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Six Months Old – Letter to My Amazing Baby Boy

Dear Grayson,

Six months comes and goes and all I can think about is how lucky I am. You’re six months old! But I get to have you forever. You are my son always. And even though I didn’t get to hold you until 6 months ago, you’ve always been my son.

six months old okay, maybe he was only five
Okay, I’m a little biased, but I don’t think babies can get much cuter than this.

I’ve known you longer of course. I’ve known you for about a year and 3 months.

When you were inside of me, you were big and snug. You always let us know you were there and showed us how excited you were to come and join us. There was a time, shortly after you joined us, when I was afraid that you were going to leave us too soon.

Your First Ultrasound

The first time I tried to see you, the technician couldn’t find you. There was no heartbeat, just a uterus that looked pregnant. My doctor said that it was probably just too early to see.

I didn’t think much of it until your dad seemed a little concerned. I started doing research online, to see what could have caused that. The words “blighted ovum” occupied every web page I looked at. I was devastated, because I felt like you had been there.

Fear clutched me and I spent the night sobbing as I thought about the possibility of losing you. I knew you then.

With crippling anxiety, I called my doctor the next morning. She ran some tests to give me peace of mind and a week later, a little tiny collection of cells was visible on the monitor. There you were! Elation can’t begin to cover my emotions. For now, my baby boy was safe.

first ultrasound

Finding Out what I already Knew

We could find out as early as 12 weeks whether you were going to be a boy or a girl. We planned on doing the extra tests anyways, so we figured we might as well find out. Even before they told us though, I knew.

I got a phone call when your dad happened to be home. The nurse asked me if I wanted to know. I put her on speaker and told her, “Yes.”

“You’re having a baby boy.”

Baby BOY announcement!

Of course I started crying again. “I knew it,” was all I could say. You will come to learn that it doesn’t take much to get your Mama crying.

Waiting

I waited for you all summer. You weren’t supposed to be born until October, but with your size, we hoped you would come sooner. Your Mama got so huge!

Siena on my pregnant belly
It got harder and harder for Siena to sit on my lap.

And it seemed like you were going to stay in there as long as possible so we had to coax you out.

Finally Here

brand new baby snuggling with mommy
Snuggling with my newborn.

When I held you in my arms, it felt like you had always been a part of our family. It was like we didn’t know that we had been waiting for you, but we were, and now you were here.

 

Your sister was so excited to be with you. She loves taking care of you. You are her best friend, and I suspect that is how it will be forever. Thank you for coming to be with your sister.

Watching You Grow

As I have watched you grow, I have been even more impressed by how unique you are. At just six months old, I have witnessed so many differences between you and your sister. You both have your own distinct personalities and it is amazing to see.

first night home from the hospital
His first night home from the hospital. I was so excited about this outfit; this was probably the last time he fit in it.

You were “you” long before you joined us. You’ve been smiling since you were just one month old. Everyone told me it was just gas, but it wasn’t. You haven’t stopped smiling since then. Your happiness is infectious and your laugh makes everyone happier.

six months old with his 2 year old sister, they're basically the same size
They are pretty much the same size. He’s going to pass her up before long!

You love your Mama. It might embarrass you to know that you are a Mama’s boy through and through. You love me and I am so grateful that I have felt your love from the moment you were born. It is a rare gift to make someone feel loved just be looking at them. But, you have that gift Grayson.

What I Will Get to See

You are only six months old now. You are just starting to think about rolling over and you haven’t decided how you feel about solid food, but I can already see how much happiness you are going to bring to our family.

daddy holding our giant baby who is only six months old
Do you see how big he is?!

Cloudy days will never seem as gloomy. The darker nights will have a guiding light. You are going to bring so much joy to those around you.

I hope you remember forever, how special you are to me. You are amazing. And just by being born, you are going to make the world a better place.

Thank you!

Thank you for coming to be with us and thank you for being six months old so I can be a witness to who you really are. I hope you know how much we all love you and how happy we are that you are here.

Six Months Old and Counting

We can’t wait to see everything that you are going to become. One day, you will probably know the fear of losing a child, even if that child hasn’t been born yet. It seems like everything in the world can be perfectly fine and I still find myself terrified that you or your sister will be taken away from me. When you are holding your own little baby, you will understand the gratitude I feel that you are here now and that you are still getting older.

Grayson in a bow tie at six months old
Happy 6 months little man!

We love you Grayson! I love you and can’t wait to see what the next 80 years bring. (I probably won’t live past 107.)

Love,

Mom

 

More about Grayson:

Grayson’s Birth Story

How His Night Sleeping Has Been

 

11 Fun Things to do Inside with your Toddler when it’s Cold Out

Spring is just around the corner and it seems like we are hanging on to a couple more cold and rainy days as it approaches. We just can’t wait to get outside and yet, we have frequently been forced indoors. So what can you do when it looks nice and sunny out but it is still freezing? Time to find some fun things to do inside.

just-a-day-where-my-toddler-is-playing-with-kitchen-measuring-tools

The following is a list of super easy, super simple things that can make a rainy, cold or windy day so much fun!

10 Fun Things to do Inside

1. Play with Bubbles

My daughter absolutely LOVES bubbles! In fact, I try not to let her watch any shows with anything resembling bubbles because then she wants to play with bubbles. I blow the bubbles for her and she tries to pop them. She thinks it’s funny when they land on Grayson’s head. Sometimes, she will blow the bubbles too. We have hardwood and carpet and the bubbles don’t really make any mess at all. Maybe just wipe it up off the hardwood.

playing with balloons is another one on the list of Fun things to do inside
Balloons can be just as fun as bubbles! Just make sure you grab up the remains real fast if they pop.

2. Coloring

fun things to do inside involves coloringColoring books, scrap paper, newspaper, phone books, books you don’t care about, note books, walls… okay, I haven’t done walls on purpose. Let your toddler explore their creativity.

