Baby Of My Heart

When I met your mommy you were already there
with your beautiful smile and curly brown hair
I gave you a flower with a rattle inside
You gave me a smile so open and wide

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I loved you from the first time we met
How lucky could one guy get?
Your mommy and me fell in love too
And all of our love we shared with you

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You grew so fast and stole my heart
I knew we could never be apart
So I asked your mommy to marry me
And now we are a family

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I had to make it all last forever
My love for you will never end, Never!
We went to court and it was done
you are my child, my first one.

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God placed you in my life to care for
And I could never ask for more
You may not have my DNA
But you have my heart each night and day

*I wrote this for my husband to give to K when we finally talked about the whole adoption process. Since then I have told my friends about telling her about the adoption and I mentioned some of the things we wrote to help her understand. I wanted to share it with everyone since I have been asked to read it by almost everyone I spoke with. A lot of my friends have reached out to me about how to discuss step-parents with their kids and this is  a cute poem that I’m sure can be helpful to explain how a stepparent could love them just like their own.*

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Saying Goodbye is Hard

It has been a rough few weeks for our family. The end of summer rush and start of the school year chaos was overshadowed by a lot of family drama.

About a week before K started 2nd grade we got a call that we were dreading, Nanny was placed on hospice. Her health had been precarious for years and I think we took for granted that all those close calls would always end happily.

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We went to see her the same day that K was going to meet her 2nd grade teacher. We went and spent most of the day with her and it was bittersweet. The girls got to have some extra snuggles with her and it was good for my husband to have this time with his Nanny.

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One thing that I will never forget is when we walked in she said, “isn’t this the girl you adopted?” Asking Richie about K. She is 7 so we never had that discussion with her and I had to make a mental note to discuss everything with her later.

The rest of the visit was a bit like a rollercoaster. There were such sweet moments where we’d talk about happy memories and then there were the devastating ones where she started giving the girls toys and jewelry to remember her and discussing her funeral arrangements.

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When we went home we had that talk with K, a blog for another day, and she met her 2nd grade teacher. Life went back to semi-normal but K knew something was up with nanny and was sad that she was sick.

A week later we went back up to see everyone. We had another family member celebrating their 103rd birthday! There was a dance party and lots of fun and on the way home we decided to stop and see nanny before heading home.

It was late, the kids were tired and cranky and Richie felt bad about wanting to go because of the time. After discussing it we knew we had to go and see her. If we didn’t go and something happened I knew he would regret it and I didn’t want that.

So we went.

It was such a great visit. Nanny was obviously tired, but in good spirits. K got to snuggle a lot. She knew this time when we went that her time with Nanny was precious and she just laid next to her, not wanting to leave.

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M was better this time around too, she gave a hug when we went to leave, which for M is a big deal. L played with Papa most of the time, still too young to understand what was going on.

Richie promised Nanny he’d come see her the next week, I kissed her cheek and told her I loved her and then I corralled the girls out of the house so Richie could say goodbye without the craziness.

It was the next day that we go the phone call. K and I wept and Richie was his stoic self – staying strong for us.

The next few days passed in a blur. I had to get the girls things for the funeral and Richie was a pallbearer so we needed to find a suit for him. He had to make arrangements at work and since it was only the 2nd week of school I had to talk to K’s teacher.

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Still, despite feeling like I was running through mud trying to get everything done, the day came for us to head to Jacksonville for the viewing and funeral. K was the only girl that understood and she cried any time she thought of nanny so we found her the blanket nanny crocheted her and told her her snuggle it. I told her that anytime she missed nanny to just wrap it around her and it would be like nanny was giving her a big hug.

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The girls did pretty good for the funeral. I took the two younger ones out so Richie and K could sit for the service. Afterwards we had to drive to the cemetery.

The drive to the cemetery was the worst part for me. All of a sudden M realized she couldn’t see nanny again. She kept saying she wanted to go to heaven and she wanted to party with nanny. How do you explain to a 3 year old what heaven really is?!

Then the drive home M kept asking to buy wings for our van so we could fly to heaven to see Nanny. I was strong until then, hearing her innocent cries to see her nanny again broke me.

