Pregnant not Dying

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“I’m Pregnant I’m not dying”

Looking back over 5 years later I see I was right in only one regard, I didn’t die! But the things I used to do, the places I used to go and some of the people I used to spend my time with all changed. I couldn’t put my high heels on and head out for a drink with the same people anymore. First time motherhood, even second time motherhood, can be daunting, it can be isolating, lonely and downright hard. The world doesn’t prepare you for those parts. The media shows you the happy celebrities doting on their little children, they write nannies into story lines and babies right out of the scenes it would be inconvenient to have them around for. Our parents recall the happy times of becoming a mom, they tell us of the love they had for us and remind us not to let the moments pass by because the go by “so fast” our friends with older children remember the baby snuggles, the happy belly giggles, they share photos of when their children were little looking longingly over them as they catch a whiff of the teenagers gym socks and remind us to enjoy the less stinky stage.

But so little of this prepares us for what its like in the moment. So here are some of my honest opinions and to do’s:

Becoming a new mom is HARD. If you don’t have a mommy support system get one, go to the mommy and baby groups and meet other moms who are there in the trenches too, they are literally the only people who know how hard it is to get the baby or babies out to the grocery store today! Sometimes we need to vent to someone who is there too, and not be told to enjoy it! Even now, I know I am not the best form of advice or listening ear to brand new moms; you really need someone who is right there with you feeling the same things as you at the same time.

Becoming a new mom is BUSY. In the first few weeks and months life will be a blur. I honestly do not have much recollection thru the first two weeks. I look back on pictures and think wow I really don’t remember that part. Apart from being tired, there were doctors appointments, mine and the babies, healthcare workers visits to the house, a whirlwind of people coming to see the girls and get their snuggles in. There were newborn photos and family photos, baby showers and so much laundry. Its all new and there isn’t really anything you can do to change it, and if your baby requires extra support, or is in the hospital for an extended period, or there is anything that throw a “hiccup” into the mix then its likely that your busy is even more busy than others.

Becoming a new mom is LONELY. Put yourself out there, its tough on day one, its scary, it’s intimidating, but it’s necessary. Find out where other new moms are hanging out, sign up for mommy and me groups, join online groups, locally and internationally, it makes life a lot easier to vent together about how HARD this whole parenting journey is, than sit and think all that stuff to yourself.

Becoming a new mom is EXHAUSTING. We are tired all the time; there is no measurement to adequately describe the exhaustion a new parent faces. Nap when the baby naps is literally the worst advice you can receive.

Do however do what you can do to rest, and try not to feel guilty for just sitting down for a while. Hire a cleaning service, or other support so you don’t accidentally put the milk in the cupboard, or inadvertently mop the floor with the cat! Here we have a postpartum service that is subsidized to support new moms with cleaning, grocery pick up, and light meal preparation. Something like it might be available in your area too if you do the research! Ask for help. I know better than anyone that its hard to ask for help, but if you leave a clean laundry basket on the living room floor it will get folded, with out having to do the actual asking part. Grandmas and neighbors do want to help and if its there they will just go to the folding naturally! And STOP scrolling Pintrest – There is no way to have a magazine worthy house and nursery and have a brand new baby or babies at home, (if you do and you are not exhausted I commend you and please share your secrets!!) Seriously those receiving blankets DO NOT need to be rolled or shaped into a swan in a cute basket in order for them to do the job of receiving puke. (A lesson I learned too late) seriously shove those things in a drawer and put your feet up because laundry done!

Becoming a new mom is CONFUSING. There is a rush of information flooding toward us, even reading this is putting bias and opinion on you as a new mom. There are constant reminders that no matter what we do there will be an opinion out there that contradicts it. Breastfeed or bottle, co sleep or crib, Cry it out or soothe, and the to do lists are endless, read to your baby, listen to classical music, pierce their ears before they can remember, cloth diaper your baby, start food at 4 months, 6 months 1 year.

