Personal Stuff

It’s a…

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The Pregnancy Diaries…

Here it is, my BIG gender reveal! I know, I know. We weren’t going to find out. Really, we weren’t, but my Type A personality just couldn’t stand it. We just went in for our 21-week ultrasound and found out that we are having a… 

Its-a-girl

…girl! A little girl, another little princess, a sweet, delicate bundle of little girl joy. Our whole family is thrilled, and my husband and I cannot stop smiling and cooing over the fact that we are expecting a little “pink” one.

And this pint-sized angel was bouncing around happily, stretching her legs completely out and doing leg presses while on the ultrasound screen.  So far, she looks very healthy, praise God, and we were just mesmerized by her tiny little perfectly formed body, her powerful kicks and pokes, and her long stretches.

To be honest, we almost didn’t find out what we were having (and by almost, I mean we were 99.9999% sure we were on “team green”).  Team green – another new pregnancy term I learned this time around…meaning that the parents do not want to find out what they are having.

Actually, my hubby was 100% on team green, until a few days prior to the ultrasound.  What changed his mind?  Well, funny story…

My husband did not want to find out the baby’s sex with either of our big kids.

And each time, being the sweet, loving (and smart!) man that he is, he agreed to find out what we were having. And of course, it ended up being one girl and one boy.  So as the story goes (and I still maintain to this day that I don’t quite remember the exact moment I made this commitment), he made me promise that if we ever had a third child, we’d wait until the delivery room.

And I apparently promised. It was right after I had our son (I mean, right after), so I was pretty sure we were DONE.  I wasn’t planning on having a third, so sure, why not?!  And I promised.  And he promised I could name the kiddo (which was huge!).

Fast forward almost 5 years later, and that promise was still lingering.  Well not lingering, so much as a bright flashing neon light over this pregnancy.  I promised.  And I keep my promises.  But boy, was it bugging me.   You know how some people love surprises? You know how some people are motivated by the element of surprise?  I am not one of those people.

So my hubby, my family, and my friends had lots of fun “lovingly” teasing me over the course of the first trimester, and into my second.  And people loved, loved guessing what it was going to be – by the way I was carrying, to how big I am (Yes, I am baby huge this time.  No, it is not twins, I promise.  Yes, we had them triple check.), to pretty much every pregnancy symptom I was having.

I was told girl, boy, twins…you name it.

And I wanted a boy.  And I wanted a girl.  Truly, I didn’t care.  With each pregnancy, my husband and I are thrilled to be parents and to have a baby – the sex of the baby really doesn’t matter to us.  I just love to know.  So I can plan and nest and organize and prepare.  I know I’m crazy, but this actually relaxes me (yes, I know, I know – I’m nuts).  And, he’s always wanted that special, magical moment in the delivery room of , “It’s a ________!”

It became clearer and clearer that this Type-A mama was not getting out of her promise. I would wander around the Target baby section and just sniff over the ONE somewhat gender neutral onsie they seemed to have in stock. And my mid-point ultrasound was looming, getting closer, and starting to stress me out.

See, my hubs is waaaayyyy more patient and chill than I am (and thank God for that!).  So in his mind, this was totally not a big deal.  I believe he told me…grab a couple of white onesies, buy two sets of wall decals (one boy, one girl), drag all the newborn girl and boy stuff (we saved) upstairs to the baby’s room, and then wait.

Once the baby was born, slap on the few wall decals I want, wash a load of baby clothes, and put on the sheets I wanted.  Done, done and done.  What was the big deal?

To fellow Type-B’ers, this probably sounds very reasonable.  To my fellow Type-A’ers, can you back me up here?!?!  Our sweet little one is due one week before my son starts kindergarten and my daughter starts 2nd grade.  Not exactly the time I want to be nesting and decorating and “preparing” for baby – with the chaos of school, carpools, homework, activities, and little (to no) sleep.

So I asked my husband a very simple question – why was it so important for him to wait?

Did he really, really want to wait for a specific reason?  Or was it just fun to tease me…and fun to wait and see for the heck of it?  Did he want 40 people in the hospital waiting room for that Hollywood moment of “It’s a _____!!!!” (His answer was no).  Did he want a big gender reveal party (nope).  Because if it was that important to him, of course I would keep my promise.

