In Four Weeks

In four weeks, Greg and I will be snuggling our newborns. They may have been “just born” or could be days or weeks old. Either way, they have officially been given a definitive “born by” date.

We will welcome Baby A and Baby B (names to be announced once we are out of surgery and have told our parents and Arianna and Evan) on or before April 3, 2015.

While we really wanted to welcome them April 2 (exactly 7 days after Greg’s birthday and 7 before mine), apparently it was a well-sought after day. Who wants to schedule their kiddo’s birthday on April Fool’s Day or spend Easter in the hospital? Well, we weren’t cleared for April 1 (more baking time, woo!) and will be enjoying a chocolate bunny and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection at Magee unless these chunkers decide to appear early (although odds are low as of last appointment).

At 34 weeks + 1 day, our babies were 5 pounds 9 ounces (A) and 5 pounds 3 ounces (B), approximately. They are in the 92nd and 82nd percentile, and per my doctor, I am a good provider for them. Swoon. I mean, look at them.

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What you may not be able to tell is that both babies have their knees and feet up by their faces. Both are breech, so a VBA2C is not in the cards for us. This is okay with me. I’ll always wonder what a natural birth felt like, but this seems like our best and safest option. They’ve also got their mama measuring 40+ weeks in the tummy area and heads turning everywhere she goes because oh my gosh shouldn’t you be at a hospital having that kid.

Between now and then, I’ll have weekly appointments as well as Non Stress Tests just to be sure we’re on track. But regardless, in four weeks, this mama is going to have her babies in her arms. Such a beautiful blessing.

Carnevale with Red Pack

Confession.

I’ve fallen in LOVE with some Chicken Parm and am not sure how I will give it up once I have the babies. Well, I have my own healthy version, but I am talking Old Italy style soaked in calories and drenched in cheesy oil. Sigh.

Even though I am having Greg the Tomato Hater’s babies, I still can’t get enough of these veggies (or fruits if you are from that school of thought). Plus, it is Carnevale time, and lots of delicious recipes can be found to celebrate and help us forget winter these days.

Redpack Tomatoes sent me a kit with a few cans of tomato options to make some of their recipes (which can be found at their website, http://www.redgold.com/redpack). They are encouraging home cooks to make great Italian food this winter…and today was a great day for us to stay in and cook a ‘lil.

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Arianna and I decided to put together the Pizza Stromboli for our guys tonight. Greg was impressed with the smell of the homemade sauce and Evan said it smelled like cookies…if garlic and onions smell like that and make him eat it, then excellent. We chefs did a nice job, I must say. This one will end up in our rotation.

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On a side…Mama needs new cookie sheets…yes?!?!?

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Redpack also will be hosting a Facebook promotion at https://www.facebook.com/redpacktomatoes  through March 3, during which 1,000 Redpack followers will get a Redpack branded apron. A grand prize winner will receive a pasta stock pot, pasta-related serveware and Redpack products.

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Disclosure: I received products in exchange for this review and post. All opinions are my own.

It’s Sinking In

This reality of having twins thing is really sinking in.

It is Week 33 (+4) and these babies could arrive at any moment. But they are Willis babies, so I am still holding out for an April arrival. Regardless, they are prepping for birth.

Currently, there is a dance party / yoga session going on in my belly. It’s crazy to watch and even crazier to feel.

I’m nesting. My work family threw me a super sweet surprise sprinkle yesterday…it happened to be at my Great Grandma’s reataurant  (with new name, new owners, new menu…but still the same place in my heart). I came home with sweet swaddlers, cloth diapers, adorable twinning outfits, books, and a playpen with twin bassinet. Of course, my men had to set up the playpen (Evan was the instruction man) and I had to prep laundry. Nesting is happening.

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We went back to the drawing board on boy names. Not loving what we picked out and heart rates in the 140s + babies that refuse to react to the non stress test buzzer had me thinking we’d be naming two boys with names we were just okay with. Now we have a few options…but you almost have to look at a boy and say, yup. That’s his name.

I got a sinus infection late last week and am still suffering. At points I have had no voice. Other than that and constantly having to pee (thanks to my bladder pusher Baby A), I am feeling awesome. Even when getting up from a long sit is harder than usual, I continue to be thankful for my healthiest pregnancy of the three.

Insomnia is still a thing, but I feel in a pattern. That means I should be ready for late night feedings and early morning wakeup calls from my big kids. The sky’s awake, so I’m awake!!!

