Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dear Hot Mess Mom



Dear Hot Mess Mom,

It's fucking hard. This mom/wife/entrepreneur/chef/housekeeper/taxi driver/accountant/teacher gig is no joke. I know it, because I'm in trenches right next to you, I've got some intensive boot camp style mom experience I think you should hear. I can't see to the other side of this season we're in yet, but I know others that have survived it, so I think we can too.

We'll get to those days of kids tending to their own needs when they wake up, instead of shooting demands at us before our feet hit the floor and coffee has been consumed.

And I'm sure someone shit their underwear today, it's inevitable. I was given some good advice and was told to put it in perspective. Dealing with shitty underwear is a lot less stressful than having a teenager with habitual car accidents. So just throw the underwear out, it's cheaper than a car.

Also, you need to take a shower. You probably smell, and I'm not trying to be offensive, it's just true. Rinse off that snot smear you've had on your arm since 9am, but that you forgot about. I don't think booger covered sleeves were trending at Fashion Week, not that we actually know what's "in."

Speaking of fashion, buy some clothes that fit your body now. not what it will be after you "snap back" in 5 years. Don't sausage your way into that shirt or those jeans, you'll beat yourself up if you do. The busted can of biscuits look isn't really that cute either. If all else fails, elastic everything.

Make some lists. All the spawn you've produced has your brain functioning like it's a drunk college girl with no underwear on and her friends left her, that shit is messy. You'll go places (like Target, the land of Starbucks and everything you don't need) and absolutely forget everything that you went for (but will probably still spend a Benjamin). I won't even get started on forgetting what you were saying mid-sentence.

You know that person that casually said, "Let's get together sometime," or "We should do something so that the kids can play." Track them down and get sociable. Nothing makes you more crazy than having your entire day's conversation be about whether someone has to go potty, the number of days till Christmas or which dinosaur would win in a fight (by the way, it's the T-Rex, it's always the T-Rex).

Celebrate happy hour! I in no way mean for you to become an alcoholic, but when 5pm rolls around and everyone is losing their shit while you're trying to cook dinner....have an adult beverage. Something about just sippin' something helps to drown out the whining.

Naps are your friend, regardless of age. Take one, or at least lay down for a bit and recharge. Don't tell me about how your kids don't nap anymore and you can't take one. Bullllllllllshit! Give them something to keep them busy while you get a 10 minute power nap.

Ask for help. Don't be too proud not to.

Some days, you also have to just fake it till ya make it!

That's all I got for ya. I'm told when our kids are all grown up that we'll miss this, I'm not entirely sure that's accurate. I don't like the "is it chocolate or poop" guessing game, so I don't foresee me longing for that again.

Sincerely,
Fellow Hot Mess


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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ruby's Birth Story


The glory of a third c-section, it's 110% planned! I knew the date and time that she would approximately be delivered, there wasn't any guess work. But I'm already starting to forget certain parts of it, so I need to write it all down before the details are overran with chaos and I forget.

Monday, July 10, 2017 we kissed the boys good-bye, left them with my mom and headed 45 minutes to the hospital. No contractions, freshly showered, but Jason and I held hand for a bit on the way there, we were nervous.

We checked into Labor and Delivery, were escorted to a pre-op room where I was given a VERY attractive gown to change into. "Everything off and be sure to open it to the back," the nurse said. I gave Jason a little smirk, as I waddled to restroom across the hall after changing, buns sorta (maybe?) covered.

My nurses came in and hooked my IV up, took all my vitals and then made me sign all the releases. 

"Do you want your placenta?" I almost vomited. Fuck no. I know that's some people's thing, but most definitely NOT mine. She told me about 20% of people keep them. *cringe* 

Doctor comes in.

"So you are for sure about wanting your tubes tied?" Yes!

"Or if you want we can just remove them? It decreases your chance of ovarian cancer by 25%." ....but we hadn't discussed this at my zillion other OB appointments. This is a thing? I didn't even know it was an option. I mean I don't need them, because we are 110% sure she is our last. Sure, why not! Take them! 

Jason was given his scrubs, several sizes too small. It was hilarious. When the nurse came in after he had changed and saw how uncomfortable he was she gave him some new ones. He literally had to rip them off, I was dying of laughter. We needed the laugh. We'd both been on pins and needles since arriving. My worry was a healthy baby, the boys had either came out not breathing or had stopped breathing at some point, I didn't want that again. Jason's worry was me, third c-section has more risk for mama, he definitely had all the "maybes" on his mind.

Then the nurse comes and tells me she needs me to take a lime green shot. Apparently it's a stomach acid reducer, in case I were to puke in the OR. I've never gotten sick. I'm not a puker. I never even threw up during this pregnancy.