I even let my toddler use markers! *gasp* Because seriously, the fact that the color is instantly on the page and all you have to do is touch the tip to the canvas is enough to make anyone want to color. Do you think there is adult coloring because they are using crayons? No. Maybe colored pencils, but even that is a stretch. There is something so satisfying about watching the ink bleed onto the paper, or maybe I am just an office supply geek. We LOVE coloring.

3. Building a Tower

You don’t have to have fancy blocks if you want fun things to do inside. All you have to have, is anything! I have been amazed at the kinds of things my daughter will stack on top of each other and shout, “Tao!” Grab your old books, your shoes, your DVD cases, your old CDs (because you’re probably using your phone to listen to music now) and see how tall you can get it. This will be SO exciting for your toddler!

4. Talking Toys

Maybe your toddlers are like mine and they like to get a couple of toys, could be ANYTHING and give one to you and pretend that they are talking. My toy is almost always the Mama toy. And the conversation goes something like this:

playing with potato heads as a part of fun things to do insideSiena – Hi

Me – Hi

Siena – Mama (points to my toy)

Me – Oh is this the Mama Potato Head?

(she nods)

(The toys kiss)

Siena – Hug?

(The toys hug)

Siena – Hug!

Then the toys might drive off or we will have another conversation much like the one we just had. If you have the patience for this game, it will keep your child entertained for as long as you can endure it.

5. Make a Fun Treat

Siena likes to do anything that I am doing. That includes emptying the dishwasher, taking groceries in and laundry (except she likes to throw the socks and clothes all over the living room instead of fold-we’re working on that one).

So, I have learned that she LOVES to help mix things. I also let her dump in cups of flour or sugar and have her hold the egg while I crack it. She thinks the egg one is especially funny. Then, the best part is you get to eat your yummy treat with your baby. I’ve made Potato Wedges with Siena and she loves dipping them in Ketchup.

6. Build a Fort

This is on my list of fun things to do inside because I haven’t had the chance to do it yet! We don’t have couch cushions that pull out, but I have thought many times that we need to do this. Maybe one morning, when Grayson is sleeping we will get some blankets, kitchen chairs and pillows and make a fort to read some books in. Siena loves to read books and she would probably think I was the coolest mom ever!

7. Playdate

Having friends over does require someone to leave the house, but if you plan it right, that someone doesn’t have to be you. The best part about this one is you get to have a real conversation with a real adult! And then the kids can keep each other entertained. Now, there is the added pressure of having to play referee. But as long as both parents have similar parenting views, there’s nothing to worry about there.

playdate inside for fun things to do inside
These two are the cutest!

8. Dance Party

We live in an age where many of us can open our laptop, turn on our phone or go to the right app on our TV to get some fun music streaming into our living room. We use the TV because that has the best speakers and we get our Pandora on and rock out. Dancing is one of our favorite things.

Sometimes, I will turn on YouTube and try and do a work out dance thing, like Zumba, but usually Siena’s idea of a fun dance party involves me holding her hand while she spins or me holding her while I dance. So, work out dance doesn’t usually happen.

9. Bath time!

Think that baths are a pain? Me too, most of the time. But it is at the top of my toddler’s Fun Things to do Inside List. She loves splashing in the tub and playing with her toys. I just have to stay close to the bathroom to keep an eye on her. But, if you need to get the bathroom clean, what a great opportunity!

10. Snuggle Sesh!

snuggling with siena to have fun things to do inside
Snapchat Snuggles with a movie! Even better!

I don’t care who judges me for this one. It is, hands down, my favorite thing on the Fun Things to do Inside List.

My daughter LOVES to watch shows. She asks to watch television multiple times a day. We do watch TV. And, in my opinion, if you are selective about what your child watches, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. (Rant saved for another post.)

So, if my daughter wants to watch a show and I want nothing more than to snuggle with her, I bribe her. Yep! Show for Snuggles. We get to watch a show, if she will snuggle with me on the couch. She is always happy to oblige and so am I! If

I am exhausted in the morning, Snuggle Sesh! I know she’s not getting into things because I’m hugging her and I get a little nap. It is SERIOUSLY the best thing in the world.

11. Make a Home Movie!

Or you can be a total nerd like me and make a movie with your kids. As soon as I busted out the camera and told Siena to do something, she got super excited! And she LOVES watching it.

It was also a great fun way to save some of the memories of us just hanging out around the house, which is 90% of our lives.

If you need an idea, you can check out mine!

Beauty & the Beast – Mom Parody

Beauty and the Beast cover to get you excited
Here’s a the opening shot to get you excited!

Beauty and the Beast – Mom Parody

What do you get when you have a Stay at Home Mom who did musicals in high school, studied film in college and has two adorable children? Beauty and the Beast – Mom Parody, or in other words, Mama & the Beasts.

Beauty and the Beast cover to get you excited
Here’s a the opening shot to get you excited!

Nostalgia for Beauty and the Beast

I can’t help it. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite Disney Princess movies. Yep, I was one of those girls. I loved Disney Princesses and always watched the movies. My kids are going to grow up watching the Disney Movies and I apparently still haven’t grown up because I’m still trying to BE a Disney Princess.

But, I think that’s kind of the point. Everyone can be a Disney Princess, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or what your situation is. We can always be a Princess.

Future Embarrassment

One day, my kids will probably be mortified that their mom has posted something like this for the public world to view, and will deny that they are related to me. But for now, they both LOVE watching it because they are in it too. I think Siena has watched it over and over because she likes to watch our family more than all of her favorite shows.

trying to work on beauty and the beast when both my kids just want to be held.
Sometimes, they just want to be held and I just need to finish up the project. Good thing they like to watch it too!

So, if nothing else, I’m glad I did it just so we have a way to remember all of these seemingly insignificant moments that only matter to us. I get to capture how sweet they are with each other and the little noises they make. There is no way to capture the vast amount of spit up our son produces, but I think this comes close. And for now, my kids think I’m cool and think it’s funny when I rock out. So, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth right now.