Bonuses? Greg has off 2 nights in a row twice this week. 24 more hours and we’ve made it to a new month. And it’s time to admit…I really want April babies but have come to grips with the fact my two newest loves could arrive any day now. It’s going to be awesome meeting them and welcoming them home. But I still want to keep them little and to myself for just a wee bit longer!

Next thing I know, it will be week 34. Time sure has flown by!

The Haircut

Evan had his first haircut in December 2012, just before he turned two. How could we want to cut his hair with those adorable curls? Our stylist, Erika, has been keeping his bangs in order since then because Evan just did not want to dive in and have THE haircut.

With adorable eyes and gorgeous hair, Evan has been called a girl…even by some people in our family. We have been told many times it was time to get it cut. We told him many times (during tear-filled detangling sessions) it was time to get it cut. But Evan’s long hair was not OUR choice, it was his. He really, really, really enjoyed having long “surfer dude” hair. We were leaving his hair long until the day he decided it was the right time.

While I get why some people would be confused as to Evan’s boyhood, we are raising up a family of kiddos who accept everyone, just the way they are. Whether they fit in a booth or not. Whether they have money to make Pinterest-y valentines or not. Whether they are able to diaper their babies in disposables or cloth. Whether they are sticking around in an abusive relationship or had the courage to get out. Whether they are straight or gay, we’ll support and love them. Whether they are white, black, brown, red, or any other color. And Evan having his long hair, painted nails, and being the rough and tough ‘lil boy HE wants to be fits right in with how we are raising him. As his Momma and Daddy, we couldn’t be prouder of his choice.

But, being proud of his choice meant that when he said he wanted his hair cut, he meant it and it was time. So, a few weeks ago, when Evan said it was time, we made plans to get on Erika’s schedule at Great Clips and get there before he could change his mind. The whole way there, Greg and Arianna asked him if he was sure. He was sure. He was ready. I fought back tears of happiness because he was so firm in his choice. When we arrived, there was someone finishing up in her chair, so he patiently waited, his only concern being if he’d get a lollipop at the end of the haircut.

The “Before” Picture

He watched as Arianna and Greg got their touch-ups (I’m off their schedule and desperately trying to take advantage of the hormones growing my hair deal) and then climbed in Erika’s seat when he was ready. Our big boy. She asked him how much he wanted off and he said “take it to my ears”. We pulled it back to show him how much that would be and he confirmed it was good. As she snipped away hair after hair, my heart grew and grew for love of my boy. He has always been handsome, but watching the hairs hit the floor and his ‘lil curls perk up on the back of his head made him look older. More like a big brother and less and less of my baby boy.

Arianna came over to me first. She hugged me and asked if Bubby was really okay with this. She shed a few tears because she loved (and was jealous of) his hair. Then Greg came over. I’ll publicly admit for him that he shed a few tears, too, but held it together because this was Evan’s decision. No, they weren’t crying over losing the hair. They were crying over his grown-up decision and how different he was beginning to look. He’s not the baby anymore, and there it was, happening right before our eyes.

When Erika finished, she let Evan look into the mirror and a huge smile came across his face. I think he nodded when she asked if he liked it and then asked, “can I have a pop now?”. Momma’s soft side said that not only could he have a pop, but a pretzel and frozen drink at the mall and if they were open still, time at Gigglez n’ Smiles. He earned it.

The “After” Picture

Throughout the evening, I kept running my fingers through (what was left of) his hair and looking at the braid Erika gave us to put in his scrapbook. It was hard to believe that my ‘lil guy grew more hair in four years than my ‘lil girl has in six. It was hard to believe he came to this decision on his own – citing his sports heroes Troy Polamalu and Andrew McCutchen as reasons he wanted his hair to be long. And even the next day, when Greg woke from his post-poker nap, he had to do a double-take to realize the kid with short hair running around our house was our ‘lil boy.

We love you, just the way you are, Mr. Evan!

The Booth

A few weeks ago, I took the kids to Arby’s because it seems like at some point in every pregnancy I’ve had a craving for roast beef and curly fries. It was a cold night and I was overwhelmed by a walk/date at the mall with Greg that wore me out, so we decided to eat in versus just grabbing the food and heading home.