8:15am rolls around. I get a glamorous bed ride to the OR and then walk into the room, that whole process makes no sense to me. I could've walked the whole way, but whatever. I'll take the chariot ride!

My anesthesiologist is an older man, but very sweet. I sit on the edge of the table and round my back out as he finds the place to place my spinal block. The needle and medicine goes in, I instantly feel like I peed myself- which apparently is good. I then lay back, and as I do so he says, "Now if you start feeling sick, let me know." I interrupt him to tell him I'm going to puke.

"Give me 30 seconds," he blurts out. Nope....vomit....lime green....in my hair......on the floor.....everywhere! I was already numb and my arms were strapped down, there was nothing I could do. He cleaned me up, in that way a 3 year old picks up toys, so not very well.

Once that was over, the nurses started in with their cleaning of my abdomen. All modesty out the door. Spread eagle naked in front of 10 or so people getting washed and catheter placed. Bless nurses!

Finally my doctor and resident doctor came in and got to work.

Ruby Avanell was born at 8:46am weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces and measuring 19 inches. Our smallest baby ever, but completely perfect!



She pooped immediately after coming out, all over the baby station and screamed her little head off. Daddy held her and I kissed her sweet face.


Then my tube removal began. It lasted over an hour. Jason held our peanut the whole time, patiently waiting. There were murmurs of bleeding that they were struggling to get stopped and some scar tissue talk. But finally we were done, and rolled to recovery.



Ruby's first latch was perfect. She nursed the entire time we were in recovery, which for a newborn is amazing. Breastfeeding is SO hard and I was nervous for it not to go well, even though it wasn't my first time. Every baby is different, and this was a relief.



We headed up to our room a bit later. The boys came up with my mom that afternoon to visit, and it was perfect. She completed our family and we finally had that feeling of completion!






I want to share more on recovery later, it's been the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm still physically struggling every day. There's not snapping back happening over here, but another day.


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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Entering Survival Mode: Not for the First Time Mom

I wish I would've known what postpartum was like with my first baby, and had a better grasp on what life with a newborn is really like. Honestly though, no matter how many people you talk to or books you read, nothing prepares you for that time. Not a damn thing. I feel like that is best though, because a baby makes you "grow up" so to say, not into an adult, but a parent. Trial and error becomes a way of life while navigating that first year, and it's all just surviving.

So as I sit here just over four weeks out from delivering my third baby, I'm having all sorts of realizations; call it age or experience, whatever it is, I wish I would've had it with my second baby!

This bump and the dirty mirror....life!

Stop prepping.

Put the Dreft down.

With my first pregnancy I nested like crazy. I cleaned everything, made sure the nursery was ready before his arrival and washed the 8 million newborn onesies I was sure he would wear (he rotated through 8 or 10 in the end). I spent days preparing meals for when the baby came, and cleaning obsessively every square inch of the house, because who knew when it would happen again!

That was dumb. I should've napped. Yes, I've made some freezer meals. I actually used a Wild Tree freezer prep kit (I paid for it, so no, this isn't sponsored). It took me an hour and half and I made 10 meals! I'm also just keeping things picked up, the baby won't care if that top shelf that hasn't been dusted in 11 months gets dusted any time soon. I haven't finished decorating the nursery either. Truth is, she won't even sleep in it for probably the first year, so whether that picture frame gets hung now or not, doesn't really matter.

Say no.

I've always been a yes person. I don't ever want to miss anything or regret not doing something. The fact is though, having a million visitors at the hospital or going to Thanksgiving with a 5 day old probably weren't the best decisions being a first time mom.

So now, I've already started saying no. No, I won't commit to that play date, I'm tired. No, I won't promise that we will be at the parade, it's hot. No, I don't want a big baby sprinkle shower, it's too hard to entertain other people (side note: I had a friends only pool party with donuts and it was perfect!). I'm coming to love the word "no," and will probably continue this trend for my own sanity.

Have a plan.

First baby; we came home to our two foster babies-now our oldest boys, drove them to day care every day and picked them up. I had almost no reinforcements to help me. I also didn't realize what postpartum hormones looked like. I cried for three weeks straight, with no reason, apparently that's normal but I didn't know that. I really think I was teetering on the edge of postpartum depression for quite awhile, it was all just SO much to deal with!

With my second and now my third, I'm prepared. I have help scheduled for the first few weeks to help me get through the cries. I've even gone so far this time to line up a babysitter for days when I'm desperate for a nap, or so I can run away to the grocery store with just the baby. It may sound neurotic, but knowing how I need to postpartum has lessened my anxiety leading up to her arrival.

Let shit go.

