Dear Adam,

You turned 2 years old this month, and in typical 3rd child fashion… my birthday letter to you is coming a few weeks late, but that doesn’t reflect my heart.

Adam, you are saving lives. You have impacted more people in your two short years on earth than most people have in a lifetime. You don’t even realize it yet, but one day you will. I hope you are grateful for the work we’re doing.

Adam, we almost lost you during your sixth week with us. You tested positive with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) — a virus none of us had ever heard of before. But you were a fighter and survived with flying colors. I know this is your story to tell, but Adam your mom and dad are so passionate about helping others any way we can so we’ve made it our mission to share our family’s story… your story, in hopes of saving others.

Adam, you are the sweetest. You have the calmest and gentlest disposition. You are perfectly content sitting on our laps and observing the room around you. You are so cuddly, in fact, you can’t fall asleep without touching someone. You are constantly giving us hugs and kisses and we love you for that.

Adam, you adore your sister and look up to your brother. You want to do everything they do. You play sports and board games with Luke and you are patient enough to play “house” with Eden. She calls you her “puppy” and you crawl around on the floor with your tongue hanging out. She loves you more than you love her at this age. She wants to cuddle you and smother you with kisses… you don’t always allow her.

Adam, you look so much like your daddy with your big brown eyes. You also have his temperament, which I’m thankful for.

Your current loves are Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse, balls, cars and trucks. You also are obsessed with the Baby Shark song. Doo doo doo doo doooooo. Your love for Baby Shark has evolved to all sea creatures. When we go to the zoo, the aquarium is your favorite part…you could spend hours observing fish.

Your little personality is really starting to shine. We can’t wait to see what this next year brings you!

Adam, when I found out I was pregnant with you I prayed for a boy. I really wanted Luke to have a baby brother. You have filled our lives with so much joy, love and laughter. We couldn’t imagine our lives without you.

Thank you for being such an inspiration. Thank you for not giving up in the hospital when it would have been so easy to stop breathing. I thank God everyday for you and for the healthy air in your lungs.

Happy 2nd birthday, Adam.

Love,

Mommy

 

Happy 2nd Birthday, Adam!

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I recently posted a picture of my kids making a mess with Play-Doh and captioned it: “Don’t mind the mess, my kids are busy making memories of me yelling at them to clean up their mess.” Obviously, this was in good fun– but it had me thinking. What will my children remember me by during this time of their lives?

Do you worry your kids will remember you by something negative? Be it nagging them to clean their rooms, pick up their dirty socks, or brush their teeth… are these the things that will stick in their brains forever when they think back to age 4, 5, 6 and so forth?

I know the obvious answer to this is, no. But I decided to write out 8 things I hope my children remember me by.