Becoming a new mom is FULL TIME. There is no break; of course your doting husband, friendly neighbors, and adoring family are all there to help you. They’ll hold the baby so you can take a minute to eat alone, but that baby is going to cry and need to eat too, insert boob here. They will offer to sit with baby so you can have a nap, insert nightmare of rolling on your baby in your sleep, even if you don’t co-sleep, like, ever!! They will offer to stay at the house with the baby so you can go out for a quick coffee run (like the real stuff with the steam and the flavors and all the jazz) or grab a few groceries sans crying baby in the grocery cart with the broken wheel. Insert every worst-case scenario and fear all the while continuously checking the rearview mirror gasping as you think you’ve forgotten the baby in the frozen foods isle.

Becoming a new mom is AMAZING. I can’t leave out the joyful parts, because we get wonderful times too even in all the new scary parts. We get snuggles, the connection to our new baby. We get to look down at this amazing little human we created and see their unconditional love stare back at us.

Of course all this might not be the truth for all new moms, or dads, but it was my reality. It was my husband’s reality too, waking up in a panic asking where the babies were? Even though they were soundly sleeping tucked in to their cribs when we drifted to dream land. It’s a tough job and not one for the faint at heart; it’s all of these things and more. No one solution alone is the answer to the equation. New moms will always look back and think about things they could have done differently. We all just have to muddle thru it and realize that one day it will change again. Soon we will discover all the ways being an “old pro mom” is all of these things too!

Above all this is just a small part of what becoming a mom is like, it’s a small piece to an ever growing and changing puzzle, new research will come out tomorrow to tell us we’ve done it all wrong. All we can do as new moms, dads, veteran parents, grandparents, and caregivers alike is what is best for the little being we are raising, take from that ever growing puzzle the pieces that fit into your own story and leave the rest.

-A

 

Awful Day!

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We had an awful day today…

Then at supper my girls started singing, “I love my mom, I love my mom, I love my mom, she is so brave”

I have no idea where this came from, perhaps lyrics to a song they heard? They couldn’t have been talking about me, it couldn’t have come from today, it couldn’t have come from the events of this day. Everyone cried today, everyone yelled, screamed, fought, hit, and made messes only to refuse the clean up time at the end of the day.

They know how. We clean up EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I yelled today, I cried today; I counted down the minutes until bedtime today. I didn’t wash a dish or fold a single load of laundry, instead I dug out towels from the bottom of the dryer for bath time and I made lazy meals all day, PB and J anyone? I didn’t sweep the floor, not even under the table where it really needs to get done after each meal. I ignored the nagging feeling inside that said I should take them outside, the one that says if they get out there they might burn off some of this fighting energy and the day might go better, it was beat out by the exhaustion I was feeling inside.

I had lost control, it was three against one and they were winning the day. I took 4 time outs for my self and gave out even more. I drank a whole pot of coffee to myself; and then I contemplated something with a little more kick. We had a “family meeting” half way thru the day about listening and getting along, sharing and turn taking, all things they are normally so much better at and yet still it continued, they managed to beat me at today, today!

So how? How were these tiny little monsters that invaded my house today managing to sing a song about loving me? How were they finding these words to express bravery after my behavior today seemed so cowardly?

Because, they are my children, they love me unconditionally, for now! They are three and two years old they are learning understanding of their own emotions, they are not judging mine. I might not always be a good example of emotional regulation, which is likely why we butt heads sometimes. They are often behaving exactly as I have taught them, along with other typical toddler behaviors like hitting your sister with a giant block just to see what happens! And some days having three of them gang up on me with all that learning gets the best of me.

So what do we do? We talk about a re-set, we figure out a plan for the next day, I apologize for my behaviors and acknowledge the things I could have done better and we move on. We read a story before bed we snuggle in early and say good night, we say I love you and we talk about the fun things that the next day has to offer.

Then I contemplate my actions, the things that I have done differently, my reactions to the days events, and where I need improvement and then I too move on.

Will we have more bad days? Yes

But that is okay, we can’t be perfect, we can’t be on top of everything100% of the time. These little people are tough, we want them to be tough, we want to raise strong willed, emotionally ready, and able humans who are going to go out there and shake this world up, so we have to know that it isn’t personal, its just learning.

They are going to get the better of me some days but I wont give up, I will keep fighting to make sure they keep fighting too, fighting to be the best they can be.

-A

To the Moms who got me thru!

 

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We might not get together as often now, we may have busy life’s, work, and growing children all going to different schools and signed up for different activities.

