Thursday, September 19, 2013

I'm No Supermom

Sometimes it really gets to me that I can't do everything. I pride myself in having a clean home, healthy and happy kids. But that isn't always possible. Especially when I'm sick. Laundry gets backed up, dishes pile up in the sink, the TV is on far too much and all I want to do is lay around.

Rex has been sick for the last three days and I'm feeling like myself again after being sick for two days. Yesterday was the worst of it for me. I had been up a lot with Rex throughout the past few nights and during the day it wasn't much better trying to make him comfortable. When I woke up yesterday my body was screaming at me to take it easy. How do I take it easy with two kids? Levi has preschool and gymnastics. I have diapers I need to wash and I discovered that I was out of comfy underwear (who wants to wear a thong when they're sick? NOT ME!). So, I began asking for help. I knew I couldn't do this on my own. Levi's dad was able to pick him up from preschool and Andy was going to look into getting done with work a couple hours early to bring him to gymnastics. I got diapers in the laundry and threw on a pair of Andy's boxers to get by without my comfy underwear.

With Rex napping and Levi home from school I allowed myself to fall asleep on the couch. Levi was content with games on my cell phone and I asked him to tell me if he heard Rex wake up. 40 minutes later it's 12:45 and I wake up to our door opening. Andy was home from work! And, at that exact moment I hear Rex talking to himself in his crib. I couldn't have been more relieved! At this point I was running a fever, was sweating one minute and freezing the next with a pounding headache. Did I mention that I can't take cold medicine? One of the downsides to breastfeeding.

I was able to get a lot of rest yesterday and I feel so grateful to have people in my life that are so willing to help when they can. It would have been an awful day yesterday without them. Not just for me but for my kids. They don't deserve that. I know for a fact I would still be feeling like crap today if I didn't have the help. So, THANK YOU to those of you that made it possible.

Not every mom can keep it together when they're feeling down and there's nothing wrong with them needing help or not being able to do it all on their own. I'm no supermom. I never will be. And I'm perfectly okay with that.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Poppin' Tags

One of our favorite things to do is go to Goodwill. Levi refers to it as "poppin' tags" ever since the song Thrift Shop by Macklemore became a hit. He loves it so much that he prefers to go thrift shopping instead of other old favorites like the local indoor jungle gym or the children's museum. We're lucky to have 3 locations within 15 minutes of us so it takes a little gambling to decide which one we feel we have the best odds of finding a great deal at. Someday I'd like to go to all 3 in a row. That would probably make the guys in my life pretty content for the afternoon!

Here are some of our latest and/or greatest finds:

Build your ship (lego) Battleship game

All for under $30!

$270 jersey for $10!

Shot glass with shot measurements

Making Alien guts

I feel that even if we were filthy rich we'd still go and enjoy our trips to the thrift shop!

What are some great finds you've had while thrift shopping?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thanking God I don't (and won't) have a daughter

I have never wanted a daughter for many reasons. I have enough mood swings and if there were another girl under this roof things would probably get ugly.. real ugly. Also, it would be just my luck that if I had a girl she would act like a little princess. Yeah, I'm a hairstylist but I am not girly. I couldn't deal with a girl wanting to wear nothing but dresses and sitting in front of the mirror for hours applying make up. And what about when she would start having sleepovers with her friends? The loud boy band music blaring and the squealing/shrieking/screaming that girls do?! It would drive me insane.. Not to mention one day she would probably get married, plan this huge elaborate wedding and I would feel obligated to pay for it. No thank you. (Did I really just go there? Oh well.)

I am glad though that I have a sister and a cousin close to my sisters age. We can go get our nails done, I can go with them when they shop for their prom dresses and wedding dress and I already style their hair whenever we're together. I can get my girl fix whenever I want and don't have to put up with all of the other stuff! It's perfect!

I had dreams years and years and years ago of having 3 boys. All hockey players. Once I had Levi though the number of children I wanted changed from 3 down to 2 in a hurry. The thought of being outnumbered terrifies me. My mom had three more kids starting when I was 12 and I see how difficult/tiring it can be juggling all of their activities now that they're older. Plus, the more kids you have the more fighting there will probably be. Can't forget about the expense of having kids too. I am really looking forward to when we start taking family vacations and would much rather pay for 4 plane tickets than 5.. and 4 dinners instead of 5, etc. etc. And that hockey I mentioned? Yeah.. I don't want them into that. Too expensive.

Life is really great having two boys. What Levi is done with can be used for Rex which is saving us a ton of money! In the future when they have sleepovers with their friends they'll be playing video games and/or running around outside getting dirty. I can definitely put up with that! Having boys means I won't have to deal with PMS from them or complaints of bad hair days (hopefully). I can already see the amazing bond that they have and how much they enjoy having each other around. I can only hope that it will last their lifetime.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Silver Slide : The best spur of the moment decision

Levi has been asking for a cat lately. I don't do cats. But I'd be willing to get one if he agreed to take care of it and there were ground rules in place.

I'm an animals-in-cages person. It's been in the back of my head ever since our snake Frankenstein escaped (story for some other time?) to get a hamster. A couple weeks ago though Levi captured a baby Frog that we took in and made a home for in Frankenstein's old cage. We couldn't get it to eat and it passed away a few days ago. I found myself enjoying having that frog to check up on and entertain us. I was bummed he didn't make it.

Andy was working from home yesterday so I decided to find some "errands" to run to get us out of the apartment for a while so it would be easier for him to work. First stop: Petsmart! The plan was to look. Just look. And to also price things out because I knew I wanted us to have a hamster sometime in the near future. I went there thinking it would cost around $100. Once we were there and checked out all of the things we would need for one I discovered we could get everything (including the hamster) for almost half of what I thought!

I gave Andy a call and he said "Do whatever you want. It's up to you." I talked it over with Levi and made a deal. I told him that I know he wants a cat so if we get this hamster and he helps me clean the cage, feed, water and play with him then once the hamster is no longer with us we can talk seriously about getting a cat. That is if he proves that he can help take care of one. Levi loved that idea!