It sounds cliche, I know. But if there's something that doesn't bring positive into my life, I'm not giving it any energy! I know I can't be doing my best in these last few weeks with the boys and then with a newborn while stressing about things that don't really matter. I'm blogging less, ridding the house of "stuff" we don't need, and reducing my friends and family.

That last one probably shocked you. Let me clarify. I'm just not going out of my way to connect with friends and family that currently aren't actively present in my life. Is this animosity towards them? Not in the slightest! They're busy, I'm busy, and I just only have so much energy to give, and maybe in this season of life I'm just meant to be surrounded by a few people. I'm sure I'll rekindle things down the road, but leading up to this new arrival, I just don't have it in me.

Soooo........

I know they say hindsight is 20/20 and maybe this is why I've developed this ehh attitude. But I'm preparing to survive. To make sure that everyone and everything in this house just gets by with limited sleep, clean-ish clothes, food in their belly and the quality time they all need.

So please don't be offended if you stop by my house and there's little boy underwear on the floor. Or if I opt for a nap instead of going to the splash pad. Or if I haven't texted or called you recently. It'll all go back to normal....eventually.

Are you preparing yourself for another little human in your house? Just survive mama, and let all the rest of the nonessential bullshit slide!


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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dear Little Girl, Your Brothers Have Big Plans for You

Dear Little Girl,

We've forever been a boy family. Our world has been dirt and bugs. Cars and tractors. And the colors blue and green have ruled our closets.

That is, until the day we found out that the baby in my belly that was growing and causing me so much discomfort was a little girl. Oh how our world immediately got turned upside down.

When we told your big brothers about them getting a sister, they weren't surprised. It was as if they already knew, and I think that intuition will continue between all of you for years to come. They also got really excited for all of the plans they were going to make for you. And I'll warn you, some of them are pretty wild!

You are our princess and will wear a crown.
You still have just over 7 weeks in my belly and own three tiaras. I know its a bit absurd, but Kayden insisted on it. You don't have to wear them every day he said, but he would prefer if you did. When he complains in a few years that you are sassy, bossy and always want your way; I'll remind him how he created that pink sparkly monster.

You are to always have your nails painted.
Based on Kayden's claim of you being our princess, you are also suppose to keep your nails done. He even talked me into buying you some baby polish and thinks that they should be painted by the time he visits you in the hospital after you are born. I'm going to say that probably won't happen; after all, you and I will just be in survival mode at that time.

You can't wear pants.
I bought you some jammies the other week and got eye rolls from your brothers, they insist only dresses for you. Girlfriend, I will overrule this one all the time on your behalf! As much as I love dresses myself, a girl needs some good jeans and leggings. Don't fret, they won't win that battle.

You are to snuggle them as much as possible.
I have a feeling that daddy and I will have a hard time holding you, because we will be fighting your brothers for a chance. Kayden and Layne have been practicing with their baby dolls, but we are still working on not squeezing/holding you around the neck. I'm not making promises about Jayce though. He's warmed up to my belly lately and talks a lot to you, but he also might not be a fan of you for awhile, give him time! I know he loves you and will love on you eventually!

You are to do great things.
I know this sounds cliche and you aren't even born yet, but your big brothers want to be sure you will rule the world. They've vowed to watch over you and protect you. They want to be sure you do amazing things once you get here. {I'm ok if that amazing thing initially is sleeping 3-4 hours at a time right out of the womb} But know no matter what you do, you've got some great men {daddy included} who love you more than you'll ever know and can't wait to get to know you!

So here we sit and wait for your arrival. Pink, purple, sparkles and flowers have consumed what was an empty bedroom upstairs. We field questions from the boys every day on how you are doing, if they can feel you kick and if it's July yet.

You keep growing girly! And rest up in there, because once you arrive, you've got a whole world to conquer and you're brother's will be sure it happens!

Love,                                                          
  Mommy                                                      


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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Pregnancy Chronicles: 24 Weeks AND Name Reveal

So it's been two months since my last bump update! I sort of skipped 20 weeks, because life was a bit of a whirlwind! But I'm back! Also. thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of the warm thoughts and positive vibes from my last post! We really appreciate it!

The Pregnancy Chronicles

How far along?
24 weeks plus two days. I got told today how much bigger my bump looks this week....."Thanks, I'm so glad!"- was my response; mentally, "Just keep your mouth shut unless it's to tell me how stunning I look!"

Baby's size?
She's the size of  GI Joe, eggplant, demi-baguette or an Atlantic puffin.....pick your theme!

Weight gain?
I've weighed myself, but I'm not entirely sure what I've gained. At 20 weeks I got told that he was happy I finally gained, then I got sick and lost several pounds. So I don't have a clue!

How am I feeling?
Sore...literally everywhere. She is sitting in my hips and it's killing my lower back, hips and making my sciatic go crazy! I'm going to chiropractor regularly but there's no way for him to shove her out of my hips....so here I sit and whine! 