But you were and are so important to me.

Our lives intertwined so closely for a period of time. My children are better for these friendships I have and having met you when I did

It was tough transitioning from high heels to running shoes, from dress clothes to stained t-shirts and yoga pants. It was a struggled transition from meals out at lounge enjoying a beverage, to babies screaming on the “family side” of a restaurant. With boobs exposed feeding a baby or two all the while choking down the last cold bites of the meal ordered over an hour before.

But you were there with me for it all.

Our lives were simpler before children, we had all the time in the world, and we could connect with anyone, any time of the day. Our schedules were our own.

When my babies arrived I swore nothing would change, I told everyone “I’m pregnant and going to be a mom, I’m not dying and leaving this earth.”

Naïve!

I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am lucky to have had a couple of amazing women by my side, new moms too.

One I met while working, her and I became close because of how close our jobs intertwined. We were both pregnant and I count myself lucky to have shared part of our pregnancies together. The other I met at a baby yoga class the first and I signed up for after our babies were born. We became fast friends, making sure to keep each other accountable to get out of the house, even in our yoga pants.

It would have been so easy becoming a new mom, especially to twins, to just camp out at home isolated and alone. Leaving the house was hard, it was a lot of work, but these ladies didn’t let me come up with excuses, they encouraged me and made sure I made it in for our weekly walk, or swimming lessons, baby book club, baby yoga, anything mommy and me we could find, the list goes on and on. We supported each other to brave the restaurant and the grocery store. We supported each other through tough times in our parenting journey, we figured out how to do it together.

I know I am a better mom because of these women. I know my children got the best of me during a time that was scary and new because I got to navigate the scary parts with two brave women by my side.

To both I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know that no matter how busy life gets, I will never forget the support during that time in my life.

 

Happy New Years Resolutions…

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I have taken a year off blogging. Intentionally or not I have stepped away to live this life rather than write about it, and although it was a wonderful year I miss this outlet of writing, and sharing so here I am, back at it! I have spent my time writing to my children in the form of their journals. I have written journal to myself thru calendar and notebook. We had a busy year, full of lots of fun and adventure. But I miss this. I miss the forum to write thoughts about random ponderings, I miss the outlet for parental thinking and collaboration, I miss sharing my recipes, crafting, and travel adventures, and I miss sharing with you what we have been up to here on our little farm.

New years always come with new years resolutions. Even if we don’t come up with specifics, or write it down January 1st is the ultimate Monday. So here I am back at writing. I guess I am writing it down so maybe it’s a “new years resolution”, maybe its just a plan to get back to my blog and spend a little time, what little I have, doing something that I truly enjoy!

For those of you who are new here I thought I would start out the year sharing a little about me, and a little about why I write!

I am a mom to five-year-old twin girls and a three (soon to be four) year old boy yes they are close in age – 16 months apart. For those whose jaws are down right about now, yes this was planned, yes I am busy, and for those in the same parenting boat, yes we love it – not every minute, of course that would be a lot to ask, but most of it!

I love wine! See above Nuff said! I have amazing family and friends who are my support system above all else.

I am a wife to an amazing man, who encourages and supports me; I couldn’t live this crazy life without him! Even on the days I complain I know I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here raising our family in our own little wild world on this farm!

I have journaled since I was in grade 3 when my grandmother gave me my first blank note page book with a beautiful flower print for my birthday. At that time I wrote things about my friendships, sleepovers and daily things that came up and were important to me. Nobody read it so I could write anything! As time went on so did my writing, I kept a Journal or Diary for the rest of my life, I still do now, although now its less journaling and more private thoughts and emotions that I cant share or am not ready to share here! Since my children were born I began journaling for them, a compilation of first times trying or doing new things, funny things they have done and said. Mostly letters and notes to them as they grow, these books I will leave to them when they are all grown up, kind of a keepsake of their lives thru my eyes.

I believe in reading, reading to our children, reading to ourselves, and reading about anything and everything that interests us. I feel strongly that when you read you grow, I love watching my children “read” now it melts my heart when my son flips thru a book reciting lines he remembers from the time I have spent reading to him, it is one of the most amazing things to watch.

