Friday, March 9, 2018

A Letter to My Wife

Marriage isn’t easy. It doesn’t often reflect what you see in the movies, or how you think it should be based off romance novels and reality TV. Marriage is actually really fucking hard at times, and it’s okay that it is; because sharing your everyday life with another adult can get frustrating as hell! What I don’t think most people realize, is that the dating, carefree and childless phase of a lifelong relationship, is rather short-lived in the grand scheme of things. In what feels like no time at all, the real world takes center stage and you find yourself knee-deep in bills, working too many hours, all while raising tiny humans and dealing with all that comes along with that. There’s loads laundry to be done (my God, so much laundry), exhaustion ensues, navigating in-laws and a family that you didn’t grow up with can be tough and this is all done while also working to remember why you fell in love in the first place, and why you want to stay in love. All of these day to day stressors are then magnified when you bring a new baby into the family.

As expecting parents, or new parents, we tend to focus solely on the beauty of expanding the family. The squishy, lovie fun and exciting things, which are amazing, are all that most of us plan for and expect. When you only hear and talk about the good, it can leave you feeling sad and defeated when bringing that sweet baby home gets hard and changes the dynamics of your marriage, which it 100% does, 100% of the time. So why don’t we talk about it? Why don’t we talk more about the hard stuff?

G and I did a pretty good job of navigating the world as a family of 4, in the beginning. We started to really suck at it right around the time Will decided to stop sleeping through the night at 8 months, all while growing a few teeth and being super pissed and in pain because of it. G had left her job of 18 years and the stress of canceling our Hawaii trip + financial burdens + Gracie acting out for a few weeks, had us fighting more than I’d like to admit.

We eventually weathered the shit storm and made it through to the other side, but not without a lot of hurtful words said to one another, days and days of not talking at all and some serious thoughts of spending a few days apart. It didn’t come to that, thankfully, but shit got hard. Like, really hard. The great thing about our marriage though, is that we’re both willing to admit when we overreact and when the fighting gets to a boiling point, it breaks our hearts and we always end up reach out to make things better. That happened about a week ago and following the making up, we went to dinner. At dinner Georgia asked me why I love her. I paused when she asked me this because I couldn’t remember the last time she asked me something like that and I couldn’t remember the last time I told her the reasons I love her.

We both decided to make a list of 10 reasons why we love each other, for each other. We decided to write 10 reasons why I choose her and why she chooses me and so that’s what we did. Below is my list, to my wife. I’m sharing this here to be transparent and show anyone out there admiring our happy pictures and reading our happy stories – that we’re a real family, with real problems. We aren’t perfect parents and we make mistakes often. We don’t have a perfect marriage. Far from it, but that’s ok. It’s all ok. It’s ok to feel jealous of other relationships that appear to be perfect. It’s ok to feel like you need a break from your kids when they’re draining you, and it’s ok to argue with your spouse and want to scream at them from time to time. These things are normal, so try not to beat yourself up when they happen.

Instead, trying writing your spouse a letter, or a list of why you chose them all those years ago and why you still choose them today.     

To my wife, these are 10 of the many reasons I LOVE you – in no particular order :)

1. You have the softest lips and you’re a great kisser!

2. Our kids are the luckiest kiddos on the plant to have you as their Mommy. I love that you’re such a natural at mom-ing. Every decision you make and everything you do is with Gracie and Will in mind. You live to love and care for them and you make sure to show them in all of your interactions, that they are your entire world.

3. You completely get me. You know how I’m feeling just by looking at my face. You know my noises and what they mean and you know when I need you most.

4. I love that you’re an amazing daughter and take such great care of your parents. You are there for them in every way, whether it’s accompanying them to their weekly doctor appointments, helping them use electronics (oy vey!), lifting all the heavy things in their home or just being their go-to person for everything. They are so blessed to have you!

