Babies, Brothers, & Honeys, oh my!

Happy Feichter Baby Friday! What a crazy, busy week this has been for our family. My sister had her first baby, so I am officially an auntie and the kids have their first cousin. Sass is completely smitten with her little cousin, our little Har-bear, not so much. When I dropped her off at school on Monday she ran in and told her teacher that her “sister- cousin was being borned.” We have explained a million times that she is just her cousin, but now her teacher probably thinks we have some weird sister wife at home birthing in a bath tub. (Note: totally cool with at home bath birthing – we just don’t have a sister wife at home who did that)

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Ella and Cecilia

Sass vaguely remembers when I was pregnant with her brother. I think she blocked most of that time out as she still wishes her brother was a sister. She loves her brother, but he really cramps her style. It appears she irritates him just the same as well.
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Lack of personal space

She recently started asking questions about babies, “how they get in there? “how they get out?”….you know all the important, cringe worthy questions. I told her that mommy and daddy prayed for a baby and so God put her in my tummy and the same thing with Harrison. She seemed to accept that explanation for now, until she hears some horrid story on the bus next year. My explanation for how babies get out consisted of, “there is a special place for babies to get out, they know how to do it.” She must have remembered thinking that her brother came out of a zipper 18 months ago, because she screamed “oh right, that zipper.”

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My loves

We try to not be too specific when we discuss these thing with her, the same thing with how babies come into families. I don’t want her (or the bear) to think there is one concrete description of a family. She knows that there are all kinds of people and everyone is different and that is what makes people beautiful. In turn, she knows that some families have a mommy and a daddy, two mommies, two daddies, one mommy, or just one daddy. She refers to her dad as “mommy’s honey.”

We recently celebrated our seven year anniversary and when we explained that her grandparents were coming to babysit. She wanted to know what a “‘sversary” was so I explained mommy and daddy got married seven years ago. So that prompted a big discussion on our family and who their “honey” was. After going through our entire family tree and their honeys, she sat very quietly for about a minute. (a minute of quiet is a big deal for sass) Then she asked who her honey would be and how she would meet her honey. After a little bit more discussion she sighed and said “Ugh, I just hope my honey has hair.”

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I am good with a no hair honey

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I am Enough

Take it way back on this dreary Wednesday. Think back to middle school and how at times you felt like a misfit and were a bit awkward. You probably felt like you didn’t fit in, everyone was talking about you behind your back and judging your outfits. Fast forward about 20 years and add in miniature versions of yourself to that mix. You just created a picture perfect vision of what parenting is in a nutshell, at least that is how I feel as a mother. At times I feel like I am just not enough.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mother. I have a lot of younger siblings and I am guilty of mothering them most of my life even though they all have a mother who loves them dearly. It has just always been my nature. My beautiful babies are everything I have ever dreamed of and they mean the absolute world to me. But my mind wanders back to the adolescent girl who was self conscious of herself that worried she was being judged. Granted, I am sure people still judge my outfits. #yogapantsarelife

As someone who has struggled with anxiety most of her life, I can attest to worrying over the big and small feats on my journey in motherhood. I had some serious mama guilt for only breastfeeding sass for 8 weeks and then turning to formula. I worry that our little “Har Bear” is too attached to me now as we are still happily (most of the time) chugging along on our breastfeeding journey at 17 months. With both of my decisions on how to nourish our children, I felt and do still feel very judged by others.

Our little bear of a man has recently been going through some separation anxiety and I worry that I don’t pawn him off on people enough. Then my mind wanders back to when I worked full time when sass was a baby. I am immediately overwhelmed with guilt and worry that I was away from her too much when she needed me the most.
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Our sweet and sassy girl has been having a tough time at school this year. I worry that maybe there was something we should have done that could have prevented the obstacles she is currently facing. Maybe then she wouldn’t feel so frustrated and stressed in a place that she should love the most.
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Then I think of my husband. Am I enough for him? I try to balance so much, juggle multiple things and wear so many hats, sometimes my wife hat falls off and he incidentally ends up last on my list. He assures me I do a great job, but I can’t help but let my mind wander. I picture myself as a gangly, brace face, awkward twelve year old starting at a new school. Everyone judges me, talks behind my back and I worry that I am not enough.
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On my toughest days, I try to remind myself that I am enough and the decisions we make are the right ones for our family. I try to tell myself that our babies are amazing because of us, their parents. We are enough for them. They are loving, silly, intelligent, beautiful, curious, and all I ever dreamed of.
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Remember, you are enough.