And it was important to him for several very good reasons.  I’ll spare you the details of our 4 or 5 (or 10!) discussions about it.  But bottom line, he told me that as important as it was for him to be surprised, it wasn’t as important to him as it was important to me to find out.  

He wasn’t “giving in” for any other reason other than  he knew this pregnancy has been very difficult for me (it really has), and that he knew that finding out would bring me a lot of enjoyment and a lot of fulfillment – nesting and planning and preparing and such (very important to us Type-A’ers).

He is such a sweet man, truly he is.  And I so appreciate him, and him being extra supportive, especially when I was the one breaking our pact.

In my humble Type-A opinion, you can either be surprised at 20 weeks, or be surprised at 40 weeks.  Either is a surprise, and either will bring you joy, wonder and excitement.  My hubby and I just had different visions of when we wanted to be surprised.

And yes, both of our kids wanted to know asap.  And yes, both were thrilled.  Because both wanted a baby sister (even my little man – he was adamant about wanting a little sis to watch over and protect).  So everyone was as happy as could be.  And my husband and I were beyond thrilled that the baby was healthy.

So I’m curious – who else out there in our readership has been (or is!) “team green?”  Did you keep your commitment to wait?  Or did the suspense get to you???  Did both you and your partner want to wait, or was it a split household? Any Type-Aer’s out there like me who wanted to find out more than anything???

That’s all for now from my “Pregnancy Diaries.”  As always, thank you so much for your support and sweet comments – they make my day!!!

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On Happiness in Motherhood

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This post is a personal one on happiness in motherhood and how to be a happier mom and it starts with this… happiness

The other day I was cleaning out the dresser next to my bed and found a folded letter written on lined paper. My husband and I must have been in an argument and I took pen to paper to get all my feelings out.  I wrote it on 10-28-2008 and must not have ever given it to him (if you are reading this Stefan, you’re welcome.)

At the time I wrote this letter, I had a 2-year-old toddler and a high maintenance one at that (bless her).

Looking at the date, I must have been very hormonal because I didn’t know it yet, but I would find out I was pregnant with her baby sister 3 days later on Halloween. If I thought life was hard on THAT day, mama didn’t know what was in store with two children!

It brought back so many memories of that time in my life when I was exhausted, unbalanced and stretched to my limits between staying home with my toddler and trying to run this blog on my own. Those years for me were completely joyous and magical, but also SO FREAKING HARD.  I was not very happy. Not like I am today.

Here is an excerpt of what I wrote to my husband:

“…I want to apologize for breaking down last night. I didn’t want to sound ungrateful, the truth is I am incredibly grateful. I was just SO TIRED.

Here’s the deal. For about 12 hours a day I am responsible for the care and happiness of Emma. I pour 200% of my love and energy into that little person. I love her so much I almost can’t comprehend the depths to which I love her. I give her pretty much all I have in me. 

At the end of the day, I am really spent. Physically, emotionally, mentally.  I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I am just SO TIRED.

At night when you come home, I wish you could show some more affection. I feel like I need someone to take care of me.”

Thinking back, I was looking to my husband to rescue me from the constant demands. I wanted him to pamper me, baby me, care for me. I wanted HIM to make me happy.

If only HE would really GET how hard it was to be a stay-at-home and also work-from-home mom, I would be happy.

If only HE would come home and do what I wanted him to do (which was send me upstairs with a glass of chardonnay and a bath while he put down little one and then came upstairs after to give me a foot massage and empathize with my hard day) I would be HAPPY. Ha!

But in real life, the poor guy was dealing with his OWN stress of supporting a family. Who was going to rescue HIM? Was I making HIM happy? I can assure you, I was not.

How to Be a Happier Mom

Since those early days I have become a happier mom and happier person in so many ways, but not without a lot of work and making changes in my life to make me happier.

I really wanted to share what I have learned with you today, because these lessons were learned the hard way, which, in motherhood is often the way it goes when navigating unchartered territory.

No One is Going to Hand You Your Happiness. You Have to Take It.

This profound statement came from my wise friend Lisa one night and I have reveled in just how TRUE it is ever since.

We are the ones responsible for our happiness. It’s a choice.  If I want to be happy I have one person responsible for the majority of my happiness – me.

We have the power to make changes in our lives to make them better.

