Thursday, September 27, 2012

Connect With Us


Owen (20), Alexis (21), Jamie (25), Mallorie (23)



Hey all! We would like to take today to share how you can get to know/converse with us more then just here on the Twenty Something Mammas. We are all pretty active in the unavoidable social media world, especially on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Let's be real it would take FOREVER for us to share everything thing about us through the blog, so we are inviting you to friend or follow us! We would love to get to know everyone as well and know what you thought of the latest post or what you'd like to read about in the next! We love feedback so don't be shy and keep in touch! We love to/want to write about what you love to read, so let us know :)


The direct links below lead to each Mamma's pages, be sure to follow :) Hope everyone is having a great week . . . it's almost Friday!!!!

Facebook
Twenty Something Mamas

Twitter
Jamie
Mallorie
Alexis

Instagram
krenzjj
mschrock89
alexisrayy

Pinterest
Jamie
Mallorie
Alexis

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stella 12 Months!





Stella turned one on the 20th! I know it's cliche, but this past year flew by. She's starting to say a few words like, hi and dog. Her favorite books are "Brown Bear Brown Bear" "Alphabet Book" and she's recently started dragging "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" around with her.

Her birthday party went well! A full post about it, including pictures will be coming.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Baby Fever

How do you know you're ready to add to your family? I've have baby fever like, real bad. It's all I can think about! I even have a list of about 35 boy (we've had our next girl name picked out since before Stella was born!) names I like...

I don't know if I'm really ready to add to our family (I think I am), or if I'm just sad that our little Love Bean isn't a baby anymore. She's pretty much weaned herself off her bottle, and some days she thinks she's too big for a morning nap. She'll be 1 tomorrow! I can't believe it's been a year already!

Right now, Tim and I think we want 6 (yes, you read that right) kids. Maybe that will change once we have more, but that's the number we both want right now. Yes, we know that's a lot, especially in today's world. We'd love for all of our kids to be "kind of surprises" like Stella was—we weren't trying to get pregnant, but we weren't trying to not get pregnant either. And I'm not really concerned with how many years are between our children. I'm more concerned with having another one when the timing feels right.

I'd love to hear from all of you—how did you decide you were ready for another child? Was your second/third/fourth child a surprise? Did you decide you wanted X number of years between each child? How did you decide how many kids you wanted?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

South Haven


My favorite thing about South Haven besides the family, beach, eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, ice cream trips, puzzles, reading books I wanted to read, and not worrying about a single darn thing for 11 days was the fact that the house didn't have internet. Probably weird, but it was so relaxing.  I admit that I still attempted to get on through my phone with the crappy service we had, but I spent more time trying to get on then actually being on it. It was amazing how much more time I had in my day without it. Now that makes me sounds really pathetic. Writing this I think "why in the hell do you have the Internet or social networking sites if it was that enjoyable not to have them for 11 days?"Something to consider I guess, although its highly unlikely I'll give it up. How else would I write you all and keep you updated on me & my Roo ;) Anyways a much needed refreshing 11 day get away for my little family, thanks Mom & Dad!

Favorite memories of the week:

Alexis: I would like to inform you all that my brother in law Tim (J's hubby) is the most HILARIOUS person you will EVER meet. I am convinced he doesn't even know this, I don't think he tries very hard at it. After this trip every time I hear the word sunburn, waves, and the song I'm a Survivor I will think of Tim.

Jamie: I have two favorites. The night we went and got ice cream for dinner at Sherman's. Alexis and I decided to each get the "Tour of Sherman's" which is a bowl of 6 different flavor samples of their ice cream. Mallorie decided she'd get that too, but with every bite she said, "I should have got a cone." Reminded me of the time, she ordered Mint Chocolate Chip and after the first lick said, "I don't even like Mint Chocolate Chip."

The funniest thing that happened was when my mom saw a mouse while standing in the check out lane at Wal-Mart. She tried climbing up on the grocery bag lazy-susan.  It also resulted in a new dance move for Tim...maybe he'll break it out this weekend at our cousin's wedding.

