Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bon's Book Club-I am Malala

This month's selection was I am Malala

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this book or story here is a brief synopsis taken from Amazon...
"When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons".

The questions for this month's discussion are as follows
What was the most inspiring or interesting thing about the reading to you?
The most inspiring thing to me was Malala's love for education. Here in America where education is taken for granted by many, it meant something totally different to Malala. I can remember going to classes in college, doing what I needed to do to just to  pass the class. Malala put forth all her best effort, continuously striving to learn more, get good grades and be the best in a country in which women are not expected to go to school. In fact, they are expected to drop out of school, get married and have kids! It reminded me of something my Grandma used to tell me, She would say "Katie, an education is something no one can every take away from you, no matter what" How true that is in Malala's case. Education  and the opportunity to learn and go to school is not something that should ever be taken for granted

  Why do you think the Taliban is so threatened by the education of women? Why do they put up such a protest?
I talked with my husband about this book in length. Obviously having been deployed to Afghanistan and other muslim countries he has a lot more background and perspective on this culture than I do. From this book and my husband's info I feel that the Taliban is threatened by the education of women because in their minds an educated women would be a threat to their overall goals of their establishment of an ultra conservative Islamic republic.
In their culture men are valued more than woman. Males are celebrated at birth and are given many opportunities to women. Women basically grow up to be wives and mother's

  Malala's dad encourages Malala to speak up against the Taliban in spite of dangers while the mother wishes Malala were less involved, especially after Malala's life is threatened.  If you were Malala's parent would you encourage her to be a voice for such an important cause in spite of dangers or would you encourage her to protect herself?
After reading this book I read some articles and watched some news clips about Malala and her father. I found one on Youtube that was taped before the shooting and basically the narrator and interviewer of the film stated that he felt Malala's father was grooming and using his daughter to further his political career. Some felt she was just a chess piece he was playing to get farther along in politics.
I did not feel that way when I read this book. I felt that Malala is a very educated young women, wise beyond her years. She knew the options for women in her culture and she wanted a better life for herself and for other girls out there.
As a parent I can understand why her mother wanted to protect her after the shooting and prevent her from speaking out but to me that mean admitting defeat and letting the Taliban win. Which of course is their ultimate goal. Hiding from something does not change anything, nor does it make it go away. Malala is now a beacon of hope to many in her country, not only for forcing people to face up to the unequal rights between men and women, but in standing up to the Taliban for what she believes is right

  Why doesn't the dad move the family from Swat valley even when it is dangerous? Do you agree with this?
I honestly would have moved my family. But for many this is not an option. To live in a place where your family has lived for centuries, where extended families live together, where one has grown up and spent their whole lives would be very hard. And probably impossible for some

 Why does Malala have such a love and passion for education? How can we instill this appreciation and desire in our students and children now?
I think Malala's dad played a huge part in her love of education. He was constantly teaching her, telling her about how important education is and pushing her to do better. I feel that as a parent an education is one of the best things we can give our kids. We need to be teach them that learning is fun. That it is important and we need to push and support them to always do their best and never take learning for granted

  What was the most surprising or shocking thing to you about the reading?
The most surprising part for me was reading about world events such as 9/11, the Taliban taking control, the start of the war from Malala's point of view. Obviously as an American you only hear the American's point of view. This put everything in a totally new perspective

 Any parts of the book that were slow or difficult for you? Why was this?
The first 100 or so pages were horribly boring and confusing at times. Don't get me wrong, I loved learning about the history of Pakistan and the Taliban. But there were some parts I never knew who she was talking about because they use the same word for many things, or she jumped around from time period to time period. I couldn't keep it all straight. But all in all this was a good read. One that really makes you think!

Things you should know about me

In honor of my 30th birthday I complied a list of 30 things you should know about me if we are going to be friends:
1. I love to read and am usually reading about 10 books at once
2. I prefer more creamer in my coffee than actual coffee
3. I tend to pee when I'm on the phone with people. This is usually due to the fact that I make all my calls during nap time and therefore have to multi task until the kids wake up. I also have a problem of never flushing the toilet
4. I met Channing Tatum. One of the best days ever
5. I never wear socks. Even when working out and wearing tennis shoes
6. I love going to the beach and could spend all day swimming
7. My husband and I met, got engaged and married in a 5 month time period
8. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom, now I can't imagine anything else
9. I wish life was like an episode of glee, everyone walking around singing and dancing all the time
10. I refuse to iron. Not sure I even know how to use one
11. I hate folding and putting away laundry. Usually all my clean laundry sits piled in baskets in my bedroom or laundry room. It takes forever for me to actually sit and fold all those clothes
12. I love vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom. Those are my two favorite chores.
13. I hate making the bed and can't fold fold a fitted sheet.
14. I am a horrible artist. My stick people barely look like stick people
15. Before kids I didn't care what I spent on clothes. I bought an outfit for anything and everything. Now I can't see spending more than 30 bucks on a shirt or dress. As much as I love Antropologie, Jcrew and urban outfitters I can't justify spending that much on one item. I have 2 kids in diapers! So my kids are better dressed than I am
16. The Walking Dead gives me major anxiety.
17. I get through grocery shopping with two kids by feeding them a banana from the produce section or opening up a package of goldfish. Yes, I'm that person
18. I love the smell of bleach
19. I used to dye my hair platinum blonde, I've since learned a more natural color suits me best
20. I live in flip flops and maxi dresses
21. I dislike eating breakfast and am horrible at making pancakes
22. I am a very random person from the music I like to tv shows I watch. etc. I'm all over the place
23. I can be very blunt and honest which can create some foot in mouth moments but I think honesty is one of the best things you can offer people. Although some times I could work on my delivery!
24. Since becoming a mom I cry at pretty much everything.
25. I hate the dark. I can easily fall asleep with all the lights on and the tv blaring but put me in my dark bedroom and I'll be awake for hours
26. I used to be a dancer and always dreamed of being a ballerina
27. I finally have long hair and it ends up in a ponytail halfway through the day
28. I love baked potatoes. I never turn one down
29. I'm a people person and like being around friends but I also like staying at home with the kids and just hanging out
30. My husband and kids mean the world to me!
And that's it! Your turn. Let me get to know you. Write your own post or link up in the comments

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Big 3-0

Today I turn 30. A few months ago the thought of turning 30 terrified me. I barely feel 20 some days, how is it that I am turning 30. Now though, 30 doesn't scare me. In fact I feel like this will be one of the best years yet.
There are so many new changes for our family coming up. Gianna will be a preschooler, I will be going back to work and Ethan is no longer my little baby. While I love the baby stage having two toddler's who I can interact with more and more is so fun and amazing. Every day they are saying or doing something new that totally fascinates me.
I also  finally feel like I've come into my own as a wife, mother and friend. As with anyone and anything there is always room for improvement and plenty of things I need to work on but for the first time in a long time I am truly comfortable in my own skin
Here's to turning 30