  1. Her life didn’t stop for us, she took us along to enjoy OUR life together: When I was pregnant with Luke, I remember a neighbor of mine in Birmingham who had two very small children. I was still working in the news business and working the evening shift, so I was around every morning until about 1 PM. I remember every single morning that mom waking up and loading up her children to have an adventure. They would go to the library, park, mall. I remember being so inspired by her ability to take her kids with her on daily adventures. I vowed then to do the same. I know many people don’t understand why I take my kids with me to the grocery store, shopping mall or on business errands… but my life doesn’t revolve just around them. It’s important to me that they understand I will do lots of fun things with them, but at the same time, I have a life too. I have things I need to do, and I don’t want to hire a babysitter for those simple things. I want them with me, I want them to learn from our daily outings. My mom worked from home and I would go to the bank, DMV and utility company with her… just like my kids do with me. We can make any errand an adventure!
  2. She had her favorites: Calm down! Let me explain first. I take the time to individually connect with my children so they know they are my favorite. You see, Luke is my favorite big boy and the very best big brother there ever was. Eden is my very favorite girl and the very best sister to her brothers. Adam is my very favorite baby and the very best baby brother. I tell them this. I spend the time to point out amazing qualities each one of them possesses. They like the individual attention, but I also make it a point to let the other children know what makes their sibling so special.
  3. She squeezed us and kissed us multiple times a day: First thing in the morning, each one of my children gets a giant hug and kiss. Throughout the day, I make it a point to set down my phone and give them physical attention. Children need that. They need to feel your love, not just hear the words.
  4. She let us help with everything: I will be the first to tell you, it takes patience. It is so much easier to cook dinner on my own without little ones scampering under my feet, but my daughter loves to cook. She has an apron she pulls out every single afternoon when she knows it’s time to start our meal prep. She looks forward to cracking eggs, grinding meat, and stirring pasta over the stove. YES! She is supervised. Trust me, it would be so much easier to shoo her away, but I want her to develop a love for cooking and I want her to know I will always say ‘yes’ to spending that time with her. Same goes for my older son. He loves helping his dad in the yard, so he is out there once a week pulling weeds and cleaning grass clippings.
  5. She loved to laugh and play: The laughing part is easy. I’m biased, as every mother is, but I think my kids are hilarious tiny humans. The playing part is a bit trickier. My kids are finally getting to an age where they enjoy fun board games and coloring. My sons love sports and my daughter enjoys it when I help her dress her baby dolls. I secretly don’t “love” playing with them every day… but they will never know that.
  6. She was in love with our daddy: Listen, some days I don’t have the energy just like the next person… but it’s so important that our children see my husband and I in a loving, healthy relationship. We speak to one another with love and respect, we spend time with each other away from the children, we have adult conversations while they are around and teach them to not interrupt. It’s important to us they know our relationship matters and takes priority.
  7. She helped others and used her talents to make a difference: Yes, I am a stay at home mom but that doesn’t define me. It also doesn’t mean my life is over for the next 18-20 + years. I write this blog for you. I share my thoughts and experiences to connect with you and hopefully to help others. Even though I live in Suburbia, I want my children to know I utilized my voice and God-given talents every single day of my life. My absolute favorite quote of all time is by Erma Bombeck. (Who also is a personal hero of mine!) “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say: ‘I used everything You gave me.'”  AMEN!
  8. She prayed with us and for us: I pray every single day for my children to grow into amazing humans. I also pray with them. I pray that they live their lives with a loving heart. To be kind and find joy in their day-to-day lives. It is so easy to get wrapped up in things that do not matter. I hope they always stay focused on the important things in life and always love and support one another. And always know how much their mommy loves them.
Shanisty Ireland

Memories in the making…

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I want them to remember most of all their mommy loves them very much. 

If we’re being completely honest here, I haven’t really worked out or focused on my health in over a year. That is, unless you count chasing children as cardio. Sure, I eat pretty healthy. We indulge in Chick Fil A on occasion just like the next yoga pants, messy bun wearing mom in suburbia, but we aren’t frequent fliers. I implement fruit and veggies in my weekly meal planning, and I try really hard to drink water over wine…but my health has not been a priority.

I just don’t have time for it.

Finding the time has been the hardest hurdle for me, and I’m sure so many moms can relate! Between juggling work, schedules, school, activities, meals, events, and writing I hardly have time to shower let alone workout.

Last week, that all changed.

My sister-in-law has been living with us this summer while she’s still in nursing school, and we made it a goal to start running together. But like life, summer got really busy and it went to the wayside. Until last week when I put on my tennis shoes and walked out the door.

I ran two miles my first time out, which ended up kind of being a mistake considering I hadn’t run in probably 8 months. I was sore, but in a good way. I felt better about myself just getting a decent sweat in.

Five days later, I’ve run every consecutive day since. I’m not sore anymore and I can tell my lungs are strengthening. I want to eat healthier foods and drink more water and less wine………..

Here are some simple ways I try to stay healthy in the rat race of life serving as a chaos coordinator…. AKA, mom of 3.