Mallorie: I am going to agree with Alexis because I feel the same way. We love our bros! I enjoyed spending time with my kids without having to worry about cleaning, organizing, or really even cooking. We ate whatever we felt like it and it was great. I loved the quality family time. Doing puzzles with everyone, discussing books with Jamie, quiet nights, Lake Mich (or ocean as Al calls it, still not convinced she knows it is a lake). It was so fun to see all the cousins play together. The dynamic is hilarious. Of course Jo orders everyone else, mmhhmm reminds me of an older sister I have. Rae and Roo fight like crazy but then 10 minutes later Roo is copying Rae's every move. And Stell and Gat have a loving growling relationship. 

My most memorable time would have to be when I took our three chillins and went into to town. We got Arby's and ate in by the beach, getting attacked by seagulls. Then we walked down to see the boats and then played in the water. Those little moments are when I feel and know I've got it all. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Confessions of a Single Mamma: Dating

Dating. What I have found to be the most challenging, scariest, and hardest part so far in my journey of being a single mom. 

I swear to you all it is like a roller coaster ride of emotions and feelings. One day totally against the idea and the next wanting it. Harder in the beginning more so then currently I will say. So many thoughts run through my head. 

Am I ready? 
How can I leave Ruthie for a date when I'm all she's got? 
What guy is going to want a kid that isn't his? 
How do I go about introducing Ruthie to someone? 
What if that he sucks with kids? 
What if I get hurt again? 
What guy is going to want the body of a girl, post-baby? 
What kind of guy would be okay with my past? 
How could I trust someone again? 
What if Ruthie doens't like him? 
All guys are the same, so why bother? 

And like I said in my previous post, it's easier being just Ruthie & I, we are able to avoid all of those worries up there. This is probably 1/4 of the craziness I had going through my head for a couple months. But to sum it all up in one corny word. I was simply scared. 

So back in June I thought to myself okay I think I am ready. I had gotten asked out on some dates previously but turned them all down, so I told myself to keep my mind open about the idea next time. Well a week later I hear from an old friend and he asks me if I'd like catch up. I decided to go, freaking out the day of and afraid that I forgot how to socialize with someone other then a 1 year old. I went and had a GREAT time, he was true gent the whole date, and everything came so easy talking to him.  After that we hung out a few more times and then what do I do? I freak out . . . go me. The feelings above all came rushing back and the guilt of leaving Ruthie hit me like a brick wall. For goodness sakes I freaked out about some flowers he left me, the first thought I had run through my mind was "what does he want?" My sisters checked me and said "orrr maybe he just wanted to let you know he's thinking about you?" I decided I wasn't ready, clearly I don't know how to handle those emotions yet and I needed to figure that out before I could continue. So I told him I thought I was ready to start dating again but I am not and I need a little more time to get things sorted out. Like the kind fellow he is he responded "I totally understand, just promise you'll let me know when your ready, whenever it is." 

After that I began to think about all those crazy worries and thoughts & tried to turn each of them from worries to statements. 

I'll know when I'm ready. 
Don't feel guilty for taking time for yourself. 
Any guy who wouldn't want the cutest kid ever is crazy. 
I'll know when its time to introduce Ruth. 
All guys are awkward with kids at some point. 
Not every guy hurts girls. 
What guy wouldn't want the kick ass personality that comes with this post-baby body? 
A good guy will understand my past.  
Trust is something you can build.  
Who doesn't Ruthie like? 
All guys are the same, so why bother? ...... but some could be different.

August 15th was the finalization of the divorce. That day I felt a rush of closure, it felt so good. I think I will probably remember that day for the rest of my life, because I can remember on my ride home thinking of everything I have been through and where I am now. I thought of how I got there and where I have been and I thought of where I never ever wanted to go again. That day my thoughts became a little clearer, paths and boundaries became easy for me to establish. That day I started to feel in control again. It was the best. feeling. ever. 

