Seven Years Ago

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Seven years ago, I met a man who had two kids. Two little kids. Two little kids under the age of three. I was 22 years old and I had NO idea what I was getting myself into. When I think back to those early years I remember all the different emotions I was going through. But most of all, I remember the anxiety.

I literally had no idea what I was doing. There was no handbook or crash course on how to raise kids that aren’t biologically your own. I was in my early twenties, head over heels in love with a man I couldn’t imagine my life without, and I had no clue where to begin on raising little munchkins into upstanding citizens of the world. Talk about instant anxiety.

I remember the first time I drove the kids in the car without Matt there. I was taking James to preschool which was literally a mile and a half from the house. I strapped in their car seats, which was like figuring out rocket science, and triple checked my work. Forty five minutes later everyone was buckled, clipped, strapped, and tied in for the mile and a half ride. “Now I actually have to drive…with them in the car….alone.” Well what if something happened in that mile and a half drive? What if I get in an accident? What if someone slips out of their car seat? What if they both start screaming, I lose concentration and slam into a telephone pole?! Not only would I be devastated, but Matt AND Stephanie will kill me. I was honestly terrified. Thinking back on that now, I laugh at how anxious I got over such a little thing because look at how far I have come. But at the time they were legit fears and I did my best not to let it show.

I had anxiety ALL the time. I worried if they were eating the right foods. I worried if they took a long enough nap. I worried if they were feeling okay and not getting sick. I worried about diaper rashes and how to fix it when it happens. I worried about if they were going to like me, heck I worried if they would ever LOVE me. I worried about their mom. I worried about what she thought of how I was raising the kids. I worried she thought I would fail or I was failing. Every night before I went to bed those thoughts would begin to rush through my head. Pretty much I was a big ‘ol worry wart and I needed to find some common ground fast. Which is exactly what I did.

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I started Googling stepmom blogs and stumbled across a few blogs that I connected with. I thought, “What an amazing thing these women are doing. They are sharing their stories and helping other stepmoms through these difficult and hard times. I wish I could do something like that.” So here I am, seven years later, starting my journey helping out fellow stepmoms on navigating their way through this crazy, beautiful, and blended life. I won’t have all the answers but I hope that through my experiences and bits of advice I can help just ONE fellow stepmama out there who just realized she has no idea what she got herself into.

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It Came In Like a Wrecking Ball

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It really feels like I’ve been beaten down this week. I mean, honest to God, I’ve had a rough few weeks and I’ve rolled with the punches but last night — last night was the icing on the cake.

I picked the kids up Monday from school and asked them how their day was. As I turned to look at James he had tears rolling down his cheeks. “What’s the matter bud?!” and he just looked at me and said, “We got our report cards and I got a couple of 3’s.” If you are not aware, some elementary schools don’t give out actual grades (A’s, B’s, C’s..and so on) until a certain grade level. 1’s are considered above and beyond, 2’s are for right on track for their grade level, and 3’s are for needs lots of improvement. I asked him what the 3’s were for and he told me “Well, my handwriting is really bad but I’m working on it and my teacher thought I didn’t turn in an assignment, but I did, and she couldn’t find it so it was marked incomplete, but she found it in her desk today. And sometimes…I can’t control myself when I know the answer to something so I blurt it out and I’m really trying to work on that too.”

I mean, those were all things we figured were going to be said on his report card because it’s not new news to us. I told him, “Well, it looks like you’re very aware of what you need to work on, so why are you so upset, relax bud, you’re kicking Math’s butt though!” I turned and looked at Jordan and asked her, “Well, what about you? Anything I need to know about before Parent/Teacher Conferences on Wednesday?” She looked me dead straight in the eyes, with a smile on her face and said, “Nope! I’m all good!”

As we are driving home I get a phone call from our bank asking me if I’m using my credit card out of state. “Uh, no. No I am not.” — They read off the pending charges and we came to the conclusion my credit/debit card number was stolen. I took a deep breath and began the process of having them reissue me a new card as soon as possible.

Lucky for me I thought. I’m a server half of the week and I still had all my cash on me from over the weekend, so I thought I had nothing to worry about. I had the kid’s Christmas money all set to be deposited so I could use that until I got my new card.