The entire restaurant was booths, but that didn’t phase me until I tried to sit in the seat with Evan. I couldn’t. The belly just would not fit. I tried, but I was squeezing the babies. And let’s be for real. I have a big belly, measuring about 5 weeks ahead of my actual due date, but I was actually not all that big when I got pregnant. That belly should fit in a fast food restaurant booth. I grabbed a chair, one of two in the whole place, and sat on the end, crowding the aisle. As I shoved calorie-filled food in my mouth, I got angry. That booth should NOT have been as small as it was, considering it was a fast food restaurant. No way. Have they seen an average American? Even someone who was not overweight by medical standards would have been tight in there.

Somewhere between Arby’s sauce and horsey sauce, I let it go. That was until last weekend when we had our family Valentine’s Day date at the local Chinese restaurant. It was in the middle of the white-out snow storm and moments after Evan had his blood drawn up at the hospital, so we wanted to make it special and eat in versus doing take out. Arianna scoped out a table as we ordered, then loudly proclaimed, “We have to go home, Momma. There’s only booths in here and you are too big to fit!” I turned around to see that she was right, yet a lone chair sat against the wall, my savior in the moment. Both kids were sad that I couldn’t eat with them, and I was sad I couldn’t stare into Greg’s eyes as we shared some hot and sour soup.

But, it’s my reality. This belly is full of love and babies. And someday after I deliver them, it will go back down to a smaller size, but I’ll still think about this booth experience. I think back to when I was a bigger woman. What on earth did I do then? How did I ever gain the weight eating in places I couldn’t even sit down at? What would I have done if I wasn’t pregnant and had my kiddos with me and couldn’t fit – how would that have felt?

Even as a “smaller person” the pain and struggle of being overweight is still very real, very raw for me. I’m angered at how we have to be some certain size or build to be able to sit and enjoy a meal in-house with our family and friends. I’m angered that my daughter is already seeing the impact of being bigger and how it makes her want to just eat healthy and drink water so she doesn’t get big like I was. I’m angered that I would not have been able to eat at those places with many of my family and friends. I’m angered that even when people bust their butts to be healthy, it doesn’t always change their emotions.

Yet, I did get a moment of redemption yesterday. Greg and I went to lunch in between oil changes and work. Our choice, Qdoba. I remembered not fitting in the booth pregnant with Evan or even for about a year post-Evan; however, they do have tables there so I wasn’t worried. Greg asked me to try to head to the back, where the booths were. I was skeptical, but I gave it a shot. And guess what? We fit. Barely, but me and my sweethearts fit and got to sit in a booth and nosh on guacamole while looking into the eyes of the man I love. Thank you, Qdoba, for being just a little more “average” friendly.

It was close, but I made it!

It was close, but I made it!

Valentine’s Made Easy

Being a social media junkie mom means I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram. I also surround myself with a village of super crafty ladies. And that means that I see a lot of super sweet holiday ideas, especially at Valentine’s Day.

With the move, a busier than I would like to admit workload, and being pregnant, I let Valentine’s slip this year. In the past, we’ve pulled off some cute ones with the help of my Cricut and stamps. But this year? I bought 99 cent boxes of Valentines and felt like a total mom failure.

My heart filled with so much love for my (big) babies when I sat down to have them fill out their cards. Arianna’s teacher advised not to do it all (write the TO and FROM) in one night. I tore her set of 20 apart and asked her to focus on the FROM, writing her name small and in proper Arianna form. Then I went to my office to get Evan’s box prepared. By the time I returned with 20 dinosaur cards split up, she announced her name was on all of them. I got Evan going on his FROM (he is still working on getting away from EVAN with “excited A’s” that take up the whole page, but doing very well) and then showed Arianna her list of classmates. Both finished their 20 at the same time, leaving me behind on the fold and sticker job. Heart melt.

Both of our kids’ teachers said they would not need boxes or bags for collecting, they were doing them at school. Mommy win. Phew. One less thing to fuss over…although I still felt like I failed my kids because we didn’t have pin-perfect love notes for their friends.

So today when both returned home from school and showed off their bags, I cried and cried. My sweeties are in classes of kids who also don’t have pin-perfect moms. There was not one crafty card, and only a few tokens of pencils (and in Arianna’s case, some candy…none for Evan as his head start doesn’t have them bring in candy, THANK YOU FOR NOT FEEDING MY SUGAR BEAR!!!). I was not alone on my island of boxed cards.