I knew then that I was ready, but I had only talked to the June guy like once or twice during that time so I wasn't sure what to think and slightly embarrassed of my previous freak out so I didn't contact him. However coincidence or not that weekend I was in South Haven sitting at the table doing a puzzle and I look down at my phone to see "HI :)" . . . . from June guy. 

Since then we have been talking, dates, & hanging out, and things are going super well. He is a true gentlemen and makes me smile on the daily. Taking things really slow we are building a great relationship. I do find myself still struggling with sometimes being on reserve when the fears creep back in but I know that is okay.  

I came across this from a blog that I read . . . Its a great quote for anyone going through any type of struggle or running away from anything in their past, I look at it everyday. 

"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when are brave enough to explore the darkness will discover the infinite power of our light."
~Bené Brown

I can't believe at one point in my life I didn't want anything to do with love, belonging, or joy. 




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review: The Girls from Ames

While on vacation last week, I read two books: The Shack and The Girls from Ames. I highly recommend both! I have a lot to say about both, but one book at a time :)
image pulled from http://www.girlsfromames.com/



On September 1st, one of my best friends from high school got married. I was honored and excited to be part of her special day. She gave each of us girls the book, The Girls from Ames, and a bottle of wine as a thank you gift. After reading the book, I can't think of a more thoughtful or fitting gift that a bride could give her girlfriends. Or for that matter, a friend could give a friend.

Instead of trying to describe the book in my own words, I'll just share below an excerpt from the book's website.
Meet the Ames Girls: eleven childhood friends who formed a special bond growing up in Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight different states, yet managed to maintain an enduring friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, a child’s illness and the mysterious death of one member of their group. Capturing their remarkable story, The Girls from Ames is a testament to the deep bonds of women as they experience life’s joys and challenges — and the power of friendship to triumph over heartbreak and unexpected tragedy.
The girls, now in their forties, have a lifetime of memories in common, some evocative of their generation and some that will resonate with any woman who has ever had a friend. Photograph by photograph, recollection by recollection, occasionally with tears and often with great laughter, their sweeping and moving story is shared by Jeffrey Zaslow, Wall Street Journal columnist, as he attempts to define the matchless bonds of female friendship. It demonstrates how close female relationships can shape every aspect of women’s lives — their sense of themselves, their choice of men, their need for validation, their relationships with their mothers, their dreams for their daughters — and reveals how such friendships thrive, rewarding those who have committed to them.
The Girls from Ames is the story of a group of ordinary women who built an extraordinary friendship. With both universal insights and deeply personal moments, it is a book that every woman will relate to and be inspired by.
While reading the book, so many relationships came to my mind, and not just my own friendships, but those of my mom and my mother-in-law.

While reading, I of course thought about my childhood/college friends and what our relationships are like today. The book actually made me feel a little bit better about how those friendships are not what they used to be. I learned, that it's natural (especially for woman) for friendships to evolve in your twenties and thirties. Life gets so busy when you start college, careers, get married and start families. I'm lucky to have a handful of friends, who totally get this. Even though we don't talk as much anymore, their friendship still means so much to me! Reading the book has made me want to be more intentional about nurturing those friendships and making sure they last a lifetime.

I also thought about my mom's relationship with her friend Jill. They've been friends for as long as I can remember, and she was always like a second mom to us. I've always thought their bond is special. They can go weeks without talking/seeing each other and then just pick up right where they left off, as if no time had passed at all. I hope twenty years from now, I have my own Jill :)

The group of people the book remind me most about is my mother-in-law and a group of her girlfriends. I don't know them all that well, but I've heard stories ;) I don't even really know how they all became friends (I should ask), but I know they were friends through out college, and they still get together for girl's weekends even though they're spread all over the state of Michigan. I get the sense that any of them, would do anything for one of the others. I remember talking to my MIL one day while she was making arrangements for an emergency girls weekend. One of the girls was having a hard time, and it had been decided that she needed than just a phone call or email. She needed them in person. I don't remember when that was, but it's stuck with for awhile. I just thought it was so cool, that they were willing to rearrange their plans on short notice and drive a few hours, to be with a friend.

