mistakes of epic proportions. Just when my children are sitting quietly and playing or watching T.V., I think to myself, “I have 5 minutes. I can load the dishwasher real quick and be back before they notice I’ve left.” WRONG.

The same thing goes for pets. And not unlike children, the older they are, the better it gets. But at first? Good gravy. Puppies will chew anything and EVERYTHING they can get their little, sharp, teeth on. And kitties will shred anything they can get their little, sharp, claws on.

So why do they do it? Do they hate us? Are we bad parents? Are we raising a bunch of ruthless hellions? Do they have zero regard for the fact that we’ve told them “NO!” when they do these types of things? Are they destined to be horrible people/animals forever? Luckily, No. To all of that. Children are destructive because they are doing their jobs. Their jobs are to explore, experiment, learn, grow and play. And sometimes, doing that makes an incredible mess. They don’t mean to irritate you. They aren’t trying to be horrible. They are simply developing. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t correct the behavior and guide them into understanding that some things should not be done and that there are times and places for messes to happen that are more appropriate. But don’t get angry at them, and don’t blame yourself. Know that – like everything else with them – this time is temporary and they will grow out of it. They will learn through your guidance that these things aren’t okay, but it will take time. And believe me, spreading a bag of flour around your kitchen and jumping in mud puddles are two very different things. To your child, each mess is it’s own experience, so don’t assume they understand the likeness between them.

And for pets, the advice is the same. Scratching and chewing are developmental. They’ll grow out of it with time – in the meantime, get them some great chew toys and a scratching post. And I suggest you put your favorite shoes in an impossible to reach place.

 

 

Top: (L to R) Max draws smiley faces on his knees. Max finds whiteout and draws alover himself, my desk and my mouse. The boys dump a box of cereal in the living room – teamwork!

Bottom: (L to R) The boys make syrup pools to eat and play in. Max dumps a box of rice cereal on the floor and makes “snow angels.” Max and Audrina make Max a tiger. Bennett rubs diaper cream all over his face.

 

She’s Our Daughter

I have to say that I’m not too thrilled with the current trend of getting offended over every single little thing. Have we forgotten the fact that we are not born as all-knowing beings? We learn and grow through experience and through asking questions. If you’re going to be offended by every little thing, then you are part of the problem. Seek to educate – not alienate. Take for instance our daughter. She’s adopted. I’ve had people say things to us and ask us questions that, if I were another person, I could easily have been offended. However, I instead understand that people say things out of curiosity and a want to know and understand. They say things out of a place of unknowing. And that’s OK! Take those opportunities to educate them and to help them grow.

Here are some questions people have asked me in relation to our adoption. I’ll post them here, along with the answers and, in some cases, a more appropriate way to phrase something or a different term to use so as not to be hurtful. Hopefully you can take this knowledge and learn and grow from it!