5. As you know, I love your booty. It my favorite of all your body parts!

6. You’re so dang handy and you aren’t afraid to learn how to do, build, create and install complex things, which I love! I appreciate that you’re never afraid to get on ladders, climb to the roof, or do anything else needed to care for our home and our things. I can’t even imagine all the money we’ve saved having never needed to call a handyman, lol.

7. I appreciate that you’ve taught me to be more patient, to hold onto less and to be more forgiving.

8. Your face. I love that it’s covered in freckles and that you have the longest lashes and full lips and you’re just so dang beautiful!

9. I love that you’re my #1 supporter and my biggest fan. You believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself and you have no idea how much that helps ease my fears and anxiety.

10. And as cheesy as this last one may sound, I love that we have the same goals for the future and for our kids. The things that are most important to you, are also most important to me and I’m so thankful for that.

And there you have it. 

There’s lots of other things I LOVE the most, but it’s probably not appropriate for me to write them here. ;) 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

8/52: M A R C H B A B Y

Tomorrow, our beautiful March baby will be SIX years old! Yesterday was Crazy Hat Day at her school. Today is Crazy Socks Day and tomorrow, on her actual birthday, she only has to go to school half day due to parent/teacher conferences; so we're taking her out for a Mamas' date day! Then uncle D and uncle C fly in for her birthday party this weekend! So basically, this gal is having the best week ever and she's so dang excited about all of it, haha! Our first love - I just can't believe that she's going to be six! Where does the time go?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

10 Months of William

As I type this blog post, I’m so tired that I could literally lay my head down and fall asleep – right here, right now. *If only parents of more than one kiddo had that luxury… Our Sonnie Bear is going through some sleep regression + teething and has been for weeks and I’m so damn tired, all the time. There are good nights, when he stays asleep, waking once or not at all, but those nights are few and far between, these days. If I were to estimate, I would say that I get 2 nights of decent sleep per week and by decent, I mean 6 hours min, or at least one chunk of uninterrupted deep sleep. I blame G for much of my sleep disturbance, if I’m just being honest, because she comes to bed so damn late and almost always wakes us up and then Georgia and the baby fall fast asleep and I’m stuck awake. I wish so badly that sleep deprivation didn’t impact me the way that it does and that I wasn’t such a crappy sleeper in general, but I am and I always have been. Ugh.

Thankfully, our main man still goes to sleep easily and by the time 8pm rolls around, he’s ready to hit the hay and is always quick to drink his bottle and doze off in our arms. It takes 10-15 minutes to get him down, at which point I usually pick up around the house, pack Gracie’s lunch/snack and get outfits ready for the next day. The babe sleeps through me watching Friends reruns (on volume 1) before I fall asleep around 10:30pm, so I’m happy about that! Then Georgia, my night-owl of a wife and our noisy ass dog come barreling in around 1:30am and wake everyone up. My exhaustion and grumpiness is beginning to get the best of me (as if you can’t tell by reading this post) and I’m thinking it’s time that we transition Will to his own nursery. It makes me sad to write this because I truly adore waking up to his little face peeking at me from over the rail of his bed, and I love that we’ve practiced attachment parenting with him since the day he was born, because that was so important to us. But at the end of the day, I just need more restful sleep if I want to be the best mama I can be. This is right around the time we transitioned Grace to her nursery and I’m praying that it goes as smoothly as it did with her… Now we just need to decide when to actually make the transition.

Our Sonnie is changing and doing new things like crazy and at rapid speed right now. He seems to be ready to walk because he’s decided that he wants to free-stand even if it means he falls back on his little booty over and over. He’s great at standing but can usually only stay standing, without holding on for around 5 seconds, which is amazing to us! He is our little dare devil and dives off the couch now too, head first and refuses to stop; so we’ve had to show him how to safely “dive off”. We’ll be sitting on the couch with him on our lap, or sitting next to us and out of nowhere, he’ll throw himself forward trying to land on the ground on his hands, HEAD FIRST! Sweet Jesus it gave us a heart attack the first couple of times he did it, little stinker! He crawls in turbo now and can get from one side of the living room to the other in seconds, so we’ve had to make a little barricade to keep him safely in the living room while we’re cooking or doing anything that doesn’t allow us to be within an arm’s reach of him. You may be wondering why we don’t just put the boy in his large play yard or jumper to keep him occupied and safe and the answer is, he’s over those things and just must explore and MOVE. When we try to place him in any stationary position, he acts like a caged animal, haha! He makes so much noise and it cracks us up!    