The book is truly a testament to the power of female friendships. The book will make you laugh and cry. It's such an uplifting story, the perfect read to bring a little light into your life. You should read it!


Monday, September 10, 2012

G-Baby is Eleven Months

video

Yesterday Gatlyn turned 11 months! We cannot believe he is going to be 1 in just a month. It seems unreal.

This past month has been a crazy good one for Gat man! After getting over hand, foot and mouth he has been awesome! He had his first go at Lake Michigan . . . maybe next year he will enjoy it:)

GATLYN HAS TWO TEETH!!

Gatlyn is ALMOST. . .
  • Sitting up on his own.
  • Rolling over from back to front. (no luck on the front to back)
Gatlyn is . . . 
  • Eating baby food for 8 minutes a day:) About 12-15 bites
  • Blabbering more:)
  • When on his belly he is reaching for toys!!
  • Using two hands when playing with toys!
  • Trying to grab EVERYTHING from me:) Never thought I would be so excited for it!
  • now only on the pump for 17 hours a day:) The other 7 that he is off is spread out along the day.
He likes himself some mint chocolate chip ice cream too!

We are in the works of a fishing birthday party:) 

I may be partial but look at those EYES!!!

Always down for some business! (Thanks to cousin Trisha for some cute clothes!!)


We are so proud of him. Love him to pieces:)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Packing A Diaper Bag






In my 20 Questions interview, I mentioned that until you have a routine getting out of the house can take FOREVER with a baby! One thing we do in our house to cut time down is our diaper bag is always packed, ready to go and hanging by the door.

It's surprising how a properly packed diaper bag can make an outing less stressful. I've had my fair share of diaper bag fails, so I've got a pretty good idea of what to always have on ya. So what should you pack?
  • Diapers: We try to keep 5 in our bag at all times. No, we've never used them all in one outing. But if we forget to replace a one or two before the next time we go out, we're not in trouble because we still have 3 in there.
  • Wipes: We keep a small plastic, refillable travel case of wipes in the bag at all times. It was actually a shower gift from one of Tim's aunts. It's covered in fabric and super cute. If we're going somewhere for an extended time, I through in extra.
  •  Changing Pad: I don't always use it, but it's nice to have when changing her in public restrooms.
  • Extra Outfit: Always take a change of clothes for your little one. Diapers overflow/explode at the most inconvenient times. Once it happened to us when we were making a two hour drive from Detroit to Hillsdale with Tim's parents. Luckily my mother-in-law, was in the bathroom with me, and we tag teamed the mess!
  • Book(s) and/or Toy(s): Gotta have something to distract them when they start to get a little grumpy. In a pinch, your phone will work great too.
  • Bottle and Formula: If your babe still takes a bottle, this is one you don't want to forget! Forgetting one can through off your whole day. For instance, before we starting keeping the diaper bag packed, we forgot a bottle when we went to church one day. Our plans were to hang out downtown all day afterwards, but no bottle meant we had to go home instead.
  • Snacks: If your babe is past a bottle like Love Bean is now, always takes snacks. I keep a container of puffs and a baby food pouch in ours at all times. Love Bean is starting to think she's too big for these things though, so I'm going to have to rethink my snacks :)
  • Bib: If you go out to lunch or dinner with your little one, it's nice to have that in there.
  • Wash cloth or Boogie Wipes: I keep both in our bag. Have you heard of Boogie Wipes? I absolutely love them. They're a lot like regular wipes, except they don't sting little faces and they smell super good.
  • Sunscreen: This Summer I've been keeping a little tube of sunscreen in our bag. Love Bean has super fair skin, and I swear if we're out in the sun for more than 10 minutes she gets a little pink.
  • Pacifier: Love Bean doesn't take a pacifier (she never has), but I know my sisters always have an extra or two for their girls.
Did I miss anything? And if you're wondering which diaper bag we use, it's the Diaper Dude Messanger II. I loved it when we were living in Chicago and did a lot of walking, but now that we're in Michigan, I don't like it as much. The long strap is annoying when I just want to carry it on my shoulder when walking short distances. Plus it's already fraying.