Current mood?
Excited/Worried! I haven't done one single thing to her nursery. Not. One. So I'm super excited to get it going but worried we won't get it done in time! Chasing other children makes it difficult to dedicate time in a room to paint/organize/clean. Eek!

Best moment this month?
Jason finally got to feel her move. With her being so low, all her kick have been in my hips till recently, so he gets to feel her wiggle and jiggle now!

Purchases?
Too much! We got a DockATot, mamaRoo swing, and an obnoxious amount of clothes. Amazon Prime is proud of us.....I'm not sure about our bank account!

Cravings?
Uhhhh food? I just recently really started to be hungry more than what's normal. BUT I really do love donuts!

Movement?
She's all over the place! I feel her mostly at night time and when I drive. She does like to wake me up kicking and making me have to pee around 2am!

Sleep?
If my other children could learn to sleep through the night, that'd be great!

Missing anything?
Not really! Although I could totally go for some raw cookie dough!

Looking forward to.....
Getting things together for her! AND our babymoon! We leave this week for Denver for 3 nights and 4 glorious days! Ahhhhh sleeping in and having adult conversations, I'm soooo excited!

Ultrasound:


This was from our anatomy scan at 20 weeks, and LITERALLY the only decent picture we got (well beside all of the measurements and readings they needed to verify that she's healthy!)

Bump Picture:

24 Weeks!


Name:
(you thought I forgot didn't you!)

Ruby Avanell 

Ruby has been our girl name for while and Avanell is my grandma's name! Now bring on ALLLLLL the personalized things!

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

When Someone Else Cares for Your Child: Our Reality

It's been over a month since I've written. It's not because I haven't wanted to, or that I didn't have anything to say {that's funny, because I always have something to say}. I haven't blogged, because life has had me so numb and worn down.

I'm going to address something that is probably going to make some people uncomfortable, others gasp and maybe there are some sad people out there that would want to say hurtful things. Before I get to it, let me tell you that I am sharing all of this because I refuse to feel ashamed. I refuse to let others look at our family and judge my husband and I's decision when they don't know the situation. Or for other families in a similar situation to feel alone, like there is no one else in the world dealing with what they are. And most of all, I've always said that this blog is mostly for my kids to read 20 years down the road and to have a glimpse into their childhood from my perspective; for that reason alone, I have to share this.

We placed Dayton, our 7 year old son with severe Autism in a residential facility.

This wasn't a haste decision. The idea of just getting on a wait list began nearly a year ago, and it wasn't brought up by us, we were just dealing with his violent outbursts like it was normal. Our case manager and our pediatrician both suggested looking into our options.

How could we trust someone else with our son?
How could we be okay not being present for everything?
How could we do this?

I let the list of possible facilities sit for almost three months. I pretended they weren't in my inbox and that it wasn't something I needed to address. We were told that it wasn't a matter of "if" he'd end up in a group home setting, but more of "when." I was also told to think of the other kids in the house, and the quality of their childhood. They were fine. This was their brother. They knew their brother was special and easily got upset, but this was our life.

Everything changed the day that Dayton pinched and attempted to bite the baby (Jayce). Until this point he hadn't attacked innocent bystanders, only himself and anyone who got in his space. But the baby just merely walked past him. This was getting to the point of unsafe. At the time he was only 6, and I started to fear what the next few years might turn into with his behavior.

I pulled the list of facilities back out and started calling.

We toured a facility last fall, but it didn't work out. Our next facility to look at was two hours east of us. {Fact, there's only three facilities in the state of Iowa that take kids Dayton's age} We submitted our book of paperwork and waited to hear back.

November came, and we got a call that he made it the second round of the interview process to get in the waiting pool. {Waiting pool: they can pick kids based on fit for a house not just by who is next} They needed to meet him in person. So my husband and I took a Friday and headed east with Dayton. The interview went great and  we toured one of the homes; it was a dream! Everything he needed! We were told that someone would be in touch. A few days later we were told he had been accepted and put in the waiting pool: 6 months to 2 years was the expected wait time.

We went on with life as "normal."

Just over two weeks ago we got a call that he had been pulled for a house with two other residents and two day staff workers. A group of employees from the company came and saw Dayton at school, the next day they said he'd been chosen and that we needed to come up to visit ASAP. Two days later we were headed east once again.

The house was in a housing development. It was typical. But it was perfect. He'd have his own bedroom and bathroom. There was a living room, dining room and big kitchen. The staff there wanted to be there. They were friendly and well educated. They knew what it took to work with these special kids and told us all about the daily activities and outings they did. Dayton loved it there! We loved him there! So we said we were in!

