Behind the Selfie: The True Story about our Night

Behind the Selfie The Truth about our Night

Baby Jo and I took this selfie last night. You see our smiles, but you can’t see anything but this brief moment in time. That’s the problem with selfies. We see all these smiling faces plastered over social media, but do we really know what’s going on? What’s the story behind the selfie?

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When God Taps You on the Shoulder

I’ve been working hard on being a better listener. For me, that meant finding a church that I could call my home and not being anonymous there. I tried and failed twice to join a small group (Hubster’s night schedule is a little insane), but Hubster and I actually just finished one together. The key ingredient: they offered childcare! I wanted to find a church and get involved so that I wasn’t just an anonymous face. I wanted people to notice when I wasn’t there. Accountability, friendships, the feeling that our family was “settled” somewhere.

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The Holidays Then & Now

The Holidays Then & Now

There was something about the holidays that was magical. The snow falling softly. The warm cup of coffee in hand as we critiqued neighborhood Christmas lights. The gatherings of friends and family.

I have to say, the holidays no longer feel magical. I think a lot of the “magic” of life is gone now. These days, my world revolves primarily around C’s health, therapy and feedings. Everything else just kind of…happens.

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“I hope you have a child just like you someday.”

“I hope you have a child just like you someday.”

What is that? A curse? Because it worked.

I hope you have a child just like you #LittleMamaJama

My 3-year-old son and I are one soul inhabiting two bodies. We are basically the same person. He is me – in the body of a 3-year-old boy, that is.

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Thankful for my Babies on a Bench

Sometimes I look at these two and am so thankful.

Thankful that they love each other so much.

Thankful that they enjoy playing together so much.

Thankful that C is thriving, even when some days are difficult.

Thankful that they are growing, growing, growing.

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#IAmProtective because I am a special needs parent. #CollectiveBias #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

C peeks from behind door #IAmProtective #CollectiveBias #shop

“Good morning, Mommy!” C pops open his bedroom door to greet me, if he hasn’t snuck into bed with us during the night. We start the day with cuddles, his brushing and lotion sensory protocol and a tube feed. C has sensory processing disorder, gastroparesis and a g-tube. Thankfully, the doctor appointments are less frequent now, but we still find ourselves racing to therapy appointments multiple days each week. My days are filled with blending tube feeds, administering tube feeds, portioning out medicines and vitamins, therapy, implementing what we talked about in therapy and then the usual tasks associated with being a mother of two toddlers. I sometimes find myself wondering what my family would do if something happened to me. How much life insurance do I need?

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The Clarity of Bedtime

Bedtime provides clarity on difficult days with our #spd toddler #specialneeds #LittleMamaJama

The tension in his little body is visible. I know it is going to be a difficult day. Today, he will be aggressive. It will be difficult for him to follow direction, because auditory processing will not be easy. Motor planning will be harder today so I expect him to run into his sister, body slam me, and roll around on the floor in frustration.

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3 Ingredients to a Perfect Mommy Time Out #MyGoodLife #shop

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

“Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!”

Reason would indicate that my three-year-old needs something, right? Nope. He just wants my attention. He does this to me all day long, and it’s usually while Baby Jo is looking something like this:

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Wondering what the future holds for my special needs child

What does the future hold for my special needs son?

I know that I spend too much time thinking about the future. I just can’t help but wonder what the future holds for my special needs son.

When C has difficulty listening to directions, I wonder how things will go for him in school. Language and auditory processing is difficult for him with his sensory processing disorder. I wonder how he will handle the pace of a classroom. What extracurricular activities will he be involved in? Will he be able to keep up with directions? Will he process language and turn it into a motor plan quickly enough to participate in his favorite sports? I pray that he won’t be bullied for being slower with processing. The thought of it alone shatters my heart into a million pieces.

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Why this Mother’s Day was emotional for me

Kymberly Carlson Photography

Kymberly Carlson Photography

I found myself close to tears a few times yesterday. A few times those tears even spilled down my cheeks. Mother’s Day served as a reminder of how difficult this year of mothering has been for me. During this third year as a mom, many difficult things happened.

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The Moments That Make the Hard Parts of Staying Home Worth It

Staying at home with my kids means I’m there through everything. Every smile, every hug, every “first.” That also means I witness every tantrum, every skipped nap, the monotony, and I can’t forget the body fluids. Oh, the body fluids. We may live on a university campus, but I think even our neighbors would be shocked by the amount of body fluids going on in here every day. I’m sure any parent who stays at home would agree that parenting in the trenches 24/7 can get really hard sometimes.