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    20 Questions: Morgan





    Tell us a little about who makes your house a home.
    Matthew: my wonderful husband, best friend, partner in crime, and most recently a daddy

    Aubrey Faith: our beautiful daughter, who is now 8 weeks old (crazy how quickly time flies!) We came up with her middle name when we learned after our first ultrasound that she may have something wrong with her heart and the doctor referred us to the U of M Children's hospital to get a fetal heart echo. We had to wait 3 weeks to get this done and within that time Matt and I made the commitment to each other that everything that may come up in our family was going to be completely given to God with complete trust in him and his plan for our lives. We then also decided that no matter what happened our daughter's middle name would be Faith. We now are blessed with a healthy, happy baby girl

    What's a typical day in your household like?

    A typical day right now in our house is a bit different than what our days will realistically be like. Since Aubrey's birth I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay home with her for the first 12 weeks. So our days right know are awesome. Matt and I have been able to spend more time with each other than we have ever been able to do since he does not have to teach in the summer.
 Soon though, we will have to go back to work full time and Miss Aubrey will be going to daycare all day.


    Our days now go like this however:

    6 a.m. or so Aubrey usually wakes up and is wanting to eat. My lovely husband gets up and changes her diaper while I get ready to feed her. 
6:30 a.m. Aubrey is fed and back to sleep. 


    8:30-9 a.m. Matt, Aubrey, and I usually get up for the day since she is awake and hungry again
 9:30 a.m. Make breakfast or Matt works out.
 The rest of the morning is spent cleaning/organizing the house or sometimes just being lazy and playing with Aubrey.


    12:00 p.m. We usually make lunch. We are big fans this summer of toasted turkey sandwhiches with fresh garden tomatoes, lettuce, mayo and cheese. YUM! 
After lunch we typically do the opposite of what was done in the morning---clean/organize or hang out with each other and Aubrey
. Dinner is usually made & ate together. We like to grill a lot on warm days. In the evening we usually try to do something fun, like go golfing together, visit my parents, rent a new movie together, etc.

    
9:45 p.m. is about bath time for Aubrey. She gets a bath, is fed, and sleeping usually by 10:15 (she now usually then sleep until 6 a.m. woo hoo!)
 After Aubrey is sleeping Matt & I spend time talking, and have been trying to be intentional about reading the Bible together before going to bed.


    How has your lifestyle changed since having children?
    Life has changed so much, but in SUCH a good way! Life is no longer just about you. Your schedule and plans revolves around your child, which I am totally okay with! We have had to learn to be more flexible because with kids, things aren't always going to go the way you had planned.


    Have you ever felt the need to defend your decision to start a family in your 20's?

    Fortunately I have not. Many of my colleagues at work are in their early 20's as well and many already have children and that is the same as with many of my friends of college. I have always felt very supported by friends and family with Matt and I's decision to start a family.


    What's the most challenging thing about being a mom, and what's the most rewarding?

    The most challenging thing for me right now is learning how to balance everything in my life. It hasn't been insanely difficult because I have one of the most supportive and helpful husbands, I think, in the world. He is always SO willing to help with anything with Aubrey or around the house. Many times he is more on top of the cleaning/housework than I am! Also, I feel the need to add that I am pretty sure within the first 3 weeks of Aubrey's life I only changed 3 diapers. Matt did all the rest, and with me not even asking... he volunteered and was happy to help out in any way he could. Yeah ladies...it's okay to be jealous jk
!