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February Reads

I took this picture at the beginning of the month. This was my stack of books to read for the month of February. Some I read, some I didn't and others I added to the stack. Here is what I read this month
Where'd You Go, Bernadette- This book is about a mom who struggles with terrible anxiety and one day just disappears. Her daughter starts searching for her leading you on a journey of putting all the missing pieces together. I truly loved this book. Such a fun, fascinating read
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: I bought this book after reading an excerpt on another bloggers page. I did not finish it. I thought I was buying a book about de-stressing your life and focusing on what really matters. But the author's suggestions of how to do this involved writing out to -do list's then breaking down that to do list into priorities  and so on and so forth. For someone trying to de-stress this just seemed more stressful to me. Plus the author is in a totally different stage of life than I am. Her kids are all school aged and she runs her own business. I'm still in the midst of temper tantrums, the terrible 2's and constant diaper changes. I can't even shower alone let alone really sit down and brainstorm a list of priorities and then brainstorm some more  and write another list. That's just my opinion though.
Hands Free Mama: I am currently reading this book and it is life changing. I have read, re read, underlined and written parts down. It is one to savor and cherish. It is one of my goals to lead a more hands free life and this book is helping me accomplish that
Balancing it All I loved full house as a kid and couldn't wait to read this book. It was a quick, easy read. Although the book presents nothing new in comparison to other books about balancing priorities it is relatable and a good read. It's like sitting down with a good girlfriend and talking with life over coffee
What Alice Forgot I am about halfway through with this book. I got some library books that have taken priority over this one but hope to finish it soon
I started Peaceful Parents Happy kids but switched to It's Ok Not to Share and I am loving this one. It is probably the best parenting book I have read so far. It's very child centered and talks about how the negative aspects of childhood, the not sharing, hitting, kicking etc is actually good for children and helps them learn and grow. It shows you how to handle those situations and  instead of acting as if those occurrences are negative and  punishing the child for them, turn them into positive,teachable situations. Very thought provoking
The Summer Girls This book is the perfect beach read. I am counting down the days till beach season arrives. A fun story about 3 half sisters who return to their summer home after years of not seeing each other. The side story of one sister's encounter with a dolphin is fascination. Gotta love a fun, easy read

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Mother's Intuition

Saturday night the husband's battalion put on a date night. They offered free childcare from 4-9 at his work allowing us to go out on a much needed date night. We scored the last reservation at our favorite Italian restaurant and looked forward to our night out all week long.
Saturday we dropped the kids off right at 4 and were on our way. It was a great night with yummy food and adult conversation. After an amazing dinner we headed to get the kids around 8. When we arrived to get the kids I was surprised to see Ethan happily playing with toys. Usually he doesn't do to well in daycare settings and will ask for me constantly or tell the workers he wants to go bye-bye. I did notice Gianna was with him in the baby room which kind of irritated me as she she missed out on the bounce house and movie the toddlers got to do but as the husband said it was free childcare and she didn't seem bothered by it at all.
We walked into the room to pick up the kids. Gianna ran right up to us, excited to see us. Ethan looked at me and acted like he didn't know who I was. A strange feeling settled into my stomach. This reaction was so unusual for him. I knelt down next to him and he pushed me away. I knew something was wrong. As we walked out to the car I noticed he seemed to be walking funny. He walked as though his legs were stuck in mud and he couldn't stay in a straight line. He almost ran into a parked car! In the car I kept watching him, knowing something was wrong but not able to put my finger on what was bothering me. I would call his name, no reaction. I'd try to make eye contact, he wouldn't even look in my direction. I even started singing songs at the top of my lungs, songs that he would sing along or dance too. Nothing. Again he acted like I did not exist. He did keep staring at some corner of the car and babbling. In other words he was really scaring me.
I kept telling the hubby that something was wrong but he swore that he was just tired and overstimulated from the nursery. Since it was two hours past his bedtime I tried to push my fears aside.
I thought maybe once he walked into the house he would perk up and start acting more like himself. No luck. I took him into his room, changed him and checked him over. Besides acting funny he showed no signs of being sick. So I laid him down and told myself to stop worrying so much
The husband and I started watching a movie. About an hour and a half into it I heard his baby monitor go off. In his room I have a sound and light machine which is motion activated. At any hint of movement or sound the music kicks in, in hopes of lulling the baby back to sleep. Ethan loves it.
So when I heard it go off I waited to hear something else from his room. I heard a slight cry and I settled back into the couch. Then those cries turned into screams. I rushed into his room, not even bothering to turn on the lights and immediately picked Ethan up out of his crib. He was screaming and shaking. I sat down in the rocking chair and tried to soothe him. It took me a few minutes to realize that he was soaked. I started to get up to turn on the lights and Ethan started projectile vomiting all over himself, myself and his room. I walked with him to the front door to go get my husband who was on the front porch having a cigarette break. At this point Ethan had stopped throwing up but was crying so hard, having scared himself. I hopped into the shower with him to clean us both off while the husband cleaned up Ethan's room
We dried Ethan off and laid him down in our bed. He was so restless. I noticed he had a rash starting and he felt warm. I hugged him close and sang countless rounds of you are my sunshine. Again he started throwing up. Leaving the husband to now clean up our room I took Ethan back into his room and rocked him to sleep. At this point it was almost midnight. Gianna woke up screaming for me and the husband went in to attend to her. I thought he fell asleep in her room so I stayed in Ethan's room, continuing to rock and sing. Finally at about 1am I went out to the couch to get some sleep myself. At 2 I woke up to Gianna whispering in my face, asking to lay with me. So up she went. Ethan by my side and Gianna along my back.
This wasn't the most comfortable of sleeping situations and soon both kids became restless. Ethan kept stirring and finally woke up. Of course he resumed throwing up immediately upon waking. Gianna was now wide awake and so disgusted. It's now 3am and I am utterly exhausted. I tried to turn the whole situation into a game and told Gianna we were going to camp out. I laid some blankets on the floor and covered Gianna up, turning on a Disney movie of her choosing. Not long after Ethan started throwing up again. I had now used every blanket possible, my floor, blankets, clothes and Ethan were all covered in throw up. I cleaned Ethan up, found the last spare blanket in Gianna's closet and laid him on the couch.
When I was in Gianna's room I had noticed M wasn't in her bed like I had thought. Instead he was in our bed, snoring peacefully. I took Gianna into our room and put her on our bed. The husband woke up , asked if Ethan had thrown up again, I said yes to which he replied Still and then rolled over and went back to sleep. This guy can sleep through anything!
Finally at about 5am I got Ethan settled back down and asleep. I awoke to Gianna once again in my face, asking to watch Nana's show. It was then I realized Ethan was still sleeping and it was 9am. He no longer felt warm and he hadn't thrown up in a few hours. When he did wake up, he asked to eat and resumed playing like he normally does every morning.
I breathed a sigh of relief. The worst was over. The rest of the day he played and ate like normal. While a little fussier than usual he was back to his normal self. Hugging me, establishing eye contact and talking and responding to things in his usual way.
Thank God it was just the flu. And thank god for mommy intuition. Although he showed no signs of being sick I just knew something was off
So mommies out there, always trust your gut!
Now I'm off to shower and do some laundry. I have a lot of loads to do