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The “from” filled out by 3 and 4 year olds is what did me in most. You could just feel the love and happiness behind them…and it was even greater knowing the impact simple celebrations can have on families of the other kids in his class.

And that’s when I realized that we as Internet parents have done our kiddos some injustice. Sending in over the top treats that just end up all over the floor and later in the trash are just not worth it. But the love? Hearing my 4 year old scream of joy as he read his classmates’ names over and over? Hearing my 6 year old tell me about what makes her classmates and their cards so cool? That’s what it is about.

Do I miss the cool crafty cards? Yes. No doubt. Do I think you kids’ cards are super awesome and share worthy? Absolutely. But are they what is right in my family’s right now? Nope. And that’s just the message of love I needed to bring me back to earth this Valentine’s Day.

Wishing you a day filled with love and happiness…as well as flowers, chocolates, and steak if that’s your thing. But me? My holiday has already  been made by the simple ways my kids are sharing love in their lives.

For the Love of Diapers

Disclosure: I’ve teamed up with Diary of a First Time Mom and this information and images are used with her permission. Questions regarding this project can be directed via email to Heather Hopson at dearmomdiary@gmail.com. 

 

Used with Permission from http://diaryofafirsttimemom.com/

Used with Permission from http://diaryofafirsttimemom.com/

Originally, when I told Heather of diaryofafirsttimemom.com I’d team up with her efforts to gather support for drive to get diapers for families in need, I told her I’d just toss up a guest post and some tweets. I’m busy creating two babies that need diapers, you know. Selfish me was also too busy searching for diaper fluff (the cloth that’s on the right up there) because I could. But if you remember one of the reasons why I am choosing to cloth diaper…it’s because diapers are EXPENSIVE. It’s time to shut up the selfish “I don’t have time to really help” voice and give you some info.

According to the Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank:

  • Babies need 6-10 diapers a day. They cost $18 per week on average per child
  • 1 in 3 families in America struggles to afford diapers for their children

Because of this, some parents leave their kids in soiled diapers for longer than they should, which leads to health risks. Did you know WIC funds can’t be used for diaper purchases, either? This really puts a strain on families trying to make ends meet.

Even as a middle-class mom, I’m faced with how the heck am I going to do this. How am I going to keep two in diapers? And I think back to when I was a single mom on a teacher’s salary. Thank goodness for friends and family who gifted me diapers. Arianna went through a lot with her allergies and I would’ve been drowning even further in debt today if I didn’t have that help. But not everyone has that, and not everyone can go cloth (because there are other costs and needs associated with that choice), so there has to be an answer.

Places like the Diaper Bank exist to help out, but they can’t do it alone. They need supporters who will give back to our smallest citizens. There are a few ways you can help:

  • Have your own Diaper Drive by either collecting diapers (any size accepted, but greatest need is for sizes 3 and up) or cash to purchase the diapers. Gather up your network and help out the babies.
  • Donate to the drive that Diary of a First Time Mom put together with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank now through February 28. The goal is to gather 50,000 diapers. You can help by dropping off at sites listed here or donating to the cause by clicking this button:

 

 

  • On social media? Retweet this or share this post with your friends.

A ‘lil bit can go a long way. Let’s see what good we can do together.

Thirty-one [Weeks]

Thirty-one has been a pretty amazing number for me.

It’s my current age, the age at which I got pregnant with my 3rd and 4th babies. It’s the age at which I hope to deliver them, but they are technically due 5 days after I turn 32.

It’s my side business. I am an Independent Consultant with Thirty One Gifts, a company that sells gorgeous purses, totes, and home organizing solutions. My first year went well, and I continue to network and meet new people through this business. Additionally, my faith has amplified through the mission as it is tied to Proverbs 31.

It was the cost of Greg, Arianna, and Evan’s haircuts last weekend (to which Arianna yelled to the salon that 31 was my age). And more to share on the haircut!

It’s also how far along in my pregnancy that I am. Thirty-one weeks (plus 2 days). So, an update.

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Top: 30 ish weeks with Evan, Bottom: 30+5 with the twins

It’s been hard staying a bit quiet about this pregnancy, but I’ve had my reasons. All in all, it’s been a healthy journey, just what I hoped and prayed for after the sickness and hospital trips and weight loss and gain with Ari and Evan. There have been a few things that keep me from “telling all”, and some of you understand. Also, it’s the third go around for us, and we all know what happens the more kids you have…the less you capture and remember. Regardless, I need to jot down today’s news to be able to look back and laugh…I hope.