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Moms are awesome. #WorldsToughestJob

If you haven’t seen this viral video yet, by American Greetings and Cardstore, you must watch it! They created a real job posting, posted it on real sites and conducted real interviews. Their working job title was, “Director of Operations.” It gave me goosebumps! Enjoy. :)

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What I Don’t Say About Being a Special Needs Mom

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I get those words a lot. I usually smile and reply, “You learn to deal with what you have to deal with.” That’s the truth, but there is a lot more to my truth that I don’t add. The truth in its entirety is just too much.

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Parenting as a Multiple Choice Exam

Sometimes it feels like parenting is just one giant exam after another. I don’t know if there’s really a correct answer to some of the exams, but I’m sure there are ways to fail. My latest exam had me feeling completely unprepared. Frantic, even. Here’s a breakdown of my most recent exam – tell me how you’d handle it!

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Family of Four

Family of Four #LittleMamaJama

I unwrapped Baby Jo’s new toothbrush and slid it into the last open space in our toothbrush holder. There it was, a full toothbrush holder. Four toothbrushes. Something so simple, but it brought tears to my eyes. We have a family of four.

The month before I got pregnant with C, I was told that I had PCOS and it would be difficult for me to conceive children. Having children was not in my five-year plan at the time, but I was devastated. I had always pictured a family. That picture involved four children at the time – two boys and two girls, naturally. ;)

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How I Came to Embrace Stay at Home Motherhood

When I found out I was going to be a mother, I had just moved to a new state with Hubster for our graduate programs. I had a five-year plan and having a baby wasn’t on the list. The shock was immediate, quickly followed by hyperemesis which required me to drop out of grad school. There I was – extremely ill, jobless, a grad school dropout, about to become a mother at the age of 23.

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Sometimes You Just Need to Cry

The kids have been sick all week. Baby Jo had her cold for so long that C and I came down with it again. When they’re sick, they are super whiny, clingy and jealous of each other. If I’m holding one, the other is crying. They pull at me all day long. C’s SPD is out of control when he’s sick. It makes for very long, very loud, very stressful days.

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Hanging Out With My Sweet Baby Jo

It was one of those rare occasions when the stars aligned and both of my children took an afternoon nap. Naturally, I heard Baby Jo wake up just a few short, quiet minutes later. I was so glad she did, though. I had lots of special one-on-one time with C before she was born, but I don’t often get special time when it’s just Baby Jo and me. I walked in to get her out of her crib and she met me with a gigantic smile.

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When I became a mother about five years earlier than my life plan allowed for, I was unsure what to expect. I knew I’d be in love with my sweet baby boy. I knew my life would change dramatically. Life would no longer be about Hubster and me – it would be about our family of three. Even one year ago, I didn’t realize how motherhood would stretch me in ways I never thought I was capable.

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“Tummy Hurt.”

I think this may have all been a little easier before C was able to articulate things. Last night I noticed that there was fluid leaking around his g-tube button, which meant that I needed to add 1-2 ml of water to the balloon for a tighter fit. He squirmed and whined as I tightened the fit of the g-tube button.

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The Great Cheerios Cleanup Standoff of 2013

C and I are a little too much alike. And by that, I mean that he’s basically me in male form.

With his sensory processing disorder, health problems and the terrible twos, we’ve been dealing with some pretty intense behavioral issues. I’ve started to really crack down on the bad behavior. The result is an epic battle of wills between two people who are basically the same.

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I am the mother of a special needs child.

Sometimes I look at my son and it’s like life is spinning wildly around us, yet time is frozen while I look at his sweet face and the feeding tube protruding from his stomach. Life just spins and spins as I try desperately to keep up, all the while wondering. Wondering, when did this all happen?

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My Postpartum Body Image

I was one of the many women applauding Kate Middleton showing off her postpartum bump on the way home from having baby George. But recently I was feeling bad about myself when she “debuted” her post-baby body. She looked stunning – as always! – and I found myself looking down at my midsection and making comparisons. That’s what society has programmed us to do, right? Compare our imperfections to the seemingly perfect bodies of others?

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Figuring Out My Parenting Style

It seems like these days you’re expected to pick out a parenting style before giving birth. Are you going to practice attachment parenting? Free range parenting? Are you going to use the Ferber method? Extended breastfeeding?