Friday, February 21, 2014

Playground Politics

My sweet, beautiful, independent little girl. Usually when I blog about her it's somehow related to her strong willed nature. She def is head strong, very independent, wants things her way and when she wants them. She has no problem telling me no and when she wants to play alone she will tell me so. Usually my temper flares when she does not listen and does the same thing repeatedly. Even after being told no.
Lately I've been doing  a lot of reading in hopes of finally finishing the million of parenting books on my nightstand. When reading about strong willed children she fits some of the characteristics of the strong willed child but not all. My small group at church is reading Parenting Isn't for Cowards by James Dobson(a book I am not a fan of) and he talks a lot about strong willed children. Again Gianna doesn't fully fit the mold. I came across one book called Strong Willed or Dreamer by Dana Scott and Dr Braund
According to that book Gianna fits the Dreamer cataegory as opposed to the Strong Willed one. The other day my husband and I took the quiz to try and figure out Gianna's personality. We disagreed when it came to a few things. He felt that Gianna was felt rejected in group settings as opposed to confident, and easily hurt as opposed to oblivious to teasing. At first I disagreed. When it comes to group settings, Gianna is better in smaller groups but I usually see her playing by herself. At dance class she enjoys the other girls but usually ends up dancing in the corner to the beat of her own music. At the park she tries to join in with kids and if they exclude her, she shrugs her shoulder and moves on. I took this as to mean that she feels confident in social settings. That her independent nature helps her when it comes to feeling included or excluded
She proved me wrong the other day though. We went to the park for a Mops playdate. All the woman there were my friends and all the kids there were kids that Gianna had played with multiple times before. On both one on one settings and in a group. A lot of these mom's homeschool so the kids ranged in age from newborn to 7. Now the 5-7 year olds were running around pretending they were Else and Anna from frozen. Gianna was in heaven. She can belt out all the songs to Frozen with the best of them and loves Elsa. I could see her chasing after her "friends" trying to keep up but she just wasn't quite fast enough. In the past if things like this would happen she would move on to something else, appearing un phased. This time however I could see her across the park, struggling to hold back her tears. I just broke. I wanted to run and go over to her but knew that I couldn't. So I waited and watched. Eventually she gave into her tears. She attempted calling out to her friends and running after them again but the girls just kept running on. She stopped, looked for me and burst into tears. I rushed over to her and asked what was wrong. Between sobs she told me she kept calling out to her friends but they kept running away. Hearing your daughter tell you her friends were running away from her was heartbreaking. The child in me can easily remember being bullied and excluded in grade school and the mom in me wanted to make everything better. I think in that moment I fully realized that as a mom I realized that I can't fight every battle for my child, no matter how much I want to. And that as much as I dislike it, Gianna is growing up and situations like these are going to become more and more prevalent as she starts school and hangs out with friends.
The adult in me also realized that it was unfair to expect a group of 5-7 year olds to play with my toddler. To them she is a pest, trying to keep up and bugging them as they were playing. Even though they were my friends kids and have played with Gianna before, they wanted to play with peers of their own age. I got it but that didn't make the situation any easier
I mentioned it to my friend who told her daughter to be nice to Gianna but that was that. Gianna continued to try and keep up, only upsetting herself further. Finally I went to go push her on the swings before packing up to leave.
We left the park to go to target to run some errands. The drive to target is about an hour and Gianna kept telling me how her friends kept running away from her. My heart continued to break. And it broke even more when we walked into the target and Gianna vomited profusely all over herself, me and the cart. Perfect ending to the perfect day
How do you mom's deal with situations like these? I feel like Gianna is to little to understand that although it feels like the kids are excluding her, they aren't. They are just playing with kids their own age. Any tips, advice?


Shortly after we moved to Florida we discovered our favorite little spot of Fl. Seaside or 30A.
It's a planned community, one where the Truman show was actually filmed and we can spend hours there looking at all the beautiful houses both along the beach and behind the town square which holds some of the cutest shops and boutiques. Our favorite part of seaside is the row of food trailers

When I was pregnant this was heaven. There's a grilled cheese trailer, a bbq place, a hot dog trailer and a ice cream one. And it's not festival food that you would think you would be getting when ordering from a stand. It's all gourmet. We've eaten at every one and we can't decide which one has the best food. They are all delicious. Across the street, on the beach side are also some amazing places to eat. And the beach is quiet and beautiful. When the husband is home during the summer we usually end up here every weekend.
We took the kids this past Saturday. We trolled the shops, browsed at the farmers market, ate some yummy bbq and frolicked on the beach. It was the perfect day


Monday, February 17, 2014

Big Girl Room

Back in July, when Gianna turned 2 we turned her crib into her "big" girl bed. A few weeks prior to that we had done a lot of traveling and while on vacation she had slept in a queen bed, in her own room the entire time and loved it. So instead of turning her crib into the toddler bed we turned it into the full.
We had no choice anyway. When we got her furniture set we did not buy the crib conversion kit. Since I was working at the time let's just say we spent an insane amount of money on her bedroom set. (well my family did, my dad's whole side chipped in for the set) and when we asked about the kit we were told it was something they would always carry. So when Gianna was a few months old we called to order the kit only to be old they don't sell it anymore though I could special order it from a few places for $500. Umm no thanks
So we searched everywhere for a kit that would work with our crib. No luck. So we ended up having to buy a metal full bed frame, nail some wooden pieces to it to make it sturdy and make that work.
Although fine, it is too high off the ground for Gianna and very creaky and unstable. We tried taking out the box spring but that makes it even more unstable.
Since she refuses to sleep in her bed anyway we haven't made a big deal about it. But now we have another problem. The bed takes up a lot of room. The kid's bedrooms are smaller than we would like making it unable for the kids to really keep toys in and play in there. We made our dining room our playroom but in Florida most houses have a open floor plan where the rooms all connect with each other with no walls to separate and we have toys spilling out everywhere and it is impossible to keep clean. Gianna has also started to go into her own room to play. I think she likes the escape from her brother
So the other day the husband and I talked about getting Gianna a smaller bed. One that maybe she would feel more comfortable sleeping in and one that would take up less space leaving her with more room to play. This weekend we went in search of a daybed with a trundle. Hardly any stores carry them so we ended up finding one on amazon. We went back and forth about what to do. technically we are not out any money since her bed now is just her crib made into a full and when she is older she can use it again. In the end we decided to do it and her new bed should be here soon
Today I got in her room and started organizing and cleaning. Now I want to redecorate as well. The poor husband. I'm sure he can think of other rooms in our house that needed to be decorated

Here our some pics of Gianna's room now

 And please excuse the mess, I have been declutering and cleaning and I'm still in the process of finishing

Here is the Daybed we ordered
I think it will give us a lot more space, plus brighten up her room. And maybe with some new sheets Gianna will actually want to sleep in it. Although we thought the bubble guppies sheets would do the trick. Nope!
And with her new bed ordered I have now been scouring pinterest for some room ideas.
While I love the pink color of her room I want something a little less babyish, but still fun and girly.

