It’s Been a Year Already?

Not only do I FEEL better after a year of blogging but I’ve got to know each of you!


Ta Da! First Original Blog Post Published!

Awhile ago I mentioned about blogging for The Huffington Post. I’m not a big star blogger. I have my own little corner here of the blogosphere and I enjoy sharing with all of you!

Today I am going to toot my own horn! *TOOT TOOT* I’ve been a busy lady this month and to add on to my Feel Good Friday — I’m feeling good that my first original blog post was published on The Huffington Post website!

Check it out! Tell me what you think! Next to my bio picture there should be a “Become a Fan” button! Give it a click!

7 Things I Didn’t Know I Was Getting Into as a Stepmom

Jordan’s Dance Recital With Her Moms


Stephanie’s View

Jessica’s View 

Our daughter Jordan’s dance recital was Thursday night.

About 2 months ago we found out that she was the 32nd act in the show.  This meant that she was 9th after the intermission.  She has never been this late in the show before.  Always in the first part of the show, so we can all cut out sometime before intermission!
Well…this meant that we were going to be in for the long haul.  As soon as I found this out, I text Jess to let her know.  I believe this was before we were “friends” but, I was still well aware of how she “loved” the dance stuff just as much as I do!
I remember when Stephanie told me about the dance recital date and how we can do what we did last year. Last year Matt and I went to Stephanie’s house and I helped Jo with her hair and make up. I love doing hair and make up, especially on Jordan. She just loves getting all dolled up for her recital and I am happy to be her personal make up artist.
A few weeks after letting Jess know about this years recital, we got James’ baseball schedule, low and behold he had a baseball game scheduled for that same night.  Which meant we had to figure how who was doing what.  It seemed easiest and most obvious to just split it down the middle.  Boys go to the game and girls go to the recital.
Matt was pretty upset at first when he saw a baseball game was at the same time as the dance recital. He was actually pretty close to saying he wasn’t going to go to the game because he wanted to watch his daughter dance on stage. I’m not gonna lie. I was pretty shocked he got that worked up about it. “She has one recital a year. I don’t want to let her down.” After talking it over for a few days and telling Jordan that I would video tape her rehearsal so Daddy could watch it, everyone was okay with the decision of who was going where and that no one was letting anyone down.



Buying tickets for the dance recital is seriously like going on Ticketmaster to buy tickets for a JT concert.  They sell out within like 12 minutes!!  I am always on right at 10 to purchase them like a good Mom and I scored Jess, Jordan and I three seats in the front.

When Stephanie told me where our seats were I was pretty excited. We haven’t been this close before, and I kinda felt like we were VIP walking down the aisle to the 2nd row. And she’s not joking about how quickly those tickets sell out – these dance moms don’t mess around. 