  • Drink 24 oz. of water BEFORE my first cup of coffee. This is a hard one, but it’s crucial. Did you know your body is incredibly dehydrated when you wake up from a night’s sleep? Drinking water will fire up your metabolism, help your body flush out toxins, give your brain fuel, and it may even make you eat less.
  • Kids Yoga. Stick with me here. There is a show on Amazon Prime called Cosmic Kids Yoga. If you have small children, I HIGHLY recommend it. Not only does it calm your children from the craziness of the day (we typically turn it on around 2) but I enjoy it. I’m not a yogi, I wish I was….. next fitness goal…. but until then, Cosmic Kids Yoga is a great outlet to get my blood flowing and muscles stretched.
  • Fitness watch. I have the Apple Watch, only because my husband can’t wear it in his current job. I know they are pricy and I’m not endorsing you to spend a lot of money…but if you have the means, it’s life changing. Really, it is. I am ultra aware of my steps and “closing my rings” — it’s kind of become a healthy obsession. My fitness goals are pretty standard, honestly, I don’t think I ever changed the factory settings on them…but the sheer gratification of “closing a ring” is one of the things I look forward to the most. I also feel extremely disappointed when I don’t get anywhere near my goal, like when I have to sit in a meeting all day. Oy.
  • Real foods. Look, I have three kids under the age of 6 so I know how easy it is to give them goldfish and french fries on the road. I try really, really hard to pack their lunches every single day. We are a family on-the-go: from the park to the zoo to the fair to the pool to the local shopping center, we have something lined up on our agenda daily. It’s easier, healthier AND cheaper to pack lunches. I have the ability to select the real foods, such as carrots, cucumbers, grapes. And skip on the chicken nuggets and fries. I purchased bento boxes from Target and they have been a life saver. I have linked the ones we have here!
  • Put on your shoes and GO! Listen, I know this is going to sound ridiculous but lacing up your tennis shoes is half the battle. Whether it’s heading to the gym, hip hop class, going for a run or a brisk walk… lace up your tennis shoes and walk out the front door! 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour later you’re guaranteed to feel so much better.

Things I’ve noticed since starting my workout routine:

  • More energy
  • Happier
  • Eating healthier
  • Drinking more water
  • Drinking less wine… kidding… but not really
  • Sleeping more soundly
  • Skin is brighter (probably from more water)

Hurdles!

  • Holding myself accountable. How do you keep yourself motivated? What drives you to workout? Comment below, I’d love to hear your tips!!!

When I was a kid, my mom would take me to the Ohio State Fair once a year. I don’t remember ever riding any rides, and the smell of the fair food always made me feel sick. What a lame kid! But I loved going, every single year…it sort of marked the end of summer.

Now that I have kids of my own, I still love going that one time a year. Our trips look completely different from when I was a kid. I pack lunches…not because I’m cheap, but because my kids will want something from every single food vendor. From cotton candy to deep-fried everything. It’s challenging enough to get them out of the carnival game section without spending a giant wad of cash. I do splurge on the giant fresh-squeezed lemonades. I just can’t go to a fair without those cups of lemony sugar goodness.

My kids have their favorite spots at the Ohio State Fair. We have to start with the Goldfish game. I only let them play the “Win Every Time” games. I learned my lesson a couple of years ago. $10 drains fast with little kids and horrible aim. There is a great Goldfish/Hermit Crab win every time game in the middle of the game area, past the giant slide. For $5 both Luke and Eden won a goldfish and their own containers! It was a challenge to keep Adam from shaking the goldfish. After about 30 seconds, the new pets had names (Ladder & Flower) and we were on our way to the next stop.

*Editor’s note: Ladder & Flower have since passed away. RIP little fish who gave our kids a whopping 8 hours of joy. #neverforget*

The AG & Hort Building is their favorite where they can watch the large electronic train, learn about zoo animals and ride little tractors. The pedal tractors are a big hit with Luke and Eden, no joke…they remember them every year! The kids also like seeing the bunnies, little chicks and learning about zoo animals.

Next stop was the Natural Resources Park where we attempted to wait in a long line to fish. About 10 minutes in the line, Eden decided she didn’t want to walk…or stand…or cooperate…so after a major meltdown, we left…sans fishing trophies.

We stopped to eat our packed lunches, which in itself takes a solid 45 minutes. There is just so much for the kids to see, it’s hard for them to concentrate on eating. I don’t blame them…people watching at the fair IS. THE. VERY. BEST.

This year we didn’t make it into the livestock barn. Last year, Eden cried because of the smells (perhaps the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree) so we made one last stop at the kiddie “win every time” games where the kids won their favorite blowup toys. A princess doll, a sword and a puppy power hammer. Two giant lemonades on the way out and that was a wrap!

All in all, we faired pretty well! (See what I did there?!) And now we’re good for another 365.

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Ladder & Flower (RIP)

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Cute kid multiple called a girl. haha.

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Sword & Puppy Power Hammer

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I blame the little one for shaking the water bags. eyyyyy.

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Win Every Time games for the WIN.

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Duck, Duck, Goose.