Thanks for watching!

You can also follow the link to Beauty and the Beast – Mom Parody.

 

Little Mom Moment that Made Me Want to Laugh & Cry at the Same Time

Just a Moment

My little mom moment happened so fast. They all sneak up on me that way. It seems like the faster being a mom slips by, the more a little mom moment will surprise me. It was one of those times that I couldn’t even really get a picture or video to remember it. I got one, before the magic really happened.

Grocery Shopping

We had to run to the store to go grocery shopping and my son had slept so late that we had run into Siena’s nap time. I decided, well I might as well try and push her nap back a little so they take their afternoon nap at the same time and we are not stuck inside all day once summer hits.

We went shopping and the whole time Siena was sleepy, but she was also in a good mood. She was a trooper.

When we got back in the car, I knew it would be a struggle.

The Car Battle

We got inside and immediately she looked like she was going to crash. I told her STAY AWAKE!! She just looked at me sleepily. If she falls asleep in the car, she will not take a nap when we get home. That’s just the way it is and I have come to accept it.

After commanding her to not give into her drooping eyelids, she would give me this cute, tired smile. I told her to keep her eyes wide and this is the great face I got:

right before my little mom moment
My little zombie trying to stay awake.

Out of desperation, I turned the music up and started singing and dancing the way that only a mom can. Oh yes! I was grooving! My moves could have embarrassed the most confident of teenagers. I’m sure anyone who saw me wondered if I was oblivious to the rest of the world. And the answer to all of them is yes.

Because as soon as my daughter saw me dancing, she started moving her shoulders and grooving with me. I pointed my fingers and she pointed hers too. I did the wave with my arms and she stuck her arms out too. After she heard me singing at the top of my lungs terribly to the song I didn’t know the words to, she started singing too.

My Little Mom Moment

And I just kept watching her and every time I saw her start to dance again, my eyes burned and I wanted to cry because I was so lucky! I got to hang out with my little girl all day long.

I was suddenly filled with gratitude that my husband goes to work every day to support us so that I can have these little moments where I see my daughter trying to be like me. He frequently misses the little moments and he sacrifices the opportunity to be with the kids all the time to provide for us.

I can’t believe how much Siena has been growing up and it is only a matter of time before this phase is gone. One day she’ll roll her eyes at her embarrassing mom. Then maybe she’ll rock out again with me when she realizes that I actually am cool. But she will not be the little girl in the car seat who is discovering how to bust a move while being strapped in to a car seat for that much longer.

I wish I could have gotten a video, or even just a picture. Because the only one who saw her busting a move like her mama, is her mama. And I hope this mama never forgets.

 

I have more Mom Moments that were not as heartwarming, but just as memorable.

5 Mom Moments that Were NOT Funny at the Time

Chocolate Protein Ice Cream Recipe – Craving Quencher!

Husband Approved!

This Chocolate Protein Ice Cream is super healthy AND super delicious. And I’m not trying to brag, it’s just a fact. My husband likes it! If you know anything about my husband, you will know that he turns his nose up at any food that might be labeled as “healthy”. He even said the words, “that’s really good!”

Just to make sure I heard right, I said, “It’s healthy…”

“It’s still really good.”

Chocolate Protein Ice Cream
I would have made it all beautiful for you, but I was too busy eating it. Sorry.

Lately, I’ve been trying to eat super healthy and work out. Yep, it was part of a New Years Resolution. Guess what? It’s March and despite the minimal progress I have made, I am STILL doing it. So, that either makes me dedicated or it means I just can’t take a hint.

But along the way, I have had to create some delicious healthy recipes just to keep myself from going insane. Because, even though I am only eating healthy 6 days a week, sometimes I still find myself craving something naughty.

Out of everything I have made, Chocolate Protein Ice Cream is the best Craving Quencher I have created.

Step by Step with Resources

If you have everything and just want the recipe, it is located at the bottom for your referencing convenience. Also, as far as allergens go, this has nuts and dairy.

For the rest of you, who like pictures or perhaps need to be pointed in the right direction for your food products, this is for you.  If you want to look at the specifics of the products, just click on it and it will open the product on Amazon in a new tab, that way you don’t even have to leave your house to get what you need.

First Thing You Need: Food Processor

I absolutely love it. And it’s on sale right now! It has seriously been a lifesaver and it’s WAY cheaper than all of the other ones I looked at. AND it has a shredder and slicer that goes with it! I didn’t know that when I bought it. Anyways, I digress.best food processor for chocolate protein ice cream

 

Use a food processor and put in 2 bananas. Frozen or fresh, doesn’t matter. I usually keep a bunch of bananas on hand in the freezer so I don’t have to worry about them going bad. If they’re frozen, put your hand on the lid because the whipping of the food processor might be a little violent until the bananas get broken up.

Almond Milk

I haven’t tried this with regular milk. I’d be curious if it would be just as good, but the nice thing about almond milk is you can keep it in your cupboard until you open it. That way you don’t have to worry about fridge real estate.

almond milk for chocolate protein ice cream

So, you just need 1 cup of almond milk for Chocolate Protein Ice Cream. Pour it in with the pureed bananas.

Chocolate Whey Protein Powder

There are SO many options of protein powder on the market right now. It’s honestly a little ridiculous. Here are some of the ones I have either tried or are highly rated, just to try and narrow it down a little bit for you. Honestly, get whatever one looks the best to you, it makes no difference on this recipe because the protein powder is only a necessary additive for the protein.


Put 2 scoops of the Protein Powder of your choice in with the bananas and almond milk.

Cocoa Powder

I absolutely LOVE chocolate. I think that is what I have missed the most as I have been trying to eat healthy, so obviously I had to create Chocolate Protein Ice Cream so I could still have chocolate and not feel guilty about it. The cocoa powder is a key ingredient. I used the King of affordable chocolate.

