I always wanted a big family with lots of kids. Only children either want what they grew up with or what they didn’t get to experience as a child. 50/50, right? Well, as an only child, I was always in the camp of wanting a loud house with builtin playmates.

Did we imagine we’d have 4? I’m not really sure there is a magic number when it comes to growing a family, everyone is different. But Lord willing, this will be our grand finale. I’m too old for this, ha!

The reality of having another child still hasn’t really set in yet with me. I’m finally well into my second trimester, but the weeks have seemed to drag on. My first trimester was a beast. I can actually say I was not sick with Luke, Eden or Adam…but baby #4 wants to make his / her mark early! I was throwing up every day after every meal for weeks. Misery. Taco Bell has been my lifeline, and if you follow me on Instagram, you’d see it’s pretty much this child’s entire diet. (I kid, but not really.)

I’m due late September around the first day of fall, which is kind of exciting. Fall is such a beautiful time in Ohio. Like the rest of our children we will not find out the gender and wait for his or her birthday.

Some things I’ve noticed with baby #4:

  • Names are particularly hard to chose. Especially if we have another boy. We have a few on a short list, but my mind changes with the wind.
  • People are actually very surprised to learn we’re having another child. I think people have this idea in their head that 4 is a little excessive. I didn’t really think it would come as a surprise to anyone, but it really has.
  • I’m nervous. I think I’m more nervous about this pregnancy than any others. I’m older and have a business to run and a household. My children are a little older and starting to get really busy with school and activities. The thought of going back to the newborn days actually frightens me, but I know we will do just fine!

That being said, I would love to hear from the 4 children camp…. I’ve heard #4 is easy and just blends right in with the rest. If that’s the case, I think we’ll be just fine.

Message me below or send me an email and let me know your experience!!

“You have your hands full.” Five words I hear almost daily. From the post man. From the grocery store cashier. From a passer-by at the park. I always look down at my entourage and say, “Sure do. Full hands. Full heart.”

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, our son was only 8 months old. I was a little embarrassed. “How did THIS happen?” They warned me not to drink the water. But there I was standing in our kitchen, with a baby on my hip and a pee stick in my hand.

There was no Pinterest-y type announcement. No “surprise, honey! We’re going to be blessed with another child.” I legit waved that pee stick in the air and went, “What the hell are we gonna do now?!” We had just put our house on the market, I had accepted a new job in a new state, annnnnd we’re going to have a baby 16 months after our son was born. Brilliant.

When our daughter came into our lives, everything changed. I no longer wanted to work full time. I wanted to take a lesser role or stay home. Partially because I was so in love with my kids, partially because they were a ton of work.

Guys, I’m going to be completely honest with you. I like and I strongly dislike having my 3 kids so close in age. Here are the 10 reasons why:

1. Playing: 

Like: they play so well together. Since the older two are practically Irish twins, they have the same interests and enjoy the same things.

Dislike: because they are practically Irish Twins they fight and cry and whine like cats in heat.

2. Milestones:

Like: they reach milestones at the same time.

Dislike: because they reach said milestones at the same time, I’ve been changing diapers for half a decade.

3. Vacations and trips

Like: They all 3 enjoy the same activities while we’re out of town. So we don’t have one kid going here and another kid staying in.

Dislike: They’re still at an age where travel (especially in the car) is hella hard. I mean REALLY hard.

4. I have an excuse and “me” time

Like: I now have a legitimate reason for canceling plans. Or skipping things. Or going to bed at 8:00. I’m not saying I enjoy canceling plans, in fact, even with 3 small children I rarely do cancel….but when I do, people understand.

Dislike: I don’t have much free time. Scratch that, I don’t have any free time. Sure I get a girl’s night out with my mom to get our nails done or a dinner with friends, but it’s few and far between.

5. Shopping and outings

Like: Weird as it may seem, I actually really enjoy shopping with them because it’s hilarious. They talk about the most random things and I truly believe taking them on these outings helps them with manners, behavior, and socialization with adults beyond mom and dad.