Since then I’ve been in a funk. I’ve been struggling to get back into the swing of things for my page and my family.

Nanny was such a special person to me and to K. When Richie and I first got together she welcomed us into the family with open arms. she loved K so much, despite the fact everyone told me she didn’t like babies. I have such precious memories that I will cherish forever and I’m glad that I have them to tell to K when she is older too.

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Saying goodbye is hard, but never so hard as when you’re watching your child’s heart break from saying goodbye as well.

Making Things

I have been distracted and busy lately.

I find that I get swept up in the moment and forget about social media. It’s hard when you’re trying to run a business page or keep up with a blog but at the end of the day my kids will remember the time I spent with them not my online presence.

We have been enjoying the end of our summer break and its bitter sweet. We’re trying to cram all the fun we can into such a short time. I have tried to convince K we should try homeschooling but she loves her school so much and I love it too.

The girls and I have been doing lots of extra crafting. We all made potholders. It was the first time M used the sewing machine with me and K did it ALL by herself!

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I’ve also been working on making clothing for the girls and I’m super proud of the latest dresses I made for them!

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We’ve run errands with my mom to try and help with her home renovations. No matter what we do with my mom the girls have a blast since they adore her.

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And since we live in Florida we’ve been experiencing our afternoon rainstorms again recently. With the girls having a TON of energy they haven’t been able to run off outside we had to adapt.

So I made the girls some superhero capes and let them act crazy in the living room. They pretended they could fly as they jumped into blanket piles on the floor, thankfully none of them got hurt!

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And then of course it was time to get some stuff done for the new school year so I whipped up some pencil cases for K to use at school.

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On top of all of that we tried our hand at cake decorating and made some cookies to bring to the neighbors.

There is something really special about connecting with the people close to you and teaching your children not to take them for granted. Unfortunately we made cookies for a diabetic so we’re clearly not perfect yet and will need to have a redo for her.

As you can see, we’ve been super busy but we’ve also had a ton of fun. I am loving every second of being these little girl’s mom. I love to teach them new things and then watch their eyes light up when they finally get it!

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When they school year starts up again my days will be more structured and maybe I will be too, no promises. But I will be sure to come and do updates since I’m absent from Facebook for the most part these days.

Thanks for checking up on us, and if you want me to try and make something new let me know because I’m having a blast playing around with my AMAZING new sewing machine!

Summer Fun

Summer is such a magical time of year. There is new wonder in every day and as a kid the days seem to last forever.

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My husband and I love to take our girls on fun adventures. We love to watch the excitement in their eyes as they experience new things. So taking the three girls canoeing for the first time was awesome!

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When K was younger we took her kayaking a few times in the springs but we feel like a canoe is much safer with kids. When my husband’s friend offered to lend us him we were thrilled.

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For the first time in forever I went canoeing!

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We went to one of our favorite springs and we took the canoe out.

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The girls had a blast gliding through the crystal clear water and looking for wildlife. We saw turtles and fish and lots of pretty birds. We also saw two alligators.

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There is something so special about showing your kids the hidden beauty in everything around them. We are so lucky to live in a place where we have so many amazing places to go and explore!

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The girls loved splashing in the cool water after we got back to dock the canoe and we had an absolutely amazing day together.

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These are the things that the girls will remember when they get older. They won’t remember if we didn’t get them the most toys but they will remember all that we did together!

Big Girl Birthday Bash

I cannot believe that my oldest just turned 7! SEVEN! How crazy is that?!

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I’ve noticed that people don’t really tend to RSVP anymore, and even when they do that doesn’t mean so much. I have actually avoided the whole birthday scene since her disastrous 5th birthday party where only ONE person showed up.

Having a summer birthday means that its harder to get people together, I understand, it’s just hard to understand when you’re little and just want to hang out with your friends. Since my party’s don’t tend to work out I’ve leaned more towards family days and those have been great.

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I tried to insist on a family day this year but after two years with the same friends in school all K wanted was a birthday with her friends. I thought if I did the birthday a month ahead of time it might work out and people might show up but our budget got in the way of that and we were once again doing her birthday a solid month after school was out for the summer.