We looked over all the different types of hamsters they had. All but two of them were sleeping. Levi fell in love with the most active one. This hamster was filling his mouth up with bedding and bringing it into his house. He thought this was absolutely hilarious! It was then that I was completely sold on the idea of taking home a hamster today. Seeing Levi light up like that was the best!

It was so fun picking out the different things we needed for our hamster, getting home and setting it all up. Once he was in his cage Levi sat watching him for the longest time and found everything that this hamster did incredibly funny! When I asked Levi what we should name him he said "Silver Slide". Who knows where it came from or how he came up with it!

I see many great memories ahead with Silver Slide and I'm sure Levi will remember him for the rest of his life like I remember my first hamster at his age, "Elmo".

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Big Vegan Fail

Remember back when I posted about going vegan for a week? Well, that lasted a whole 6 hours or so. I was at the Twin's game with a veggie burger in my lap (that I researched and was told via a blog that it was vegan) and realized that it had cheese in it. I couldn't eat cheese! The burger wasn't vegan! I was not happy. But then it hit me. I had an ice cream sandwich earlier in the day. I ate ice cream and didn't even realize until HOURS later that I had eaten an animal product and failed miserably at being vegan for a week. So, damage was done and I scarfed down that deliciously cheesy veggie burger and decided to go for being vegetarian instead.


I lasted two weeks without meat. I missed my turkey sandwiches and the bacon at the cabin was quite tempting but other than that it was an easy feat. Until Andy brought home a chicken wild rice pizza he made at work for a pizza competition. I couldn't pass that up. Man it was good! After that I eased into things and meat is now back into my life like it once was.

I thought that not having meat for two weeks would make me feel different but it didn't. The best thing it probably did for me was save me money!

I wouldn't be surprised if I was an on again off again vegetarian but I couldn't not eat meat for the rest of my life. I think the most important thing is just being healthy overall with your food choices.

We were given these sharp teeth for a reason right?!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hating on Housewives

I hate the term housewife. To me it screams cooking, cleaning and making home life as easy as possible for your husband. I'm going to be upfront and say that I don't agree with said housewives. I don't think that just because I'm a woman I should be the one responsible for all of the cooking and the cleaning. I feel that men should contribute around the house just as much by doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cooking, scrubbing toilets, etc.

Gender stereotypes drive me nuts.

I hope to raise my boys so that they don't once think of mopping the floor as a "woman's job" or fixing a rickety chair a "man's job", for example. If I have it my way they will be an equal contributor to their household no matter what the chore.

I love that my man holds his own around the house and in doing so is a wonderful role model for the boys. Yeah I might have to ask him to help me every now and then but he has no problem helping when asked. It's also great that he's a dang good cook because I'm awful in the kitchen (I just melted a plastic bowl on a burner yesterday..).

Even though I don't agree with the woman doing everything around the house I have to admit that it feels great when I have the place put together, dinner on the table and he can come home and put his feet up for the night.

Just as long as it isn't an every day thing ;-)

Are you a housewife? What's your opinion on this matter? I'd love to hear it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rex is 11 Months Old!

This last month has completely flown by! How can it be that in one month my baby will be a YEAR old?! I'm going to soak it up these next 30+ days because I'm dreading having a toddler and not a baby anymore.

It's official: Rex is walking! He took his first real step (as in he didn't fall right afterward) on June 26th which is his uncle Chase's birthday and his late grandpa Steve's birthday. It was so sweet that it happened on their special day! We were at Chase's birthday party at my moms and my grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins were also there so he was surrounded by family (and a bunch of hooray's) when it happened. Surprisingly I didn't shed any tears though. He had been attempting his first step for about a week before so it didn't come as a shock. Now 3 weeks later he is up to 15 steps in a row before falling and has gone about 5-6 feet across the room. Crawling is still his main cruise mode but it won't be long and he'll be found upright more often than on the ground!

He's also started standing from a sitting position on the floor without help from anything for leverage. Now that was a shock when he did it for the first time!

We went to his first parade yesterday in my hometown and it was there that he finally picked up waving. I guess all it took for him to get it was hundreds of people going past us in the parade while waving for 2 hours!

After a lot of time outside he has gotten used to the grass. A month ago he hated it and how he'll cruise right through it.

His favorite food is meat. You give him any type of meat and it's the first thing gone off of his highchair tray.

We're still breastfeeding! My goal was 12 months but I don't see an end in sight. I'm totally okay with that and we will wean when he's ready. No people, he will not go to school still nursing. I might send it in a straw cup for him though ;-) (totally kidding..)

His top teeth have really come in now giving him a total of 6 clearly visible teeth. No more gummy smiles from Rexy!

We have noticed lately that Rex sure doesn't like it when he doesn't get his way. He'll arch his back, throw back his head and cry when something is taken from him or he's prevented from going somewhere (like the bathroom). I see some tough tantrums in our future if he's got this down already before he's one! I just keep thinking to myself "this is my last child.. I don't have to go through this again" and it helps me feel better when times are tough.

He has also started crying when strangers talk to him and is found to be a total mama's boy.. but he sure does love his dada!

Happy 11 months, Rexy! You're such an amazing little guy!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rex is 10 Months Old!

I was told when I was pregnant with Rex that time would fly even faster being a mama of two vs. being a mama of one. Man, was that person ever right! Today Rex is 10 months old I can't believe how fast these months have gone. We will have a one year old in TWO months?! Whaaaat?!

I'm honestly shocked that he hasn't taken his first step yet. He's been pulling himself to standing since 7 months old and standing unassisted since 8 months. He will use a push toy to cruise around our apartment with ease but isn't interested whatsoever in taking a step without holding onto someone or something.

He had three top teeth start popping through 3 weeks ago and his 4th top tooth will emerge any day now for a total of 6 teeth!

He goes to bed around 7:30pm and will sleep until 6:30-7:30am. His naps are at 9am and 1pm and will range anywhere from 1-2hrs long.

His crawl is more like a bear crawl. Instead of being on his knees he crawls around with his feet and his knees don't touch the ground. He does do the typical crawl every now and then but if he really wants to get going fast he does the bear crawl.

Baths are his absolute favorite! If the bathroom door is accidently left open you'll find him in there standing next to the tub trying to get in. When removing him away from the tub he is not happy! We've hit the stage where he cries and even throws his head back when something is taken from him. This seems to be happening too soon!