No one is going to hand you your happiness, you have to take it.

Visualize What Being a Happy Mom Looks Like to You.

The term “being happy” is so vague. If you don’t know what would make you happier, it’s impossible to make the changes to get there. So the first thing you have to do is figure out what being happy looks like to YOU.

Finish this sentence, “I am happiest when…..”

The vision is different for everyone. Would  you be happier if you spent more time with your friends? More time doing something you love? Some time to yourself alone to de-stress?

Know what being happy looks like for you.

Then Do Something About It. 

It’s great to DREAM about being happier, but if want to BECOME happier, you have to take action to get there.

It’s like losing weight. You can really want to lose 10 pounds, but until you take the steps to make it happen, it’s just a dream. You have to put your thoughts into action.

As moms it is SO easy to get caught up in an unhappy rut due to the hamster wheel of every day life. If you barely have time to take a shower, when on earth are you going to plan for your happiness? Right?

But aren’t we good at analyzing the things that make us unhappy? And that is such a crappy place to be.

It’s such a better use of time to invest the same energy into analyzing the things that MAKE you happy.

Have your husband take the kids on a weekend and go and sit in a coffee shop by yourself (that alone will make you happier) and put pen to paper and think about the things in your life that make you happy. Or, the things in your life you are MISSING that would make you happier.

Then start to take action and make plans to include those things.

From those series of breakdowns early on, I realized I needed help. Running a blog and being home full time with my toddler wasn’t humanly possible so I hired a college babysitter to come in for a few hours a week to help. Did that make me happier? ABSOLUTELY.  We weren’t meant to do this job alone.

Find Your People.  

Motherhood early on can be really isolating. There is so much happiness to be found in friendships with people you can relate to. Friends you can be honest and vulnerable with. Friends that don’t judge you.

Take time to think about how you feel after being with someone. Do you feel happier? Uplifted? Energized? Understood? Better about yourself? Those are your people.

Make plans to see them regularly!

Find Something That is Yours, Alone. 

I truly believe as humans we are meant to be continually growing, changing and learning. It is so important to find something that is yours, something you can call a passion that you enjoy. Something that doesn’t involve your children. Something that is yours alone.

Running, crafting, cooking, baking, reading, photography, volunteering, designing, decorating, yoga-ing, writing, traveling, connecting, socializing, movie-watching, foodie-ing…find your passions and include those in your life.

“In motherhood, I have discovered and continue to discover who I truly am.” 

Becoming a mother has been the biggest gift of my lifetime. In motherhood, I have discovered and continue to discover who I truly am.

If I wasn’t pushed to the brink of insanity trying to figure that out, I wouldn’t have had the insights that pushed me back, one baby step at a time, to a happier, fuller life.

Do you have any thoughts on how to be a happier mom? What are the things that make you happier? Would love to hear your comments below!

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I have great news!

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Great News_1 I am so excited to share with all of you…I’m pregnant!

Wow.  That’s still so awesome (and a little weird!) to say, no matter how many times I say it or how many times I write it.

After 10 years of marriage, my husband and I are ecstatic to welcome our third baby this August.  Woo hoo!!  I am excited to share this journey with you, and take this opportunity to write more about pregnancy and babies!  Yes, as you can imagine, I have babies on the brain.

What I’m quickly realizing is that a lot has changed in the 4.5 years since I’ve been pregnant. A lot.  New gizmos, new trends, new debates, new terminology.  In other words, plenty of new blogs to write and explore!

But first, a little about my family and our announcement…

As you have probably gotten to know my family over the years, we are blessed with a beautiful 7 year-old daughter and 4.5 year-old son.  Who couldn’t be more excited and happy to have “their” new baby here this summer.

As we’ve started sharing this fantastic baby news with family and friends (it has been sooooo hard to keep quiet!), one of the first questions we have been asked (hesitantly) is if this was a (shhhh!!!) planned pregnancy.  It’s okay to ask us!  We won’t be offended, promise!  The answer?  It absolutely was.  We purposely decided to put an age gap between our 2nd and 3rd baby.  Because, well….we were exhausted.

I don’t mean a little tired.  I mean EXHAUSTED.  Our kiddos are about 2.5 years apart, and Elizabeth was still in diapers when Nathan was born.  It has been a crazy, amazing, loud, chaotic, fun parenthood journey, learning to navigate being a mom of two close in age.  The best, actually. But frankly, we needed a little break from the baby stage.  Just keeping it real, mamas.