They gave us his move in date.....6 days from then.

I panicked in the car on the ride home. This was too soon. Maybe we were making the wrong decision. What about the boys? How do we explain it to them? How do we tell our friends and family?

I cried. I went through a whole host of emotions; excitement, fear, doubt, feeling of failing as a parent, joy, guilt, happiness, guilt for feeling exciting. You name it, I felt it.

We told the boys what was going to be happening at the end of the week, and they got upset as well. They didn't want Dayton to go to a new house. It was hard.

The week flew by. I was crazy anxious and stressed trying to get all the paperwork in order, all of the supplies he needed in order (meds, clothes, towels, etc.). I was frantic.

Dayton made it easier for Jason and I to finalize our decision as the week went on though. He was a hot mess express. Screaming for hours, extremely violent to others and his self-harm skyrocketed. Nothing we could do would calm him down. Nothing.

Thursday we had a going away party for close friends and immediate family. Who knows when they will see him again, and we wanted to be sure they got to see him before the move. He screamed and banged his head on the floor for almost the entire party.
This was Dayton's going away picture with his brothers...it explains the complete dynamic.

Friday came and we headed east for a final time with the van loaded down. This was it. When we drove back it would just be my husband and I. We were going from 4 boys in the house every day, down to 3.

We got him all moved in and settled. He was having the worse day I've ever witness him have. Dayton bit one of the staff (twice) and pinched the hell out of everyone else. It was horrible. We signed all of our paperwork and took him to his doctor's appointment. The house supervisor saw us off and told us not to fret, Dayton was going to be fine and this it totally normal. Normal? I was scared that they were going to call on our way home and say that we needed to come back and get him. But it didn't happen.

I got an email later that night telling me how he eventually calmed down. He finally ate something and he had taken two baths. They said after his first bath he was giggling and smiling; and even more so after the second one they let him take. I felt at ease.

It was done.

I'm sure you're reading this and have questions floating through your mind. Let me answer a couple.

Why now?
Yes, Dayton's violent outbursts was the catalyst for us, but our other boys were our main reason. We couldn't focus our ENTIRE lives around everything that could potentially set Dayton off. Our boys knew things we could and couldn't do because of him. I refuse to have our children look back on their childhood and resent us for not allowing them to go to Train Days (we had tried, and lasted 13 minutes) or how we always had to leave other events early because Dayton was melting down. They deserve the right to be normal kids and did normal things.

What did we tell the boys?
The truth. We told them how Dayton was moving to a new house, and that they are there to help him with his Autism. They talked about how it'd be nice to not be pinched and bit, but wanted to know if we would visit him. Of course we will. (Our current plan is once a month.)

Are we okay?
We are amazing. We went out with some friends after we got back from moving Dayton (and used full advantage of a sitter). They kept hugging us and telling us how we didn't have to be tough and it was ok to be upset. But we weren't upset, we were relieved. He was in a facility designed to help kids like him. He would have staff with him 24/7, something we couldn't give him at home.

Are we still his parents?
Yes. Nothing can get signed or done without our approval. We will receive at least a weekly email update on what he's up to, but more as needed. Also, we can call at any time and check up on him.

Will he come home?
Probably not. We will most likely go up there the week before holidays, because holidays are a huge stress for him and make life miserable for everyone. Plus the logistics of driving and meds, it makes it really difficult.

Why am I sharing?
We have a great friend who (with 100% good intentions) said not to share this on Facebook etc. because people who don't know the situation would be judgmental. That bugged me. Not sharing this makes it seem like there is something to be ashamed of. It makes it feel like we should have this big family secret no one talks about. All that does to me is makes my heart hurt. I don't want the boys to think that they can't talk about how Dayton lives somewhere to get help. Not talking about it sounds like he died. I also can only imagine the thoughts that people would think when they see pictures of everyone but Dayton, and sometimes people's imagination make up crazier stories than the truth.

I also feel the need to educate people on the reality that some families face. This wasn't something we wanted to do. We did this for Dayton. We wanted what was best for him, and getting him the constant help and supervision is just that. Our feelings and your feelings have nothing to do with it, it's all about what is best for him and our other kids.

How will it change your family?
We are trying to adjust to be "normal." What we consider normal has always been abnormal, so this is a change. Jason and I both noticed we are calmer parents and our kids are calmer. Everyone seems less stressed. Yesterday we went on an outing that we typically wouldn't be able to do with Dayton, and it was fabulous. I started crying when Layne looked up at me and told me that "this is the best day ever!" A little bit later when we were driving and Kayden said, "I don't miss Dayton." He was sad when he said that, I think because he thought that he should feel sad. I told him that it's ok not to miss him, because we will get to visit him and that Dayton is busy having fun too without us. It'll take time, but we'll adjust.