I rented an amazing water slide from Flagler Bounce and I was sure that people would come because seriously, who doesn’t want to play on a water slide?!

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For a week we prepped everything. I cleaned my house spotless (or as spotless as I can get it with three kids actively destroying it behind me) and we prepped everything.

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My sister baked and decorated an amazing cake and we were set.

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There were still few, if any RSVP’s but I was told that family would come and so I wasn’t worried too much about people being there.

The day before the party M stuck her head into the fridge and took a bite out of the top layer of the cake that my sister and her husband spent hours making… not a good start to the festivities…

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The morning of the party the waterslide was dropped off early and my girls were so excited. Any prep I had left to do now needed to be juggled with watching my girls play in the water.

Yes, I’m that over protective mom who won’t let her kids play without supervision. Since they’re 7, 3 and 1 I don’t feel bad about my protectiveness.

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Finally the time of the party came and it was only my family there. K and the others didn’t care because they were playing on the slide. In the end one old friend of K’s came and 2 friends from school.

It wasn’t the huge blowout parties you see all over the place, apparently I don’t throw that kind, but my kids had an absolute blast! The neighbor’s came over and stayed until the waterslide got shut down.

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My parties may not have huge turn outs and maybe I’m not the best planner in the world but as long as my kids have a great time and love their birthday that’s really all that matters!

Adventures In Potty Training

As most of you have read in my previous post I LOVE cloth diapering! I love pretty much everything about cloth diapering and because of that I was in no rush to potty train L. Since I’m not currently pregnant, I didn’t want to pack away my pretty fluff.

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Just being real for a second, potty training is work. Now, it’s not always hard, sometimes it’s actually pretty easy but when you’re in the middle of a quick trip to the store and your kid has to go NOW it becomes a bit tiresome. I love the idea of being done with diapers until God blesses me with another little miracle but when you’re talking to a friend and have to stop mid-sentence to rush to the bathroom its a bit exhausting.

When I’m out I have a fold up potty seat so its not a problem as much as trying to make sure I can get her to the bathroom on time. Also she likes to go multiple times in a row so I have to be able to run back and forth.

With K potty training was easy. I introduced her to the toilet early and she caught on fairly quick. I didn’t use any specific method, I just went with what I felt was right at the time. For her it was right.

With M I did the same thing. It was not right for her. It did not work!

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M was such a struggle, the idea of potty training L was a daunting one. I didn’t want to deal with accidents and the grossness that I had to deal with before. M was terrible, it is actually very recently that she has stopped having accidents.

L has been ready for a long time. She has been pooping on the potty since she was a little more than a year old and from there we’d just put her on every now and then. The absolute biggest thing about potty training, in my opinion, is not having the kids afraid of the toilet!

As the school year came to an end and summer was starting I knew it was time to bite the bullet and get L all the way potty trained. It wasn’t that I had a certain age that I needed it done by, I just knew that she was ready and I was stalling for my own sake not hers.

This time I was prepared. I got a little kid potty seat, a seat for the toilet (which I recommend above the separate potty seat) and the book, Potty Training in 3 Days! I was ready!

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I read the book like 3 times before I decided that it was the right day to begin. I followed the book to a T and just like that I found myself with a potty trained little girl. She doesn’t wet the bed at night and she doesn’t have accidents during the day.

My 21 month old little girl is 100% potty trained!

I don’t know if that method works for all kids. I do know that it worked for mine! I am so excited to head into summer without the diaper bag and tons of things I need to pack just for a quick trip to the beach!

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If your kid is ready to start potty training I would suggest taking a look at the book above because while I absolutely can’t wait until I have another baby I am super stoked that for this time in my life our house is diaper free!

It’s My Birthday!

Remember when you were a kid and you got so excited for like a month leading up to your birthday? You would drop not so subtle hints about the various things you wanted everyone to get you and straight up begged for the best birthday party ever.

It’s weird how that changes as you get older, and not necessarily getting older as much as having kids. I can remember one of my very best birthday’s was going out with my capoeira group and just partying all night. I don’t really do that anymore…

Now birthdays are fun for different reasons. My kids get so excited for my birthday. They don’t care so much about it actually being my birthday as do about eating cake and getting to bake things.