My doctor isn’t A doctor. I have 5. They rotate, and since I am a high risk case (twins over 30), consult each other on how things are going. 2 weeks ago, I was told by the doctor I saw that we would schedule a c section at this next visit as long as the babies measured up in my ultrasound. Well, last Thursday was 30+2 and they came in at 30+1 and at an awesome percentile for their gestational age. Great! I can schedule their birthday…be home for Easter…and have them on the week right between Greg’s (31st) birthday and my 32nd (we are 50 weeks apart). Sweet.

Or not. There are 2 male docs at the practice and they want me to go full…full term. Like 40 weeks. Like 9 pound babies. Like ouch. And no scheduling.

Guess which doctor I saw today? One of the guys. Ok…I am laughing about this already. I did get upset after leaving the office and thinking about it….but maybe if they do keep me, I will have the thrill of real labor and that rush to the hospital. (Something I missed with both…Arianna entered the world calmly, 15 hours after my water broke…and Evan had me in Braxton Hicks for 3 weeks but was scheduled.) So, maybe waiting to 40 weeks wouldn’t be awful. I do want them fully baked….but we will see.

Because between now and April 14th, I have:
Weekly Non Stress Tests
Weekly ob appointments
Ultrasounds every 3 weeks (so 2 to 3 more to go)
A few huge work projects to tie up

We will see when these kiddos arrive…if they are like their daddy? Late to the party. Like me? I will deliver on my birthday,  just slightly early. But if wouldn’t go starting a Willis baby pool just yet. These twins are quite comfy and happy at the moment…snuggled up in their 31 week old home that’s measuring 37 weeks (for a single baby). I guess 31 is still a pretty good number.

Keep Scrubbing

I want to start off this post with a few warnings and notes. 1. I know I am writing about the past and need to try to forgive, forget, and move on…but sometimes that is just not easy and writing helps me cope. 2. Greg and I are fine…tense due to pregnancy hormones and adjusting to a new schedule but this is NOT in any means a sign that we are in turmoil. 3. This is my space…my place where I want the kids to one day come and understand a lil bit more about the me that is their mom…and sadly, these are things their mom has to deal with. And 4. With all the DV topics surrounding the Grammys and other media, it’s hard not to have this issue on my mind. This post is sensitive and contains some history about me and my past so you’ve been alerted in advance.

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I scrub and scrub and scrub but it doesn’t go away. The grime on the silver parts of the bathroom sink just won’t go away. They will never go away good enough to the point where I am satisfied with their shine.

I’ve tried. They are tarnished beyond my repair and regardless of how hard or how long I scrub, they will never be just right. And someone is always going to notice. Someone is always going to criticize how bad I’ve done at my job. Even when I have given it every ounce of strength and shed tears against the reflective surface…it just won’t be enough.

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The grime on my sink is likely invisible to you, but to me, it sparks horrible, awful feelings. Aches. Pains. Memories that as hard as I try, and as much as I talk them out with a counselor, I cannot erase. As many times as I forgive myself for staying, I equally beat myself up for not leaving sooner.

It will never be good enough to take away the hurt and the anger. The unequal balance of independent woman in a relationship with a boy who thinks he can control her and make her work long days and provide the perfect home to hide their imperfect relationship. Because the shining silver sink hole is going to hide the bruises and the scars. Because it will take away the need to hide the truth from close friends and family because you don’t want to admit you’ve failed. Yup, keep scrubbing that sink harder and all you will get is raisin fingers and an aching back.

And perhaps some harsh words that you aren’t good enough, didn’t they teach you how to take care of a house at that women’s college? Didn’t they prepare you to care for a man so he can sit and watch TV and bark orders at you or the pizza guy or the innocent dog? Keep scrubbing.

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But even when you do get the gumption to end it, there are these things that you will always carry with you. Things you can’t erase. Things that haunt you at the stupidest moments. Things that you don’t expect will trigger these PTSD type moments, making you want to keep scrubbing harder to make it all go away, to make it all shine.

One day, it will be easier. One day, it won’t happen so often. One day, it will not be triggered by simply tossing a load of clothes in the wash to do your loving partner a favor.