He loves the Tupperware drawer in the kitchen and opening/shutting cupboards.

His favorite game is peek-a-boo and loves chasing Levi around the apartment. They both really get a kick out of doing that together! Also, Levi likes to pick him up under his armpits and carry him around. Whenever Levi is carrying him like this he kicks his legs really fast and usually ends up laughing. Seeing them interact like that is so great!

He eats what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as nurses 4 times a day.

When we are out and about we LOVE using our Ergobaby carrier! I even use it to carry him to and from the car (we're on the top floor of our apartment building) because there's always something else I'm needing to carry. Plus, he can get squirmy! I have no idea how I got away with not having one when Levi was a baby. I cannot say enough about that carrier! Do you have a baby but not an Ergobaby? GO GET ONE!

We've come to realize that he doesn't like grass all that much (and neither did his daddy when he was little). If we put Rex on a blanket in the grass he will stay on the blanket. If we put him in the grass he will hardly move and won't touch it with his hands. Hopefully he'll get used to it soon!

Rex loves his mama's blankies! His mama's PINK blankies! I am not ashamed to be out in public with him and a pink blanket though. It's just a color, people! If he likes it, so what? And it's so cute because the second that blanket comes into contact with him his thumb goes in his mouth. I love having a thumb sucker!

Happy 10 months, Rexy! We couldn't have been more blessed with such an amazing, easy going baby!

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Issue With.. Germs

I have a major issue with germs. What freaks me out the most is that you can't see them. I'm all fine with getting dirty in the mud because I can look down and SEE that I'm dirty. But when something looks clean how clean is it really?

I wash my hands at least 25 times a day. My baby, Rex, is a thumb sucker so I was his hands a ton throughout the day as well. It's way easier to keep Rex's hands clean than it is Levi's though. I can carry a baby to the sink and he'll let me wash his hands but a 45lb 4.5 year old? Yeah, that's a whole different ball game! Levi knows my rule though. Whenever we get home from being somewhere he goes straight to the bathroom after taking his shoes off to wash. Also, before eating anything. If we aren't by a sink he knows that I'll get the hand sanitizer out.

Going out to eat with a baby makes me feel really uneasy. I can never seem to get the highchair or table clean enough. Every surface he might possibly be able to touch gets a thorough wipe down with a disinfecting wipe before he can go near it. And the menu's? Did you know they are one of the dirtiest things out there? And you touch them right before eating! Yuck. So, everyone knows the drill when we are done ordering. It's off to wash hands or get out the sanitizer. I've gotten a few looks and eye rolls from Andy when I bust out the sanitizer and hold it out for him but he humor's me and does it. If he get's sick I'm likely to get sick. I have to kiss him, don't I?

I would go through huge cleaning kicks once a week for our apartment. I've gotten a little better about letting some things go though. Once I start cleaning it's really hard for me to stop. And, it's hard for me to have Andy clean because I don't know all of the steps that he took. Yeah the sink looks clean but did he really wipe it off good with a disinfectant? So, I do the majority of the cleaning and he usually does something like the dishes and folding laundry to help out. What's that saying? If you want it done right, do it yourself? I think that's it..

I don't know if I would consider this OCD or just being overly cautious about keeping my family healthy. We really don't get sick that often. In fact, I've seen Andy sick ONCE in the 4 years we've been together. Rex is 10 months old without ever having been sick and Levi and I were only sick once last flu season. I'd say that's pretty good!

But I'd like to know.. am I a little overboard/just plain crazy? Are you anything like me when it comes to germs? Give me your input, advice, etc. I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Our Summer To-Do List

Levi swimming in his clothes while it's 65 degrees

Here in Minnesota it is almost just starting to feel like summer. We were at our cabin last weekend and even though it was 65 degrees out it felt great in the sun and all the kids were in the lake! So it got me thinking.. what do I want to do this summer?

1. Go to the Minneapolis Farmers Market
2. Spend an afternoon at North Mississippi Park (splash pad/park)
3. See fireworks
4. Go to the Renaissance Festival for the first time
5. Bring Levi to the State Fair for the first time
6. Valleyfair with Andy
7. Drive in movie
8. Twins game with Levi
9. Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
10. Family lunch from a food truck

What's on your to-do list for this summer? I would love some more ideas!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tough questions from a 4 year old

Levi (4.5yrs) asks me a lot of questions. Most of the questions are lighthearted but other ones can have complicated answers.

Here are some examples:

"How did you get pregnant?"
"How does the sperm get to the egg?"
"How do your boobs have milk in them?"
"Why doesn't my girlfriend have boobs like you do?"

To name a few..

Questions like this come out of nowhere. They stop me in my tracks.

How do I answer him? I'm honest. As honest as I can be with a 4 year old.

I have learned the importance of starting the sexuality talk as young as babies through a class I was a part of. This isn't exactly what you might think it is. The way you can start with them as babies is as simple as calling private parts by their actual name. No slang. A penis is a penis. Slowly the discussion about sexuality, puberty, sex, etc will grow through teachable moments as they get older. Instead of "lets sit down now that you're at the right age and give you all of the info you need to know in one big talk" there should be little nuggets of info throughout their life. Let them take the lead. They ask you a question, you answer it. They ask another one, you answer that one too. For the moments they ask a question that you don't know how to answer it's okay to ask them "Can I get back to you with that answer?". Books are also great at getting things across that you might not know how to.

I'm really passionate about being honest with my boys especially when it comes to sexuality. I want to try and build the most open relationship with them. I never want them to hesitate to come to me about something. I feel that if I am open and honest with them then I am setting the example and will have a better chance that they will be open and honest with me.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A wannabe vegan

I would love to go vegan. It has been in the back of my head for years. Ever since I told my paternal grandma about this (years ago) she has brought me a homemade vegan dish to almost every get together that we've had. How awesome is she?! When I have finished eating all of the things she has brought I've come to the same conclusion: I could so live on this! But, can I?!

I grew up with my dad as a hunter. I remember patiently waiting for him to get home from hunting so I could run outside to greet him and hopefully get to look at a dead deer in the back of his truck. I once tried to be a vegetarian in middle school and after a few days a McDonald's commercial broke me.