Wednesday rolls around and Matt and I went up to the school for the Parent/Teacher Conferences. Matt ran into Stephanie earlier that morning and she gave him the thumbs up about James’ conference. Which to be honest, after his year thus far, we were ALL a little worried. So after that thumbs up,  I wasn’t too concerned or worried about going in to talk to their teachers. — If only life was that easy, right?…

We sit down with Jordan’s teacher and she asked if Stephanie was going to be coming. We told her no, she was at home with the kids, but not to worry because she already asked if I would let her know how everything went. “We need to address some serious behavioral issues first.” My mouth dropped to the floor and Matt turned about five different shades of red in like 30 seconds. “I didn’t send a note home or call you because I wanted to talk to you about this face to face.”

Now, I don’t normally put the kids on blast. I usually brag about them to anyone who will listen to me, but sometimes there are some ugly times and things that kids do that make parents think, “What have I done wrong?” — I want you parents to know that no kid is perfect and they all make mistakes,  but it doesn’t always make it the parent’s fault. And if you have a child who was hurt or offended by another child, don’t look at that parent like they don’t know what they are doing or their child is just pure evil. You don’t know what that household is going through. Remember small children are just that, small children, with small brains, who are just embarking on understanding this crazy world we live in. We are all human.

Back to the story. Her teacher looked me in the eyes and said. “Jordan has been really acting out and not her normal self the past few weeks. Right after Thanksgiving Break the kids got a paper they could turn in for a treat if they read and had a parent sign the paper. Well, Jordan forged your signature, Jess.” My jaw dropped even further. Um, excuse me, my seven year old did WHAT!?” — Her teacher said, “When the librarian asked her if that was her mom’s signature, Jordan said yes, then the teacher pulled out James’ that you had signed and it clearly wasn’t the same signature.”  What the actual *@#$!

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She then goes on to say, “Then on Monday she went to the Scholastic Book Fair in the library and she stole a roll of fancy tape. The librarian pulled Jordan aside and asked her if she took something that wasn’t hers. Jordan told her no. The librarian asked her three times and Jordan kept telling her no. Well, she then made her empty out her pockets and out fell the tape.”

I couldn’t even form words. I felt like someone just took one of those wrecking balls and smacked me in the side of the face with it.

“I’m so sorry….that’s actually not all of it. Yesterday she stole a bag of pretzels from one of the girls in class and put it in her desk and ate from it all day. I didn’t know about it until the girl’s parents emailed me saying their daughter came home crying from school. I’m so sorry guys. I KNOW this isn’t like her at all and up until a few weeks ago she has been GREAT, but all of a sudden she just started this really mean streak.”

I’m pretty sure the first thing I ended up saying was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Because Jordan hasn’t acted different at either house at ALL, and trust me, one of us would of said something to each other about it. Clearly there is something going on in that head of hers and on Sunday, her and I are going to have a nice little chat about it. I called Stephanie after we left and I’m sure Jo got a well deserved ear full after we hung up.

Well that’s just a fabulous start to the rest of my week now. Wednesday through Saturday I serve at a restaurant. I make easy quick cash and I’m still able to balance everything else going on in my life. Last night was a busy night and at the end I went back to where we keep our coats and purses to put the money I made in my wallet. I opened up my wallet and every single dollar was gone. All $250 of it. All $250 of the kid’s Christmas money — gone.

I just began to sob. I sobbed like a baby and one of my best friends just sat there and held me as I cried. I’ve been busting my ASS the past month to make sure that EVERYONE gets Christmas. And here I sit, with zero dollars set aside for presents.

I mean, I took one hit, then another hit, then another, I just couldn’t do it anymore and I lost it. When is enough, enough? I feel like I was not only whacked with one of those wrecking balls but then ran over by a fleet of semi-trucks. I’m really hoping last night was the end of it all, because I don’t know how much more I can emotionally take.

 

And It’s Only Wednesday…

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What a WEEK. I’m telling you, my life has been in a whirlwind the past month. I actually don’t even know where the month of November went. One second it was Halloween, the next thing you know I’m having the kids write out their Christmas lists.

I know I haven’t been blogging as much lately, but to be honest, I haven’t had the time. Since Matt opened up World of Beer, our lives have been flipped and turned upside down. He needed help in his store with all the financials and asked me if I would be his person to take care of it all. Of course I said yes! I actually love doing all of that kind of stuff. Invoices, writing checks (it’s so much more fun to write checks when the money isn’t coming out of YOUR bank account.), and pretty much being in charge of everything that goes on with any type of office work. I love the restaurant industry, it gives you an adrenaline rush and makes you think on your toes. So yes, I am enjoying this — but it does take me away from my blogging.