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A Family Af {Fair}

Last year at this time I wrote an article asking for mom-friends. It went somewhat viral and was shared hundreds of thousands of times thanks to a republish by Scary Mommy.
The outpouring of comments, positive and some negative, was overwhelming. Believe it or not, I am still receiving emails about that article today. That tells me one thing…this topic is something so many women, especially moms struggle with.
Finding an army, tribe, fellow warriors is so important for a mom. A mom needs a group of women who have blazed the trails before them and those who are just embarking in the scariest hood of all…motherhood.
My blog is a no-judgement zone. The opinions expressed in my article reflect the kind of person who would be my ultimate mom-friend…and it should be noted that I do have a tribe of these beautiful women already.
So here it is…my previous article. I’d love to hear your comments below!

Will You Be My Mom-Friend?

It occurred to me recently that I don’t have a ton of friends. Stick with me here. I have a lot of friends from my past. I have an amazing family who oftentimes double as my best friends. I have former co-workers who are a call or text away. And I live in a kick ass neighborhood with lots of little rug rats zooming around on bikes and scooters.

But as for the ultimate “mom-friend”…I mean, the stick with you in the trenches of blowouts and temper tantrums, I don’t have a ton. Why? I think it’s because I’m picky. Finding a true mom-friend is like dating on steroids….but with the extra baggage of 2-4 ex’s (ie…the needy children).

It got me thinking of a list of characteristics one would need to be a true mom-friend of mine. Remember way back when, when you wrote out your dream guy’s qualities? Here’s my dream mom-friend. See if you fit the mold, or can at least relate.

  • Be real. This is the most important characteristic in my book. Cut the crap. Cut the “look how perfect my children are.” Cut the “#besthusbandever” b.s. Just freaking be real. See this pic I shared with this blog post? I legit didn’t have anyone to take it, so it’s fuzzy. My hair is frazzled. I’m carrying two bottles of wine and a baby, because real life.
  • Be chill, no high energy please. I have enough energy radiating off my three young children on the reg. 
  • Enjoy wine. And if you’re not a wine drinker, please don’t judge me when I go for the 2nd or 3rd glass. Raising kids is hard work.
  • While we’re on the subject of judging, let’s just toss out the white wigs. I judge myself enough already. I don’t need you, as a friend, judging me too.
  • Don’t get upset when I cancel. I’m tired. Like really, REALLY tired.
  • Don’t get upset if I accidentally leave you off an invite. Please know it’s not intentional, I probably just forgot. Because, I am REALLY tired.
  • On the same note, don’t comment about how fun it must’ve been. Or if I suddenly remember to invite you, don’t feel like an afterthought…I legit just forgot, because once again, I haven’t slept in 4 years. 
  • Don’t call. Let’s just text. Unless we set up a phone date and have a bottle of wine to share over the phone. 
  • You post a lot of crap on social media, which I’m cool with. However, I’m gonna pretend like I didn’t see it, because it’s so much more fun to hear it from you. 
  • Likewise, when I post a hilarious story (even if you don’t think it’s funny) just humor me and allow me to tell it again when I see you. I like to make you laugh. 
  • Your husband can’t be a douche. I want to have double dates with you dammit!
  • If my kids are acting horrible, scold them. I’m okay with that. I expect them to respect you.
  • My house isn’t always going to be clean. If yours is, I’ll feel like you’re trying too hard. Let’s just be equals here.
  • I appreciate your hustle. No matter what your job is…even if it’s just chasing the toddlers, I want you to know I support you in your ventures. It’d be cool if you supported me in mine.
  • We can vent, but let’s not fall down the rabbit hole of gossip. Let’s vent and then move on to something more positive…like what it’s going to be like to be empty nesters.
  • Let’s plan a trip together. Or at least a night away at a hotel to eat, drink and be merry. I think we both need that. Don’t make me feel like a bad mother for leaving my children at home. I NEED a break. WE need a break.
  • If we haven’t talked in awhile, shoot me a text. Let’s grab coffee. Let’s not act like it’s been forever…. let’s just catch up right where we left off.

We are an unique group of individuals trying to raise these tiny humans. Support me, and I promise to support you. 

I’d love to hear your qualities for that dream mom-friend. Let’s hear them, ladies!

Will you be my mom-friend?

Will you be my mom-friend?