We were on the way home from the cabin yesterday when we pulled up alongside of a truck full of pigs on their way to get slaughtered. I made eye contact with one of them and my heart sank. Then, Levi asked me what all of them were doing in there. I couldn't lie. I'm very straightforward and honest with him. I said "They are on their way to get killed so people can eat their meat". And then I remembered the bacon I ate that morning. It really was delicious.

This is why I am torn. I love (most) meat. I've been around it my whole life. It's what I'm used to. There isn't much that we don't cook for meals that doesn't have meat in it (or milk, or cheese). But then my heart breaks when I think of the animals dying. Plus, I know meat and animal products can have its negative affects on my health. I want to feel amazing and have more energy than I do now. I also want to save money. Meat and dairy are a huge portion of our grocery bill.

I'm putting myself to the test. One week. I will be vegan for one week and see if I am disciplined enough.

I can still have beer though, right?

Friday, June 7, 2013

My favorite place to be

I was blessed to be born into a family with a cabin. My great grandpa built it when my grandpa (my moms dad) was just a kid. It's a small cabin on a private lake. There are only two other cabin's on it and we have the only one right on the lake. I don't think it could be any more peaceful!

I was the only child in my family for 9 years so I didn't have any play mates up there. As a kid I loved running around with a butterfly net to catch frogs and toads. I'd collect them all in a bucket and before too long would let them all free. There's a pile of neatly stacked bricks that I would imagine was my castle and there's a tree I could hang out on for hours. I stayed up late with the adults and learned how to play poker at a young age. I never minded getting dirty and I can't remember a time when I wasn't okay with taking my own fish off the hook. Thanks to my time at the cabin I have never been afraid of spiders and (if it isn't huge) would kill one with my bare hand. My grandma would always let me sit on her lap once we got to the private dirt road that leads to our cabin and steer until we got there. Once I was tall enough to reach the pedals I got to switch spots with her and drive it myself. It was hard to hide the smile on my face while I was sitting in the driver seat. It was inevitable that by growing up at the cabin I would be shaped into the person I am.

Now, when I say it's small I mean that it's small! There's a room for a kitchen that can really only comfortably fit one person if they're busy cooking. The bathroom is a decent size (because it used to be a bunk bed room when we were allowed to have a working outhouse on the property) and then the rest of the cabin is one room. A twin bed, love seat, bunk bed and couch with a hideaway bed all sit along 2 walls with a dining room table in the middle. If everyone is seated at the table it's almost impossible to walk around it without someone needing to move to squeeze you through. There's been a trailer up there as long as I can remember for extra sleeping but back when I was a kid the cabin was perfect for fitting everyone. Now that my mom has three more kids, my aunt and uncle have three and we have two (plus my grandparents) it's impossible to fit us all in there at the same time. Someone always needs to pitch a tent and what if there's bad weather? Well, we have to keep an eye on the forecast before heading up there. Bad weather means we don't go.

Our little family (Andy, Levi, Rex and I) really enjoy going up there but we hate pitching a tent and I can never sleep good when I'm so easily accessible to the forest creatures and bad guys in the world. So, we had some money saved up and decided to buy ourselves a used pop up camper a couple days ago. We got the okay from my grandparents to park it somewhere at the cabin and we couldn't be more excited. Now we have our own little space up there and don't have to worry about where we will land when it comes time to sleep. Plus, we have odd weekends so it can be used by other people when we are not there. I plan to go up as much as possible this summer and can't wait!

My hope is that my kids will become shaped from their time at the cabin like I was. I want them to go on adventures in the woods, spend their weekends covered in dirt, sand or wet from the lake, learn how to start a campfire, bait their own hook, take fish off their own hook, catch frogs, learn how to drive a car and a boat and most importantly to unplug from technology and just be a kid.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"You're the plainest one here."

I was at work one day shampooing a clients hair when the receptionist was folding towels and said to me "You know what I love about you? You're the plainest one here." Um, what? Was I supposed to be flattered or offended? I gave a short little laugh and said "Thanks?". It's the running joke at work and maybe I should add that this receptionist was let go (for other reasons).

It's totally true though. I am plain. You wouldn't look at me and pin me for a hairstylist like you can for 80% of people in the industry. My hair is colored to my natural, my make up consists of mascara, natural eye shadow and touching up my eyebrows. I will wear foundation maybe once a month and a little more often than that will I actually put on eyeliner. I'm lucky if I can put a few pins in my hair to wear it up before going to work but it's usually just air dry and go. When I'm not working it's in a pony tail. My last haircut? 5 months ago. Maybe more. I am completely low maintenance. It hasn't always been this way though.

When I was a junior and senior in high school I had to be as tan as possible, I overused tooth whitening strips, I was constantly changing up the look of my hair and getting my nails done. When I look back on pictures I miss being that well maintained but I'm content with the title of "plainest one here" because the trade off is being a mother of two.

In the last few years I have given up tanning beds and don't step foot in the sun without sunblock on. Why? Because I have two little kids that I want to be around for as long as possible. With family history and my history in the sun why would I risk getting skin cancer and possibly leaving my kids behind? It's just not worth it to me. Same goes for my old smoking habit. I loved it. I really did love smoking. The social aspect of it, the little breaks in my day, how it melted my stress away.. but it was no longer worth it.

It all boils down to my kids. They are the reason why I am plain and I'm more than okay with that. I'd rather be at home spending time with them than getting my hair or nails done and I'd rather spend my money on things for them than on white strips.

When I look back on pictures of myself during these years and I come across a good one I know I will be pleased in the fact that it was probably taken on a day that I was able to squeeze in a shower and throw a little mascara on and not because I had spent hours in a tanning bed, $40 on white strips and 45 minutes doing my hair and makeup.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Story of Rex - Part One (Finding out we were pregnant)

I wrote this when I was 6 weeks pregnant with Rex!

Back in September 2011 Andy and I decided we were ready to start trying to have a baby. I went and got my IUD taken out and starting the end of September we were on the "we're not trying but we're not preventing" approach. Since I had my IUD for 3 years we didn't know how long it would take for this to happen. The only person that knew this was going on was my Mom. I had to tell someone!