I am actively involved in our small community, because I believe in the power of a community, a community that comes together and accomplishes amazing things. I believe giving of my time teaches children to think of the big picture, the world and other people around them. We can go nowhere alone, everything we do in life we do thru and with other people.

-A

 

 

We are stronger together!

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We’ve all heard it, some of us have thought it, and some have even dared to say it out loud, even right to the face of a parent just trying to parent…

You spend too much time away from your kids because you work!

How can you be fulfilled JUST being a stay at home mom?

You took your baby out in public in a sleeper and didn’t get her dressed?

Wow that outfit looks elaborate why didn’t you just let her wear a comfy sleeper?

I can’t believe you cover your baby while you nurse her how stuffy for her!

Uhg cover up while you feed him you are in public for crying out loud!

Formula is so bad for your baby, don’t you know what’s in that stuff?!

You should be using formula you can’t make enough on your own for your baby to grow!

How could they sleep with the baby in the bed, how long are they planning to live like that?

How awful that baby is all alone in his crib all night?

That baby is so spoiled being picked up every time he cries.

How could she use the “CIO” method, her baby should be held and loved all the time.

Why wont they just give that kid a sucky? Do they like listening to her cry?

How old is that child? Why would they still be using a soother?

They just left her baby with someone to go out by herself, how lazy/selfish can’t they just take the kid with them?

How does she spend every waking minute with her child, doesn’t she need some alone time, it makes for a better parent/child relationship?

Her kids don’t nap anymore; they are too young and need their naps they aren’t going to develop properly.

Why are her kids still napping? She can’t get out to do anything during the day still.

Why is she leaving so early, she is so tied to her children’s bedtime.

Her child is STILL awake it’s so late; doesn’t she know how much sleep children require?

Look at her organic, free range, non GMO, etc. etc. snacks she is giving her kids what a crunchy mom!

Oh no did you see her open that bag of Cheetos, how could she fill her kids with all those chemicals.

Why is she STILL nursing her child he’s too old for that!

I can’t believe she quit nursing so soon he didn’t get all he needed from her!

And so on and so on….

 

I know just as well as anyone else that there are some situations in this world that require attention. This world is not butterflies and rainbows; I don’t burry my head in the sand trying to ignore the fact that sometimes there is a need for intervention and support. There are dangerous or unsafe conditions that require this, but that is not what I am talking about here. I am referring to the day-to-day judgments, or differing of opinions on child rearing, the unsolicited advice given to parents as they navigate this world of raising tiny humans. To concern ourselves with trivial things when there is no danger is wasteful of our energy. Energy that could be spent on our own families and ourselves!

And I do mean unsolicited, because sometimes we need ideas, other opinions, other people to jump in and say “hey this is what worked for me!”

For the most part I believe we as adults often forget that most of us are just trying to do our very best, that we genuinely care for our families, and we usually have put enough second guessing, guilt ridden, worried time ourselves into the decisions we are making, we really don’t need the extra stress wondering or hearing out loud when other people think we are doing something “wrong.”

We all have expectations going into parenthood, things we are going to do, things we will never do… and we all have had some or all of those expectations shattered by reality. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we’d wanted and sometimes we beat ourselves up for that, we don’t need the judgments of other people to pile on top of all that we already feel!

We can’t win!

So let’s stop playing the game!

We have all done it, maybe not out loud but we have all passed judgment on another parent for choosing a different path than ours, lets all just admit it and then move on and stop!

Its tough not to judge, its hard when we have put time and energy into making a decision for our families, or our children, only to see that someone else is doing it differently, we put hours of worry, research, and thought into something only to see that someone is succeeding, or failing in some cases, by doing things different. It’s a hit to our ego, a jealous reaction, a grass is greener, or high and mighty feeling we all get at some point while we parent.

Don’t tell me you’ve never stood in line at the store and listened to a screaming child feeling pride looking at your own quiet child in that moment; maybe because (god forbid) you’ve handed your phone over to them, or maybe because your pocket snacks are doing their job. It’s okay to feel pride; it’s not okay to judge the other mom because her method isn’t working today. You know your little bundle has been there or will be there at some point so instead you look over and say we’ve all been there! Solidarity Momma!