If you made it to the bottom of this forever long post, I applaud you. I just needed to get this all out. I don't want to have to explain our reduced numbers to anyone, so here it all is, laid out for the world.

Still have questions? E-mail or message me, I'll gladly answer them.
Hateful things to say? Get bent, go waste your time with someone else.
Educate others? Please share this. No one talks about things like this, therefore people going through it don't know anyone else going through this.

As always, thank you for reading and following along!
-Nicole

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Friday, February 10, 2017

When My Husband Pushed Me to an Uncomfortable Place



I've been staying home with the boys for coming up on three years, and blogging nearly as long. It's been equal parts trying, exhausting and fun.

My blog has been my outlet for all things creative and social. I've connected with people that otherwise I would've never known. You, my readers, are my virtual social group of friends! Having that has helped my people person personality not go crazy while stuck in the four walls of our home, so I have to share something with you!

Something crazy happened two weeks ago....

My husband got a message from another woman (scandalous, I know!) and she propositioned him something. I had heard of people doing this type of thing, and rolled my eyes when he suggested that I try it.

Curiosity peaked though a few days later when I received a package in the mail. So I gave it a try. HOLY BUCKETS! My eyes were opened to a whole new world!

It started sort of rough, but the result was so smooth, my lips felt better and my eyes had a new glow. I knew I had to repeat this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Do you what to know what I got into thanks to my husband?

{dramatic drum roll please}

RODAN+FIELDS!!!{imagine I just sang that to you in some beautiful Broadway like voice}

I am beyond excited! The mystery woman was a local friend asking my husband if he wanted to get me some stuff for Valentine's Day. My husband, knowing all the complaints I've had about my skin knew the answer was yes.

After my first night using the Micro-Dermabrasion Paste, Multi-Function Eye Cream and the Lip Renewing Serum I was hooked. Jason had mentioned me getting into being a consultant and I shrugged him off. I'm busy. I have four kids with a fifth on the way. I couldn't also be working!

Then sitting at wrestling practice and talking to our friend, the idea seemed more doable. I didn't have to do parties, or meet a sales quota. I could work as little or as much as I wanted to. There was no inventory for me to keep. The positives just kept adding up....

So I took the plunge and became a Consultant! {and the crowd goes wild!}

I'm so thrilled. I'm also scared to death of failing or not giving everyone and everything the time they deserve, because I'm stretched a bit more. But I haven't felt this level of joy or purpose since I started staying home. I can contribute to the family income, but still be with the kids. I don't have to worry about maternity leave, because I'm in charge of my hours. I can do this!

Here's the deal everyone reading this!

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Visit my site, and shop around! Please contact me with any questions or to place your order! Now this is important to remember, when used correctly, all these products will last you at least 60 days! AND if you don't like the product, there is a 60 day money back guarantee!

I'm excited to try more of the products I've heard so many wonderful things about! The Lash Boost that I'm going to give away does AMAZING things! Check out Sara's results! This is my Sponsor, she didn't photo shop this and I awkwardly stared at them during wrestling practice on more than one occasion, so I know it's real!



I wouldn't have taken this leap in life if it wasn't for my husband pushing me to do it, and for that I am so grateful! So here is to a new chapter and bombshell skin!




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Monday, January 30, 2017

The Pregnancy Chronicles: 16 Weeks

With Jayce's pregnancy I updated the blog on all things pregnant lady every two weeks, no offense baby girl when you read this in 20 years, but that's not happening! I'm locking myself into an every month update until she arrives.

The Pregnancy Chronicles

How far along?
16 weeks plus a day, but honestly I feel like I've been pregnant FOREVER! Something about finding out an entire week before your missed period makes it seem extra long!

Baby's size?
A dill pickle, an action figure or some weird rodent; but let's just stick with a pickle! 

Weight gain?
No clue, and honestly I plan on keeping it that way throughout my pregnancy. I stress on that shit, and I've decided out of all the irons I have in the fire, that is not one I need. So peace out scale! The nurse just laughs as I take off every (within reason) piece of clothing and shoes (even my flip flops) before backing up onto that dreaded machine!

Sick?
Over the last two weeks my nausea finally subsided and my headaches have tapered off. There are still some aversions though that send me over the edge; like when my husband tried to force feed me STORE BOUGHT PREPACKAGED guacamole! YUCK! It looked like baby shit and honestly it should be a sin to even sell guacamole in a sour cream looking container!

Current mood?
Yuck. Is that a mood? I feel like it can be. I'm just not myself. With my previous pregnancies, I was a dream! I wasn't really THAT moody (my mother and husband might disagree), and I felt great. This round I'm just a mess. I'm lacking every ounce of self-confidence that I typically have; my puberty like skin probably isn't helping things. I also have next to zero energy, it's like the first trimester is never ending.