In other news, last Wednesday was the biggest bar night of the year. I’m assuming it’s because for the majority of people to deal with their families they need to drink first. I mean, can you blame them, especially after THIS election we just had. So, Stephanie had asked me if I wanted to grab a drink at World of Beer with her and Emily. In case you haven’t been keeping up, Stephanie is my stepkid’s mom, and Emily is a fellow blogger and also Stephanie’s boss (sorry Em, you are SO much more than just a boss, it’s just easier for me to describe it this way  😉 ). I was actually a little hesitant at first. I don’t mind hanging out with Stephanie. We sit together at baseball games and dance recitals, but this is a little different…alcohol will be involved…and it’s in my husband’s, her ex husband’s, tavern. So not only will I be there, but he will be there too. I thought, if she is comfortable enough to do this, then so am I!

And what a fun night it was! The three of us had a blast chatting and trying different beers. It wasn’t weird, or awkward, it was fun! In my book, this was another huge step for us. So for all of you who think it can’t be done, think again. We did it and no one died 😉 Maybe our daughter did a little bit, but that was just out of jealousy that she couldn’t join her moms.

Monday was our son’s birthday! He turned nine. NINE! I can’t even believe it myself. I feel like it was yesterday when I met him and he couldn’t even talk, couldn’t even say my name. To him, I was his “Ja” and now he is nine. A nine year old who walks, talks, and acts like a miniature version of his father. It just blows my mind and I had emotional tears all day. He asked me a few times last week if I would take him out for lunch for his birthday, even though he is in school. I told him I would think about it. Well, Monday came and I thought, you know what, I never do ANYTHING spontaneous with this boy and I know if I pull him out of school for half the day, it will just BLOW his mind. So I let him play hooky for half the day and we went out to lunch and saw the movie “Trolls”. (which was fabulous by the way, I loved it!) I can’t tell you how many times he told me “I love you mom, thank you for today!” — That alone verified that it was totally worth skipping half a day of school.

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Cookies my mom had made for him for James’ birthday!

Now on to Tuesday. TUESDAY had me on my toes this week. The power went out at World of Beer, which made the hubby and I show up there on our day off for all hands on deck. I fixed the computers, everything was up and running, so I sat at the bar to have a beer since we had an hour to kill before the kids were out of school. Oh, come on, you know it couldn’t have been THAT easy. The second I sat down my phone rang and it was the kid’s school. “We have Jordan here in the office. Her lip is split from running into a pole and she thinks her teeth are broken.” — Wait a minute, SHE thinks her teeth are broken or her teeth are broken? — “Well, I don’t know what they looked like before, so I don’t know.” Good thing we were five minutes away! I ran into the school with Matt trailing behind me and saw her just shaking and crying. “My teeth are gone!” is all she kept repeating and sure as shit, they were chipped into little vampire fangs. I asked her what happened and she told me she wasn’t paying attention and “bumped” into a pole on the playground during recess. What I WANTED to say was, “Girl, you didn’t BUMP into that pole, you ran full force like a drunk white girl and knocked your two front teeth out, don’t sugar coat it.” but that wasn’t going to make anything better, so I kept that to myself. LOL

We rushed her to her dentist and let me tell you guys — this place was AMAZING. I’m so thankful Stephanie found such an amazing dentist office who takes such great care of their patients. We were in and out in two hours with her teeth fixed! Jordan was so brave and she stuck it out, needles and all. She asked me to stay with her and hold her hand, which of course I did, but she was way stronger than I would have been. We are very proud of our girl! I told her I knew exactly what to put on her Christmas list. “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.” Gotta find the humor in it!

That about sums up the past week. Crazy, right? Bear with me as I try and make organization out of all of this craziness!

The Day Before Thanksgiving

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It is the day before Thanksgiving. I cannot believe how time has flown by over the past month. The kids are still sleeping in their rooms — we had quite the night. (I also figured I could get some work done before they woke up!) They talked me into putting the Christmas tree and Christmas decorations up. So we made a quick stop at Taco Bell, carried up all the boxes of Christmas stuff and got to decorating!

I usually wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the tree. I’m actually pretty firm on that. I don’t want Thanksgiving to be pushed aside, but yesterday in the car we were talking about things we were thankful for and one of the things the munchkins said was, “I’m thankful for family Christmas and being able to put up the Christmas tree with everyone!” They really know how to get what they want with me — just say something really sentimental and I break — every time.

I’m thankful for many things in my life.