Fast forward to December. Part of me was hoping we wouldn’t get pregnant this month and the other part was hoping we would. My period was due on Christmas! My thought was that if I wasn't pregnant then I could drink for all of the holiday festivities and we could try again in January! Because in the previous two months I had taken pregnancy tests early and gotten a negative result (basically throwing money down the toilet) I decided not to take a pregnancy test Christmas Eve. My mom also helped this decision because she said “even if you are pregnant and have a glass of wine on Christmas Eve it won’t hurt you”. So, I didn’t take a test, had a couple glasses of wine and smoked cigarettes. I didn’t feel pregnant and had no thought in my mind that I was.

At 6a Christmas morning Levi woke up to pee. After taking him to the bathroom and putting him back to bed I realized I needed to go myself. I had pregnancy tests stashed under the sink and I thought “what the hell?” If it were positive then Andy and I would have a quiet moment to enjoy the news together without having Levi up and running around. And if it were negative then I could just go back to bed and look forward to watching Levi open all of his gifts and being able to drink at the festivities. As I’m sitting there about to pee on the stick I all of a sudden can’t pee and my heart starts RACING! I finally get up the courage to take it. I’m watching the stick, heart racing and slowly but surely I watch two solid blue lines appear.. meaning I’m pregnant! Tears started flowing and I started to sweat. How do I tell Andy?! He's sound asleep! I crawled back into bed and just laid there for a few moments in complete disbelief. Finally I started kissing him and gently waking him up. When he started to come to I said “Merry Christmas! ..... I’m pregnant!” His response was, “Are you really?”. We just laid there snuggling together and enjoyed the first few moments of knowing we were going to have a baby.

We go back to sleep and Levi wakes us up around 8 to open Christmas presents for the last time together as a family of 3. I was really kicking myself that I hadn’t taken the test yesterday because we had been with my entire family and we could have told them all in person at the same time. I had to have my Mom be the first to know but we were so busy that day that there wasn’t time to stop by her house and tell her so I gave her a call. She was so excited! Andy wanted to stop and tell his Mom since it was on our way to my Grandma’s house that morning. We decided to tell her by wrapping up the pregnancy test. It took her a few moments to realize what the stick was telling her. She looked at me and said “Is this you?”. I nodded my head, started tearing up and she just started gleaming! She almost couldn't contain her excitement!

At my Grandma’s I had another test wrapped up and gave it to my Dad in the middle of everyone opening their gifts. I just quietly watched him open it from across the room while everyone else had no idea what was going on. He looked at it and instantly tears started welling in his eyes. He walked across the room, gave me a hug and told everyone “Emma’s pregnant!” They were all very excited for us!

When we got to celebrate with Andy's family for Christmas later that day we had two pregnancy tests wrapped up for each of his sisters to open at the same time. His younger sister got hers opened first and when looking at it told everyone “it’s a pregnancy test.. and it’s already taken..” and just looks at me. With that said his older sister realized that it meant I’m pregnant, said “oh my gosh!” and got up to hug me. His brother in law (who was in the kitchen) had no idea what was going on but when he realized it he shouted “Are you f******* serious?!” Completely shocked. Probably the best reaction we had!

All in all everyone is really excited and happy for us! It’s nice to be experiencing a pregnancy that is planned, that everyone is thrilled about (without feeling stressed) and that I have the support of my partner through.

[Right away I knew that I didn't want this baby's birth to go the way Levi's did. I had different plans for this time around and I couldn't have been happier with the decisions we made and the way everything went when Rex came into this world!]


Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Story of Andy and Emma

When Levi was 5 months old I was itching to get out of the house. My life consisted of being with him and working part time as a waitress. I really wanted to go on a date. So, while I was at work one day I found myself standing in the kitchen and thinking "Who would be fun to go on a date with?". By no means was this in my head as a date that I wanted to turn into a relationship. Hello, I have a FIVE MONTH OLD. I just wanted to get out of the house for a night and feel like your average 19 year old for a few hours.

Then it hit me.. Andy! I felt like we had been flirting lately, he's handsome, funny and the nicest guy I have ever come across. I wanted to go on a date with Andy (the sous chef). I told a co-worker of mine to hand him my number on a piece of paper and ONLY my number. No name. Just tell him that there's a girl here that's interested in going on a date with him and have him text me. Instantly he started pressing her for more information. Clues as to who it was. He finally figured it out and I'll never forget where I was when we started texting. My Grandpa's retirement party.

We decided on going to see a movie. I Love You, Man. I felt nervous on my way to meet him at his place (he was living with his Mom and his younger sister). We had never seen each other outside of work before. I was a little nervous at first but it didn't last long. The movie was great and we got along well. It was after the movie that I found out he's SEVEN years older than me. I couldn't believe it. My first words were, "Do you know how old I am?!" He guessed 20 or so and it took me a minute to say that I just turned 19. Yikes! We had such a nice time together though that we saw each other again outside of work. He made me dinner! First time a guy had ever done that for me. We had phone conversations that lasted HOURS and even after finishing those long talks I felt like I could still keep talking to him. The fact that I had a baby wasn't an issue for him (neither was my age) and after only a couple weeks of dating it was made official. Andy was now my boyfriend.

A couple months later Andy got his own apartment. Levi and I were over all the time and even had the occasional sleep over. I couldn't
believe how fast we had fallen for each other. Part of me just knew that this was the guy I was to spend the rest of my life with. We were over at his place so often that it just got to the point where I wanted Levi to have more stability and routine. In July, after 4 months of dating, Levi and I moved in. If anyone were to tell me this about them I would think they were out of their freaking mind. But it just felt right for us.

The three of us were crammed into a one bedroom apartment for the next 2 years. Levi eventually took over the bedroom and we made the living room into half our room and half living space. Not ideal, but it worked.

In May 2011 we moved to a two bedroom apartment with way more space and amenities.

Come summer 2011 our relationship hit the next level. We decided to start trying to have a baby.