  1. Why didn’t her parents want her? Well, her birthparents did want her. They love her more than you can imagine. Her birthmother carried her for 9 months. She went to her doctor and had prenatal care. She went through labor and delivery. And then she did something that most people could never, ever do. She and our daughter’s birthfather chose adoption for their daughter. I say most people could never do it because it takes an unimaginable amount of selflessness, love and insight to create an adoption plan. They love her just as much as you love your own children. They knew they wanted her to have a wonderful life, and they found a way to give that to her through adoption.
  2. Why did they give her up? They didn’t “give her up”, the proper terminology is they created an adoption plan. They carefully considered all of their options, they poured over letters from couples who desperately wanted a child, and then they chose us. They decided how much contact they wanted to have with us. They did anything BUT give her up.
  3. Where are her real parents now? Well, we are her real parents. We are the ones making plans for her future, changing her little diapers and getting up twice a night to feed her. We are raising her, and that makes us her parents. The appropriate term is birthparents, and we are in contact with them and hope to always have a relationship with them. They are wonderful people who we care for very much.
  4. Do you love her the same way you love your other kids? We do! It’s exactly the same love. She is our daughter just as the boys are our sons. The love is the same. I always say I grew my sons in my belly and my daughter in my heart. They are all a part of me.
  5. Open Adoption seems weird. Aren’t you scared that her birthparents will try to take her? Isn’t it confusing for the child? These were our same thoughts when we first heard about open adoption too! But here is the reality. We are not scared of her birthparents because we know them. They chose adoption and they chose us! We didn’t take her from them. And open adoption has proven to be much healthier for everyone involved. It’s healthier for the birthparents because they get to see her grow up. They get to see her healthy and happy. They don’t have to worry about whether or not she’s OK. It’s better for our daughter. She gets to grow up knowing that she has two sets of parents who love her more than anything. And it’s good for us too, because they aren’t some strangers we are scared will show up one day trying to get her back (“life is not a Lifetime movie” our social worker said). And we don’t have to worry that she’ll grow up and set off to go find them. She’ll already know who they are. They won’t be exotic strangers to her and her life won’t be one of wondering and questions. We will raise her having the answers to all of her questions – with their help.
  6. Oh, she’s adopted! How nice of you! I can see why you would say that. We are constantly having pro-life agendas shoved in our faces and told that we should all be fostering children and adopting children. In the Bible, God tells us to adopt. I get it. But here’s the thing. We didn’t adopt out of a need or want to do society a favor. We wanted another child. We knew that when I was pregnant with our youngest son. My husband asked me if we should have one more and I thought that sounded perfect. We knew it would have to be quick because I was 36 when I had Max and 38 when I had Bennett. We needed fertility assistance to have them both. Nothing extreme like IVF or anything, but we needed help. But then my doctors told me that I was lucky to come away from those pregnancies healthy because my heart didn’t handle them well, and I was advised not to carry another baby. I thought, OK, that’s it then. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that we weren’t done. That our family wasn’t complete. That something – someone – was missing. We chose adoption to complete our family. To have the daughter I always wanted (I say I because my husband would have taken another boy, I don’t think he really cared either way. Though he did say, well if we can choose, then let’s choose a girl!) We chose adoption because – and I believe this with my entire being – our daughter was out there somewhere, and we needed to bring her home.

So there you go! Some answers to some questions. And I’m always happy to answer questions and have discussions because it’s important for growth that we share and learn! So if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment section and I’ll be happy to answer them! Here is a picture of us the day we got to bring our daughter home. It is truly one of the happiest moments of my life. Her birthparents could have chosen anyone, but they chose us. And for that I have a special love for them and a place in my heart for them that I never knew could exist. It’s a beautiful thing, and I am so, incredibly, grateful.

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How Do You Do It All?

How do we parents (Moms & Dads) manage to raise our children, work at our careers, keep the house clean, have a strong marriage, be a friend who is ever present, take “me” time, have date nights, and always be caught up on the laundry and the dishes?  The answer is: we can’t.

Throughout our lives all things will rank in one of four places. And they are:

  1. Immediate Need
  2. As Soon As Possible
  3. Eventually This Needs Done
  4.  Someday…hopefully

Now, many things will ebb and flow all over this list. Some days paying a bill or taking your child to practice may be sitting at number one. But let’s say you’ve scheduled time after that to see a movie with a friend, but she cancels. Well now you have 2 hours, and sometimes you’ll fill it with a #3 – or perhaps it’s a great time to finally tackle a #4. How you prioritize and handle your business is up to you. The important thing to remember is this – it is absolutely impossible to have all of it sitting in spot #1. You CANNOT possibly be everything to everyone at all times while simultaneously doing all of the things that need done and fit in some me time.

Not long ago I saw an article that a mother had written about how hectic things were for her. It started out with her morning, her getting up and getting her child ready – but then she said the housekeeper showed up. And I stopped reading. It’s not that she isn’t still busy, but that’s not something I can relate to. As a stay-at-home-mom, while I do have a small job also (it’s just a few hours a month), we can’t afford things like housekeepers or laundry services or a Nanny (we do have a babysitter we use from time to time – but still, not the same.) I think most of us are trying to do it all and all by ourselves. If we are lucky, and I am, we have a partner who is in it 100% with us to take half the load. Even then though, there are challenges.