I’m thankful for both of my jobs. They allow me to provide for our family while still being able to spend time with the kids.

I’m thankful for my husband and his dedication to providing for our family.

I’m thankful for my essential oils. James had this cough that all of us had one time or another the past month and just by putting Thieves oil on his feet, spine and diffusing it in his room over night — made his cough vanish!

I’m thankful for the relationship I have built with Stephanie over the past seven months. We have really come a long way and it has truly put me at peace. A sense of calmness has come over my life since we started working through our differences, anger, and hurt. I am truly thankful for her.

I’m thankful for our son, who is turning NINE on Monday. Since the first time I tucked him in to now, he still says, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. I love you.” I know with age these moments are going to fade out and I’m thankful for these moments each night he is here. Not going to brag, okay maybe just a little, but he has a heart of gold 💛 and he is going to make someone very happy one day.

I’m thankful for my blog. My blog, that I have built, without the help of close friends and family. It has given me a platform to speak about step-parenting issues and obstacles I have come across and put a lot of my resentment and anger to bed. I honestly feel like my old self again.

I’m thankful for our daughter. She might be sassy, she might be very opinionated and stubborn, but every bit of that makes her seven year old self who she is. She might be cute, she might look innocent, but don’t think for a second she can’t hold her own. She has been like that since day one, even at 18 months.

I’m thankful for all of you. Each and every one of you who read my blog and have supported me through this journey. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

Happy Thanksgiving 

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Oh yeah, I just had a birthday!

This is a very interesting set up for me today. I am still laying in bed, watching a movie, and blogging. I never lay in bed this late, I only watch TV in bed when I’m sick, and the only place I usually blog is on my little corner of our couch in the family room. I decided to switch things up today, do something a little different.

I turned 29 a week ago today and it was just how I wanted it to be. The night before Matt, one of my best friends Lauren, and I all went out for dinner and some drinks in a little swanky downtown restaurant. The next day the kids came over and showered me with love and birthday kisses. I don’t remember the last time I spent my actual birthday with them. Not that it really matters, we all celebrate holidays and birthdays on whenever we are all together as a family. Dates are just dates but it was nice being able to all be together this year.

After going through the kid’s backpacks and school papers, we headed to my parents house for dinner. The weather was a perfectly crisp fall day and the kids ran around outside with my dad, helping him with things outside in the yard. They both came inside wet, no surprise there, my dad is always up to something with them. He usually just throws his hands up and says “Whaaat? I didn’t do that!” LOL, okay dad. *wink-wink*

I received so many amazing thoughtful gifts from everyone. They were all gifts to keep me warm. (new winter coat, beautiful brown wool poncho, handcrafted grey wool gloves, a green plaid sweater scarf) My favorite would have to be the one the kids picked out for me. I was walking through Target with James and pointed out a bright plaid red vest and mentioned something about how cute it was. He asked me what size I was, which made me laugh, and we went about our Target shopping trip. That boy remembered, and he dragged his dad to Target to buy that vest for me. Guys…I was in tears. I cried like a baby and all poor James could say was, “It’s the right one, right mom?!” Of course it was the right one and he remembered, which just made my heart explode with love.

My birthday was JUST how I wanted it to be. Surrounded with love, relaxation, family, and great friends. My husband always knows how to make me feel special on my birthday and even though I was fine with just being with him at home, he made sure I was surrounded by the people that matter most to me in my life.

Here is to my last year in my 20’s! I honestly cannot WAIT to see what my 30’s have to bring!

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My “little” brother and I dressed up for Halloween over 20 years ago!

 

It’s a New Week

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Happy Monday! It’s been a minute since I blogged. I have had a very crazy couple of weeks. Matt left for Florida this past Wednesday and is gone until next Tuesday. I got really sick Wednesday night and it’s still lingering around today. I thought it was just allergies, but this cough is literally knocking the wind out of me.

The first time my husband left for Florida I was at my mom’s house the majority of the time, so it didn’t really feel like he was gone that long. Now I am sick, have extreme PMS and cramps, and I have a list of things I need to get done before the end of the day today.

The kids had their first week of school last week. The first full day didn’t go as planned for James as he wanted it to. Let’s just say he got in an altercation with a kid on the playground on the first recess on the first full day of school. Their mother got a phone call from the principal and then called me after and told me about it. Boys and their taunting. I still just don’t get it. James beat himself up about it enough that none of us parents really needed to give him a stern yelling. Plus…these kids have been through a lot too this month. Sometimes we forget to stop and think that the things that are going on in our lives, effect them too. Doesn’t excuse his behavior but it makes you stop and talk to him on a different kind of level — a more concerned than angry level.