 I guess I'm always on his left.. :-)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Story of Levi - Part Five (Where we are now)

Levi is now 4.5 years old. He is a very strong willed child and never seems to run out of energy. I've never met a kid his age who is more social. He will talk to everyone and anyone. We really cannot go anywhere without him striking up a conversation with someone. I've been sure to have our stranger danger talks many times. It makes me a little nervous having such an outgoing kid! Something else I just adore about Levi is that he loves to clean. Not the pick up your toys type of cleaning but scrubbing his bathroom type of cleaning. He's not the type of kid that gets in your way and prevents you from being able to clean. He will be right there with you helping!

He just finished his first year of preschool. Levi absolutely loved it and made some great friends! He currently has a "girlfriend" that he met at school and adores! They share the same birthday and were actually born one minute apart. How cute is that!? She's the older one, in case you were wondering! I've seen such a wonderful side of him since he's had this "girlfriend". For instance, he grabbed a bag the other day and started filling it with things that he thought she might like. Along with trying to raid my jewelery box but he didn't get very far with that idea! He has an old cell phone for a toy and he carried it around with him all day even out running errands and kept "calling" her asking her how she was doing, explaining to her what we were up to among other things. I really feel like he will make someone incredibly happy one day!

Levi is now a big brother! I'll get to all of the details of that in the next few posts but I just want to brag about what an AMAZING big brother he is. He has been in love with his little brother from the moment we heard his heart beat together. When I was pregnant he would ask me almost daily "How is the baby doing today? Is he kicking you a lot?". Ever since the baby has come into this world Levi has been the greatest helper. Whenever the baby is sad Levi does what he can to make him feel better. He also sings songs to him, brings him his favorite toys, shares his food with him and loves carrying him around the room. Now that they can play together it has gotten so fun around here! They have such a great time playing together and can get each other laughing like you wouldn't believe! The favorite part of my day is sitting back and watching them play. I hope that they will continue to grow into great friends and be there for each other through whatever life brings them.

Now for the update on Aaron and I. We never did get back together but have grown to have a good relationship between us. On occasion we will all three do something together which I feel is incredibly important for Levi. We don't have a custody agreement but he sees Levi at least once a week while I'm working. Aaron is living at home so it's nice that Levi can go to one place and see all of them at the same time. He really enjoys going over there, hanging out and having the occasional sleep over. Aaron works part time plus being in a band that's doing pretty well for themselves. They will be going on a west coast tour this summer, filming a music video, plus releasing their CD. Music has always been huge for Aaron and he's an incredibly talented drummer so I'm really glad that things are working out the way they are for him!

I'm a strong believer in "everything happens for a reason". During our break up and my stressful pregnancy I couldn't have imagined life the way it is now. I'm so glad that Aaron is in Levi's life, that Levi is happy and healthy and that everyone gets along.

Levi at 1 year

Levi at 2 years

Levi at 3 years

Levi at 4 years

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Story of Levi - Part Four (His birth)

It was Tuesday October 21st, 2008 and I was working at Green Mill that evening. I was hosting, it was slow and I noticed the stack of glasses was getting low at the drink station. This would usually be a busser's job to grab more racks of glasses but I was bored and decided to help out. As I'm walking over with the somewhat heavy drink rack my manager hollers at me "You shouldn't be doing that! It will make you go into labor!" I just laughed and told her I would be fine.

I slept like crap that night and woke up in a panic from a dream that I was having Levi. I was supposed to work that morning starting at 11am but I called in because I was so exhausted and was given the day off. I laid around ALL morning. At around 1:00pm I was laying on the couch watching Home Improvement. I felt a little trickle, thought nothing of it and decided to wait until the next commercial break to get up and go to the bathroom. When I stood up that little trickle started uncontrollably streaming down my leg. I started dashing to the bathroom and it hit me. My water is breaking. My. Water. Is. Breaking. Just like when I found out I was pregnant: I started sweating, my heart started racing, my hands were shaking. I had my phone in the pocket of my sweatpants and immediately called my mom at work.

Me: My water just broke!
Mom: Are you sure?
Me: It's gotta be! It won't stop coming out. I can't get up off the toilet because it's leaking so much.
Mom: I'll be home as soon as I can. Should I call Grandma and have her bring you to the hospital?
Me: No. I don't even have a bag packed! I'll throw some things together and wait for you by the door.

When we got to the Labor and Delivery floor of the hospital they decided to do a swab test to make sure that my water did break and it wasn't just me peeing myself (THAT would have been embarrassing). But, it was the real deal so they admitted me. I sent Aaron a text that I was going into labor. My Grandma was the first one to arrive. I was still comfortable at this point. Just nervous as hell. Before I knew it in walked Aaron. I was so glad he came. I had no idea how to act around him though. There was definitely tension and some awkwardness.

I was given pitocin almost as soon as I got set up in the room. They said they "had to" in order to get my contractions going because my water had broke. They're the professionals so I took their word for it and let them do their thing. After that the contractions came on strong. I instantly asked for an epidural. Everyone left the room but my Mom when they administered it. I'll never forget how horrible it felt to get a needle in my spine while forced to SIT STILL during a contraction. From here on out things are a blur. I remember though being in the bed, once the epidural had kicked in, with my mom, dad, Aaron and my Grandma and out of nowhere I felt drunk and started crying. I hated how out of control the drugs made me feel but then I would be crazy if I did it without them. Who would want to feel EVERYTHING?! Because I had an epidural they put a catheter in. The most uncomfortable feeling ever. But luckily it wasn't in long.

It was around 8pm and my mom had finally left my side to go get a bite to eat. Aaron and a couple of his friends were in the room with me along with a friends Mom and I started to feel really uncomfortable. Physically uncomfortable. I pushed the nurse button and told them to go find my Mom. The nurse came in and I told her the catheter was hurting and I wanted her to take it out. She went to check it and told me that's because I was ready to push. Catheter came out, doctor was called back to the hospital and the 20 people in the waiting room were put on alert because Levi was coming!

I pushed for about an hour. My mom on my left and Aaron on my right. A vacuum was used at the end because he was "sunny side up" (face up) which makes it more difficult. Once his head was out my Mom exclaimed "He's opening his eyes!" which was just the most overwhelming thought to me since he was still not completely born yet. One more push and he was out! They put him on my stomach for a second but he was just barely crying so they whisked him away after my Mom cut the cord. 