    The most rewarding this about being mom is having the opportunity to feel that insane capacity of love and compassion you have for your kids! I would have never imagined being a mother would be this great and change your life so much for the better!

    
How are household chores divided up in your family? 
    I'd say that household chores are divided pretty evenly. We don't have any one chore that is always done by one person except lawn mowing Matt has always done. Chores within the house are either done together or by whomever has the time. I must add that Matt probably does more of the household sometimes...he is much more organized and on the ball when it comes to that.


    How do you find a balance between your commitments and family time? 
    I haven't really had to tackle this yet since I haven't really had many commitments yet or had to return to work, I'll take a rain check on that one.


    What's your most embarrassing mom moment?
     My most embarrassing moment so far (and could have been potentially dangerous) is driving with Aubrey in the car in her infant seat, attached to the car seat base like it is supposed to be... but the base was in no way connected to the seat! Whoops!

    
Who (or what) has influenced your parenting style the most? 
    I'd say so far our parenting style in very relaxed. We don't tend to get upset or stressed about things very easily. I think I can say that this has come from both my parents as well as Matt's. Throughout my pregnancy I have been very intentional about observing other parents in action to see what types of parenting and discipline techniques I’d like developed in our home. I do want to read the book “Loving your kids on purpose” and incorporate some of those parenting techniques in to our parenting style.


    Since becoming a mom how have your friendships changed? Have you made new friends, strengthened friendships, or lost friends? 
    My friendships haven't changed much so far, since they haven't had much time to change since Aubrey is only 8 weeks old. I can predict however, some of my friendships strengthening with those friends who already have kids or are having kids very soon... that’s just another major thing that we will have in common!


    How do you fit in time for your romantic relationship? 
    Right now this isn't a problem since Aubrey is so young and is a very content little girl. We don't feel strapped down with her and do not feel like we are unable to do fun things together. I feel that this summer and maternity leave has been a blessing in more ways than one... one of the blessings has been the amount of time we have been able to spend together. I feel like our relationship with each other and our marriage has gotten so much stronger! We have already had to opportunity to take some time away for ourselves and go golfing together while Grandma watches Aubrey.


    What's one piece of advice you have for future/new moms? 
    Cherish every day! They grow up way too fast! And don't be afraid to send the baby to the nursery at night when you're at the hospital. It may be the only time that someone will be there for care for your little one so you can get some decent sleep! (It doesn’t make you a bad mom) Also, when people family and friends offer to help, take them up on their offer especially if you are feeling overwhelmed!


    What's your childcare set-up and why does it work for you? 
    Aubrey will be going to daycare full time with Shannon Thompson. We are super excited because it seems like a great fit for us. Right now, we do not have ability for one of us to stay home with our daughter so Daycare is really our only option. Maybe someday I can be a stay-at-home mother...we will see though!


    Do you ever get time to yourself?
    Right now, yes! Aubrey still sleeps a lot and Matt has to work on weekend nights so during that time I get some time to myself in the evenings. As she grows older though, I do plan to try to make time for Matt and I to spend time alone or with friends
.

    What was the toughest adjustment going from 1 to 2 or 2 to 3 kids? If you only have one child what was the biggest adjustment after baby was born? 
    Remembering that you now have another life to care for and love and it isn’t all about you and your husband anymore. You have to be a lot more organized and plan things ahead of time. Another adjustment we’ve had to make is getting up early enough to be to places on time. It took us a while to realize how long it takes to get yourself and a baby around and fed. We kept being late and we are not those kind of people that typically run late!

    
Has having children changed your relationship with food?
    Right now, I have to admit it hasn’t really changed much. There are certain foods I stay away from while nursing but other than that I’m not eating as healthy as I could be. I do want to get back to an active and healthy lifestyle with my husband because I’d like for us to be role models to our children on what a healthy lifestyle looks like!


    What are your plans for your child's education?

    This hasn’t been discussed too seriously yet since it’s a bit far away still. But it will depend of where we are living mostly I am sure.