Because who can say no to Hershey’s? Four Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder go in your concoction. This ingredient is why it satisfies that craving for chocolate, because it has ACTUAL chocolate in it!

Now, blend all of this together, the powders may fly up in the food processor. It will settle as you blend. If you have the same processor as me, you can use the side scraper to make sure everything mixes and it is not sticking on the side.

Once it is well mixed, time to add the final ingredient.

Nuts

Take your pick of a delicious nut to add to the ice cream. I like the harder nuts. When I made it the first time I used cashews, but I just bought some almonds and I can’t wait to try that. I think it will taste even better! Adding nuts is important because it gives a little bit of a different texture for you. Seriously it makes it so good!


Put 1/2 cup of nuts in the food processor and pulse it just enough to chop the nuts a little bit. You don’t want to puree the nuts.

Freeze

Let the Chocolate Protein Ice Cream freeze over night. When you are ready to eat it, take it out of the freezer for a little bit (mine took about 15 minutes) and it was a little soft and perfect. I just dig right in! Yum!

 

Chocolate Protein Ice Cream

Chocolate Protein Ice Cream Digging inIngredients:

  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 2 Scoops Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cup Nuts of your Choice

Directions:

Blend all ingredients except the nuts together until everything is pureed and mixed together well. Next, add the nuts and chop just enough to get the nuts chopped up.

Freeze overnight and when you are ready to eat, let it sit out of the freezer for 15 minutes to soften.

 

If you try it out, please leave a comment and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Most Important To Do on your List Every Day

Cheesy Post Alert!!

Don’t care. Sometimes you need a little cheese. Today, it’s all about the cheese… and cute pics of my babies.

Most of my days end up just like today. I have a long list of things I should be getting done, but I don’t really get many of them done. But that’s okay. I think I did the most important to do on my list. I didn’t finish folding the laundry, or write this blog until super late. Dinner happened, but it was just Macaroni and Cheese, nothing special.

It seemed like a lot of things just got left undone. Some days I get even less than that done. But I always try and accomplish my most important to do. I try to remember to keep it at the top of my list. Because if I only do my most important to do every day, then my day is successful. If I accomplish it, I know that I am still One Helluva Homemaker.

In the House

Especially during the winter, most of the time we just hang out at home. Our home is our children’s world. They get to be in the place where they are most comfortable and can act like themselves the most. At home, it’s super easy to do your most important to do. And being at home all day, I love watching my babies just be. They are 100% themselves and they are so full of love!

toddler watching television in the middle of laundry
Sometimes, the laundry doesn’t get put away for a long time, so it becomes a nest for my toddler to watch TV in.
showing my toddler my most important to do
Her favorite spot to hang out while I try to whip together 3 meals a day.

My little boy

my daughter sporting some tude
I don’t know how I got a photo with so much attitude, but I absolutely love it!
most important to do in action from my son
This is what he looks like right before he goes to sleep. My heart!
Siena helping her brother
The little mommy helping her brother.
both my kids in the crib
Siena always loves to get in the crib with Grayson and play with him. He loves it too. I love watching them play together.

I love going out and letting them explore too. But, sometimes it is great to just be homebodies and enjoy being around each other.

Most Important To Do

That brings me to the most important to do. You could get absolutely nothing done ALL DAY LONG in terms of getting stuff done around the house, cleaning, shopping, whatever and still have a productive day as long as you do the most important thing on your list. Love your family. Just show your babies you love them. Show your spouse you love them. That’s all you got to do, and your day just became one of the best days ever. Literally, it is the BEST thing you can do every single day. That is what makes you One Helluva Homemaker.

most important to do shirt
Customize your shirt with different colors or choose from so many of the other products!

Remember it!

So, because I wanted you to have a way to remind yourself that you are amazing just because you loved your family today, I designed some shirts, water bottles and phone cases! I love how they turned out.

Check them out! 

 

March Madness – 7 Tips to Help a Spouse Cope with a Loss

You see evidences of March Madness every where you look. There are commercials, brackets to be filled out, social media posts bragging about their teams and tweets galore as the NCAA tournament is underway.

Personally, March is my favorite time of year in the sporting world. I love March Madness! I can totally handle a two hour basketball game. It’s the four hour football games that give me a hard time.

Excitement of March Madness

There is nothing more thrilling when it comes to sports viewing than filling out a bracket with your anticipated champion at the top and making all of the stars align so that they destroy all of their opponents. You’ve anticipated their success and revved up for the coming games.

march madness excitement with daughter

If this has all been lost on you, I am addressing this post to you. Some spouses, male and female, just aren’t that into sports. And maybe the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament just isn’t their thing. That is all fine. Not everyone has to get it. But, you should understand a couple of points if you wish to be supportive to your other half who is.

Coming to an Understanding

At first, I didn’t get it. We didn’t watch a lot of sports growing up and so prior to my marriage, I had NEVER filled out a bracket. That’s right. I was a bracket virgin. March Madness meant nothing to me. Well, it meant that summer was around the corner.

When I saw the mania that filled my husband’s soul come March time, I started going along for the ride. In our third year of marriage, I finally filled one out. Guess how exhilarating it was when my team one! AMAZING! Yep, for anyone doing the math, 2015 the Blue Devils destroyed all in their path. How fortunate that at the time, Austin was A STUDENT AT DUKE! Could there be a more all-encompassing way to get introduced to the NCAA tournament? I don’t think so.

The next year, we were not so fortunate. And this year… I’m sure you might have some idea of the devastation we might feel right now. But only if you get it. If you don’t, here are some tips.

1. Never Make a Joke the Night of their Despair.

You might think it is fun to kick the horse while it’s down. But, let me try and provide you with an accurate analogy:

It’s like something has died. And you may think, it can’t possibly be that bad. The team will be back next year. They’ll play again and one day they may win. Don’t make this mistake. IT IS THAT BAD. The team will never be the same. Do you think Jayson Tatum is going to stick around for the next March Madness? No. He will be off to the NBA draft. Is Amile Jefferson going to be back? No. He’s a senior. Will you ever get the story of them working through the hardships of injuries, suspensions and character building experiences to finally come together as a team just in time for the tournament? No! Next year it will be a different team. A whole different story.