We are all working our best to provide, take care of and love our families, how we get there or what creates that life we strive for is not up to anyone else’s judgment! We can never know the whole story; every situation and circumstance is unique and we don’t know what someone else is going thru. We all see challenges in different ways, and all handle them different too! Children and parents included are all different; we all have different skills and abilities.

We spend enough time as parents judging ourselves and worrying about our parenting abilities and we don’t need others to join us in the process. We need others to build us up, we are all parents in this together and we need to cheer each other on, be a shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen, or a spread a word of encouragement. We need camaraderie knowing that someone else has gone thru it, is going thru it or is about to.

We are stronger together!Untitled design

-A

Traveling with Toddlers!

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Last week we took a trip! It was a long trip… it was a busy trip! We took two travel days to get to our destination and three to return home. WOAH!

It was my Grandmothers 80th Surprise Birthday party and we are so lucky to have gone, spent that time with her, and were able to catch up with relatives from all over, some of whom were meeting my children for the first time! My heart was so full while we were there seeing everyone!

We headed out after gymnastics practice, loaded up an aunt and a grandpa and started down the road. I was ready, and I was prepared. My children don’t own technology. They are two and three years old so we have decided that the owning of tablets, I Pads, Phones etc. is perhaps for older kids and teenagers, I wont get into it here… another post, for another day!

I packed snacks, because the key to motherhood and happy children is snacks. I packed games, books, and activities in their own back packs. I made sure the kid’s songs were ready on the stereo. I allowed them their favorite snuggle stuffies and bedtime blankets in the car, which on any regular day would be a big no no and off we went!

They traveled a total of 7 hours the first day with only one short break for lunch and they did amazing! They read books, sang songs, colored pictures, and visited about where we were going. We got a hotel along the way and it had pools, and open areas to run and play, we all got to stretch our legs, swim, burn off some much needed travel energy and get a good night sleep in before continuing down the road again the next day!

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And we did get up early, have breakfast and head on down the road again!

After another long day of travel we arrived at Grandmas house. She was surprised to say the least! She had no idea we were coming, and the surprises continued from there. The kids and I were beat, we headed to the hotel and snuggled in for a night of rest, not before seeing and meeting great aunts and uncles who were also all arriving at the hotel, hugs all around and sneaky excited giggles for what was to come once it was party time!! My Aunt and cousin arrived later that night on a flight; all over again she was shocked. Her family was all together for her birthday and she was so happy!

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The next night was the big party, everyone was ready, we took her out for dinner then headed back to the hall at the hotel to await her arrival, with a tricky fib she was led into the hall where she was given her final surprise, all but one of her siblings were able to make it to her celebration, some had traveled a great distance to spend this milestone with her. Seeing the laughter and the happy tears made the trip all worth it! The kids all danced and partied until late and loved meeting new cousins and family.

The next day we continued to catch up, visit, and enjoy everyone’s company, we spent the day at grandmas house. Once again it was a late night for the kids but worth all the family time spent together.

After three days of visiting, partying, and catching up it was time to head home. We had breakfast that morning with aunts and uncles who were also leaving that day and said all of our good byes!

We traveled once again to the same amazing hotel to spend some time in the pool again. The next day as we headed out we weren’t sure if we were going to make it… the news alert suggested that the highway we planned to travel was closed. After further investigation we discovered it had in fact just been opened back up, thank goodness. After all this traveling the children were starting to tire of sitting in car seats and traveling down highways so although this portion of the trip only lasted 4 hours it was more than enough for them and we had some major tears the last part of the trip. We stopped at my mom and dads and all three kids baled out of their car seats with enthusiasm! We had dinner that night with family and everyone headed to bed on time.

Now it was time to head home, after dropping Aunty off everyone was excited to get home, get out of car seats and spend the night in our own beds.

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The trip was more than fun; it was so exciting to see everyone, I am so grateful to have such an amazing family and support system that made the trip go as smooth as it possibly could.

I have good kids, they are polite, they are well mannered, and they are well behaved. I don’t care who you are or how “good” your kids are if you stick them in a vehicle to travel for 5 days there is bound to be some hiccups!

TIPS FROM OUR FIRST VERY VERY VERY LONG TRIP!