All sources found via Pinterest
I have a lot of saving and planning to do


As I sit here watching my daughter coloring at the table and listening for Ethan to wake up from his nap I am struck by how different life is as compared to a few months ago. As the kids get older they become less and less dependent on me. While both are still in diapers and I still have to make all their meals, they are becoming more and more independent. Gianna can dress herself and put her shoes on the right feet. She can go into her drawer and pull out her pajamas at bedtime and loves to go into her own room and play with her toys. By herself. Ethan while still  needy is becoming less so. He can go and play by himself, no longer cries when I drop him off at the nursery at church and is well into toddlerhood. Both can express their wants and needs, Ethan by babbling and pointing and Gianna by communicating effectively.
A trip to the grocery store no longer gives me anxiety. When we go to the park both kids can run off and play. I no longer have to lug around a diaper bag full of bottles, sippy cups, formula, diapers, changes of clothing, nursing covers, snacks, toys and pacifiers. Now I'm fine throwing a pair of diapers in my bag along with their sippys and call it a day. Our family vacation this year will truly be enjoyable. Our days won't be dictated by multiple nap times and we won't have to split up, each taking one kid while we walked the beach or hung out by the pool. Ethan won't always be strapped into his stroller while Gianna goes to do something, instead he will be able to join her as we watch and interact with them equally. Trips to the beach will also be more enjoyable as we won't have to bring a portable bouncer and try to occupy a baby while his sister plays in the sand.
While it makes me sad to realize we no longer have 2 kids under 2 I am truly loving this season we are in. As the kids get more and more independent things are getting easier and easier. Interacting with them is so fun and the things they do and say are hysterical.
That said it's crazy how fast time goes by. In a few months both kids will be in preschool and after that regular school. Time with them will be limited to after school and the weekends. I hope my kids will always value the time spent together as a family and that when they look back on their childhood they remember one of love and family. I also hope that time slows down for I am not ready for them to be in school all day and away from me! I plan on cherishing every moment of this current season we are in instead of rushing to get to the next stage as I was prone to do during their babyhood. My goal for this season is to be more intentional with my kids. To savor long walks with the kids instead of worrying about laundry. To get on the floor and play for hours instead of getting up to clean and to just relish all of my time with them

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Things I swore I'd Never do( Toddler edition)

Before having kids I was a parenting expert. I was so self righteous in thinking that parenting was easy and that it was all the parents fault when kids behaved a certain way. Well I am here to tell you that that is not the case and I am eating my words. So for fun here is a list of things I swore I'd never do

1. I swore that my kids would never throw tantrums in public and would always be well behaved. Ha! What a joke that is. Today in fact I was the mom of two kids who ran like crazy people up and down the aisles and hid under the clothing racks. Sigh. No amount of bribery, pleading, or snacks would keep them in the cart of near me. So we ended up leaving. Shopping with toddlers is no joke

2. My kids would never sleep with me. Since my toddler refuses to sleep in her own room I have an extra person in my bed every night. We have tried everything. Nothing works. She is terrified of her room. We've rearranged things, converted it into a big girl room and have it full of her favorite toys. She refuses to sleep in there for more than a few hours and even then she has to have the lights on and the door open. Once she turns 16 I'm sure she will no longer want to sleep with us

3. My kids will never snack and always eat healthy meals. That one I don't do too bad on. The kids eat what the husband and I eat for dinner and they love all fruits and vegetable. We don't do desert so they think ice cream, cupcakes and brownies are saved for special occasions. Snacking however is another story. They are always hungry and while they will snack on fruit I go through an insane amount of goldfish, cheese it's and ritz. Ethan loves them when he is teething and I do try to limit but sometimes I find myself handing out crackers by the handful just to keep them quiet!
I also hate making breakfast. I despise it. I am not a morning person and with the kids getting up at 6 the last thing I have energy for is making breakfast. Needless to say frozen waffles and applesauce pouches are easy. Not necessarily healthy but it gets the job done

4.I will never be the mom in sweat pants  Well that is me on a daily basis. The mom in Sweat pants. I usually put on a cute outfit when I have places to go but the moment I get home I change into my sweatpants. This usually happens before the husband comes home. Poor guy  Yesterday he mentioned that I had on the same pair of pants for the past 10 days. He's wrong. I have at least 10 pairs of black leggings and swap them out every few days but I get his point. It's just easier to be in comfy clothes while taking care of the kids. Anytime I do have on something cute it gets puked on, spit up on, colored on or dirty in some other way. At least when I go back to work in the fall I wil have a reason to wear "adult" clothes again

5. I will have structured, organized days with the kids Again that's a laugh. My days are anything but structured. I take that back, when it comes to eating, naps bedtimes and outings those usually occur at the same time every day. But aside from that I go with the flow. I tend to let the kids dictate our day. I've tried breaking our day into times set aside for reading, music, etc but it never works out. The kids don't have the attention span to  sit still longer than a few second and their constant fighting makes me give up. So I let the kids chose what they want to do and go from there

6. I swore I would always be the fun mom, The mom that plays with her kids Here is one thing that I swore I would do but it hasn't been as easy as I thought. It's hard to sit down and fully engage with your kids when you can see the towering pile of clean laundry sitting on your couch waiting to be folded, or the dirty dishes are in the kitchen calling your name and the dog hair is visibly noticeable on the floor. It's a daily battle between being intentional with the kids and making myself keep up the house. And let's be honest, sometimes playing with the kids is not fun. Some days Gianna wants me to play with her, other days she wants nothing to do with me. I never seem to get the days right. And Ethan just wants me sitting by him at all times, though no actually interacting with him. And when I try to read or sing with them they get into it with each other. By the time they are pushing and screaming at each other I find the laundry doesn't look half bad. Then when I'm folding the laundry the mom guilt creeps in. It's a constant battle

7. I'd never compare myself to other mom's I never remember my mom comparing herself to other moms and I think without social media it was easy not to. Now you log onto facebook, instagram, blogger and pinterest and see all these other mom's that are better dressed than you, skinnier than you, throw better birthday parties and can cook anything without the need of a recipe. It's so easy to feel like a failure and that is something I work on at all times. I'm learning to let things go and focus on my family and myself only but some days that is really hard

8. My kids will never watch tv I have done all the reading out there that talks about how bad screen time is for children under the age of 2. I swore my kids would not watch tv and if they did it would only be for a half hour a day. Well as a mom of 2 with my husband always gone the tv is my lifesaver. Not my babysitter, although it is nice to turn it on so I can make dinner or squeeze in a shower but it truly is a sanity saver. When the kids have fought with each other all day, have refused to take naps, are cranky and whiny some days tv is the only thing I can do to give myself a break. And on those days I go beyond my half hour limit. Some times it can stretch to much more. Usually enough time to watch a whole Disney movie.