Growth Stats | Height: 29 ½ Inches Tall & Weight: 18.9 Pounds (taken 2 weeks ago, right at 10 months – so I’m sure he’s grown since then). Baby boy’s still wearing size 6-9 months, depending on the outfit. He would probably fit in some 12-month stuff, but we have yet to try any. He can wear 6-month swim trunks and tops because he’s so skinny, but pants have to be 9 months+ because he’s tall! He wears hats of all sizes and thankfully doesn’t seem to mind wearing them. His shoes are a size 3 and sadly, I haven’t been too good at getting him into all of his adorable shoes before he grows out of them. I hate when that happens!

Nutrition | Brother bear is allergic to eggs and we’re totally bummed about it because our family LOVES eggs! We introduced them at the end of January and within 5 minutes he was covered in hives from head to toe and we had to immediately take him in to see the doc. Thankfully everything turned out to be ok, but it’s something we’ll have to watch because he appears to have a very high sensitivity to it. G fed him a muffin without even thinking about it a few days later and the hives came back! So, no egg or anything made with egg for now. :(

Some new foods he’s tried over this past month include: chard, tortilla, eggs, sausage, cantaloupe, French Fries, pumpkin, muffin, honeydew and pizza. This is in addition to the ongoing list of the baby led foods our guy has fed himself and purees that he still loves to eat. His food list is detailed below, for any of you looking for ideas for BLW foods.

{ Pickles, olives, black beans, banana, potato, corn, pinto beans, grapes, tomato, blueberries, avocado, cucumber, broccoli, tofu, roasted seaweed, ground turkey, hummus, toast, ham, spaghetti, lasagna, pita bread, chicken, cheddar cheese, pesto pasta, shredded beef, gelato and popsicle. }

Developmental Stuff | Some new milestones to surface this month include the turbo crawl, mentioned above and our dude can now walk with his little zebra walker! He can play peek-a-boo (which is the cutest thing on the planet)! He can free-stand for around 5 seconds and is showing so many signs that he’s ready to walk. Our guy has also become a “talking” machine! Now, by talking, I’m not referring to the 5 words that he actually knows and can say, but rather his voice that he appears to have found and uses all day long! It’s too funny to hear some of the sounds that come out of his mouth!

The biggest change/development this past month is that our dude finally started Swim School with Gracie! The kiddo has been on the waitlist since he was 3 months old and I literally jumped for joy when we got the call that a slot had opened up. It took forever because the school itself is difficult to get into, as no one ever seems to leave, but we also had to get him into one of only 2 Parent + Tot classes that are offered on the same day and in the evening when Grace has her class. He has done amazing so far and really seems to be enjoying it! No tear as of yet, not even when he’s been fully submerged in water. He’s in class with 5-7 other tots, so I’ve loved getting to see him interact with other babies. He loves it and Gracie is so excited that he’s there with her!

The only challenge I’ve had with Swim School is that G and I have to alternate getting in the pool with the babe, which means that every other week I have to march out in front of 50 parents on the other side of the glass wall, in my bathing suit... Now, I’ve never been one to be self-conscious, but seriously. It’s the worst, LOL! Thankfully I’m quickly over it once we’re in the water and then us water babies have a blast together! I’ve purchased adorable swim suits for will since we first found out that G was pregnant, so it’s been so great to see our boy wearing them. I just can’t wait until he’s taking laps around the pool like his big sis! Here’s a video of Will swimming with Mommy. :)

<< Mama's Sweet Lovies >>

And I’ll end with this adorable comparison picture of Gracie at 10 months and her bro at 10 months. I really can’t believe that our boy will be ONE in just 6 weeks! I’m currently in the process of finishing up prep for Gracie’s 6th birthday: Peter Rabbit themed bowling party that’s in just 9 days! I’m also mid-prep for Will’s 1st birthday extravaganza --AND-- Georgia’s 40th birthday, which all fall within 3 weeks of each other. It’s a lot to plan, pay for and execute, but I got this! Challenge accepted!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

All you need is LOVE… and more sleep!