Best moment this month?
Finding out that this little human was a girl! I'm still completely over the moon about it!

Purchases?
We got her car seat! We went with the Chicco Keyfit 30, because since I'll be having another c-section, I wanted something light! Unfortunately we sold most of our baby stuff after Jayce, so we are having to get new. Damn! Shucks! .......Yay! Let it rain pink and sparkles!!!

Cravings?
Sushi, pie and cereal! I've only given into the cereal though!

Movement?
My doctor can call my crazy, but I swear I've felt her since 13 weeks! Nothing crazy, but when I lay down at night she starts barrel rolling (or at least that's what it feels like). No, it isn't gas. I still don't understand how people confuse the two! I'm sure she'll start really kicking in the next couple weeks though!

Sleep?
I'm up once a night to pee, and eight million to deal with all my other non-sleeping children. I take naps nearly every day!

Missing anything?
This will make me sound like I have a problem, but I really want a beer. I don't want a case, just like 1-3! No, I'm not going to go buy some non-alcoholic junk, it's like decaf coffee, what's the point?! I'll just long for the first cold sip at the end of July!

Looking forward to.....
Our anatomy scan will be in the next month or so and that's my favorite! Until then, I feel like this little person is a mystery. Once I see that everything is healthy and doing what it's suppose to, my mind eases a bit!

Bump Picture:

Girlfriend is lower than the boys ever were! But to be 100% honest, these bump shots are hard for me to take. I'm not "in love" with my pregnant self and my 12 chins (notice the phone placement) like people say you should be. I will document though, because it's unfair for her not to, and I know I will look back on these pictures and be thankful I gritted my teeth through them!


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Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Cure for Teen Pregnancy is Three Feet Tall

In high school, I took a class where I had to carry around a robot baby for a week. It cried for the various needs it had and I had to take care of it by putting a key in it's back. Do you know what doesn't have a key in their back? A three year old!

I think that teenagers should have to take care of a three year old for a few days! I'm sure the little one's parents are more than willing to take a break from their demanding child, and really, it's helping America!

Three is a hard age. I want to pull my hair out at least every other minute of the day, and that only increases when we go out in public. Anyone who says that the twos are terrible, hasn't hit the threes yet!

There are a few things that all teens would face during their "Threenager Time," none of which a key to their back will fix. {If someone would like to invent that though, I'll be the first customer!}

They don't give a fuck about anyone or anything. Yes, they sometimes are very sweet and lovable, but they will also slice your throat, with their pretend kitchen knife, if you even think of cutting their food up. They also won't hesitate to flush random objects in the toilet to see what dad's reaction is to the flood.

Newborns sleep better than three year olds. Newborns are hard, really freaking hard, we can all agree on that. We can also agree that feeding the baby, changing it's diaper or just holding the little bundle solves most of their middle of the night screaming. Threenagers talk, about their blankets falling off their bed, how they peed or why the sun isn't up yet. There aren't very many quick fixes for this, and it definitely results in crappy sleep for all parties involved!

Public places are their stage. Taking an unruly three year old in public is sure to result in some sort of fit. If there is an audience, there will surely be show. My personal favorites are the spaghetti limbs in the middle of a parking lot resulting in carrying a screaming limp child over my shoulder or a continuous scream/cry combo that vibrates the ceiling tiles of Target and that doesn't stop until we leave and no one is watching.



Now you may ask yourself, "How can this stop teens for having babies?"

Teenagers care about three things; their things, their sleep, and how they look in public. A threenager can squash all of those!

So I currently have one available for loan to any parent who wants to teach their teenagers what doing the humpty hump actually results in!


Disclaimer: I love my children, I'd just like them not be assholes all the time. It's just a stage, yes. But if I said I hadn't Googled "threenager boarding schools," I'd be lying.




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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Last Member of Team Snyder is a.......

Well hello from the hormonal roller-coaster I call pregnancy!

This pregnancy has been rough on mama! I've had constant migraines, terrible acne and nonstop nausea. Basically I'm a walking hot crabby mess! Thankfully the hubs has been a rock star and has been picking up the slack!

When I was at my OB appointment last week, he offered me the Harmony Test. It's a genetic test that tests for down syndrome and two other genetic disorders. I quickly refused, because we had refused genetic testing for the boys. Results of those tests wouldn't change anything for us. Then he mentioned how this test was just a blood test, and it also gave the gender with 99% accuracy.



My ears perked up, and my grouchy attitude turned around. I could know the sex of the baby in 5-10 days without question?! Sign me up!

The drew my blood and the wait began.
Boy or Girl?! What would it be?!