There are just so many theories. Quite honestly, the parenting theories overwhelmed me when I had C. I had no idea what parenting style I believed in. Then I got a postpartum mood disorder, and I was struggling to tread water. I kind of fumbled through that first year and did what felt right.

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We All Deserve Some “Me” Time

We’ve all met that mom. You know the one – the mom who proclaims that she doesn’t take any time for herself because she loves her family so much. I always want to go over to her, stroke her hair and say, “Sweetie, you’re a mother. Not a martyr.”

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To The Little Boy Who Stole My Heart

My Dearest C,

You were our unexpected blessing, born just ten months after I was told it would be difficult for me to have children. When you came along, you changed the course of my life in a most unexpected way. You made me a mama. Someday you’ll discover that becoming a parent is a scary thing. You were a high needs baby, and I was terrified that I had no idea what I was doing.

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I’m Not Just Doing Laundry, I’m Raising Human Beings

Many times since C was born, I’ve found myself struggling to answer the questions, “What do you do?” and “What did you do today?”

As a mom, my days can be monotonous. I sometimes often feel like I haven’t accomplished a single thing. C can demand my constant attention, preventing me from “doing” (read: accomplishing) anything else. Now I’m in the midst of my first week as a stay-at-home mom of two children, and simply meeting everyone’s fundamental needs can seem like a challenge.

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Breathing It All In

When I think back to the days and weeks after C was born, I don’t remember that much. I was trying desperately to breastfeed, but felt like I was failing. Hubster and I were extremely sleep deprived. C developed colic around his second week of life. He needed to be held in order to sleep. I remember a lot of crying, a lot of stress, a lot of frustration, a lot of uncertainty in my ability to raise a human being.

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Having Another Baby After a Postpartum Mood Disorder by Dr. Jessica Michaelson {Guest Post}

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Jessica Michaelson. I’m so happy to have her here to write about a topic that I struggled over – deciding to have another baby after a postpartum mood disorder. If you’re currently making that decision, I hope you’ll find this post very helpful. Thank you, Dr.!

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I Was Less Excited Than Everyone Else

Today, I’m linking up with Shell from Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday.

One week ago, I had an appointment at my OBGYN for a typical pregnancy checkup.  If the ultrasound technician was available, they would also check for the baby’s gender since Baby Deuce’s legs were crossed during the 20-week ultrasound.  Going into the appointment, I didn’t know if the technician would be available and, even if she was, if Baby Deuce would cooperate.

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My Sweet Boy

I’m crazy about my little boy.  He does this sweet thing where he puts his hands on my face, and pulls my face close to his for kisses or snuggles.  It melts my heart in ways I can’t describe.

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures from our trip.  He’s the best.

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Changing Expectations {No More Perfect Moms}

I have always had very high expectations for myself.  Because of that, it’s always been difficult not to have high expectations of others.  I’m discovering that I project high expectations on my child sometimes.  I feel terrible about that, and I want to change it quickly.

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The Day I Tried To Make a Fort

When Hubster left for work yesterday, he said he wouldn’t be home until 8:30pm.  After the door closed behind him, I panicked.  There was *SO* much time in the day!

I put out a plea for creative indoor activities (it was raining here yesterday) on Facebook, and my lovely friend Andrea, of Postpartum and Pigtails, gave me some awesome ideas.  One of them was to build a fort.  I immediately got flashbacks of building forts as a kid and knew I had to try that!

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An Emergency Cesarean and the Scars That Remain

After C was born, it didn’t cross my mind right away that I had experienced a traumatic delivery.  I think I was in shock from it all, and just relieved that it was over.  While I generally don’t think about his birth and the events that led to my emergency cesarean, there are certain triggers that bring it up for me.

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I usually take the path less traveled, and my journey to motherhood was no different.  If you’re not familiar with my story, I’ll give you the abridged version.  In July 2010, I was told I had PCOS (polycystic ovaries) and it would be difficult for me to conceive children.  In August, I started graduate school and a graduate assistantship only to find out a week later that – surprise! – I was pregnant.  I ended up with hyperemesis and was so ill that I could hardly leave our apartment.  In early October, I was forced to withdraw from graduate school, thereby losing my job as well.  I spent the majority of April 2011 experiencing false labor, and then after 2.5 hours of pushing I ended up with an emergency c-section on April 29.  A long, slow spiral into postpartum depression ensued, but wasn’t diagnosed until December 2011.