He had trouble using all of his lungs to breathe and had some fluid in his chest. They brought him to the NICU right away, did some X-Rays, and put a CPAP on his nose which pushed room air into his lungs to help him breathe and push the gunk out. Two hours after he was born me, Aaron and both of the Grandma's got to go see him. I put my finger to his hand and he wouldn’t let go! It was the most precious thing I’ve ever experienced! I finally got to hold him the next day at noon.

Levi was in the NICU for a total of 10 days. Aaron came up to the hospital to see him pretty much every day and even stayed the night with me once in the hospital. Luckily, I lived close because after I was discharged I drove up every 3 hours to breastfeed him. Even at night. It was the most exhausting 10 days of my life.

I was so happy that Aaron was around. I didn't care anymore about us getting back together. The most important thing was him being there as a Dad to Levi.

Levi Jacob was born on October 22nd, 2008 (35 weeks 6 days) at 9:22pm weighing 5lbs 13oz and was 19 1/4 inches long. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Story of Levi - Part Three (Diary entries from pregnancy)

Aiden was the name I had chosen for Levi at first. I wrote a few diary entries to him while I was pregnant. I feel that sharing tidbits from diary entries is the best way to go over what happened. You don't get all the details but enough of them.

July 19th, 2008
Dear Aiden,
"I want you to have the best life possible.  I wished for you a happy family but I feel that it just won’t work out that way.  I love you with all my heart.  I know we can make it on our own."

"I’m miserable without your dad in my life.  Every day is a struggle to not break down and cry.  I love him so much.  It’s hard to not get that love in return.  I have many regrets but then I think about how if I hadn’t made the decisions that I’ve made, I wouldn’t have you on the way.  It will be hard but we’ll get through it.  I’ll be here for you every step of the way."

July 25th, 2008

Dear Aiden,
"I just got home from spending time with your dad for the first time in two months. I didn’t think he’d let me see him but he did.  It felt different between us.  I was actually shy and almost giggly.. that isn’t me.  Once we got past all of the awkwardness, I was able to bring up how I feel about your dad and we were able to talk about you.  He took what I had to say very well.  He told me that he’ll make steps to get our relationship back, that he misses me and that he still cares about me.  Your dad saw my stomach for the first time since you’ve grown so much and felt you kick for the first time too! We even discussed names.  I like Aiden Finn Jacob and he says he wants a more manly name and only Jacob for the middle name.. no Finn. We’ll see what we come up with together! I am anxious to find out what ends up happening to your dad and I.  I hope we’re able to work things out and be together like I know we’re meant to be.  We’re both just really confused right now and stressed out with you on the way.  It’s a lot to handle for teenagers. I hope you can forgive us."

July 27th, 2008

Dear Diary, 
"Aaron slept over last night."
(Sorry Mom, you were out of town..)

August 27th, 2008

Dear Diary, 
"I sorta freaked. I didn’t cry though or throw a tantrum. This was an internal freak out."

"Does he really care about me? He still won’t hold my hand. He’s only said I love you once. But he’ll kiss me. That means he cares, right? No. I really don’t think so. It’s easy to fake a kiss."

"I tell him that I’m unhappy and it was the last text I could muster before passing out. I wake up to a thunderstorm that matched the way that I felt when I realized that he never texted me back after that. I drove him nuts. Too nuts. Now what do I do?"

"Being with him is hard. It’s almost just as hard as it was to not have him in my life for the first 5 months of my pregnancy. The whole “relationship” we have is just too confusing for me. There should be nothing confusing about two people who “love” each other."

"I definitely need to be more easy going and happy. I was never like that normally and being pregnant it’s especially harder to try to bring those things out in me. I’m stressed to the max being pregnant. Never does a second go by where I’m not worrying about something or thinking about the future."

"I don’t want to give up now. We’ve been through so much together and I just can’t let him go.. I'm texting him."

September 11, 2008

Dear Aiden,
"Your dad is back to not talking to me. We were “together” for a little over a month and a couple weeks ago he said he “needed a break”. So, we spent a few days apart and then he decided that he just couldn’t handle this. We haven’t talked since."

September 22nd, 2008

Dear Baby,
"I’m pretty sure I’ve chosen a different name for you.. Levi. It’s a Hebrew name that means “united as one” and in the Bible is the name of Jacob’s son. Which fits perfect! I see you as the mold between three families: my Moms, my Dads, and your Dads family. Also, your Dads middle name is Jacob (which will also be your middle name). Your Dad didn’t like the name Aiden because he said it “sounds like the mom named him”. I don’t know if he’ll like the name Levi but he gave me full responsibility in naming you."

October 15th, 2008

Dear Levi,
"Well, I had a doctor’s appointment today and I found out that I’m 1 cm dilated! Maybe you’ll be here early! I’m 5 weeks away from my due date! Will you be a halloween baby?! That might be too early.. it would be fun though :-) Next week Grandma Lisa and I are doing our shopping run so that I can get packed for the hospital and be ready for when I go into labor. I’m so excited for you to be here! You have no idea! Chase and Addy have been touching my stomach a lot lately and feel you kick all the time! They’re just as excited as I am!"

October 17th, 2008 (Levi was born 5 days later)

Dear Diary,
"Am I over Aaron yet? I think I am. But then again I’m not sure. I haven’t had the urge to text him in a couple weeks now (with the exception of updating him after my doctor appointments). I did send him a message today on Facebook though. It wasn’t out of me missing him but just to get an understanding of where he stands with all of this. I need answers from him. Will he come to the hospital when Levi is born? Will he be in the room when I’m giving birth? Does he want to be a part of this at all? I told him that I would understand and won’t hold it against him if he doesn’t want to be a part of this with me. I started to cry while I was typing my message to him though. The tears surprised me."

"I miss him more than words can describe. My heart is still in shreds. The most painful part of the process is over though. I don’t get angry or jealous when I see pictures of him online anymore. I don’t think about what he’s doing and get angry or jealous. I’m letting him live his life without being bothered by me and I get comfort from that. I feel mature and strong to be able to accept how he feels and respect his wishes."