There are no balloons and extravagant gifts but there are lots of kisses and snuggles.

We won’t have a piñata (although my girls wish we would) and nobody is going to count high enough to have an accurate candle count lol but we’re going to have such a fun day anyway.

Our morning will be spent enjoying the beautiful weather at the pool, then we’ll probably eat ice cream for lunch (because it is my birthday!) and then just enjoying the hammocks in the back yard.

So yes, birthdays change as you get older, and we can pretend to dread getting older, but I cherish every single day that I get to be the mom to my beautiful girls. So my birthdays aren’t just about me and what I get, but they’re about me and the love that I can give to my little miracles!

Hope everyone enjoys my birthday!

My Mom’s Group

I have been blessed with an amazing group of women in my life. Many I have never met in person and many I will probably never meet. They are all part of a “mom’s group” from my birth month with my middle child. Lately, I have seen a ton of posts about why mom’s won’t be a part of groups like that and basically tearing them apart for various reasons.

Honestly that makes me sad.

I get that they’re virtually strangers, but they aren’t really. They have become like sisters that I can turn to when I need to talk to someone but don’t want to be around people. I can vent to them when I’m having a bad day and they empathize with me, because a lot of them are exactly where I am.

They were there for me when I went through my miscarriage. I was able to talk to them about the all consuming pain in a way that was more real than talking to my friends around me. I didn’t feel like I was putting too much on anyone because they could be there to whatever degree they were comfortable with. If it became too much for them they didn’t have to comment or read, but because our group is so large I never felt alone.

As I mourned the death of a baby I would never meet other women, my virtual sisters, reached out and shared their stories with me. See, my family might not have the same experiences as me but in a group of more than 200 women some could reach out to me and speak words they only knew because they too had stood where I was standing.

A big complaint about these groups is drama. I see all the time that there is “mommy-shaming” about parenting choices. There is judging about how we put our kids in their carseats or what we choose to feed them, but that doesn’t happen in my group.

If I think back to the very beginning I’m sure it did. I mean we’re all human and we didn’t just magically create a perfect group. We have some amazing admins who make a good point of keeping the peace. In the past we have had to get some people out of the group but what is left, I love!

Nothing is perfect in life. That’s just a fact. What you need to decide is if it’s worth having and then working on it.

For me this group is adults that are ALWAYS on when I need to talk. They’re always there when I have a problem or when I’m super excited about something. Last year I was in a situation where I felt incredibly uncomfortable. I didn’t want to fall asleep because I felt like my kids and I weren’t in a safe place but I couldn’t leave because my mom had driven with me and wasn’t there. So I went to my group and these amazing ladies from all over the world talked to me.

They texted me links to movies or suggested things to read and look up. All night different ladies hopped on when they could to check and see how I was and how the situation was. Had I been able to leave immediately I would have but since I had to stay I was so grateful that these ladies kept me awake and I am 100% sure that if I had fallen asleep this blog would be about much different issues.

Sure, I get it. Not all mom groups are the same and I’m lucky for the one I have, I know that! But if I had just got annoyed with petty stuff in the beginning and didn’t work with everyone I could be one of those ladies who hates those kind of groups too.

There is something special about my group. I don’t doubt for a second that it’s one of the very best mom groups out there and I’m blessed to have those ladies in my life. But even if you aren’t a member of my group you need to have your “tribe”. Everyone needs a base where they’re safe. Where nothing is off limits and you can go and just relax in your imperfections.

So this is a little piece to defend mom groups. They aren’t evil, they’re just filled with other imperfect humans just like yourself. They’re a place where at 2 am if your kid has a weird rash you can go and get reassurance their arm isn’t going to fall off. When you haven’t slept in a week and can’t think straight you can vent to them about how your husbands snoring might cause you to throat punch him. Maybe they’ll talk you out of it or maybe they’ll encourage you. It’s hard to say, because like you, they’re human.

So if you aren’t in a group, and you’ve read all the smack talk about how horrible they are because not everyone will agree with you all of the time, maybe you should know they aren’t all that bad. There is nothing better than knowing that I have a group of sisters all over the world who are there for me if I really need them, and even if I don’t.