2. Maybe don’t say, “There’s always next year.”

As mentioned before, there may be a next year. But the team won’t be the same. And on that note, what if there’s NOT a next year? Are you 100% certain the world is not going to end this year? Don’t give your spouse false hope. Time for another example:

Say you are really into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You love the show and then all of a sudden, the bomb. They’re not making another one after season 7?! And then your well-intentioned friend says, “well, you can watch Angel.”

ANGEL?! That’s not the same. Not even close.

Your spouse wanted THIS team to win THIS year. And next year, they will want THAT team to win THAT year. You can’t compare apples to oranges. Everyone knows that Buffy was better than Angel. Who knows if next year will be better or worse? Live in the now for your spouse.

3. Maybe don’t say, “They had a good season.” or “It’s Okay.” or “At least they made it this far.”

Again, as well-intentioned as this is, it doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is, them having a good season doesn’t matter. As my husband says, “There is only one happy team at the end of the season.”

And with, “It’s okay”, it’s NOT okay. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this list about how to tiptoe around your broken spouse.

And for the last one, making it far is not the same as winning. Do you think you would be okay with Harry Potter dying and the Dark Lord still reigns in the land? What if your spouse leaned over to you and said, “Well, at least he made it this far.”? Did that help?

4. Learn How Your Spouse Grieves

As I mentioned before, pretend as if they have experienced a great loss. If they need to vent and talk through it, just listen.

My husband just needs to be left alone. He wants time to get over it all on his own.

I need a hug. If you are reading this and you are suffering, it is important to let your spouse know how they can help. Communication is key.

5. Don’t Cheer for their Opponent

Now, there is a caveat to this and I will get to it in a second. If you do not care who wins, cheer for your spouse’s team. Support them and want what they want. This will help them feel like you care about what they care about, even if you don’t get it. You care about them, therefore, you care about their team.

If you DO happen to GENUINELY want the other team to win during March Madness (not out of spite or jest), it is appropriate to want your team to win. However, both spouses need to come to an agreement about how to interact when the game is on. Maybe you need to watch it in silence.  Or maybe in another room.

Perhaps cheering is fine, but arguing with the ref and knocking your spouse’s team is not. Again, communication is key. This can be a very delicate situation so it should be handled with care.

6. Maybe don’t say. “It’s just a game.”

You may want to say this with every fiber of your being. DO NOT SAY THIS. “It’s just a game” invalidates their passion for the game. By saying this, you are essentially telling them, you’re stupid for getting so invested in a trivial thing like basketball.

It is not just a game to them. It’s months of watching their team succeed and fail and hoping that they are going to do something great at the end of it all. This is a story of epic proportions. Even if their team is frequently a winner, no one knows how that team has struggled as much as your spouse does. They have been with them through their failures and they want to see them overcome. A tournament is about the hope of overcoming.  They feel a part of the team, and the team feels a part of them.

7. Have Love

If your spouse is one of those special people who really gets invested in the game, let them get invested. It’s who they are. The game is how they relate to the world. Let them experience victories and failures through another team and allow them the transcendent experience of a sweet victory at the end of a hard fought battle.

And when it doesn’t turn out, recognize that it is like Frodo dying before dropping the ring in the fiery pits of Mordor. It’s like that horrible moment in chick flicks when it seems like they are never going to get back together and then they DON’T. Watching their team lose is like staying up all night to see the sunrise and then it never comes.

Your spouse needs your love, especially during March Madness. Though it may seem trivial to you, try to see it from your spouse’s point of view.

All Sporting Events

I hope this helps for the rest of March Madness and also for all sporting events in the future. Now you have a guide to helping your spouse cope with loss during sporting events and hopefully, you will not have to. Hopefully your experience will be like my first and you will get to embrace your spouse as they jump up and down for the buzzer beater that wins the game.

supporting Austin outside of March Madness

 

If you don’t get basketball at all but want to get in on some March Madness fun, check out this girl’s fun blog.

Leave any other ideas for how to help your spouse in the comments below!

Baby Boy Birth Story – Darkest Night Begets Brightest Light

Every birth story is a unique and special experience. Our Baby Boy spared no expense in making this a memorable occasion. He has brightened our life ever since he cured the darkest night.

 

Doctor’s Appointment

I had been hoping to naturally go into labor. I made it to my 39 week appointment and with despair heard that not much had changed. It was all I could do to not burst into tears. My baby boy was already measuring big, my mom was coming into town on Saturday and I didn’t want to wait and then have to deliver via C-section because of his size. I was so uncomfortable and Siena had been big too.

My amazing doctor asked me if I wanted to be induced and after talking with Austin about it, we decided that that was the best thing for us to do. I had been induced with Siena and was told that it probably was for the better, just because of her size and Baby Boy was already measuring bigger. So, if we were going to be induced, we might as well get that baby out of me sooner rather than later. The induction was scheduled for that night.

 

Last Moments as a Family of Three

Dropping Siena off before Baby Boy CameI was supposed to go in and have something put next to my cervix that would help soften it all night and then they would start Pitocin the next morning. Austin decided he wanted to spend the night with me in the hospital, so our friends were nice enough to watch Siena. Before dropping her off, we all went out to dinner one last time as a family of three. It was a restaurant we’d never been to and I got chicken strips and had one of them. I wasn’t that hungry… even though I knew I should probably eat because I wouldn’t get to later.

We took Siena to our friend’s house. We got her pajamas on and set up a Pack ‘n Play in their master closet. She looked confused and a little scared. We said a little prayer with her and told her that daddy would be there to get her in the morning. I felt like my heart was breaking a little as we closed the door. She had no idea what was going on or how things were going to change. I just remember looking at her big, beautiful eyes staring up at me, trusting that we would be back for her. It was probably harder on me than it was on her. Apparently she woke up the next morning and was just fine after she had her moment of confusion with new people around.