I do little things to try to stay on top of things. Every night before bed I do the dishes. Once everyone is in bed I do the dishes so that in the morning they are done and I don’t have to find time. I will also not go to an area without taking something that needs to be put away. For example, if I need to run upstairs to get the baby a diaper, I take with me something that belongs up there and put it away. And when I come back downstairs, I do the same thing. If I’m going to the kitchen, I take the dirty dishes with me from the living room, etc. It takes no extra time really since you’re going there anyway. Another trick I use is this. I’ll set a timer. Say I want to clean up the living room. I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes. It helps me to stay focused on the task at hand and I find that I work faster and get more done because I don’t get sidetracked and also because there’s just something about that timer running that makes me haul a little ass!

You’ll see a lot of pictures and eventually videos in this little blog of mine. And the pictures will be nice and of clutter-free areas in my home. But rest assured – that’s not what my house looks like all the time. I typically have to move things out of the area. It’s what my house would look like if no one actually lived here.

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So the best advice I can give you is to give yourself a break. Find joy in the little things and know this: your children are only young once, and I can tell you that that time goes by faster than you can possibly imagine. Though you’ll have days where the minutes seem like hours, suddenly you’ll be standing beside them in their cap and gown on their graduation day – and you’ll be wondering how it could have possibly gone so fast. Please believe me, I speak from experience. So if the mess and chaos is getting to you on certain days, remind yourself of that. Someday they will grow up and move out. And your house will be clean. And oh, so quiet.

Baby Love

Our littlest had her one month check-up at the pediatrician today. She is doing awesome! Our doctor said she is healthy and beautiful. She gained almost a pound since her last visit! The funniest thing happened while we were there though. I had told the receptionist that our baby was adopted when I made the appointment and we’ve been going there for probably 9 years, all of our kids go to the same doctor. And he has the same nurse who we see every time.

So we get there and the nurse takes us back to the office and she starts asking us questions. And they are all pretty typical newborn baby questions like how much did she weigh when she was born, how long was she, etc. But then she asks us if she was delivered vaginally or by C-section and Shawn and I just look at each other and I say, “Um, I don’t know. Vaginally?” And Shawn says, “Oh yeah, um, we never thought to ask that.” And the nurse is looking at us like we’re insane and I realize she doesn’t know that she’s adopted! So I tell her, and we had a laugh and she said that I didn’t look like I was pregnant the last time I was in there, but you never know and she never asks!

The love I have for our daughter is no different than the love I have for our sons. She is mine the same way that they are mine. When people ask how old she is I tell them and if they see the boys they say, “Oh you finally got your girl!” And I say “Yep, we sure did!” The only time that I mention that she’s adopted is if they tell me how great I look. It’s funny how people say that. Even when we had the boys people would say, “Are you going to try one more time for a girl?” Things like that bother and offend some people but they don’t bother or offend me. Maybe because I did always want to have at least one of each. So I can understand the inclination to want to raise both sons and daughters. I still can’t believe I finally get to have both ❤️

Being Mom

I have been a mother for over 18 years now. I am Mom to an 18-year-old son, a 4-year-old son, a 2-year-old son, and an infant daughter. Our oldest is from my first marriage and our youngest is adopted. I think all of these things, from the age ranges in my children, to having one who was adopted and one who I brought into my marriage, gives me a unique perspective on being a Mom. And I have many ideas of what it means to me to be a mom, a wife, and still find a way to express myself, have passions, and be my own person. I think as women, we are constantly trying to find the right balance. I decided to create this blog to share our stories and my experiences, and hopefully to open up a dialogue where people can chat, learn, share and support one another! Thanks for reading, and in case you were wondering, you’re killing it being Mom ❤️