9. I will never bribe or negotiate with my kids I swore up and down that bribing and getting into a power struggle over something with my kiddo's would be the last thing I'd do. Along with time out's and counting to 3. And all those things I do on a daily basis. Especially with my strong willed daughter whom is bothered by nothing. Not even the promise of a toy if she behaves. But other times bribing and promising things are the only way I can accomplish something or ensure that Gianna doesn't slap or push her brother for the 50th time that day

10. I will never get frustrated or annoyed with my children Before having kids of my own I used to get irritated with friends who were constantly annoyed with their kids. You chose to have them, why have them if they are so annoying to you. Or the mom's who post on facebook how they need a break. Everyone knows that when you have kids your life changes forever. Deal with it. How wrong I was. You do need a break and your kids need a break from you. Since I'm with my kids 24/7 it is easy to get frustrated with them.  I am finding that if I designate nap time or some part of the day for a little time to myself I am more patient with my kids

11. I will never yell at my kids out of anger Lately with Gianna doing more things to try to get out attention I am finding myself going from zero to boiling within seconds. Usually it's because she doesn't listen when I tell her something over and over and especially when it comes to her smacking her brother after just being told not to. Then I find myself in a rage screaming at my toddler who just looks at me like I've gone off the deep end. It's true what they say. You love your kids more than anything but they can frustrate you more than anything

12. My kids will share and be nice to others  I am working hard on this one. When it comes to being nice to other kids there is no question, they will be or we are leaving. When it comes to sharing I have my doubts. Some items are favorites and I feel like my kid shouldn't have to share them. And when it comes to each other I can tell them to share and get along until I am blue in the face. Now I sit back and let them go at it. I can't solve all of their problems. They are siblings for the rest of their lives and they have to learn to get along with each other. So now I don't get involved unless one of the kids is crying hysterically or blood is involved(That luckily hasn't happened)

Ahh kids. They are constantly making you question and think through everything you do and don't do. And things I value as important when it comes to parenting are always changing! I have learned though to swear I won't do something. I usually find the things I vowed never to do I end up doing. God has a funny sense of humor

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Two weekends ago I left the kids with the hubby, got all dressed up and headed to Destin for dinner with some girlfriends. It was so nice to be able to have a few drinks, relax, sit and talk with good friends without having to  worry about cutting up some one else's food, or keeping the kids entertained during the meal.
After dinner we headed back to town. I took advantage of being child free and headed to Walmart to do some grocery shopping. I caught a glimpse of myself walking down one of the aisles and had to laugh. Here I was, 9pm on a Friday night wearing my cutest skinny jeans, highest heels, all dressed up for the night and pushing a cart of goldfish crackers and other child friendly snacks walking slowly up and down the aisles of Walmart. Oh how things have changed. It seems like forever ago that a night out didn't start until after 10. Now my friends and I plan dinner early so we can be home before the kids go to bed and a trip to the grocery store without kids is indeed a vacation! I am officially an adult
Once I got everything I needed in the grocery section I headed off to my favorite area, the office supplies and book section. As I browsed the news rack  I caught a glimpse of Pregnancy and Newborn magazine. Instinctively I started to reach for it and I had a total deja vu moment. It was as thought I was transported back in time and stood watching over my younger self.
We had just moved to Florida and I was 7 months pregnant with Gianna. On a trip to Walmart I had picked up the Pregnancy and newborn magazine. I can still remember who was on the cover, a pretty model wearing a royal blue romper. I remember thinking that that outfit would be perfect for the Florida weather and would make my bump look even more adorable. According to that magazine the outfit was from Destination Maternity. Every time the husband and I headed to destin I made him stop at that store to see if they had that outfit in stock. They never did and still every time I see someone wearing a romper I am reminded of that magazine and the summer I was pregnant with Gianna

I put the magazine back on the shelf and immediately felt tears burning my eyes. It seems like that moment happened  yesterday instead of almost 3 years ago. On the car ride home I was overcome by all these memories...

Finding out Gianna was a girl, moving to Fl, decorating the nursery, and spending time with the hubby in those last few months as a couple. I  remember going into the Dr's office for my 38 week apt, My C-section  scheduled for the following Friday so this was our last weekend as a family of two. We had big plans to go see the final Harry Potter movie, sleep in and go to the beach. I got up and took a lot of time doing my hair and makeup, carefully choosing my outfit before heading to the dr. The bewilderment I felt when they told me I had no amniotic fluid left and that I needed to head right upstairs for an emergency C-section. The hysterical phone call I made to my husband's office alerting him to head home immediately and that moment when Gianna was placed into my arms for the first time. Then heading home with a yellow, blotchy baby(thanks jaundice) and thinking that it was impossible to love anything more in that moment. I can still clearly see days spent rocking and nursing my sweet baby girl and enjoying every moment of motherhood, thinking that life couldn't get any better. Then when she was 6 months old taking my baby to Walgreen because I couldn't shake the hung over sick feeling I had had for a week. Right next to the cold medicine aisle was a stack of pregnancy tests. I grabbed one just in case and sure enough it was positive. The ultrasound that confirmed Ethan was a boy even though I was sure I was having a girl. Buying him his first Star Wars shirt, decorating his nursery and savoring every last moment with my baby girl before my sweet boy was born. And once again the shock and amazement of loving someone so much the moment my beautiful boy was placed in my arms. More nights and days of rocking and nursing, the night time being the most special, due to Ethan being wide awake and content to just nestle into the crook of my arm and stare at me. Our own silent way of communicating. These kids have brought so much joy to my life

Looking back it's still hard to believe that I am a mother of two toddler's. I still feel like those newborn days were last month instead of last year. 2.5 years into my motherhood journey I finally feel like I have found my niche. My mommy niche. I have grown into the mom and person that I am today and love being a mom and my kiddos even more than I did when they were born. As we leave babyhood behind and enter into toddlerhood I am truly loving the season that we are in. Motherhood is a journey, a bittersweet one for every day something reminds me of the babies that they no longer are. Yet watching them change and grow into the people they are becoming is truly amazing. I am loving this new season we are in

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Conversations with my 2.5 year old

Gianna has reached that age where she is talking more and more and soaking up things we say like a sponge. It is so fun to have conversations with my little girl and the things she comes up with are hysterical. Here are some of my favorites

The other night I was getting ready to go out to dinner with friends. I walked out into the kitchen where Gianna was coloring. She stopped, blinked and stared at me as though she was in shock. Finally she says "Wow, mom you look beautiful, like a pretty ballerina"
My heart just soared and also confirmed the fact that I need to put on something other than my yoga pants and actually do my hair and makeup more often.
As I put on my high heels Gianna asked me if I was going to go dance on tables. I busted out laughing. I have no idea where she got that from. Kids!