Longest. Week. Ever.

So here I sat on this Friday morning, not wanting to go into the weekend still not knowing, but also not wanting to bug the doctor's office. I decided they are getting paid to deal with annoying impatient people, my husband ---who's sick of hearing about the gender test--- doesn't get compensated, so I called!

"Oh yeah, we've got your results in! Genetic abnormality risk is low, which is what you want."

Yay! I'm glad to know things are healthy, but cut to the chase lady!

"Do you want to know the sex?"

Uhhh are you serious right now? Of course I do. It's the whole reason I did the test!

"Are you sure?"

Remind me to not bring treats to you next time I'm in, get to it already!

"IT'S A LITTLE GIRL IN THERE!!!"

I screamed in the car, scared the shit out of the boys and nearly crashed into a ditch! I also believe pink glitter, fingernail polish, Barbies, unicorns and tutus came falling down from the sky!

OH EMM GEE!!!!!!!!!!!! I honestly never thought I'd get my girl! But looking at this pregnancy thus far, I'm not entirely surprised! She's already stamping her rule on this family and she isn't even here yet. My world revolves on the level of misery I feel each day, which I'm is here way of bringing me to my knees to take my role as Queen of the House. Girlfriend, if you would just let me feel better, it's all yours! Honestly, being the center of all the boys' attention is exhausting, I'm okay to share the limelight!

The best thing I did after I got the news, I called my mom! I told her that I knew, but that she'd have to wait till tonight after I told the hubs to find out. I think if she could've reached through the phone and slapped me, she would've; and I loved it!

Now for the record, the Middles have been saying all along that there's a baby girl in mama's belly. I think kids know this shit! They predicted Jayce as a brother too!

I'm still in shock as I write this. I don't know how to dress a little girl or parent her. I'm afraid we won't wipe right and she'll get some sort of nasty infection. Or that she'll know more about the male anatomy than most little girls by the time preschool comes around. These are all rational fears that seasoned boy moms have when they finally get a girl, right?

So below is how I told Jason about the new woman in his life! Nothing fancy! But the bathroom is always his first stop when he gets home, so it felt like the appropriate place to reveal to him. After all, they'll need to be considerate of another lady in the house and put the seat down!




Those sparkly little shoes called my name today! Whether she ever wears them or not, she needed them!


Small odd shape balloon in the sink is courtesy of Kayden assisting in the blowing up of balloons!


Coming round the corner is finalizing her name! We already have a pretty good idea of it, just giving it some time to set in!

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Friday, January 13, 2017

The Days When It's All Falling Apart

Some weeks I crush this thing called Motherhood, other weeks, I'm excited everyone survived till bedtime without any major injuries.

Lately, it's the latter.

We've been busy. Super freaking busy. We've had doctor appointments, therapy days, wrestling practice, school drop-offs and pick-ups, PLUS a house to keep from falling down into a blaze of glory.

Basically burning the candle at both ends repeatedly.

So today I sit here in my pajamas, on my kitchen floor "office" without a bra on and a mud mask on my face that scares my children, telling you real life happens to everyone. I'm a mess. I'm hoping by the time I get to the bottom of this cup of hot tea I'm chugging, I'll be right with the world- for today.


I've had weeks like this before, and currently I'm blaming these excruciating migraines I've been dealing with during this pregnancy. The thing about weeks like this, when the world seems to be falling apart at the seams, it turns around. It's not always like this, and that's what I'm currently clinging to, like how my children cling to my leg when I try to pee alone. Death grip.

If you are reading this in your jammies with your mammaries free roaming while Googling "how to stop your children from being assholes," I see you. I am you. I possibly Googled that at 7:14am this morning while my youngest two were already fighting. But it will get better. It has to. If it didn't the human race wouldn't currently exist or kindergarten classes would only be filled with the biggest a-hole children who killed off everyone else.

This is how I'm rectifying the "life is falling apart" problem at the moment. Low expectations. If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, you know I gave myself three goals for today.

1. Don't leave the house or wear a bra. (check and check)

2. Write a blog today---this is my outlet in life and I needed to do something for me. (check)

3. Keep everyone alive. (currently in progress, touch and go at the moment)

I'm not hoping for miracles today. I don't expect for the children to be angels, everyone to eat the food I cook or to bedtime to go off without a hitch. But for TODAY, if  I don't expect much, I can't get mad or stressed about what's not getting done, and I think that's been my problem lately. I've expected a lot from myself and family lately and have been losing my shit when it doesn't happen.

Guess what? Tomorrow is a new day. It can be great, or just okay, and that's fine.

Set yourself a goal today and stick to it! Leave me a comment and tell me what it is! I hold ya to it!

I better go wash this mask off before my face falls off! Have a great day everyone!

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