Staying at home

I love staying at home with my kids.  Although some days I must say I do wish I had a place to get away for 8 hours a day!  The kids drive me insane but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  They are the sweetest angels and I am so thankful I get to stay at home.  I came across this article recently and I wanted to share it here because honestly I never saw it this way:

http://www.babble.com/relationships/being-a-stay-at-home-parent-is-a-luxury-for-your-spouse/?cmp=smc|413462024

Having been a working mom as well, I can 100% relate to this article.  We always made sure when we were both working to alternate our schedules so that one of us was always home.  Also, it meant that we didn’t have to pay for day care that we couldn’t afford.  That was nice, but we couldn’t work as much due to having to be home by a certain time.  So, we decided just I would work because I was moving up and getting a promotion.  So for about a year, he stayed home while I worked.  It was so nice knowing that he was at home with my kids and I didn’t have to worry.  I knew who was with them and I knew that he would do everything in his power to keep them safe.

sah1

Once he got a job that paid better, our roles switched.  I was now staying at home with the kids while he worked.  We also got a second car to make our lives easier because bringing the baby and 1 and a half year old to the bus stop in 10 degree weather was pretty terrible.  So life went on as usual.  And he wasn’t worried about them because he knew I would be with them at all times.  Now two of my kids are in school (although my 3 year old only goes for 2 hours) and they always have me at the bus stop, school functions, class parties (when I can attend).  Some days I want to pull my hair out and scream.  But not all days.  It’s give and take.  This article made me feel so good though because it really never occurred to me that I was like a luxury, and it never occurred to me that he was as well.  Sometimes you just don’t see what’s right in front of you.

sah2

Working vs. Staying At Home

One of the main dividers of moms is the staying at home vs. working debate.  Everyone has their opinions and often argue over it.  I know that it is not all moms, but enough that I see it happen quite often and h00ve tried to stop the arguments in the past.  Both sides say that what they do is more difficult.  But we shouldn’t be arguing amongst ourselves.  Whether you work or stay at home we are all still moms and should be offering each other support and kind words.

I have done both, and I can say both are extremely hard and taxing.  I hate when I see people making a mom feel bad because she works, or because she stays at home.  As a working mom I had to leave my kids for 10+ hours per day, 5-6 days per week (I worked as a manager of sorts at a restaurant).  It was hard, every time I left my daughter would break down screaming.  It was extremely difficult.  Not to mention that when I got home it wasn’t like I had time to relax.  Either I got home at 1 am and knew I had to do a little cleaning and go to bed since I had to be up in 5 hours, or I got home at 4 and had to cook dinner, play, clean, do everything.  I had to leave at family gatherings and on holidays because I had to go to work.  I missed a lot, including my youngest taking her first steps.

Then, my fiancé got a better job so I was able to leave my job and stay home.  Mostly because the money I was making would basically only pay for childcare so it just wasn’t worth it to us.  I love it.  I’m always here for my kids, I’m the one who kisses their boo boo’s, I witness all their firsts, I’m the mean one who they don’t like (which is actually pretty cool), I am the one they cry for.  But it’s demanding.  Nonstop.  I get barely any time to myself, and that time is usually spent cleaning because man they are like little tornadoes.  Then I have my fiancé to take care of and he is just like a grown baby.  I wake up 2-5 times every night with the baby because I don’t go to work the next day.  I get beat up, screamed at, bit, punched, etc.  But I do love staying home with them.  The positives mostly outweigh the negatives.

So which is more difficult?  I find them to be equally as hard but for different reasons.  Either way you really don’t get alone time or time to relax.  I just wish people would stop arguing and come together as people and as moms to see the beauty in the chaos.