G: Mom, I want to color
Me: No Gianna it's time for bed
G: Mom, your so mean, get out of my room. (Picture this conversation going on with a 2.5 year old sighing at me like I'm so annoying and placing her hands on her hips as she talks to me) I can't believe this attitude starts this young

G: Dad, what are you doing? (Asking him this as he's wiping down the cabinets
Hubby: Wiping down the cabinets
G: Hands on hips, That's right dad, You wipe down those cabinets!
Apparently we have a little boss on our hands

Anytime Ethan is doing something wrong she yells, No Ma'm. You listen to mommy
Or when he wakes up in the morning she runs into his room and says, Hi Lover. I missed you Bubba Bubba bubba

This kid! Cracks me up every single day

Monday, February 10, 2014

Preschool and other changes around here

When Gianna was born I was the only one out of all my friends to have a newborn. Either they had much older kids, were newly pregnant or didn't have kids at all. So when I would hear my friends talk about preschool and kindergarten programs for their kiddo's I would listen and think to myself that I had awhile before I had to start figuring that all out. As I sat there holding my newborn I couldn't even imagine the day she would be 3. It seemed like forever away. And here we are  2.5 years later and preschool has been a topic of conversation around our house here lately. Time really does go by so fast

At first I didn't even think I would send the kids to preschool. When I met my husband I was working on my master's in teaching special education. I still have one semester left of my master's program. I never finished due to moving to Nc and no schools there had a similar program. Plus my job in NC required me to go to school for my certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis so I did that instead. Anyway, with all that background in working with kids and studying how to work with kids, I figured preschool was something I could do with the kids on my own. Down here in Fl, preschool is a little pricey and I figured I could sign Gianna up for dance and gymnastics instead which would be a much cheaper option than preschool. Plus she would be doing something she loved and get to be around other kiddo's her own age

But this past month I've had a change of heart. The month in Wi Gianna thrived and blossomed due to all the positive attention she received. Her behavior got better, she started talking more and she really started coming into her own. I know that part of that was due to maturing but it also had a lot to do with all the attention she received from her uncle, grandparents and other family members. Attention that I try to give her but that isn't always possible when the husband is gone. Its hard being both mom and dad to two kids so close in age!

 Plus she is a genius. She can spell her name, count to 15, knows all the letters and some letter sounds, colors, shapes etc. I think she needs to be in an environment that will challenge her, teach her to take instruction from other adults, play with other kids her own age and get a break from me. Yes I said it, I think Gianna and I need a break from each other!!

And here is why. In the last 18 month's the husband has been gone 15 of them. The kids and I are around each other 24/7. Gianna has my number so to speak. With the husband set to leave again in a few weeks I started worrying about how our family dynamic will change once again. So the talk of preschool came up. Even my mom called me one day to suggest that preschool would be good for Gianna.

So the hubby and I sat down and talked about it and decided sending her to preschool would be the best thing for her. He also suggested we put Ethan in one day a week. At first that made me sad, I figured I could use the time that Gianna's in preschool to have some 1:1 time with Ethan. Time that we never had together. But the thought of putting him in one day a week was quite tempting. It would give me a break, time to myself, a day to run errands and get everything done without the kids around. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to me

The preschool I wanted to enroll Gianna in  is also where we attend church. It is brand new, state of the art and beautiful. I put Gianna there one day a week after Ethan was born and she loved it. Her teacher is now our babysitter and I can't say enough good things about their program. Last year was their first year having a 4 year old kindergarten class and with the way the church community and school is growing they are once again expanding in hopes to have 4 VPK classes next year along with the preschool program and the daycare option

We went to church a few weekends ago and I asked when registration would be for the preschool. Last year they booked up really fast and people were put on the waiting list. The administrator told me by the end of February. On the drive home I then noticed that they were looking for teachers and assistants. I kept getting the feeling that God was telling me to apply. We got home and I brought it up to my husband. The hours would be perfect. It would only be part time, the kids would be there the same days I worked and it was at a place that I truly loved and thought I'd be a good fit for. So I sent in my resume

I had my interview last week and got the job. I will be teaching 4 year old kindergarten or VPK as others call it. I am beyond blessed and excited. While I feel that my calling is to be a mom and to stay home with my kids as long as possible, I feel like this job enables me to do that yet also do something for myself. The kids will thrive and flourish in their programs, I will be working with young kids again which I love and I will be off when the kids have off and so on and so forth

At first the husband was worried I'd be taking too much on but I think going back to work will have the opposite effect. I will get to go do something of my own, and the time spent with my kids will be more productive, more meaningful somehow

I know that sounds bad. I truly do love staying home with my kids. I can't imagine not having done so these past 2.5 years. But it's the managing the home that I hate. The cleaning, the laundry, the cooking. Yuck. I told my husband that crock pot meals would be a daily occurrence and that household chores wouldn't be as big of a priority as they are now, because if I am off from work I am going to be spending all my time playing with the kids and not worrying about everything else around the house that needs to get done. I try to do that now but some days I feel like if the husband comes home to a messy house he will start to resent the fact that I sit home all day and do nothing. We both know that is not the case, that chasing after two kids is fun yet tiring and that even when I do spend hours cleaning the kids tear the place up in seconds the minute I am done. But still that guilt kicks in and I feel like I need to have a perfect house along with being a perfect mom.