Do Good Dollars

A while back I wrote about how I took away all my kids toys and it has been awesome. I’m taking the time without all the chaos to teach my kids how to take care of what they have and to be nice to each other.

About a year ago a friend from church told me about the book Parenting with Love and Logic and I found the one for early childhood. This book is amazing! It completely changed the way I parent and it took my crazy not listening middle child and changed her into my best listener today!

The main premise of the book is teaching kids to make good choices. I give my girls lots of easy choices during the day, like would you like to play in the pool in the back yard or draw with chalk on the front porch? They are given a little control over their day and I’m okay with either thing they do. When they don’t listen there are consequences and they learn from their mistakes. The idea is to let them make mistakes when the consequences are small rather when they get older and the consequences are exponentially bigger.

The point of this post was not a book review, I swear! But seriously that is the best book I’ve ever read for parenting and it has changed the entire atmosphere of my house!

The point of the post was to tell you guys about this awesome idea I have to reward the kids and give them a chance to earn back some of their toys that are hidden in my bedroom.

I made some DO GOOD DOLLARS. They aren’t anything fancy, they’re index cards we colored on and then I laminated. The girls can earn them by doing more than what is expected of them normally. They aren’t getting any for keeping their room clean because that is something they need to do and they shouldn’t expect to be rewarded. However, K does the kitty litter and she gets 2 do good dollars when she does!

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The girls can then take their dollars and buy stuff. One dollar will get them a sticker, which to me is a rip off but M loves her stickers! Two dollars and they can get one article of clothing for their baby doll (K earned them back at the end of the school year with NO BAD DAYS all year!!). Then for 5 they can pick a small toy and from there it goes up depending on what they want to get back.

I started this as a bit of a joke. I mean, its an index card, but these girls go crazy for them. K got 5 the other day for cleaning up the yard before her daddy went to mow it. M got them for cleaning the bathroom (which I had to redo later but she seriously gave it her best shot).

They also work as a consequence. If they aren’t listening at night or they’re fighting I simply ask for a dollar and they turn things around real quick!

When I saw how much they loved the idea I was a bit uncertain how long it would work because they would earn back their toys and then stop caring but they really like the idea of no toys. When they earn their do good dollars they opt to buy the stickers or ice pops or baby clothes. M did have her doll taken last night for not taking care of it but she doesn’t seem to be in any rush to get her back.

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I feel like I finally found a method that my girls ALL love and its just in time for an amazingly fun summer!

Taking a Break

 

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Everyone who knows me knows that I want more kids. If I hadn’t lost my baby in October then we would be welcoming home our precious baby any day now. It hurts to see all my friends announce their pregnancies or show their beautiful little baby’s but I am so happy for them at the same time. It’s weird.

It’s hard to explain the joy I can feel for someone else while my heart is breaking at the same time.

Some people don’t have a hard time getting pregnant. Some people can decide that they want a baby and *poof* they’re pregnant. Or even more aggravating some people can decide they don’t want a baby and *poof* they’re pregnant.

That isn’t me. Each and every baby is prayed for extensively. I know that God’s timing is perfect and I’m resting in the knowledge that He loves me and wants what is best for me. Still, I pray every day for my next baby.

I know a lot of people who are in the same boat as me. They are praying for their little miracle, be it their first of fifth it hurts just the same to wait.

So as we head into summer and every one is making their adorable announcements I’m going to slow down on the social media front. I will be focusing on the beautiful blessings I have in my life. I will be playing in the sprinklers and laying in the hammock.

For those who are also waiting for their blessing just know that God loves you so much and He wants what is best for you. Hopefully I’ll be hopping back on sooner rather than later with my own special announcement.

I know I’m not the only one who is crazy and tests all the time, praying for that second pink line to tell me my baby is on it’s way. For those of you who love to test all the time too you should check out amazon because the tests are so much cheaper there!

Hopefully there will be lots of babies for mommies who have saturated them in prayer already. I have faith that God wants to bless all of us with our babies! Until then I hope you all enjoy your beautiful summer!

***Also if you just made an announcement: I love you, and you know I will always be here for you but for the time being I just need to take an emotional break so my heart can heal a little!**