Bullying and being “Different”

I have always been different-and proud.  It never really affected me.  I wasn’t bullied; I had my group of friends.  But I was always different, shy and socially awkward.  But it never stopped me from doing anything.  I think I have actually become more socially awkward as I get older.  I got along better with guys than girls, probably because I was never much into gossip or make up or hair or anything that they were interested in.  I was definitely a tomboy and proud of it.  Still am!  I was extremely lucky to find someone as weird and awkward as me!!!!

different1

My son, however, worries me.  He is very socially awkward I always see it at the bus stop.  The kids in his grade ignore him all the time when he tries to talk to them.  They shy away and just talk to each other.  It doesn’t seem to phase him, yet it breaks my heart.  He has always gotten along better with adults (not his father and myself of course).  We took him to a neurologist since his school work was suffering and he said that he would diagnose him with Asperger’s Syndrome.  However, since that was lumped in with Autism although it is different, he decided to diagnose him as ADHD combined so that he could still get the help in school.  What is Asperger’s?  Asperger’s Syndrome is a type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD).  PDD’s have a spectrum, and are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination. (source: http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/mental-health-aspergers-syndrome)

different2

So in short, he doesn’t know how to act in social situations, he never makes eye contact during conversation, and he fidgets and gets fixated very intensely on things.  He knows when he does something wrong but he has absolutely no impulse control.  It’s hard to deal with.  He also has my stubbornness which makes it even more difficult.  But the worst part is how I see kids react to him.  He has friends in his class, but a lot of kids don’t want much to do with him because he doesn’t understand how to hold a conversation.  He doesn’t pick up on typical social cues.  But he does love to read.  Recently, he was among only 50 students in his grade to get a reading award.  He was so proud as were we!

different3

With all the bullying going on for kids who are different, it scares me.  He’s getting closer to the age where it seems to have exploded.  I have tried to build him up in every way and teach him that bullies are usually treated poorly themselves so they treat others badly.  I’ve taught him to stand up for himself and for others who are being treated poorly and I know he has been bullied a few times and gone to the teacher about it.  I worry so much because he is different and that is what makes him special.  Every time I read a story about a child who committed suicide because of the horrendous bullying I get more scared.  Should I homeschool him?  I have always thought about that.  But I can’t protect him forever.  I know that I just have to be there for him.  Really listen to him.  I need to stand up for him if no one else will and always believe him.  And most importantly, I need to ensure he knows that our differences are what make us beautiful and I would never change a thing about him.

different4

The Sister Bond

I have 3 sisters, 2 older and 1 younger.  We are all about 2 years apart and I am so lucky to have them.  We may not all be as close as we were but we always have each other, no matter what.  I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to have an only child.  I always wanted to have 3 kids.  I wanted them to have someone.  There is nothing wrong with being an only child, Dan is one and he is perfect.  I just know how much I had that he didn’t with having siblings.  I had a punching bag, best friend, shoulder to cry on, protector, etc.  It wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows and we fought all the time, we still do as adults.  But if something happens, we always know who to call, even if we aren’t talking at the moment.  It’s amazing to have that.

 

Now my daughters are 16 months apart (not on purpose lol).  They fight ALL the time.  It seems like it’s never ending.  “Mom sissy won’t give me the juice”, “Mom sissy has my blankie”, “Mom sissy bit me”, etc.  Sometimes I think they are going to kill each other, and I know now how my mom must have felt.  And with 4 of us I can’t imagine.  But as much as they fight, I see that bond that my sisters and I have.  One day, the baby fell and was walking over to me crying.  Alyssa was still lying in bed and she came running out screaming at me for hurting her sissy.  I explained to her that sissy fell and why would I ever hurt her and she was just like “okay” and went back to bed.  She was protecting her.  Even though maybe Katherine had stolen her toy yesterday, or woken her up.  She didn’t care, because that’s her little sister.  When Alyssa falls, Katherine is always there to try to help her back up and to comfort her when she’s sad.

sisters3.png

They love playing with each other.  They can just go and play in the room for ever (with a little fighting) and they are so happy.  Katherine copies everything Alyssa does.  We are once again introducing potty training to Alyssa who is so fickle about it.  Every time Alyssa goes on the potty, Katherine will take off her pants and diaper and sit on it as well.  She doesn’t ever go nor really know that that is what she is doing, but whatever Alyssa does, so does Katherine.  She just follows her around.  Plus, Alyssa can have a conversation with Katherine even though she doesn’t speak too much yet.  It’s so funny to watch them communicate.

sisters4

I am so thankful that they have a sister and brother to grow up with.  Although right now Sean doesn’t like having much to do with them since he’s so much older, it is wonderful.  He is the ultimate protector and will always be there.  No matter what happens in life, my children will never be alone and I am so happy about that.  I am so glad that I can give them what I had.