I will not be starting teaching until after labor day so I have these next few months to really focus on the kids and spend as much time with them as possible. I am so excited for this new chapter in our lives to start and feel like all around the decision to send the kids to preschool and me to go back to work part time is the best one for our family. God is so good. It's funny how he presents opportunities at just the right time

Still the thought of both kids going to school and not being with me all day every day is a little sad. I can't believe that I have two kids who are preschool age. It seems like just yesterday 6 month old Gianna was bouncing in her bouncer watching me while I started at a positive pregnancy test in dismay. Time can start slowing down any day now

In true Katie fashion I ordered some books off amazon on teaching. Does anyone have any good teaching resources, advice for teaching 4 years olds or any websites and things you can recommend?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Favorite Books:Motherhood/Parenting Edition +new blog series

I have loved to read for as long as I can remember. I was an early reader and was always reading way above my grade level. I use books for comfort, distraction, an escape and knowledge. When I'm stressed or going through something I immediately head to barnes and nobles, stock up on books and devour them quickly. I got through many break-up's doing that! The minute my husband and I got engaged I brought every book out on the market that dealt with military relationships and deployments. It should come to no shock to you that I  that the minute I was done peeing on 8 pregnancy tests to confirm my pregnancy with my first baby the husband and I rushed to barnes and nobles and bought every pregnancy book they had in stock. And now since having the kids I am still buying every parenting book I can get my hands on. Or memoir's on motherhood in general. So today I thought I would share a few of these books with you

1. Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures This book I read in a day. And then passed it to all my friends and sent to my cousin when she found out she was pregnant. I loved this book. At first I was kind of iffy when I ordered it. I'm sure you've come across the memoir's on motherhood where the author spends all 300 pages talking about how she hates motherhood and how her children annoy her. This was not that book. This book captures the honesty of motherhood while also perfectly describing how amazing it is to be a mom. The author may be a sleep deprived mama of 2 who pulls no punches talking about endless nursing sessions, sleepless nights, poopy diapers and everything else that new motherhood contains, yet it is clear that this woman loves being a mom and is a good one at that. the author had me go from laughing to crying within seconds. Read this book. You won't regret it

2. Bringing up Bebe I started reading this book while getting my 3 hr glucose test done when pregnant with Ethan and then put it down and forgot about it. I picked it up again when Ethan was few month's old and quickly read it. It was so good. I know some find this book controversial and of course I didn't agree with everything the author had to say but I found it interesting none the less. French parenting reminds me of the way I was parented. Except I never lived in France!
 The author compared the American culture of parenting to the French way. The author refers to us Americans as helicopter parents.We run around trying to keep our kids entertained all day long,  sign them up for every activity possible in the hopes of turning them into well rounded, talented individuals and spend our days catering to their every whim and desire. According to this author in France parents do not do this. At the park, the kids play while the mom's hang out, read or watch. They don't get involved in their kids play and they don't get involved in the fights between children unless their is blood. The kids don't eat snacks constantly instead eating what their parents are eating. Parents in France relish their personal lives as much as they did before having kids and woman are encouraged to quickly lose the baby weight and into their pre pregnancy jeans. They have to look good for their husbands of course. Not sure my yoga pants would fit in over there
Oh and their aren't millions of parenting books on the market. There is one!
The book is fascinating and I thought provoking. Again I felt these French principles were similar to the way I was raised.  Both my parent's worked and when home stuff needed to get done. Although my parents did play with us and we spent lot's of time together, we also were able to entertain ourselves. We did not snack constantly and at the park we played with other kids instead of our parents. And if my mom sat and read a book while we were playing, she didn't get judged. All the other mom's were doing it as well. Today if you did that you'd come home to facebook posts about your awful parenting skills. I could go on but I'll keep this short. This book is def worth the read. You won't agree with everything this author says but I valued her opinions and research

3. Sparkly Green Earrings I think this is my ultimate favorite on motherhood. I read it in one night, and have reread it numerous times since then. I also bought this for a friend as a baby shower gift. The author shares her journey from getting pregnant, to the actual pregnancy and then the days and years that followed her daughter's birth. Her writing style is like warm and welcoming. I felt like I was actually sitting with the author, listening to her stories over coffee. Such a beautiful read. And I still can't stop laughing about the author's story of wanting to get a suntan, cramming her pregnant  self into a bikini and then getting locked out of her house. Hilarious and something I would totally do. Oh wait I did do that! The author also has a book coming out on marriage called the Antelope in the Room. I've had it preordered since Dec. A few more days until it is released and my copy will be on it's way.

4. Carry on Warrior I saw this author on the Today show talking about how we don't have to Carpe Diem everything about motherhood. I looked up Glennon's blog and immediately ordered her book. Her book reads essay style. She shares her own personal story, marriage struggles, letters to her children and thoughts on life and religion. I loved it and will probably be rereading it again soon.

So there you have some of my favorite books on parenting and motherhood. What are your favorites? Also since I am back on a reading kick and have stacks and stacks of books to read I thought I would have a post at the end of each month listing and reviewing the books I had read during the month. If people are interested I can create a link up and we can all share what we are reading.
Here is my stack for this month

Happy reading! I usually share what I am reading on Instagram along with cute pictures of my kids. Follow along!