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Earlier last week the kids were at their friends house and Jordan came home to get some water and told me that James broke their friend’s trampoline net. (This family is moving soon and we are buying their trampoline from them.) I asked her how it happened and she said “James pushed me into the net and the net snapped and it can’t be fixed.” I didn’t yell or get mad, but I said, “Did you guys apologize to Mrs. Harper?” and she said “No, but I will go do that now.” and she left the house.

Later when they came home I asked James why he pushed Jordan into the net. “I didn’t push her in the net! She pushed me! Jordan!!!! Why would you lie!?” He was so pissed at his sister, I knew he wasn’t lying. I told her to go to her room and wait for me there. I walked in and asked her why she lied to me about the net. She told me she wasn’t lying. Crocodile tears and all. I told her I didn’t believe her and she said she MAYBE pushed James. I told her that until the truth came out of her mouth, her butt would be in the bedroom. SIX HOURS LATER she decided to tell the truth and told me she didn’t tell me the truth because she thought I was going to yell at her.

That made me laugh because from what they have both told me, I yell the least out of all the parents. I hate yelling — I have to be REALLY angry to yell. I told her, “I didn’t yell when you told me it was James. I asked you if you apologized. Did you apologize?” And her head went down. “Well. Get up. Put your shoes on. We are walking down there and apologizing.” She was very embarrassed and I was very angry at her for lying about EVERYTHING to me. The only truth out of her mouth was that the net snapped. The neighbors were totally cool about the net, probably because we are buying it from them anyways. (LOL) But when we got home I called Matt and told her he had to deal with her when he got home because I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Matt came home from work and informed her she will be grounded from playing with her friends and TV for two weeks, along with paying for half of what the new net is going to cost. She was devastated and Matt talked to their mother about it and she offered to keep the punishment going at her house as well. Just hearing the support from the other set of parents is very rewarding and makes us feel like a more united front. It doesn’t mean she has to follow the punishment with Jo, but just her offering to enforce it at their house made Matt and I feel a lot better.

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So last week was quite a week. Husband left, I’ve been sick, started my period (which means I’m not pregnant, that’s a whole other emotional battle), our son got sent to the principals office and our daughter lied to my face over and over again. I think it’s safe to say, this week can only go up from here.

Two Thumbs Up Tuesday: (9/6)

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I had a nice little break from the world this past weekend but I am ready to get back to my daily blogging schedule. Tuesdays are dedicated to awesome blog posts I have come across over the past week. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 

Hearts Everywhere – “When Co-Parenting Sucks” Club : This is a new blogger I came across last week. I just love the way she writes. You can just see the words flowing from her fingers when you’re reading. I’m excited to read more! This particular post struck me as honest, real, and if we’re being honest here — anyone who co-parents can say there are a few things on this list they have been through.

Momma on the Edge – #severproblems : Oh do I understand server problems and you know what, I’m glad she brought up these points. Some might make you laugh at the thought, but admit it — you’ve been out to eat at a restaurant and might of witnessed some of these things happening. A little kindness goes a LONG way, especially people you are essential sharing your dining experience with.

A Thomas Point of View – Dear White People : Tikeetha has a way of making me feel what she is writing. There are many posts she writes that leave me in tears of joy or sadness or in this case some anger. Not at Tikeetha, but the direction our society is moving. This is a conversation that we need to keep having it’s not something that goes away over night or until the next big social media frenzy begins. This will always be a conversation we should continue having — no matter if you are black, white, brown, yellow, green, purple or blue. Keep it going.

Oh Hey, Shenandoah – I’m raising someone’s husband : I was sobbing by the end of this post. Anyone with a son can relate to these feelings. Every day since James was little I have had these thoughts and it brings such joy to my heart to see the love this boy can give now. I can only imagine the love he will give in his future. #proudboymom

A Mother of All Trades – Life Hacks For The Busy Mom : These hacks Jenn put up are awesome and I can’t believe I haven’t started doing some of these sooner! The popsicle catcher is my favorite so far!

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

Throwback Thursday: Happily Breaking Routine

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In dedication to my beautiful friend Stephanie’s birthday yesterday, here is a post I wrote a couple months ago when Stephanie and Paul’s son Noah stayed with us while they were on vacation.

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 LOVESgoing 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!

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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.

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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.