Because one day? You will understand that you are worth it. That you are shiny enough and good enough to really, truly be loved. That one day is coming. It may take more courage and strength than you realize…but one day…you’ll have scrubbed enough to forget.

And it’s ok that today is not that day…because you have the strength to know this is just one bad day in many years of good. So scrub. And work this out.

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I can. I will. I am trying. Bear with me.

Write Me a Story

As I hopped on the computer this morning, hoping for a quiet morning full of blogging inspiration, I got exactly what I asked for. Google alerted me (via their search header image) that today “is” Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 148th birthday.

Source: Google.com

My love for writing started with reading. Sure, I asked my parents to read me a story many times in my young life, but I never really connected with a series so much as I did with the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. How a 10 year old in the 1990′s connects with a girl who would have been 10 in 1877, a much different place in time, is beyond me, but I did it. Perhaps it was living on the “Ohio Plains” of Wren, Ohio for three years, in the midst of farm country and back before the days of Apple TV and smart phones (which is how my kids know about the things they do). Perhaps it was her independent spirit, her love for describing her ordinary life, or her connection with her family that did it for me. Whatever the case, Wilder’s stories stuck with me and had a huge influence on me today.

It all started with bedtime stories. My mom and I would read a chapter (or more) a night, blasting through the whole Little House series and leaving me wanting more. And there were more. I swear we read books about Laura being a wife and mother in the Ozarks, navigating life as a farmer’s wife and all the things that the years leading up to the turn of the century brought (like the World’s Fair). (Try as I might, I can see the books in my head and probably even have them somewhere in this house, but I can’t find them on Google.) All of these books inspired me in ways I cannot adequately describe.

Sure, I knew I couldn’t just face 1990′s America as a pioneer kid. I loved my neon and roller skates and Boyz II Men, but that didn’t stop me from doing pioneer life inspired things. I dressed as Laura for Halloween one year (and if memory serves me right, the captured photo has me looking crazy miserable because that’s what pioneer photos looked like, “DUH”). There were pioneer treats that I HAD to have my mom help me make – like maple candy (which I think was snow candy after a conversation I had with a co-worker last week!) and gingerbread. A McDonald’s 101 Dalmatians toy puled the Conestoga wagon of  my third-grade diorama (because Jack would NOT let me borrow horses, dogs it was). It’s odd to think that a busy lady like me once craved a much simpler time. And then there was the writing.

My stories started off simple, recollections of the summer days spent on the blocks of Wren – biking, fishing, playing softball and basketball. As I grew into a teenager, the stories churned into fan fiction about my friends and cousins meeting the Spice Girls or my idea of what it would be like for one of the juniors or seniors on my bus to take me on a date (to the Golden Corral, I was that kid that knew no better). And then, the stories became my dreams, my aspirations – writing stories about having Wendy for longer, stories about moving my whole world to Myrtle Beach the day after High School graduation / becoming a lifeguard / everything being perfect. There were poems, oh, the poems written late at night on a word processor about crushes and unrequited love. And then my passion turned into classes at school – journalism and AP English. Writing changed for me, it had more of a focus and less of a fantasy, but it was still all about the stories of ordinary life.

As I went off to college, the stories were clearly child’s play and I turned to writing papers and research and didn’t really write for fun. Sometimes I’d write on a political blog some friends and I put together, other times editorials for the college or local paper (I got heated about people tearing down fliers in our elevator and the local community being outraged that Poison was headlining the fair concert series). But I forgot to document life on paper. I tried in pictures, many of which I’ve now thrown out  because of the pain around those times, and also because I didn’t think my ordinary life mattered that much.

But then, without thinking, I became a mom blogger, a title I am owning. A blogger who writes about her ordinary life with her ordinary kids and ordinary husband. We’re not special because we have space on the web, we’re just documenting what this life is like for us – exactly what Laura Ingalls Wilder, an ordinary girl with ordinary prairie life experiences did. And even if I never put solid, consistent thoughts in this space or in a published book, I am a writer who hopes that her kids will fall in love with the stories. Stories of us, stories of them, stories of others. And that these stories will inspire them to back away from the TV and camera and document the amazingly ordinary life that’s ahead for them so their kids can beg them to read them a story (like the one when Evan said BACON before Mama – his current favorite – or the one when Arianna  got excited about a bird). And then, my writing, my purpose, will be fulfilled.

Ok - I wasn't as miserable as I thought!

Ok – I wasn’t as miserable as I thought!

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