I can totally relate to Susanne’s “To Third or Not to Third” post, because that was us.  We had “the talk,” about, oh, 450 times over the years. Ultimately, we decided that we LOVE being parents, LOVE our precious kiddos, and just saw ourselves having a big family.  And apparently, very little sleep – ha ha!

Because we are starting completely over (gulp).  Which is both very exciting and also terrifying.  Let’s start dragging out the 15,000 tupperware “baby bins” full of clothes, toys, blankies, etc., we’ve been storing in the garage forever!  (Yep, I kept everything, “just in case.” I bet you’re not surprised.)

I’ll have two in elementary school and an infant snuggling, crying, feeding, fussing, and cooing at home.  Someone reminded me the other day that when this newest baby is in kindergarten, my oldest will be in 8th grade. O.M.G.  Of course, I can do the math.  But seriously, just putting their age difference in that kind of perspective made me stop in my tracks.

Speaking of my two “bigs,” (Yes, I have now promoted my “baby” boy to a “big.” He’s almost five…tear!), they have been asking us for a new baby for more than a year.  They are absolutely over-the-moon happy about the pregnancy, and we talk about it as their baby, too.  They give my little baby bump kisses and hugs, and read it stories.  Which makes me cry.  Because I pretty much cry at anything theses days.  I know they are going to be the BEST helpers, protectors, and friends to this new little life.

So, here we go!  I can’t wait to share this fun, crazy pregnancy journey with you…stay tuned!

Photo taken by Fotograafe Photo Studio & Gallery

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Lesson Learned

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sisters

Photo credit: Kristin Eldridge

I had one of those mom fail parenting moments the other night that made me feel awful. But I have to think it is these sorts of moments that teach us as parents. Or, maybe that is just making me feel better.

Let me explain the scenario.

By the time bedtime for my girls rolls around I DONE.

Mom’s not playing around. I want to keep the bedtime train moving with end destination being SLEEP for both girls, which means one hour of time to myself to finally get a chance to talk alone with my hubby or collapse on the couch with a book or show.

However, come bedtime they often get this second wind of energy and silliness, which actually makes me more grumpy, because again, I am not in the mood for silly, I am DONE.

Now, our bedtime routine is such that I put Morgan (5yrs) down first, alone. I read to her and then we do our prayer/snuggle and kiss good-night.

While I am putting Morgan down, Emma (8yrs), is supposed to be brushing her teeth or basically doing any of the steps she knows are needed to keep HER bedtime train moving and then is supposed to get into bed and read until I come in to put her down, alone.

Yet instead of driving the bedtime readiness train, she often departs to do head stands or bed frame gymnastics routines. Or, she will remember something VERY important that she forgot to tell me or Morgan, and will bust into Morgan’s room to interrupt our book time, de-railing our train and extending the process.

Lately Emma has been adding another stop on the bedtime train for Morgan, with a special “good night kiss” when I leave Morgan’s room.

I have asked her many times to please say good-night BEFORE Morgan goes down and before books commence but that is not flying. She now has to come in after our routine is over, jumps up into Morgan’s bed to kiss her, hug her and say “good night.” Again, from my point of view, just another antic to extend bedtime.

Emma plants so many kisses on Morgan’s head, they often end up laughing and giggling and again, grumpy mom is there to say, “Come on Emma! Morgan needs to go to sleep and you need to get ready! That’s enough. Time for bed.”

Here comes the lesson.

Last night Morgan’s Kindergarten teacher emailed me with the title, “Sister Love”, and shared with me the class was talking about “love” and the people that love them and Morgan shared with zero hesitation, “Emma because she hugs and kisses me before I go to bed.”

She wanted to share with me because it made her heart melt.

It made MY heart melt too, made me tear up it was so sweet. But then I realized how selfish I have been trying to cut this moment out, to what, save 1 minute?!

I was looking at it as an extension of the the process, not wanting Morgan to get “riled up” and really just wanting Emma to be reading.

But what I failed to see was the beauty in the gesture of what Emma was doing, and what it meant to Morgan.

Never again!!