Well about a week or so after the tickets went on sale, Jess contacted me to tell me that her in-laws (Jordan’s grandparents) were coming up from Florida for a surprise trip.  They were going to be here over the recital date, did I think I could get tickets?  I told Jess right away that I was so sorry, but that the tickets sell out super fast.
Matt’s parents called us up one morning and said they were planning a trip up to Michigan to surprise the kids for Jo’s dance recital and a couple of James’s games. I was SO excited that they were coming. They haven’t seen one of her dance recitals before and it’s been 3 years since they saw James play baseball (which was T-ball the last time they watched). Then I thought, “Crap. Stephanie and I already made plans, I know those tickets sell out fast, and there is NO way there are any extra tickets floating around anywhere.” I decided to ask her anyways and I was scared to death to even MENTION it to her. She had already bought our tickets and we already set up how the night was going to go. I know she’s not big on changing plans that were already set in stone, but I know how much this would mean to Jordan. Steph didn’t get upset with me, she didn’t yell at me, and she didn’t make me feel like an idiot for asking her for extra tickets. I know we’ve been on WAY better terms lately, but certain situations can trigger people to get upset, and I didn’t want this to be one of those situations. But it wasn’t, not even a little bit!
I felt badly about this for the last month.  I knew that this may be their only opportunity to see Jo in a dance recital and it made me sad that there weren’t any tickets for them.  Well…it turns out that didn’t much matter. They had told Jess that they would show up at the venue and “figure it out.”
I told my in-laws about the ticket situation and they told me “It’s fine. We will just be recital crashers and sneak in at intermission.” LOL. They are seriously that awesome. While Stephanie was on her way back from vacation she texted me about the recital, “Hey, I’ve been thinking…if you want to take Ann to the recital with my ticket, I’m okay with that. I think it would make Jo happy to have Ann there more than she would be disappointed about me missing it.” — What a selfless act, which of course made me cry. I told her no way she was coming with me and Matt’s parents will figure it out! Jordan was going to have BOTH of her moms there, we already had plans and we weren’t changing them! 
They sure did figure it out.  At intermission Jess and I walked Jo up the aisle to go to the bathroom and get her in the staging area.  As we made our way out, her grandparents were there and she was so happy!!!  They said that they had been there and just watched from the back.  After intermission they scouted out seats (more than likely where others like us in years prior had scooted out as soon as their child’s act was done).  
Jordan danced beautifully.  Jess and I both got tears in our eyes as she led her class in their routine.  Even with a special hand wave shout out to the both of us in the beginning.
 I cried like a baby watching her dance. I was THAT mom. I never thought I would be THAT mom, but I was, and I wasn’t ashamed. We watched our tiny dancer on stage with a smile on her face. Twirling, spinning and prancing like a pro. This year was unlike all the other years. These girls knew their dance and they were mostly all in sync. I was so proud. So proud of our little girl. She has worked her butt off since the beginning of the school year on this dance and the day finally arrived where she could show off all of her hard work. She was showered with flowers, kisses and an abundance of love. After the recital we all chatted for a bit outside. Matt’s dad told us ladies to get in a group picture. Stephanie stepped to the side and he told her “You too Steph, get in there!” – “Are you sure?” she said, and we all said “Yes! Come on in!” — We took our first photo together. As mom and stepmom. Supporting our daughter and showing her what the power of love and co-parenting can do.
It was a really fun night that Jess and I were able to spend together with Jordan.  Just the girls.  Just the special girl and her Moms.

Reblog: You Only Get One Shot At Your First Word

THIS made me laugh so hard today!

My Least Favorite Child Today

June 10, 2016

I emailed my Mother a video a few days ago that signified a milestone moment.  It was a video showing Charles saying his first word, “EAT.”  Her email reply took the wind out of my sails of excitement.  Basically she wrote, “Isn’t that cute.”  She didn’t say he was a genius nor did she comment that he was advanced past the typical baby.  Just that his first was “cute.”


And I have to admit it.  She was right.  As far as first words go, it was kind of an unimpressive debut.  It’s not like he uttered “photosynthesis.” Out of interest I asked her what my first word was and she had absolutely no recollection, so obviously I didn’t blow the barn doors off. I also made a note to myself that on my next visit I might have to take my Mom’s “World’s Greatest Mother” mug away…

View original post 893 more words

Happily Breaking Routine


What an eventful week at the Valentino household! We broke our normal routine and Stephanie kept the kids until Friday last week. Why break routine you ask? – Stephanie and her husband went on vacation this past Saturday to Wednesday – so  Matt and I not only kept James and Jordan, but Noah (Steph and Paul’s son) too!

Back in November, Stephanie asked us about keeping the kids while they go on vacation – Noah too. My first instinct was to say “Yes!”, because Noah is hilarious, adorable and always welcomed at our house. This was also seven months ago – before Stephanie and I became friends. I was actually shocked and honored that she asked us. I talked it over with Matt and he had no problem with it, so we set the date and the day finally arrived this past week.

The responses I got from some people about Noah staying with us weren’t shocking to me. I know it might sound like a crazy idea, but it’s really not. Noah is 3 years old. To the best of my knowledge I don’t think he has stayed with anyone else besides family in his entire life, let alone be away from both of his parents for longer than an over night stay. Stephanie trusted us. She trusts us with James and Jordan and I know she felt that he would be taken care of so she wouldn’t have to worry as much. All three of her kids would be under the same roof. It only made sense to have him stay with us in my mind and I’m so happy he did!