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Things I’m Afraid to Tell You: 10 Things About Pregnancy and Early Motherhood

Today, I’m joining the Things I’m Afraid To Tell You linkup!  Thank you to Jess Constable, who came up with this idea, as well as Ez of Creature Comforts, who turned it into a movement.  Here is a Huffington Post article on this topic by Laura Rossi.  If you’d like to link up with a post, you may do so with the linky at the bottom of this post!

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Mother’s Intuition

Last week, I had my first experience with mother’s intuition.  It makes me smile thinking about it.

We dropped C off with my parents the week of our move, so that he wouldn’t be getting into boxes and cleaning products as we prepared to leave our apartment.  He did really well with them, and we made sure we Skyped every day until moving day.

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Oh No, It’s April!

My baby boy turns one at the end of this month.  It can’t be!  Where did the time go?  What happened to my sweet, tiny infant who slept perfectly in my arms?

This past year with him went by far too quickly.  During his first colicky two months, I sometimes begged God to make the time pass more quickly so that difficult phase would end.  During his third through fifth months, he refused to nap anywhere but in our arms.  I spent so many hours confined to our rocking chair.  I often prayed that C would just get over it and sleep alone so that I could take a bathroom break.

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You’re Doing Okay, Mom

One of my Facebook friends posted this video, and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you all. Enjoy. :)

Motherhood Made Me Such a Softy

I never used to be a crier.  Only something really moving (like “The Notebook”) would get the tears rolling.  That was before I had C.  Now I cry over a lot of stuff.  C laughing so hard that he gives me happy tears, C’s sad little face while he’s crying, any episode of Parenthood

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Joy and Guilt

Life is starting to feel good again.  Not all the time, but I’ll take even a moment of it.  My body is finally adjusting to the increased dosage of antidepressant that my doctor prescribed three weeks ago for my PPD.  I’m starting to feel a lot of joy – but it’s tinged with guilt.

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What 2011 Taught Me

As 2011 comes to a close, I’ve been pondering the life lessons that this year has taught me.  Do you also find yourself reflecting on the past year?  If so, what are some things that you have learned?

1. Becoming a parent is life-changing.  Even though you have the entire pregnancy to prepare for parenthood, the actual transformation is almost instantaneous.  Shortly after I had gotten my epidural in the hospital, Hubster went out to get himself dinner.  We knew there was a long night of labor ahead of us.  I’ll never forget how I shocked my nurse by choosing to lay in silence instead of turning on the television.  I told her that my life would never be that quiet again and I wanted to relish in it.  Wow, was that the truth.  Leaving our home as a couple and returning as a family was an amazing experience for which I don’t think we could have emotionally prepared.

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Am I Stay-At-Home Mom Material?

Courtesy of

We’ve all seen supermom.  She effortlessly drives around town in her minivan, escorting her children to all of their extracurricular activities.  Dressed in school colors, she claps wildly at her kids’ sporting events.  She bakes elaborate snacks and her house is always spotless.  She has time to do her hair every morning and never wears yoga pants unless she’s working out.

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Laughing With My Son

C was chowing down on his rice cereal when he let out a gigantic burp.  He raised his eyebrows and started giggling.  It was the first time he laughed at himself.  His hearty laughter made me start laughing.  We just looked at each other and laughed harder and harder.  These are the moments that make all the sleepless nights worth it.  :)

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Help! Tips for Covering Up Under-Eye Circles?

Help!  I rarely had this issue pre-motherhood.  Nevertheless, I have eye brightener and concealer in my makeup arsenal; but nothing is working on the massive circles I woke up with this morning!

What are your tips for covering up under-eye circles?

This looks so relaxing...

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A Moment Shared

You know those perfect moments you have with your kids that you want to remember forever?

C and I recently shared one of those moments during a night feeding.  He finished his bottle and looked deep into my eyes.  He had such a loving look on his face.  We just sat there staring at each other while I rubbed his little head.  After holding each other’s gaze for a minute or so, we smiled.  It was perfection.

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Our First Day of MOPS!

I’m pretty impressed with myself.  Why, you ask?  Well, let me tell you!