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Ache

The other day a friend who is pregnant with baby #3 asked if I had any baby things I wanted to give a way. Baby #3 was a surprise addition to their family and as they are set to PCS shortly after he is born they didn't want to go all out and buy all new things.
Since I rarely use Giannas' changing pad anymore I told her I had an extra one along with a crib mattress that was barely used. Usually I get sad when I think about giving the kids baby items away but knowing that we still had Ethan's changing pad and crib mattress that we could use if we had another baby made things easier. So I loaded my car up with the crib mattress and changing pad and met her for lunch
Later that day the husband went into Gianna's room and inquired about the changing pad. He was shocked I had gotten rid of it. Normally he is all for clearing out clutter, even the baby things so I was surprised he even noticed it was gone.  He went on and on about me giving those things away which really started to get irritating
A few days later, as we were sitting on the couch he brought it up again. He tried to pass it off that he was upset because he used the changing pad when he changed Gianna and now he has nothing to change her on but I called his bluff. I asked him if he was upset that I gave it away because it is clear she is no longer a baby and by me removing those items from her room we are admitting that fact to ourselves as well. Obviously we know that at 2.5 she is all toddler but it's sad to admit that this July she will be 3, starting preschool and before we know it in school all day every day. She won't want to sleep with us every night, she won't be asking for hugs and kisses all day long and we will be the ones begging her to play with us instead of the other way around.
As we talked about all this we talked about the possibility about having another baby. And while we haven't ruled out the possibility of a third I think we are complete as a family of four. Now that we have two toddler's things are so much easier. Not that we don't love the baby stage, we totally do. But we can now take both kids to the park and both can run around and play. Going to the zoo isn't only fun for one child, it's fun for both and interacting with them and watching them interact with each other is a total blast.  We are counting down the days until our summer vacation this summer knowing that even though we enjoyed last year's vacation this year will be even more fun. Ethan won't spend the majority of the time strapped in his stroller, we won't be scheduling out our days according to nap and sleep schedules and we can all just enjoy our time. I'm not saying a third would ruin any of that, it would just add to the joy, I just think that for us 2 is it. Unless God has other plans of course.
Then last night a friend gave birth to her baby girl and when I went and visited her the same nurse that took care of Ethan after he was born, was on duty and my friend's nurse. Cue instant flashbacks, sadness and baby fever. Some days I long for the feeling of tiny flutter's inside my belly, the sharp jab of an elbow protruding into my bladder. Then the feeling of the baby being placed in your arms for the first time, the newborn smell, the smacking sound as they open and close their mouths when they sleep. To think I will never experience that again makes me so sad. Dang baby fever
I saw this article floating around various blogs, websites and facebook and decided to share it with you since it completely describes that feeling of knowing you are done having children yet having the ache for more. The article is available here . As well as below
"Our old baby crib is now sitting in pieces in the garage. We will take it to the dump soon (it has one of those now-outlawed dropsides so we can’t resell it or donate it). Whole sections of the bars are gnawed to bare wood by little teething babies, there are bits of sticker glue and swipes of Sharpie marker here and there, the screws are a bit loose. It’s in rough shape after nearly eight years and three big babies-to-toddlers in quick succession. There are a lot of sacred memories hidden in that dismantled old crib. The day we took it apart, I cried over that junky old crib. Goodbye, old friend.
It is likely that there are no more babies for us.
I was never one of those girls who wanted to have a houseful of babies, who just wanted to get married and have babies and stay home with them. I mean, I was okay with kids but it wasn’t my thing. I quit babysitting at 14 because I figured there had to be a better way to make money than that. And even after our miscarriages and challenges with fertility, I was unprepared for how completely transformative I found motherhood, how I loved even the mundane dailyness, how I found joy here.
I know that everyone’s experience is different, and I’m not saying that mine is normative but it’s real and I can’t deny it: I came into myself when I became a mother. I was reborn, all over again. The experience of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding my babies profoundly changed me AND it changed my view of God entirely.
So, of course, it’s hard to know that stage of my life is done now.
But it is.
It’s likely that I won’t ever be pregnant again, that I won’t carry a baby within me again, that I won’t ever give birth again. (Yes, I’m one of those awful women who loves pregnancy and giving birth.) When I think about not breastfeeding – one of the most real things I’ve ever done with this body – ever again, I catch my breath with longing.
And yet, I love this new stage of life with the tinies. Just when I think we’re at my favourite stage with them, something new comes along and I think, “oh, wow! no, this part is my favourite!”
People tell you a lot about how much parenting will change your life and they’re right. But usually they mean that you won’t ever sleep in again (you won’t) and a few other things about how much we “give up” to become parents. No one tells you how much you’re going to laugh. No one tells you how much wisdom resides in these small humans, how much they will teach you about love and life and friendship and forgiveness and worship. No one tells you how good and freeing it is to leave your selfishness behind. No one tells you about recapturing your own wonder and innocence, about re-reading the Ramona books, about playing football in the basement, about birthday parties and snow days and every day beauty. All the best things I know about the big nouns and verbs of a life came back into my life because of them.
But there likely won’t be anymore Bessey babies for us. Our family is complete, it seems, we’ll always be a Five-Family, as the tinies call us. There are many personal reasons why we’ve come to this decision as a family.
In my head, I know that this is the right decision. In my heart, I know this is the right decision. Brian and I are in complete agreement.
And yet there is The Ache.
Always The Ache, right underneath my lungs, in the pit of my gut, the ache of what that means and the grief of moving on, of love, of knowing: No more babies. No more nursing quietly in the night. No more flour sack of milk-drunk baby bliss. No more gummy smiles. No more tiny diapers. No more baby clothes. No more crib. No more baby wearing. No more new baby smell. No more of the millions of moments that knit your heart so completely to another small soul.
The season of having babies – the one that so radically changed me – is over. I’m okay with that. Most days, I’m even very happy about it, relieved perhaps. It’s an intense season of life, make no mistake. We’re ready for this new season, looking forward with anticipation to new things. Other days, it’s hard.
I know we like to pretend like we can have everything all at once. It’s a nice illusion. But there are transitions in our lives: times for certain seasons and times when those seasons end. Are we happier for pretending that we can have everything anytime we like? Or are we better when we acknowledge the end of one chapter of our lives, grieve and sing and give weight to the passing of it, and move forward? To everything, there is a season.
I am starting to think that, no matter how many children we have, no matter the reasons why, no matter how old we are, when you’re done having babies, we always carry The Ache.
I have a friend who had six children, and she said that she had The Ache when they were done. I have other friends who had two, who had The Ache. Other friends who had four or five or six. I have friends who are in their thirties with toddlers, in their forties with teenagers, other women in their fifties and menopausal, and they still talk about The Ache: I miss that still, they say wistfully. That was a nice time in my life.
I don’t know that we ever lose that ache. I don’t know if we ever get rid of it. I don’t know if we should. Maybe it’s meant to be there with us. So I’m learning to live with The Ache now.
I’m learning to let it be there, part of me, probably always a part of me, without justification or change of circumstance. When you have been given the tremendous gift of being able to have a baby, to give birth to that baby, to love that baby, it marks you. It should, perhaps, and so this season has marked more than just my stretched-out body, it has marked my soul.
The Ache reminds me of the great and terrible beauty I have seen, of what love I have experienced, of the sorrow and brokenness of loss, of all the love that is still here, of the wonder and miracle of life, of the sweetness of co-creation, of the labour and release, of transcendence.
Praise God, my babies are growing up and that is its own joy and beauty. I’ll miss toddlers in the same way, I’ll miss preschoolers, I’ll miss their kindergarten self, their Grade Two self, as well, and so on through their lives.
Right now, the Ache is for no more babies in my life. This was a beautiful time in my life, please notice that it’s changing. But the Ache changes and grows as we move through our years, I imagine, perhaps in proportion to the life we live, the love we gather and give. Someday, I’ll miss these very days, talk about them with the same language, perhaps.
And in another few years, the blink of an eye, I’ll be sitting in a house, alone: the laundry will be done at last, the house will be clean – and it will stay clean, and the floors will be quiet, no one will be asking me for anything at all, my time will be my own, and I will feel the full weight of The Ache for which I’ve been holding vigil at last.
It’s simply the Ache of time passing, because this is what time does, and our souls are noticing the passing of a season, and it’s okay. It’s okay to let it Ache. It means we’re living and it means we’re loving our life as it stands, loving it enough to notice a transition away.
I am making my peace with The Ache, holding a bit of space for its presence in my life today. Someday it will be my old friend."
Sarah Bessey is a writer and award-winning blogger at She is the author of Jesus Feminist. She lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, Brian, and their three children, Anne, Joseph and Evelynn.