    How is discipline handled in your family?

    Haven’t had to deal with this yet… I could let you know in a year or two.

    
If you could change one thing about your current set-up, what would it be?

    If I could change anything I think it would be that we were closer in distance to Matt’s family so that Aubrey was able to be around both sides equally. I know that his family really misses her and I know as she gets older she will miss them as well. Right now we try to make trips to see them as much as possible! We will see where God takes us in the future.

    
Finish this sentence, Before having kids, I wish I would have known….

    How much stuff a baby needs and how much that stuff requires! I feel like our house is packed full already, lol.


    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    20 questions: Jackie




    1. Tell us a little about who makes your house a home.  
    
Matt:  My hubby of 4+ years.  We’ve been together 8.5 years.  He is a validation engineer and a home improvement DIY extraordinaire.  He is a wonderful dad, which is probably why both girls are daddy’s girls.

    

Mila: She is my adorable 2.5 year old who we call Mimi.  She is so lively and animated.  Every emotion is extreme.  She keeps me on my toes and I love it.  She loves her little sister and is very helpful or willing to tell Elsie what’s going on… at least most of the time.  Current favorite activities are brushing hair (others’ or her own), coloring or playing outside.  



    Elsie: She is my little 10 month old sweetheart.  Recently she spends a lot of time waving and saying “Hi”… to strangers, family or even the cat.  Elsie is often called E, E.K. (Karlisle is her middle name), Elsie K. or Els.  Elsie was born with a disability known as Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD).  Basically, one femur is extremely short causing one leg to be shorter than the other (currently 3” difference).  This will require many surgeries/physical therapy, but thankfully is something Elsie can live life to the fullest with.  Because of this, I’m so thankful for her sweet/laid back disposition.  Elsie says 5 words in her vocabulary, is climbing chairs/stairs and trying oh-so hard to walk.

    

I have a blog where I update on Elsie’s condition and treatment plan: www.elsiesleftleg.blogspot.com

    
2. What's a typical day in your household like? 
    
BUSY!  Weekdays: Wake up and get ready for work, get girls ready.  Matt usually gets Mimi ready, I get Elsie ready.  Then Matt and I both work, girls are either in daycare or a nanny at our home.  After work is busy with pick-ups/dinner/bath and trying to relax with the girls.  After bedtime for the girls Matt and I catch up around the house. 


    
3. How has your lifestyle changed since having children?
    
Everything revolves around the girls and their schedule and needs -  no longer mine/hubby’s.
 


    4. Have you ever felt the need to defend your decision to start a family in your 20's?   
    Yes.  I can’t think of particular instances, but I know that people – often peers – don’t understand the choice.

    5. What's the most challenging thing about being a mom, and what's the most rewarding?   
    Most challenging part is being a working mom.  I want to be able to always be with my girls and not rely on other care.  Simply not a reality to me at this point, but I’m working on it. 

    Most rewarding is snuggles and love from my girls!  I melt when I hear “I love you” or “I Missed you all day mama” (though that’s hard to hear too)
      
    6. How are household chores divided up in your family?
    My hubby is the best!  He does so much around the house…probably more than me.  :-/ I do dishes, meals, girls’ laundry, common bathrooms, sheets, groceries.  Matt does pool, outdoors, maintenance, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, his bathroom.  We don’t necessarily break it out, but it usually shakes out like that.

    7.   How do you find a balance between your commitments and family time?
     I don’t feel like we have the best balance, but one thing that helps is I started working from home two days a week.  This allows me more time with the girls (eliminating a commute, getting ready for work, and pick-up/drop off at daycare).  It also allows the girls to be home 4/7 days a week and together.  Also, I try to involve my girls in the household commitments if possible (i.e. Mimi helps me cook/bake) or wait until they are in bed to get stuff done.