We’re a family who goes BIG for Valentine’s Day. We always have, as we all love the idea of celebrating a day full of hearts, chocolate and pink everything! Grace just can’t wait for all the candy every year and my favorite part is the special cards, and all these “mama years” later, I still enjoy the crafting that comes along with it. This year though, I was beyond exhausted. Will is still going through a bit of sleep regression and the night before Valentine’s Day was a teething nightmare of a night. He was pretty fussy all afternoon that day previous and then took 45 minutes to put down for bed, rather than the usual 10-15 minutes. We should have known to give him a bit of pain reliever, but we didn’t… We paid for that in the middle of the night though, when he woke up the house and didn’t want to go back to sleep. It was around 3am and I was sure I was dreaming as I shushed the baby squirming in the bed next to me. I didn’t think I was really shushing Will, but rather that I was dreaming it, until I woke myself up from all the shushing and he started yelling MAMAMAMA! Kiddo eventually gave out such a long and loud “MAaaaaaMAAAA” that Georgia and I came to and couldn’t help but crack up laughing. It was rather hilarious. I then stood up over his bed looking down with a big smile on my face, at which point he began slapping his legs up and down like a mermaid, making even more noise! It was the funniest thing ever! We finally brought him to the bed and within about 30 minutes, he was back to sleep. Unfortunately for me, sleep doesn’t come easy. I ended up being wide awake from 3:00am until around 5:00am and then had to wake again for the day, a little over an hour later.

Oh, and did I mention that Gracie was so excited that same night that we had to put her to back to bed 3 times and she didn’t end up finally going to sleep until 11pm?! So basically, I maybe got 4 hours of sleep going into Valentine’s Day… #momlife am I right!

I am getting a bit ahead of myself though, as our Valentine’s Day festivities began the weekend before the 14th, with the annual card making and baking extravaganza that my mom hosts with the kids every year. My oldest nephew’s going to be 17 next month (OMG!) so he doesn’t come to these things anymore, but Gracie, Will and their other two cousins had a blast! Nani puts together little gifts for each of them with candy, games and cards. They have a baking activity, which is always to make themed cupcakes and then they do an arts and crafts activity.

This year they crafted the cutest little bouquets made of paper cutouts of their hands with hearts and wrote about why they love their family members on each one. It was adorable! The baby joined the group and ran around in his walker while the kids made stuff. Nani spoiled Will, with this being his first Valentine’s Day and I just about cried when I read the card she wrote to him. These kiddies. I don’t know if they even realize that they totally won the lottery in the grandparents’ department – on both sides of the family. Lucky babies!

A little love note from my big girl. *heart explodes

This was the first Valentine’s Day that Gracie was able to do 100% of her cards for classmates on her own! This was also her first V-day as a big girl in elementary school, so that made it even more fun! In the weeks leading up to love day, she picked out the cards she wanted to give out, selecting these adorable ones that had unicorns that she tied to each little card. I supervised, meaning that I let her use my finger to tie knots, but other than that, she did everything herself. She gave her school buds each a unicorn card, activity coloring kit and heart shaped (organic, gluten-free, non-GMO) cookie in a heart baggie… Her school is a bit ridiculous when it comes to food and quite frankly, the cookies tasted like garbage. Healthy, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO garbage. ;)

I went a bit crazy with the themed outfits with this being Will’s first V-day, but no shocker there, haha! Grace had one outfit that was pink, pink and more pink with a cute glitter heart hair clip and her other outfit was a sweater dress with a giant pink heart on the front, while brother bear rocked an adorable “Heart Breaker” outfit with the same red shoes Grace wore as a baby and a little red “Cuter than Cupid” getup. They both looked so stinkin’ cute! All the heart eyes for these two.