  • Snacks for the car OBVIOUSLY!! But also for the hotel, we packed fresh fruit and “breakfast” foods because, I don’t know about anyone else’s kids but mine usually get up and eat right away sometimes in their PJ’s but staying in a hotel means going to the restaurant for breakfast and so having some fresh fruit and yogurts and things to tie them over is helpful to getting us all ready to head to the restaurant for a meal!
  • Activities, even if I am a believer in looking out the window and enjoying the scenery, taking in all that the world passing by has to offer having something else to occupy little minds and hands while traveling long distances is imperative.
  • Bring someone with you if you can, the activities will hit the floor and someone there to pick them up can avoid stop after stop. Its also sanity saving for the driver to have someone else to talk to while three blind mice plays on the radio for the 90th
  • Pull ups, for my three year olds who are potty trained they know that pull ups on a long trip when the temperature outside is -25C is a good thing to keeping their bums warm, and that they can change out of them as soon as we get where we are going! I feel it saves so much using them. Often they can hold it until the next rest station but when they cant its great back up!
  • Music, and audio books, listening to something other than mom sing (although I am practically the Next Canadian Idol) is sometimes soothing enough to let the little eyes fade and a nap to happen!
  • Get out, it was tough on this trip to make stops along the way because it was so cold for just a road side stop, but having travelled that highway before a time or two I know there are some fun stops along the way that would have broke the trip up a little more for the littles and bigs!

It was an amazing trip, even with all my hesitations I am so happy we set out on the journey.

Happy trails to you and yours wherever the road may take you!

-A

Why I stay up “ALL” night

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From the time we get out of bed in the morning until the time we all lay our heads down at night, I am “on” and even then its only a temporary pause before either morning arrives, the little ones have a bad dream or someone needs something in the middle of the night.

ALL DAY I am needed, I am touched, climbed on, loved and loathed, I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many “mom” calls I get. I wipe bums, and change diapers. I make snacks; I make meals that by the time I get to sit and enjoy are cold. I plan games, read books, find new and educational activities to do, make plans for outings, and play dates, I am needed for so many different things each and every day. I rarely have a minute to myself, and even when I do find a minute to enjoy a couple sips of hot coffee I am still listening for the next emergency, disaster, or fight to break out! I am not complaining here, these are simply the truths of my adventures in motherhood and why by the end of the day I sometimes make a choice to stay up just a little too late!

I love my kids dearly, they are well cared for, we have a lot of fun, even the part about being needed albeit tiring is also rewarding. We are a very busy and active family so if I want to spend a night binge watching my new favorite Netflix show or playing cards and having a few too many beverages with my friends then I’m going to! And I am not going to feel bad about it! It’s my treat! It’s my time to laugh with other adults, talk about something other than who’s turn it is with that toy, or watch yet another episode of Paw Patrol, it’s my time to put my feet up and relax, even if I am folding the one hundredth load of laundry while I do it!

I think there is a balance in creating this life of family, children, work, or whatever commitments we make as parents! Sometimes staying up to have some “me” time helps in finding that balance! My children don’t suffer! They might get an extra cuddly momma for a day here and there if I’ve chosen to stay up really late, but they don’t do without!

How many times have I been asked… why don’t you just go to bed? Aren’t you tired in the morning?

YES!

My answer is yes

 

Of course if I went to bed at an early hour every night and got the rest I “need” I would feel much more energized every morning! I mean let’s be honest I’m not new to this!

But…

That is what Coffee is for!Todays Good Mood is Sponsored by Coffee

And…

Sometimes I have to choose not to! Sometimes I have to look at the big picture and know that if I go to bed when my kids do every night, although I would be well rested I would also go a little nutty!

Not to brag but my kids are awesome sleepers, we did a lot of work to get to here and if you are interested you can read more HERE. But seriously I pat my husband and I on the back for this! It really is sanity saving to have good sleepers! They are long on their journey to dream land by the time I’m ready to sit down and put my feet up, for guests to come to play cards, or to get a babysitter so Steve and I can go out for a bit.

As parents we are constantly reminded to put ourselves first. Taking care of ourselves is so important so we can take care of our families! So some nights I might be in bed by 7:30, and sometimes I might be up until the wee hours of the night watching just one more episode, reading just one more chapter or playing just one more hand of cards, but it all balance out in the end and my family is better off for it!

-A