Dislike: One tantrum can ruin an entire afternoon’s plans. 5 trips to the public restroom is enough to send me to the loony bin. Shopping with them is fun, adventurous and stressful at the same time. If I have a glass of wine at 4:00 after an all day outing, do not judge me.

6. School

Like: my older two are only a year apart, so they’ll enjoy preschool, elementary, middle and high school together. My first-born and third child are 3 years apart, so when my oldest is a senior, my youngest will be a freshman…which is kind of cool.

Dislike: fast forward 20 years and we’ll have 3 kids in college at the same time. So long retirement!

7. Their Friends

Like: they may have the same friends in school, or at least siblings of the same friends.

Dislike: sleepovers and drama. I’m already terrified for those awkward middle school years when my oldest’s friends may have a crush on my daughter, or vice verse. Can I just take an extended trip to the beach during middle school?!

8. Sleep schedules

Like: they’re on the same sleep schedules. My older 2 don’t nap, but they go to bed at the same time. My oldest wakes up every morning at 7 on the dot, but he does his own thing in the morning and doesn’t wake anyone up. Which is AWESOME.

Dislike: Buuuuut, it’s taken us 5 years to get here. I haven’t slept in 5 years. On the same subject, I also haven’t gone to the bathroom or showered alone since October. True story.

9. Built-in Best Friends

Like: I didn’t have siblings, so my friends and cousins were the closest things I had to a brother or sister. My kids have each other. Through thick and thin.

Dislike: I’ve been warned they won’t always love each other like they do. I know these moments of being best friends may be fleeting, but I can honestly say for now they love each other with all of their hearts and it literally melts mine.

10. Speaking of My Heart… 

Love: I never in a million years thought my heart could grow at such a rapid rate for these little rug rats. They stress me out, they exhaust me, they stretch my patience to limits I didn’t know existed. And just when I think I can’t possibly take anymore, the sun rises and I find a million new reasons why I love them like I do.

Enough said.

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I blinked. And you turned 4.

Your curiosity and kindness amaze me. Your inquisitiveness keeps me on my toes, constantly searching for more logical answers to your tough questions. “Why does the sun shine in the winter if it’s cold outside?” “What exactly is a year, mommy?”

You are extremely mechanical and love working with your hands. You recently helped your grandpa fix a motor and load it up on his rollback. He gave you $1 for your hard work. You told me you wanted to earn 100 $1 bills because you love to work…and I believe you.

You love sports. Baseball, golf, football, hockey, soccer. You watch all the football games saved on our DVR, and you choose the Golf Channel over Paw Patrol. You know all the Chicago Cubs players by name and number, and like to be called “Rizz”.

You are funny. Gosh Luke, you are freaking hilarious. Your punchline delivery is on point and your wit is beyond your years. And you laugh. You have a deep, husky voice and a belly laugh that goes along with it. Even if your joke falls flat, you laugh and everyone else joins in.

You are still a terrible sleeper. You don’t like naps. You like to wake up early. You don’t require much sleep. I keep telling myself it’s because you don’t want to miss a single second of the day.

You are not much of a cuddler, but you have such a huge heart. You adore your sister and younger brother. You include Adam in everything. This morning you were watching ESPN and drinking some chocolate milk, and you said to me, “Mommy, can you please bring Adam in the room because he’s my boy and we need to watch sports together.”

You like to tell Adam about all your favorite sports and ask him if he wants to play with you when he’s older. I hope you’re best friends.

You spoil your sister rotten. You do everything for her. You oftentimes take the blame for something she did wrong. It hurts you to see her get in trouble. You stick up for her in a way only an older brother would do. I know that quality will take you to great heights as you grow older.

You are intuitive. Nothing, I mean NOTHING gets passed you. You can smell a mint on your grandma’s breath and will immediately start digging in her purse. You also have a good sense of people, even at a young age. You can tell me certain qualities about a person and I know it’s something you sense, not see.

You make us so proud. You make us so dang proud, Luke.