Will also rocked a 2nd Heart Breaker onesie that we got for his baby shower in his 10 months pictures this month! My handsome boy and his cutie patootie big sis. Oh my heart!

Putting together the kiddos presents from Cupid was beyond fun for me and was one of those things I often thought about as we were trying to make Grace a big sister for all those years. My mind would often run through daydreams about Gracie and her little sib opening Christmas gifts together and running out the morning of Valentine’s Day to see what their Mamas picked out for them, so to see it actually happen had me smiling from ear to ear! I went a little nuts at the $1 bins at Tar.get because they had SO MUCH cute stuff and I couldn’t even believe it when I came across the “Over the Moon” plaque for our Sonnie! It totally matches his Outer Space themed nursery and I just loved that we found something so perfect for his first V-day! We picked a new set of earrings for the bean because she is OBSESSED with them and found a pair of matching sloths for our kiddos, who we often joke move at a sloths pace 24/7. They loved them!

Georgia can really come out of the woodwork and surprise me with her romance, every now and again. ;) She most definitely did that this year. She planned a fancy dinner for us, at home where we prefer to eat on Valentine’s Day and gifted me the most beautiful ring symbolizing our new family tree. We met for lunch on the day of and had the most delish seafood boil at our fav place before heading home to spend a quiet Vday together as a family.

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day with the people you love too!

Xo, K (Mama)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Well, I'm Officially a Grownup!

True story. I am now the proud owner of a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and I'm still kind of in shock about it! This was a (somewhat) planned move on my part, however I didn't expect to drive off the lot with my new whip this past weekend. I've driven a Jeep Commander for the past, nearly 9 years and I LOVED my Jeep. She pulled our camper for many years, drove us up so many mountains and was there from the day we took Gracie home from the hospital and for every adventure since that time. The Jeep was my first "big girl" purchase following college and I think that's why I've been putting off trading it in, even though it was starting to fall apart. 

Then, about 2 two weeks ago my ABS system starting locking up anytime I went over 60 MPH and several new warning lights turned on. This was super unsafe and freaking me out, and once I found out that repairs would cost upwards of $2,000, I knew it was time. G had been eye-balling the Atlas for months and says that she knew this would be my next vehicle and she was right! She's always right, dang it! 

We went in on Saturday morning to check it out and test drive this, as well as several other SUV's at various dealerships, but I knew right away that this was 100% the one. My fiscally conservative self still didn't feel ready to take the plunge, but when I found out that the 2018 had a 5 star safety rating, seats 7, was marked down $4K for the holiday weekend + they were prepared to give me twice what I expected for my trade-in and a financing package of 3%, I was sold!

Gracie broke my heart when it was time to leave our family Jeep behind, because she was just an ocean of tears. She was so upset that we weren't taking it back home with us, telling me through her tears that, "this is the car that's kept us safe my whole life, Mama". She of course got me crying too and so I'm sure her and I were quite the spectacle balling outside the Volkswagen dealership! Thankfully though, once she realized that Mama would let her sit in the 3rd row seats whenever she wanted and that she could now watch DVDs when we drive places, she was suddenly as happy as a clam, lol!

We had to go back on Sunday for a class on how to work all the bells and whistles on the Atlas, which made me even more excited! They trained us on how Car-Net App Connect works and showed us features that blew my mind! Basically, the car parks itself among many, many other amazing things!

The remainder of our weekend was spent with friends and last night this little dude right here slept for 11 hours straight! It was glorious considering the major sleep regression he's had lately! Today I feel refreshed, like a new mama with an amazing new ride. Life is good!

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