C and I were both clean, dressed, and out the door by 8:40 this morning so that we could attend our first MOPS meeting!  MOPS is short for Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers (birth to kindergarten).  C hung out in the NURSERY for the first time ever.  I was a little nervous about it, because we’ve never left him with anyone except family.  But, when I got to the room and there were 3 or 4 other babies screaming their little lungs out, I knew that he’d be just fine.  ;)

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Adoring My Little Boy

After C woke up for a night feeding, I just sat there adoring him instead of putting him back to bed right away.  I was just sitting there staring at his little face and holding his soft little hands, thinking about how awesome he is.  Here are some of my thoughts on what I love most about my little C…

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Ok, I Admit It…I’m Nervous

I’m nervous about leaving C with a babysitter.  In the beginning when C had colic, I didn’t want to subject someone else to his incessant cries.  I was also concerned about how someone else would be able to handle it.  As C gets a little older, I’m concerned about someone being able to handle his intensity and constant need for interaction.  I’ll admit, C is very difficult to handle sometimes.  He screams when he wants something and will continue to do so until his need is met.  He needs to switch activities VERY often.  C’s high needs.  The way I see it, if I - his own mother - have a hard time dealing with it sometimes, then how would someone else handle it?  It scares me.

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Had Time to Do My Hair!

I haven’t had time to do more than rub some product in my wet hair, scrunch up my curls and let them air-dry since C was born.  That’s four months.  Imagine my excitement when I saw Hubster and C sleeping in the recliner yesterday morning.  I had time to do my hair!  It wasn’t even that my hair looked fabulous when I was done, but more the fact that I was able to take the time to be ALONE and leisurely read a magazine while I did my hair.  *sigh*  It’s the simple things in life, really. ;)

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Saving Your Sanity

I read a blog today over at the fabulous marriagemotherhoodandmadness about sanity-saving activities.  We definitely have some in common (Keeping Up With the Kardashians!).  Here is my list of things that keep me sane throughout the day/week (and here is marriagemotherhoodandmadness‘ list!)

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Losing My Mind

Today, C is only happy while being held in a standing-up position.  You’d think he’d be happy standing in his exersaucer.  Nope.  You’d think he’d be happy playing in his gym (his absolute favorite toy).  Nope.  Is he hungry?  No, recently ate.  Does he need a diaper change?  No, recently pooped.  Is he tired?  No, he just took a two hour nap while being held because he would NOT stop crying in his pack n play.

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I think I’m in for a bad day.

C woke up at 10:30, 1, 3, 3:30, 4, 4:15, 4:30…  At 5:20, he decided that he was awake for the day.  At 5:30, he had a huge blowout and got poop everywhere.


My Life Now Revolves Around My Washing Machine

My dad recently mentioned to me that I’m doing laundry every time he visits – for the entire time he’s here.  He doesn’t only come on my laundry days and, since we live in different states, he is here for more than a short visit.  He’s right.  I do A LOT of laundry.

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Being Grateful for a Shower

It is after 10:30pm and I just got done taking my shower for the day.  Today was kind of crazy.

Between 8:10am and 8:25am, I woke up, made a pediatrician appointment for C, got myself ready and left for the doctor’s office for an 8:40 check-in time.  (Thank you to my wonderful Hubster for getting C dressed, or I never would have made it out the door on time!)  Naturally, after all that rushing we had to wait until 9:02 to get called in for the appointment.  The good news is that C does not have an ear infection!  His symptoms are just from his cold and other than that, he’s perfectly healthy.  He’s also a svelt 12 pounds, 2 ounces now!  ;)

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Myth: Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom is Easy

Over the past week, someone said to me that they’d love to be able to “just” stay at home with their kids.  (They emphasized the “just.”  This person did not have children.)  Inwardly, I was outraged that this person thought that life at home with children was so easy.  Outwardly, all I could do was smile politely at their ignorance.

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Read Your Books!

When I was pregnant, one of the last things I felt like doing sometimes was reading.  I was kind of a lazy sack at the end of my pregnancy.  But looking back, I wish I had taken that opportunity to read some parenting books that I struggle to find the time for now.

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Things Change…

There’s some things that I can no longer attend or do because C needs a nap, is fussy, or a barrage of other things.  Yet, it’s funny because now there’s nowhere I’d rather be or nothing I’d rather be doing than hanging out with this teeny tiny little person.

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Motherhood Is…

…waking up in the pre-dawn hours to pump and wash bottles.

…realizing that having time to shower is a luxury.

…being so busy with formerly mundane tasks (i.e. dishes, laundry) that the days fly by and you don’t know where the time goes.

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