Getting Checked In

Trying to Sleep Before Baby BoyWe drove to the hospital and checked in. It didn’t take long to get situated. They had a room all ready for me. I donned the hospital gown and they did their usual prep stuff, reading documents, going over legal things, etc. I was dilated to a 2 ¾ and 70% effaced. Just a little more dilation than earlier that morning. It wasn’t super encouraging and I was glad that I had opted for the induction.

They stuck something next to my cervix that was supposed to help get labor going. Things were going pretty well. My nurse was super nice and I was pretty comfy in the bed. Austin conked out almost immediately and since I wasn’t tired enough to go to bed I started watching a movie on my tablet. Then I found out from my awesome nurse around eleven that I would be getting a new nurse…which is when hell began.

A Nurse Makes All the Difference

I knew it would be rough when I asked her, “so do you have any crazy stories from working here?”

She looked at me with a cutting, patronizing look. “That would be a HEPA violation.”

I’m sure my eyebrows raised in obvious surprise and disdain. I was just trying to make conversation but now felt like I couldn’t ask her anything without some sort of judgment being passed.

The Expert

My new nurse apparently had an idea of how every pregnancy was ideally supposed to go and my attitude  about my medically assisted labor did not seem to measure up to her standards. She obviously knew better than his mama or his doctor what was best for my Baby Boy. I started feeling contractions around 11:30 or so. They were bad enough that I wanted an epidural.

austin waiting for baby boy
Austin found a spot to rest while waiting for Baby Boy.

The nurse did not approve of my getting an epidural so early. She would say things like, “Well… because you’re getting an epidural so early… You really should wait… Are you sure you really need it?

But I was insistent and soon the anesthesiologist was there to relieve my pain. It was hard for me to even bend over, I was hurting so bad. I couldn’t relax.

I think it is also important to note at this time that I did have a terrible cough so my nurse was passively making comments like, “What was your doctor thinking? Inducing you when you have a cough?” To which I thought, my doctor is a genius. There’s no way I want to be miserable with pregnancy any longer along with this miserable cough. (And I had the cough for another couple of weeks… it wouldn’t have mattered.)

The Never-Ending Nausea

After my epidural, I suddenly felt very nauseous and remembered that the same thing had happened with Siena. I also knew that with my first pregnancy, they had given me something almost immediately that cleared up my nausea. Well, this nurse told me they gave me something and it could only be administered ever 6 hours, which I later found out was only Zofran!

Extreme Nausea waiting for Baby Boy
Trying to smile while suffering through the nausea.

It was doing absolutely nothing for me. Every time I rolled over (to evenly distribute the epidural) I felt horrible waves of nausea. I couldn’t remember what had been given to me before but I knew this wasn’t it. She refused to even ask the doctor on call if there was something else.

The Urine

TMI WARNING!

The fluids they kept giving me for baby boyShortly after the epidural, the most embarrassing horror, that I will never be able to forget was that they refused to put a permanent catheter in me. They are pumping me with fluids, I’ve lost all feeling down there and I have a cough, that unless I squeeze my legs together will force urine out of me. I complained to the nurse and tried to explain the situation.

“This is the way we have to do it,” she responded. She eventually did ask the doctor, who without coming to talk to me, also refused. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t do it when I had had one with Siena, even though I didn’t have a cold.

I pleaded and threatened, “you will literally have to keep changing my sheets because I cannot stop myself from peeing the bed.”

“Well, we could give you some pads.” I must have gone through 30 pads that night. My hands were covered in urine and the nurse and whoever the resident on call was that night, refused to put in a permanent catheter. And on top of all of this, I am trying my hardest not to spew vomit everywhere.

 

The New Nurse

Some time in the middle of the night, I got a new nurse who liked to interrupt me every time I asked for something for the nausea, by saying, “You have already asked for that.”

Obviously I have! Would I still be asking if I wasn’t desperate? Do you think it’s pleasant for me to constantly request for someone to come into my room and help me?

Pitocin

At 5:30 in the morning they finally started me on Pitocin. I was so excited because I was so ready for the night to be over. Delivery couldn’t be as bad as my night had been. Things were at least starting to move in the right direction. After they took out the string next to my cervix, they informed me that it hadn’t been inserted far enough and it had essentially done nothing all night. That was all for nothing then.

Around 7:30, I was dilated to a 4. Maybe things would move now!

The End in Sight

My doctor was going to be there in half an hour. I still felt horribly nauseated, but at least the nurses were gone and daylight was starting to come in through the window. They checked me at 7:50 because I guess it looked like my contractions were increasing. Suddenly I was at a 7. Then, just a couple of minutes later I really felt like I needed to push.

I told my morning nurse, who was perfectly pleasant, that I felt like I needed to push and she was like, “well, you were only at a seven a couple of minutes ago.” She checked again. “Wow! You’re at a nine.”

Then my doctor came in. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was over! It was finally over! Light had broken over the horizon. Immediately I felt like everything was going to be all right. She was scheduled to come in at 8:00 am. Good thing! Because Baby Boy was coming fast.

Doctor came to deliver Baby Boy
After some Phenergan and my Amazing Doctor came!

We were talking about my nausea that I had been fighting all night and then she said, “we’ll just give you some Phenergan,” without even blinking an eye. As soon as she said it I said, “that’s what it was!” That was the medicine the doctor had prescribed when the epidural gave me nausea with Siena.

My wonderful doctor gestured to the nurses and they started putting me on it and I instantly felt better. Why couldn’t they have given that to me 9 hours ago?!

Go Time

At some point I had to interrupt her as she was talking to me and I was like. “I really feel like I have to push!” She checked me and said, “Well, let’s get this baby out of you.” Time for Baby Boy!