We pray for you. We pray for the woman you will one day marry. May she be as strong and patient and kind as you are.

Happy 4th Birthday, Luke Myers Ireland. We couldn’t ask for a better son, and we are constantly striving to be the very best parents we can possibly be for you. img_0785

A couple weeks ago, I shared a picture of Luke and Eden hugging to my Instagram account. I captioned it: “Growing up an only child, I never knew what it was like to love a sibling. THIS is everything.”

The picture really had me thinking about my somewhat unique situation. Growing up an only child and now raising a “mini-herd” of siblings.

It’s not that my parents sought out to have one child. My mom often told me she and my father planned for a large family. When I was 2 years old, complications arose.

Years of heartbreak, attempted adoption, and rounds of fertility treatments took a toll on my parents financially and emotionally. Of course, I was too young to understand any of this and I only made matters worse.

Every night I’d say my prayers and ask God for a sibling. I had a notebook filled with baby names I liked. Suggestions I would show my mom when she announced she was pregnant again. My letter to Santa was filled with the normal requests for My Little Pony’s, craft sets, games…I would sign it and add “P.S. please bring me a brother or sister.”

I think I was 9 years old when I finally realized it wasn’t going to happen.

I remember my mom sitting me down, without shedding a tear, although I can only imagine the tears she shed in silence. She told me sometimes God only plans for a mommy and daddy to have one child, I was the perfect combination of both her and my dad and they could never ask for more. I remember sadness, but also a sense of relief knowing this was just how it was going to be. Contentment had finally fallen upon our little family, as I would always remain their only.

I never wanted to have just one child. My husband comes from a large family, so the thought of having just one child was never on his radar. However, much like my parents, and millions of others, sometimes…there is no choice.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was terrified. I simply did not know how to interact with siblings, let alone raise them. Silly and ridiculous, but it was completely foreign to me.

Looking back now on my childhood as an only child and now a mother of two children with one more on the way, all families are wonderful in their own way. I no longer feel having one child is a negative thing, and the same goes for not having any children. We are all different and come from different backgrounds. Some families with two parents, some with one, some with adopted or fostered children, one child, 7 children it all really adds up to LOVE.

My parents loved and continue to love me unconditionally, the same way I love my children. An only child will miss out on certain things like, sibling rivalries and having a constant playmate and best friend. They also have to deal with loneliness and some unnecessary teasing about being “spoiled”. However, only children are also able to share an incredibly unique bond with their parents.

God listened to my prayers when I asked for a brother or a sister, it just wouldn’t be answered for 20 years. I do now know what it’s like to love a sibling. And, honestly, watching the relationship unfold through the eyes of my children, really is everything…to me.

Naming a child ain’t easy. There are so many ridiculous things to take into consideration. To name a few:

  • Does the name rhyme with fart, fat, whale, skunk, pig, or anything else the kids will pick up on the playground.
  • Are you okay with the nickname? Growing up Shanisty, I was called Shan a lot. Rhymes with Man. I hated it. Still not a huge fan, but it’s too late now. My playground days are long gone.
  • Who do you know with the name? Do you like them?
  • Who does your spouse know with the name? Do they like them?
  • If it’s a family name, will people be pissed you stole it?
  • Speaking of family, when you have large families like ours…do you have a brother, sister, cousin, great-aunt with the name?
  • Does it fit well with your last name? Staying away from Irish names here.
  • Does it fit well with the middle name?
  • Does your family approve of the name? This is why we keep our names (mostly) secret. We don’t need anyone’s opinions. No time for dat.
  • Is the name gender neutral? Are you okay with that?

If you’re not finding out the gender (us) you’ll need a boy name and a girl name.  That’s where you come in! We have a girl name, it’s set. But boy names are difficult. Our oldest son is Luke, so we like strong traditional names.

I’m opening this up to you all! If you choose the name we love…(if we have a boy)…I will send you a gift card in the mail. No joke. #desperate

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to follow the conversation. You can also comment below, or shoot me an email at: hello@shesbecomingdomestic.com

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