Saturday morning we all woke up and Matt made pancakes and eggs. The kids and I packed lunches for our “adventure day” that I had planned at the park later. Matt left for work and the four of us headed out to the park. We live near a place where there are 10 jungle gyms in a 5-mile radius. We went to about four different parks and ate our lunch in the warm afternoon sun. When we left to head back to the house for Noah’s nap, all three kids passed out in the back seat. Mission accomplished!

I’m pretty sure we did almost everything on Noah’s list of things he wanted to do:

  • Go to a lot of parks (we went to 10!)
  • Play outside  (they played for hours outside with each other and the neighbor kids)
  • Get slurpees (we made a special stop after dinner one night)
  • Go to Taco Bell 
  • Watch Goosebumps (Noah’s favorite movie of all time – so he says)
  • Play in the water (they played in the rain, what kid doesn’t love that?)
  • Eat Donuts for breakfast (we went to our local bakery Sunday morning and the kids picked out their favorite donuts)
  • Build a fort (right in front of the TV on a rainy night with popcorn)

The only thing I can think we missed was going to Witches Hat Brewery. Noah informed us he LOVES going to Witches Hat and it is one of his favorite places to go. LOL The boy can recognize a good brewery, gotta give him props for that!

I’ve missed hearing tiny voices in the house, the toddler giggles and pitter patter of little feet. Our babies aren’t babies anymore. The munchkins are growing up so fast, right before our eyes – I swear it was just the other day I was chasing their naked little bodies around the house after bath time. Now it’s all about dance recitals and baseball games. So many memories came flooding back to me throughout the week and I also realized I didn’t lose my touch on being able to decipher toddler language. I still got it!


Watching James with Noah has actually made me a little emotional. James is an amazing big brother, I’ve always known that, but how he is with Noah – just blows me away. The kindness, compassion and over all love those two have for each other is a bond that could never be broken. James has grown up so much and seeing him in this role has really showed me that. Noah loves James and Jordan, but James and him have a different connection, a deeper one.

Seeing Matt with little kids always makes me smile. Kids LOVE this man. They must sense his inner child. When I walked out of the bedroom on Saturday morning, I found Noah and Matt laughing hysterically in the kitchen while James and Jordan looked at them like they were nuts. All this just reassures me I’ve truly met my match and reminds me the very reason I feel in love with this man in the first place. He’s a phenomenal father and the kids are lucky to have a dad who loves being goofy just as much as they do.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is what adding another child to the mix might be like. I have had a lot of flash backs of the kids since Noah has been here. I forgot how silly a 3 year old could be. I’ve missed those years and Matt agrees. This has made us even more confident in our decision in growing our family.

Monday, Matt was home from work. He took the two older kids to school, then Noah, Matt and I headed out to more parks. We played freeze tag and hide-n-seek until it was time for lunch. We went to a nice downtown area with little shops and pubs and sat outside on their patio, while enjoying the gorgeous Michigan weather.


Our five days with Noah has came to an end and everyone kept telling me by the end I will be singing a different tune about having Noah over, but I’m not and neither is Matt. This little 3 year old has so many people in his life he can depend on and I hope he knows he is ALWAYS welcome at Jess and Matt’s house. Even though he isn’t one of ours, he is apart of our huge, crazy, blended family. His laugh, his smile and all of his silliness is what makes him one kick ass kid, and I’m proud James and Jordan get to have him as a brother.


Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Oh my!

I’m slowly but surely getting my page together and adding new links. I made a Facebook page for Not the Average Mama. That was pretty exciting to figure out. Now I just need to figure out Twitter and Instagram.


Take a look around my blog and Facebook page. Any tips or feedback is much appreciated 🙂

Also I came across some pretty cool news:
I missed out last year, so I’m glad I didn’t miss this year 🙂