sisters5.png

Getting Fit on A Budget Part 1

Now I don’t know about you but I know that I have quite a few extra pounds that keep multiplying.  Being on a strict budget makes things a little more difficult in making healthy choices for yourself.  I can buy healthier for the kids but usually for me it’s just lean pockets and whatever chore I have to do that day  for exercise.  But looking in the mirror is getting increasingly frustrating so I have decided it’s time to do something about it.

fitness1.png

Now, I have never been a small person.  My main goal with this is to tighten up and get healthy.  As a mother, I know my body will never be the same again.  I have stretch marks, a little pot belly that doesn’t quit, extra skin, etc.  But I can make it the best body for me.  I want to live a long life, watch my kids grow up, get married, have kids of their own.  I want to be an active person and just feel good about myself.  So I will update this bi weekly with tips, things I’m doing, different recipes I’ve tried, and any weight loss updates!!!!

firtness2

So right now I have been doing a couple different exercises that I would like to share with you.  You don’t need to pay for an expensive gym membership now that we have access to the internet and it is GREAT!  I can do it from the comfort of my own home, there is no judgement here (mainly since my 2 year old has no idea what I’m doing).  I can do it at my own pace and not worry about how utterly ridiculous I look!  So here are the 3 I am in the middle of:

  1. The 30 day Push-Up Challenge (http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/30-Day-Push-Up-Challenge-30974208)- I have always been awful at push-up’s.  Like I have absolutely NO upper body strength.  This is great!  It is slowly, and painfully, building my arms up.  I hate how weak I am but I am doing everything to fix it.  It isn’t easy, but I feel great when I finish!
  2. The 30 Day Squat Challenge (http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/30-Day-Squat-Challenge-30806625)- This one is great! Not only can I really feel my legs getting a good work out but I feel it in my butt, and I feel like I already see my butt getting a bit more firm!  It’s decently easy, I can do it even through the children since I can just hold them, and it takes maybe 5-10 minutes!
  3. The 30-Day 6-Pack Abs Challenge (http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Ab-Challenge-38124196#photo-38124196)- As I said, I know I will NEVER have a nice set of abs, there is just too much extra skin there. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still tone up and make it a bit less flabby.  This is great and I can definitely feel it while I’m doing it!  The worst for me are the side elbow planks because I have no balance and fall every time!  The important part is getting back up!

These are 3 wonderful exercises and I absolutely love popsugar since they have all of these wonderful exercises!  To make it easier on myself, I actually printed out the charts and hung them on my bedroom wall.  This way not only can I not hide from it, but I don’t have to go on the computer every day to see what I’m on.

fitness3

I also take 2 walks with my dogs and children every day, each walk is about 1.2 miles.  So my goal weight is 125.  I have a long way to go.  But I know I can do it, and I know you can do it too!  Whatever the reason for wanting to get healthier it’s worth it!  See you next time!

fitness4

Baking with My Daughter

I love being able to spend one on one time with my kids, although with 3 of them there isn’t much one on one time unfortunately! My 3 year old absolutely loves cooking with me! She just stands on a chair and watches. I let her help in ways a 3 year old can that isn’t too difficult or dangerous. She insists on cooking with me every night. Her new favorite is baking cookies with me. We were so lucky to find these cookies they are so easy and so delicious!!!! The original recipe can be found here:

Classic, All Butter Peanut Butter Blossoms

cookies1

The end result!

So you start by gathering all of your ingredients. I love this Skippy Natural Peanut Butter with Honey! It is so creamy and rich and delicious, but any kind will work! You are going to preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. I line my baking sheets with the Pam Baking spray and then set them to the side.
cookies2
Now on the original recipe it calls for a stand mixer. I unfortunately do not have a stand mixer, so I used an electric hand mixer which worked perfectly for me! So in a large bowl, we creamed together the butter, ½ cup of the white sugar and the brown sugar until it was nice and fluffy. It took about 1-3 minutes, and looked like this:

cookies3
Next you beat in the peanut butter, egg and vanilla until well combined.
cookies5
Finally, add in the flour and baking soda. At this point I use the mixer for as long as possible and then use a rubber scraper until a nice dough forms. It is so easy to work with!
cookies6
Then you roll the cookies! Put the remaining white sugar on a plate. Roll them into about 1 inch balls (I never know what those are, I just try and make them about the same size).
cookies7.png
Then roll them in the sugar and place them about an inch apart on the greased baking sheets. Once they are all done, pop them in the oven for 8-10 minutes (mine usually take about 10 minutes)
cookies8
Pull them out and let them cool for about a minute.
cookies9
Finally pop a Hershey Kiss in them and then transfer to a cooling rack! Unfortunately I don’t have any cooling racks so I just transfer them to a serving tray.
cookies10.png
Then all you have to do is enjoy them! As I said, super easy and so amazing! I always have the ingredients on hand (besides the Hershey kisses) and they are gone within 2 days! The amount varies as sometimes I get 30, sometimes less it all depends! Happy baking!
cookies11.png

The Last 2nd Birthday

Now, unless God has a very sick sense of humor (totally possible), or we win the lottery (definitely not possible) , we are finished having kids. 3 is plenty for us.  They are perfect and we don’t need anymore.  So, my youngest definitely has the “baby-of-the-family syndrome”.  She is first off a complete brute.  She beats everyone up.  I guess that comes with the territory of being the littlest and having to defend yourself.  But she is a little spoiled and I hate to admit it.  She still gets disciplined and doesn’t like it, but I can say we let a bit more slide with her.

2nd1

Now it’s her 2nd birthday.  Which means it’s the last second birthday we will ever have! *tear*.  We do not do anything extravagant for birthdays; we just have a nice dinner and dessert with family.  I want to be able to spend the time with them, plus the girls are still pretty young.  We always buy some decorations, balloons, and I make a nice dinner and birthday cake (which is different every time). It’s nice, simple and intimate.  Just how we like it.

2nd2

So we were shopping the other day and I bought a few extra things.  Everytime Dan would say something I would just make a sad face and cry that this is the last 2nd birthday ever.  Is it too much? No, it’s like 3 more things than I usually buy.  Not to mention the older kids have a shared birthday since they are one day apart 11 days before Christmas.  So we just have 1 party for them.  But she’s my crazy little baby.  And I don’t know if it’s more for her or for me.  I can’t believe that this is the last 2nd birthday.  It’s very depressing.  Every time she has a first I cry because for me it’s also a last.  And while I love every new stride she makes, I just wish she would stop.  Is it selfish? Yeah, probably.  Do I care? Nope.  I will keep wishing for her to not grow up because then I will never have it again.  No more first steps.  No more first word.  No more first bad boo boo.  Soon I won’t get my snuggles, my constant love because they will all be grown.  My babies… no one tells you how amazing yet awful it is with your last child.  She’s just the princess and always will be.

2nd3.png

Hilarious: Things Every Parent Can Relate to

I keep seeing posts like these, so i figured I could share some of my favorites here! These ones in particular I can relate to.

WARNING: A few pics use somewhat NSFW language.

baby1

My daughter can go for hours at a time with ketchup smeared across her face.

baby3

My kids can go borderline comatose if a certain cartoon is on. Is fluctuates from Daniel Tiger to Super Why, but Mickey Mouse always has this effect.

baby6

I never met a baby who didn’t love mirrors.Love, as in punch and scream at.

baby2

My older daughter frequently shouts at Mickey Mouse. Rarely does it have anything to do with the show, but shes trying.

baby4

My youngest daughter reacts worse to her siblings taking her food than when they steal her favorite toy.

baby5

Good question.

baby7

My youngest used to keep me up 5+ hours at night to feed. I am not ashamed to admit I cried.

baby8

The picture that makes millions every year for Pampers, Huggies, etc.

baby10

God help us all if my daughter’s shoe’s come off in the middle of a long car ride.

These are just a few of my favorite pics from across the internet! I try to save the ones I like, and I love sharing them here. A few (guess which?) are my husband’s additions, but I think most of these things are universal parenting truths.

 

Rescue Dogs: My OTHER children

I love animals. Like in every way. They are awesome. Dogs are definitely man’s (and woman’s) best friend! We live with my future mother-in-law and she has her dog, Spike. I love him he’s such a cutie. He was rescued from Hurricane Katrina so he’s a bit of an old man and he HATES rain! But he’s so funny and lazy.