“Right now!?” I thought I’d have more time after my Doctor Goddess got there.

She laughed. “Yeah, I’ll just break your water. Let’s have this baby.”

getting ready to push out baby boy

Pushing out my Baby Boy!
Pushing to see my Baby Boy!

She broke my water; it gushed everywhere. I pushed for twenty minutes or so and my Baby Boy was out! I couldn’t believe it. When I had delivered Siena, I had been in so much pain in spite of my epidural. The ‘ring of fire’ or whatever they called it. When I asked my doctor about that, she said that some hospitals turn off the epidural before you start pushing so that you can feel when you are supposed to push! WHAT?!?!?!

With Grayson’s delivery I could feel no pain, just pressure. It was awesome! I felt so alert after he was born, even though I hadn’t had a wink of sleep the night before. And there was my beautiful Baby Boy!

My beautiful Baby Boy

Baby Boy all cleaned off!

He was so amazing. Also, he was all covered in the white gunk when they handed him to me for the first time. They cleaned him up while some new resident stitched me up. My Doctor was not happy when she found out that the other doctor had let a resident practice on me.

waiting to hold baby boy

I was a little annoyed because the stitching took so long and I just wanted to hold my baby again. Finally, they were done and I got to hold him.

Holding my precious baby boy
Finally Holding My Baby

My Baby Boy

The first thing I remember about him is he had this cute little pointy nose! I’m pretty sure he has my eyes, at least the shape. And he was super bald. Siena had a lot more hair than he did. Oh and he was definitely a boy! It was so cute.

My precious Baby Boy. We named him Grayson. He was finally in our arms, healthy, happy, alive! I couldn’t believe the pregnancy was finally over and that the most horrifying night of my life was in the past.

Look at his leg rolls already! He was a hefty 8 lbs 15 oz and he was early! I have big babies.

After we shared some time with just Austin and I and our little bundle, Austin left to go get Siena.

I couldn’t believe we had Baby Boy Grayson already. I still called him Baby Boy because that is what we called him for so long. We had kept his name a secret and now that I could finally say it, he seemed more like Baby Boy. Grayson was here. We were a family of four! Our lives were forever changed.

My Sweet Grayson

Big Sister Siena

Siena about to meet Grayson
Her life is about to change forever!

When she came in, she looked like she always does in a new situation. Her eyes were really big. She just stared at everything and walked slowly into the room. I had Grayson in the bassinet because I didn’t want it to seem like we had replaced her. After she finally made it to the bed, we showed her, her baby brother.

Siena meeting baby boy brother

siena meeting baby boyBaby was already one of her favorite words so she just kept saying baby over and over again. She liked trying to hold him and was super sweet with him. I don’t think I detected jealousy or her being mad once. From day one, she just loved her brother.

The rest of the day we stayed in the hospital together as a family and hung out. At night time, Austin went home with Siena and they slept there. I slept in the hospital with Grayson.

That night I got a little bit of sleep because in spite of how exhausted I was, I couldn’t sleep much. I had to resort to watching a movie, You’ve Got Mail, to fall asleep. It took my mind off of the rush, adrenaline and excitement I felt at having Grayson finally join our family.

 

siena checking out baby boy
In an act of unparalleled love, Siena placed her treasured Owl Blanket with her new baby brother.

Family of Four

We are now a family of four! It feels like Grayson has always been here. In some way, he probably was, just waiting to come and join us. He and Siena have so much fun together. I love watching them interact. Thank-you for joining our family, Grayson!

If you happen to be expecting yourself, you might want to check out information on what you’re in for. Best of luck new Mama!

doctor who delivered baby boy posing for picture with our family
Us with our incredible Doctor!

20 Cat Life Moments with a Toddler – Cat Chronicles

Being a cat can be hard enough. Laying around all day, having to wait until the master fills up the bowl with food and attacking anything that moves. Then, add a toddler who has had to learn, seemingly from scratch every single day, how to treat him right. His cat life got a lot more complicated when Siena entered the picture.
Cat Life when Infant & Disturber are Napping

Duke didn’t have time to really adjust to a baby because for the first 6 months of Siena’s life, he was staying with my parents while Siena learned to become mobile. Suddenly, he had a new friend that didn’t know how to play nicely with cats.

I interviewed Duke, to get a better sense of his cat life. He has a lot to say. And feels that the only way you can truly understand, is through references to the glowing screen that you stare at all day. Here is his cat life, as he would like to tell it.

 

Duke’s Cat Life in His Own Words

Before the Master Rises

When darkness still reigns, I sleep with Master and Female Companion. Their bed is my throne and I am free to roam about as I please. I am lulled to sleep by Master’s roars of authority. I am awoken by yelping of Infant and I fear.

Dark Times are Coming to a Close

I don’t know if Female Companion will come back with wailing Infant in arms or if there is still more throne lounging to be had.

 When Throne Lounging is Still On

I know now, I have precious hours of sleep and lounging before I must awake and begin Cat Life with Infant and Disturber.

When Master Awakens

Fear clutches my cat heart. It is only a matter of time…

Disturber can sense my fear and it awakens her. Thump thump thump, the footsteps approach. Disturber will find me. There is nowhere to hide.

So it’s begun!

Disturber’s infatuation with me is tantamount to a psychological disorder. It seems Disturber must be physically near me at all times.

What I Must Tolerate

There is no limit to the things I endure. I am only protected when Female Companion is not handling the meats in the room of delicious smells or when she is not tending to Infant. Since Infant arrived, she is less attentive to my needs.

I can’t figure out why Master and Female Companion still tolerate Disturber. Disturber attacks Female Companion frequently during the day. I am not the only victim. Disturber is often reprimanded, but it seems to have no effect. Disturber must be incapable of learning. That means I am doomed to live forever this way. Female Companion, Infant, Master and I are all captive.

 

How I Wish to Retaliate

Even though I am doted upon by Female Companion whenever an assault has been attempted on my life, I envision revenge upon Disturber.