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Story of Levi - Part Two

It was time to pick up Aaron from work and tell him the news. I had no idea how he was going to react. I told him I was pregnant in the parking lot right after he had gotten in my car. He said things like “What are we going to do?” and rattled off all of the different reasons why we weren’t qualified to bring a child into this world. I told him that there’s no decision to make. I’m having the baby with or without him. He wasn’t ready to tell his parents. We actually weren’t going to tell anyone for a while but we decided to confide in one of Aaron’s friends. It became more real now that it wasn’t just between us (and my mom).

We didn’t talk about it much for the first few days. I was almost scared to bring it up. I didn’t want it to turn into a fight. During this time Aaron got his license and a new car to drive around in. I was cheering in the state basketball tournament and had to tell my coach that I was pregnant. Especially since I was the girl that was thrown up in the air. I told everyone on the squad that I just wasn’t feeling well and I really wasn’t. Morning sickness was starting to kick in. I couldn’t go anywhere without saltine crackers.

I was really nervous about telling my Dad. I didn’t see him all that often since I was so busy with sports and school so I decided to give him a call. My Dad was just as supportive as my mom but with a lot more of “Just really think about your decision. You have time to think about it.” which I appreciated but I just kept telling him “I know, Dad. I’ve made up my mind.”

I felt so strongly about needing to tell Aaron’s parents. I put a lot of pressure on him about it. I felt that the longer we waited the worse it would be. We had known for a couple weeks now. I decided that I couldn’t take it any longer. So, I contacted his mom and told her that there was something I needed to talk to her about and asked if she could come over. I then contacted Aaron and asked him to come over at the same time.. without telling him that his mom was coming. I told my Mom what was going on and asked if she would sit in on it for support. While I was waiting for them I was a nervous wreck. I see her car pull up and Aaron is inside. Why did I think she wouldn’t ask him why I wanted to talk to her? Of course she was going to. When I answered the door I could see it on both of their faces. She already knew what was going on and Aaron was pissed at what I had done. The whole time we talked emotions were running high. I cried through practically the entire thing and when they left I felt miserable. I should have given Aaron time to tell her on his own terms. I was so selfish. I wanted her to know so I would feel better not keeping anything from them. This is something I have looked back on a lot and regretted.

I tried getting a hold of Aaron after this to talk things out. No answer. He didn’t respond to my texts. He didn’t call me back. He didn’t respond to my Facebook messages. Or acknowledge notes I left on his windshield while he was at work. I knew that I had done something wrong and the silence from him told me that it was over. I was devastated. We never had an actual break up and all I wanted was closure.

I just had to keep moving forward.

20 weeks

31 weeks

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Story of Levi - Part One

Aaron and I in February 2008
It was my sophomore year in high school when Aaron and I started dating. He was a freshman. It was an on again off again relationship with a couple boyfriends to fill the space in between. We had some bad times (okay, maybe too many bad times to count) but no matter how bad it got we always seemed to find our way back together. At least until spring 2008.

I’ll never forget this time in my life. It was senior year right before spring break. I didn’t have any big plans. Aaron and I were “on” and I just figured we’d do the usual and bum around with his friends while I do all the driving and we chain smoked. But then I realized that my period was late. It was NEVER late. I was sorta kinda on the pill. We sometimes used protection. Let’s be honest here.. we were IDIOTS. Idiots that felt they were invincible. So yes, I instantly knew there was a chance I could be pregnant.

I remember approaching my mom in the kitchen and giving her a casual heads up. It went something like this, “My periods a day late”. Definitely not something a mom wants to hear her daughter say at this age. I decided that if I didn’t get it by the next day I would take a test. So then it happened. The first day of spring break my senior year of high school. I had pregnancy tests waiting. I woke up and went outside to smoke what I knew was going to be my last cigarette. I never wanted that cigarette to end. My mom was at work. My step dad was home along with my 3 young siblings. I snuck myself into the bathroom with the box of tests hidden in my shirt. I remember it taking forever to get up the courage to take the test. I was shaking, sweating and my heart felt like it was beating in my throat. I knew it was going to be positive but I wasn’t pregnant until it was clear to me on the stick. And sure enough, the time wasn’t even up yet and there it was. Positive. I instantly started sobbing and fell to the rug on the bathroom floor. After the shock set in a little I go into my room and dial my moms number. Once she picked up and all she could hear was crying she instantly knew. I didn’t say a single word. Just cried. All she said was, “I’m on my way home”.

There’s no way to describe the way I felt, how it felt when it hit me that there is a baby growing inside of my body. I’m 18. Still in high school. Cheering for the boys Varsity basketball team. Working as a host in a restaurant. Aaron was 16. With no license. Working at a fast food restaurant.

When my mom got home she just sat with me on my bed and let me cry. The first thing she said was “You know how much I wanted to have more kids but you didn’t have to go and have them for me!” She tried to lighten the mood and her words gave me such a relief. I was worried she would be mad. Which would have added so much more stress to an already stressful situation. I really am thankful for how my mom handled things.

My mom told me that whatever it is I wanted to do she would support me 100%. In my head I didn’t have a decision to make. I had the support of my mom, a loving family and the strength to raise this baby. Adoption was out of the question and abortion just simply wasn’t an option. I was going to have this baby and do my absolute best at raising him.

Aaron was at work while all of this was happening. He didn’t have his license so I was picking him up. News like this is something I knew I had to tell him in person when I got there.

Nothing could prepare me for what happened next and the days to follow.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Blogging on my mind

Spring 2013
Finally! I am finding myself giving a huge sigh of relief as I’ve decided to take the plunge and start a blog. It’s been on my mind for far too long. My main purpose of the blog is to document my life as a mother of two boys, give my opinions on a wide range of topics and to, quite honestly, vent.

Since my youngest was born almost 9 months ago I have only worked very part time so I can be with my two boys as much as possible. I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom but funds won’t allow it so this is the next best thing.

Raising two boys and being home with them 5 days a week is so much harder than I ever could have imagined. I have gotten a lot of comfort from other mom’s and realizing that I am not alone in this. I am not the only one who’s kid has a freak out in the middle of Target or hides in the clothing racks at Goodwill prompting me to frantically search the entire store for him.

My hope is that this blog will give other parents, and myself, comfort. You are not alone in this and neither am I.