Dogs1

Then there’s our new dog, Nova. She’s a baby about 1 year old. She is such a sweetheart. She is super energetic and loves playing. We weren’t planning on getting a new dog, but when we went into the rescue we saw her and knew that she was ours.

dogs2

She’s definitely a momma’s girl!

Now Spike hates Nova. He’s an old man, not very active, and not very accepting of new animals. He warms up, and has begun warming up, but there have been a couple fights between then. Nova always comes out on top, because she is so much taller than him. But luckily it has only been over toys and food. Spike hates sharing.

dogs3

Here’s what I love: Nova is super protective. Like if we are playing with the girls, she comes to their defense. If Dan and I play fight, she jumps on him to get him away from me. We were all walking the other day, and two chihuahua’s came running out of their home with their owners hot on their tails. Nova loves other dogs so she was trying to play with this dog that is like 1/16th of her size. My son was walking Spike and the second dog started going after him. As I said before, Spike hates other dogs and this one was really rough. Nova saw this and went absolutely insane. If I didn’t have such a good hold on her she would have eaten that dog. She was protecting this little brat who hates her. Because she loves him. And wants him safe. And it warmed my heart.

Now, Nova is part Siberian Husky (http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/siberian-husky/), part German Shepard (http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/german-shepherd-dog/) and the vet also sees a little Doberman Pinscher (http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/doberman-pinscher/) in her. So she is extremely loyal and fearless and wonderful. I couldn’t imagine a better addition to our family than her. She is definitely our best friend and Spike is finally warming up to her! We love our walks. She completed our family when we didn’t even know it was incomplete!

Dogs4

I always recommend rescuing a dog, not buying one from a pet store. Rescuing is so much better!!! They need a loving home. Most pet stores euthanize and use puppy mills. Also know that dogs aren’t just fun, they take a lot of work and many years. But they are years filled with love, joy and happiness. Here’s a great site to check out for information:

https://www.aspca.org/

Death

Death. It’s never pretty. It never goes away. No matter how sick a loved one is, their death still comes as a shock. My mother was always sick in some way, and she was very disabled. I lived near her and helped her out a lot with things like shopping, making food, running errands, etc. I was 7 months pregnant when she passed away. I will never forget that moment. I will never forget the feeling. Helplessness, abandonment, and extreme pain are just a few descriptions out of many.

sadness-717439_640

I have never been good at dealing with death. But when it was my mom it was the worst. I live right down the street from where she lived so I had to deal with everything right away. I have 2 older sisters and 1 younger. My older sister is in New Jersey with us, just 2 hours south, but my other sisters live in Florida so they had to fly up. That was the worst time of my life and I’m still not over it, almost 4 years later.

Here are the five stages of grief, as outlined by http://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/:

  1. Denial- This stage helps us survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on. We try to find a way to simply get through each day. Denial and shock help us to cope and make survival possible. Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief.
  2. Anger- Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal. There are many other emotions under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger is the emotion we are most used to managing. The truth is that anger has no limits. It can extend not only to your friends, the doctors, your family, yourself and your loved one who died, but also to God. You may ask, “Where is God in this? Underneath anger is pain, your pain. It is natural to feel deserted and abandoned, but we live in a society that fears anger. Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss.
dog-900215_640

Anger

  1. Bargaining- Before a loss, it seems like you will do anything if only your loved one would be spared. “Please God, ” you bargain, “I will never be angry at my wife again if you’ll just let her live.” After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary truce. “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others. Then can I wake up and realize this has all been a bad dream?” We become lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…” statements. We want life returned to what is was; we want our loved one restored.
  2. Depression- After bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to a great loss. We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense sadness, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going on alone? Why go on at all? Depression after a loss is too often seen as unnatural: a state to be fixed, something to snap out of.
  3. Acceptance- Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live. We must try to live now in a world where our loved one is missing.

wood-wool-1186917_640

Now these stages don’t go in order. And when you move on to a different stage of grief, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are finished with the one you moved on from. Grief is a funny thing, and it can hit you even when you think you have moved on. I am always stuck in denial and anger. There is no timeline for you to grieve, and you will probably be grieving this person for your entire life, even if it only hits once in a while.

Just know that it is completely normal. Everyone is different and while the stages are the same, everyone grieves differently. If you need help with the process, reach out to a counselor. You are not alone.

sad-women-1008789_640