Emma will be allowed to go in, kiss, hug and say good-night to her sister without a grumpy mom standing in the doorway. It’s okay to sometimes get off the train. Or, mom can adjust the timing to get to bed a little earlier. But, moments like this are to be treasured.

Lesson learned.

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Random Reflections for a Wednesday

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I was having writer’s block this morning when thinking of posts for this week. Typically that isn’t an issue because it seems like there are always more topics than I know what to do with – however – today was different.

Often I find myself and my mind going in a thousand directions, so this post contains just a few of the things on my mind lately.  Let’s start with the most serious topic first.

The Bachelor

You guys, I have watched every single season of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette since it started. Honestly, every single one.  However, after this season’s bikini tractor competition, I decided I just can’t do it anymore. What do I do? Give it another try next week? Is it so far gone, they lost me forever? OR, have I matured since turning 40? This is a serious issue. I think they need to hire Love and Knuckles to be the Bachelor’s Life Coach. The show needs help.

Binge Series Love

My husband and I binge watched Orange is the New Black and House of Cards on Netflix, and found ourselves caught up on both over the holiday break. When searching for a new show, I remember over the years friends raving about Friday Night Lights, and found the entire 5 seasons again, on Netflix.

Love for this series isn’t even the word. I think we have watched an episode a night for a month. If you missed this one, give it a shot. Coach Taylor is dreamy.

Tennis

My first tennis lesson was last week, part of my 2015 goals to take up a new hobby. I was psyched. Let’s do this! I hadn’t played in about 15+ years, so I threw 3 old rackets we had in the garage in a bag to ask my new coach which was the best one for me to use.  Upon arriving at the court, I come to find out, after 10+ years, the grip on a racket starts to deteriorate. All three grips were falling apart.  I chose the best of the three, however, the grip completely melted in my hands, leaving a sticky black, tar-like residue that took me an entire day to fully remove.  I got a new grip, but had to wonder if it was an auspicious sign tennis might not be my racket?

tennis hands

Measles

Oh God, of course measles is on my mind, as I am sure it is on the mind of every mom in OC right about now. I have been reading / seeing the measles outbreak news on Facebook and in the newspaper so much it turned up in the most horrendous nightmare the other night. I choose to vaccinate my girls, so my kids have had both measles vaccines, but I find myself wondering how I would be feeling if they were not of age to receive the vaccinations yet? I am scared to see how this unfolds. It is freaking me out.

The Goldfinch

Thanks to many of the reader recommendations on my 15 books you can’t put down post, I started The Goldfinch this weekend and I am obsessed. 771 pages, which is no joke for a busy mom, but the book SO good,  I am about 40% done and it’s one of the best books I have read in awhile. If you are looking for more good reads, visit this post, and read the comments.

Oprah and Huffington Post

In the last month, Susanne’s plan ahead dinner tips have been featured on the Oprah.com website, and then the article was recently picked on on the OWN Huffington Post site, which for me, is pretty much like a blogger’s dream come true and I feel really, really grateful.

VRBO and Karaoke

karaoke I am planning a girls’ weekend with two of my dearest college friends this spring to our old stomping grounds.  We were planning on staying at a hotel, but when I checked out VRBO just for the heck of it to give us a little more space, I am finding some amazing places for the same, and sometimes less money than a nice hotel!

One place even had a jacuzzi and karaoke machine. Three 40 year old moms, chardonnay, and access to karaoke.

It’s a dangerous mix.  I feel like a whole new world has been opened up to me. How did I not know this?

Multi-tasking Overload

While multi-tasking between checking Facebook, email, what have you, I clicked over on this link my friend shared on how the modern world is bad for your brain. It IS. It REALLY is. Every time I am online I find myself seriously getting distracted. I will sit down to blog, then get a message dinged, which I check, then see I have a Facebook notification, and will click over, and get sucked in.  I feel like I need to set “social media” checking hours, where I have set times to go through Facebook, which I love, and read the articles that interest me, but I just don’t see that happening because it is like an addiction. Does anyone keep “social media” hours? HELP!!!!!

multi-tasking brain

I feel like I could keep going on, but I will end on one of my most favorite quotes lately, about letting your light shine, one of my greatest lessons on turning 40. Now, go out into the world and let your lights shine today ladies! Thanks for reading!

Let Your Light Shine!

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