My fantasies are not carried out as of yet. Disturber is too closely protected by Female Companion and Master. They must be blinded.

 

There are Moments Though…

The occasional affection of Disturber disturbs me however, it makes me have feelings that are disturbing to me.

Even if Disturber and I come to understandings, I have just become aware of Infant’s potential to become like Disturber. And there is no knowing what Female Companion may one day concoct again in the magical growing stomach. I await any signs of a growth. I must destroy it before it has a chance to become another Disturber.

When Master Returns

The dark times are nigh at hand. Female Companion and Master subdue Infant and Disturber and they are hidden behind barricades with knobs on them. I may now do as I please.

And When Master and Female Companion Retire

I retire too. Only to start Cat Life all over again after the light invades the square on the wall.

 

Thank-You

Duke wanted me to thank-you for taking the time to hear his perspective. He also wanted to draw your attention to just how traumatizing Infant can be at nighttime for Female Companion. There is a Hilarious Rendition and a Life Lesson Version: pick your Catnip!

Cat Life when Infant & Toddler are Napping & I wish to hug female companion

My Husband, Perfect for Us

Prescriptive World

I read so many articles telling men and women what their roles should be in relationships. Women should be working, men should be helping more with the kids, women should be happy at home and men should be content providing for their family. We live in a prescriptive world where people feel the need to tell my husband and I how we should think, how we should behave and how we should raise our kids.

But, I don’t really care what other people think my relationship and my family life should be like. My family is amazing. We may not be the trendiest idea of a family right now, but who cares? It’s what works for us. My husband is the breadwinner and he is so good at it. He is also an incredible father and the love of my life. I am a Stay at Home Mom right now and I love it! (I don’t love it every day… nap time today was a monster.)

So, keep writing your articles, telling me how to live my life and how I am supposed to think and act. From now on though, I’m going to try and ignore them. So, ignoring the trends and the social norms, my husband, this is why I love you and us, just the way we are.

 

Dear Husband,

You may not see this post for a little while because I know how busy you are. I am so grateful that you come home and immediately play with the kids instead of perusing social media. That is amazing. I know that work is exhausting and that all you want to do when you come home is relax. But somehow, you make the time anyways. You are amazing to me.

Every single day, I may not always see it. I may complain, I may be grumpy or I may just not be looking for it, but wish that I could always see it. Because I know some of just how amazing you are. You are my husband and I hope to see all of your greatness one day, but for now let me tell you some of the little things that I know.

The Things You Do

I’m impressed by the things you do. You listen to your scriptures on the way to work. Sometimes you make dinner for us. There are so many times when you help get the kids ready or help me tidy up the house. I know you don’t have to. No one HAS to. But you do it anyway, because you love us. You ask me how I’m feeling and you really want to know. When you ask for my opinion, you really want it. You see me as an equal and you value my input.

When I talk with you about things that bother me, you infrequently argue with me. Instead, you discuss it with me and we work together to make it better.

You always drive when we’re together. It might seem silly to some. But I don’t like driving and much prefer to dork on my phone and talk to you while you cruise the streets.

You stop by the store on your way home from work even though you hate going to the store. That really means you must love me because you don’t want me to leave after you come home from work.

You go to work Monday through Friday. You provide for our family. I see you clinging to your pillow in the mornings and know that you would much rather sleep. I notice when you are so excited that it’s Friday so that you can have a break. You love your job, but it’s not always fun to work. I get that. But every single day, you go anyways even though you might rather stay in bed and snuggle with the kids.

The Things You Don’t Do

I’m impressed even more by the things you don’t do. You don’t criticize the house when it’s messy. There is never blame placed when something has gone wrong. In the mornings, when you have to go to work early, you don’t wake me up. You shut the doors so the noise and the lights will not interrupt my sleep.

my husband with our newborn sonYou don’t interrupt me when I’m talking or crush my dreams. I never question whether you think I am competent because you don’t do everything for me. You don’t expect meals to be ready. Sometimes, you don’t do the things that you want to do because you know there is something important to me that I want to do.

You don’t lie to me. You don’t keep things from me. There is never any reason for me to wonder if there are secrets I don’t know about. You don’t do things that would compromise your health.

My favorite thing that you don’t do though, is you don’t allow me to talk about your favorite person negatively. You want me to treat your favorite person with as much love as you have for her. You want me to be nice to her. And I try to do that even when my self doubt and insecurities would tempt me to not be nice to myself.

All that You are

Austin, I love all that you are. I love your strengths. You lift me up when I am weak and are seeing me struggle. When we got married, your strengths and my strengths became our strengths and now we are so much stronger together.

I love your weaknesses, because after we got married, they became our weaknesses and we can become better together and through Jesus Christ. Now we have each other to lean on as we work to become more like Him.

I love who you were. I love learning about where you came from and why you are the way that you are now. You have such a rich history and it has shaped who you are today.

I love seeing who you will become. The amount of potential you have sometimes astounds me. You are truly going to become something great one day and I can’t wait to see it.

I love who you are now. I get to see you right in the middle of your journey. You’ve come so far and I get to see the evidences of that character building every day in our home. You’ve got so far to go and I am ecstatic that I get to go with you. We are a team and get to be together forever. Thank you for being my partner. We are going to do such great things!

You are My Husband

But the reason I love you the most, is because you are my husband. I chose you. You chose me. We chose each other and the fact that we are committed to each other is why I love you no matter what. We promised to make this work and I plan on keeping my promise. I love you forever.

Love,

The Love of Your Life

 

My husband, me and my daughterYour Family

So, for those of you who are constantly measuring your family against the opinions of everyone else: stop. Your family works because you are the ones making it work. You are trying your best. Don’t worry that it might not be the way everyone else describes as the ideal. If you are happy, you are right.

I love my husband. My husband is right. I love myself. I am right. I love my family. My family is right.

We work to make it right every day.