For a long time, my husband and I were stuck in survival mode after our twins were born. Our two older kids, Holden and Beau, have been so patient, both during my difficult pregnancy and during those first couple of years of our twins’ life.
Our home became our cocoon, and we perfected entertaining ourselves indoors. As a result, for this unique period of our parenting journey, I had to put aside one of my passion for gardening so we could focus on our kids.
Almost as soon as my husband and I were married, we found ourselves looking for a breeder to find our Newfoundland puppy we had dreamed about for so long. This was our first shot at being parents, and we were going to do it right.
I've always prided myself on parenting from a non-guilty place, but when our twins were born, I must admit, I always felt like I was failing at giving every one of our four kids enough attention. No one ever really complained to me, it was something I put on myself.
I was one of those kids who carried for my dolls around like they were real babies. I pictured motherhood from an early age: from pregnancy, to dressing my babies in adorable outfits, to what kind of crafts I would enjoy with them each day once they grew a little older.
When I became a mother, I quickly learned many new survival skills that make life with kids a lot easier: how to swaddle a baby like a pro, how to transfer a sleeping child from the car to their crib (without waking them), and how to make life on-the-go as easy as possible. There are a lot of amazing gadgets coming out each day that are meant to occupy your little one while in the car, or in their stroller. But when it comes to my kids, having snacks packed and ready to dole out is the key to a successful outing.
In a past life, before becoming a parenting blogger, I was an Interior Designer. During that time I learned a few tricks. I would spend my days creatively problem solving other people’s décor dilemmas. One area that presented a challenge in every home I worked on was the walls, and how to take them from boring to beautiful.
One of my favorite ways to tackle a boring wall is to create a gallery. But I have added my own spin on gallery walls that take them to the next level.
One fateful February night, when I was 8 months pregnant with our second baby, a violent virus ripped through our home, and we didn’t see it coming.
Although I felt huge, I knew that our little girl was still comfortable in my tummy. Friends of ours were over visiting, and my husband was late getting home from work. After putting my 19 month-old son to bed, I felt a terrible pain across my midsection.
Ever since I can remember, I loved doing my hair. In high school I would wake up every morning really early and perfectly curl my hair. Fast forward, (well, let's say many years) and four kids later, I do not have the same kind of time on my hands to spend curling my hair.
I have spent the past six years of my life planning pregnancies, being pregnant, having a newborn, and then planning for the next baby. Those six years have given my husband and I a focus and a common goal. I have lavished in the excitement and attention that each baby brought, and a lot of the time my identity was tied up in the baby stage. We have let things go and lived in survival mode knowing we had a damn good excuse.
I stared at my inbox, and my heart sank. The ominous “confirmed cases” email from my kids’ daycare. I froze for a minute before clicking. We had just finished having the stomach flu from hell. All six of us had it. I couldn’t handle another wave of illness hitting our family.
I walked in the door from our 23 hour drive home from Florida. I hung my purse on a familiar hook and watched our four kids explode in to grins, and dance in relief, because they were back home, and out of our car.
As I walked around our house, something felt unwelcoming. We had been away for three weeks, so I knew it would take time to adjust. I had fresh eyes, and instead of seeing comfort and familiarity, I felt a sense of feeling scattered. I walked around and I realized that there were projects that had been left half finished in every room.
I am always trying to one-up myself each Christmas. I love decorating for the season and anytime I can incorporate something new, I jump at the chance. One challenge I had never taken on, was working with real cedar. That is, until my husband surprised me with a bundle.
I sat across from my husband at the table. I was ready to tell him. My whole body felt numb, but I knew it must be said. “I don’t think I want any more children,” finally escaped from my mouth. He looked at me with kind eyes, letting me know that he was listening.
I was full of guilt that I was crushing our dream of having a big family. This was something we had always agreed on. We always knew we wanted a house full of delightful chaos.