    8. What's your most embarrassing mom moment?  
    Hands down, my most embarrassing moment was when I locked Mila in the car at daycare.  I not only was horrified that I did it, but the daycare director, work guards and my boss had to find out.  Embarrassing!!

    9. Who (or what) has influenced your parenting style the most?
    I think obviously my parents have (both what to and what not to do!) as well as my Gma and Gpa Sauers.  However, I have a good friend with two little ones.  I truly look-up to her and think of her as a mom I want to be like.  I also constantly pray that I can become the mom that god wants me to be.  I don’t necessarily know what that is, but I hope to become it!

    10. Since becoming a mom how have your friendships changed? Have you made new friends, strengthened friendships, or lost friends?
    I would say that I have fewer time for friendships.  It’s hard, I have friends that I would love to get together with more, tlak to on the phone, meet for lunch, whatever…but it’s challenging to do so with two tots.  However, it is easier to hang out with friends with kids because we both understand bringing the kids, when our children are fussing/constantly interrupting or needing something in the middle of conversation.  With other parent’s you don’t have to apologize or explain.

    11. How do you fit in time for your romantic relationship? 
    Matt and I just try to make the conscious effort to have us time… even if it means getting a sitter, putting off chores, or staying up later than normal.  One thing I like to do is get a sitter close to bedtime so I don’t feel bad leaving the girls.  Then we go on dates later in the day when the girls are sleeping.

    12. What's one piece of advice you have for future/new moms? 
    Write down things you think you’ll never forget, because you will forget it.  Also, enjoy the newborn little snuggly baby… they grow up so stinkin’ fast!

    13. What's your childcare set-up and why does it work for you?
    M&W: I work from home and we get a nanny to come over from 0730-330.  I work early and Matt goes to work when the nanny gets here.  I stay in the basement.  I LOVE this arrangement.  It’s so nice to not have to get the girls out, plus they get to be home and together 4 days in the week (counting weekends).
     
    T,Th&F: The girls go to the daycare I have at work.  This works really well because I don’t drive to a separate center. They are right next to me and I get to see Elsie on lunch. (Mimi throws a fit if she sees me and we don’t leave L )

    14. Do you ever get time to yourself?
    Not often.  I love to grocery shop by myself, that’s about the only me time I can count on.  However, I am in the process of setting up a craft/sewing area at my house with the goal of more me-time (which will likely be time I stay-up late to get.  LOL)

    15. What was the toughest adjustment going from 1 to 2 kids?
    Mimi was 20 months when Elsie was born. So the hardest thing was for her to not be the baby, but she was still quite young. On maternity leave, I dreaded EVERY time I had to nurse Elsie for weeks, if not months. Mimi cried so hard every time I fed Elsie; she was jealous for a long time. Overall though, the biggest adjustment is that Matt and I almost always are entertaining one of the kids. It sure is busy!

    16. Has having children changed your relationship with food?
    Well, I love chips and fast food, Matt loves sweets and all snacks. Our cupboards are quite embarrassing at times. So, now that Mimi eats everything we do and raids our cupboards we are more conscious about what we stock/eat in front of her. We try to incorporate veggies/fruit into all meals, never a priority before.

    17. What are your plans for your children's education?
    We are in Comstock school district.  I need to do more investigation, but I’m not sure what I think of that.  Potentially, we’ll consider schools of choice to go to Galesburg-Augusta where Matt and I both graduated from. As far as college, we have college savings started for both.

    18. How is discipline handled in your family? 
    Discipline is currently a time-out in our office.  Mimi has to sit in a certain chair until she is willing to talk. We check in on her periodically (about 30 seconds in – so not long).  As Mimi is getting older and more aware of consequences, discipline is becoming more and more important and Matt and I are trying hard to be consistent.  It’s hard!!

    19. If you could change one thing about your current set-up, what would it be?
     I would like to be a stay-at-home mom.  Again, this is a long-term goal that I am working on.

    20. Finish this sentence, Before having kids, I wish I would have known...
    How much I would miss having me and Matt time!