Locking The Doors On My Husband

I am locking the doors on my husband this anniversary.

Seven years ago this morning he locked himself out of our home. On the morning of our wedding of all days and had to shimmy open the sliding door cat burglar style. I didn’t find out until I arrived at the end of aisle and took a knee on the alter with him. Between prayers and blessings he told me in hushed tones, then told me how beautiful I was. Today I am locking the doors on my husband.
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Seven years ago, before Pinterest boards were trending, and fancy, creative announcements were a thing on social media, I loved a man. A quiet, stoic, hard working man. We spent the night before and morning of our wedding separate. We didn’t text or call each other and didn’t think to write each other love notes to read while getting ready. I had purchased him a card and an engraved money clip to match his groomsmen gifts, but sadly I forgot to leave it out for him. Somehow he managed to find it the morning of our wedding, jammed under the bathroom sink, hidden away. That’s what he does, he saves the day, no matter the task.
It was a much simpler time then. No pressure, just us. Today I am locking the doors on him.
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Since we said “I do” seven years ago, we have been through trials and tribulations. Marriage isn’t easy and you have to work at it every day. Yet in my eyes being married to him is easy. He is perfect, for me. He is my opposite. He compliments my personality perfectly and leaves me wanting more of him every single day. Yet today I am locking the doors on him.

We have added two beautiful babies to our family; a girl and a boy. He has given me the greatest gifts and I am forever thankful for this. There is nothing I could give him that is comparable to what he has given me. He has made all of my dreams come true and is always trying to bring more of my dreams to life. I have watched him grow as a father and a man. I have watched him stumble, brush himself off and get back up again, only to try harder.

Today I am locking the doors on my husband. Not because I am fed up with our marriage. Not because I am angry with him, but I am locking him out of the house to remind him that I love him just as much if not more than the day we married. Through sickness, health, good times, and bad. I love you more than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow. Happy Anniversary, I am so glad you are my honey.
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I am now THAT mom

We have had a busy couple weeks in the Sugar, Spice and Sass household. We have a lot of exciting things on the horizon for our little family of four. About a year ago we sat down and decided that we wanted to start looking for some acreage so our babies could have lots of land to grow up on and run around. My husband grew up on about 10 acres so he is used to having wide open spaces. Around Christmas time of last year we looked at some property about 3 miles from our current neighborhood and we really fell in love with it. Fast forward to February and we decided to move forward with everything and sign a purchase agreement. Well as of this month, our little five and half acres of land are finally ours. It was a long process, but so worth it. Our hopes are to create a little, mini farm for our family and we couldn’t be more excited. Okay, enough farm talk.

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Back to why these past few weeks have been so incredibly busy. Not only do we own our property now but we have been working with a builder designing our little farmhouse AND we put our current home on the market. We have had so much change in our house and sass started all day preschool three days a week. It has been such an experience for both her and her daddy and I. She is a tiny little tsunami wherever she goes and I imagine the same happening at school too. In addition I started contributing some writing to an entertainment and lifestyle site…all while keeping our kids alive throughout the day and peddling ATMs. I have no idea what day it is and I can’t remember what I have scheduled most days. I am now THAT mom.

About a week ago we visited a friend’s house one Sunday afternoon. When we got home that evening my husband who was at a Browns game that day asked how our visit went. My response was “It was like trying to contain two hurricanes in a glass warehouse.” My friend doesn’t have kids just yet, so her house is absolutely gorgeous and total #decorgoals. She had just decorated for fall and had the most adorable ceramic pumpkins out. I spent the majority of our visit preventing the baby from shattering those and eating dog food. Sass was overall pretty well behaved, aside from touching her freshly painted walls and trying to sneak her red drink into the family room.

So why am I telling you about my visit to a friends house? I am glad you asked. Imagine visiting a store with white walls, white carpet and it is made of glass. Now my friend’s house is not like this at all, but when you take small children to a friend’s house that is how you feel. Now imagine your own home decked out in the same decor. (Again, my home is not, duh I have two kids) But that is pretty much how it feels when you are trying to sell your home. You need to make sure things are clean, paint is touched up and your house doesn’t smell like smelly pug or shitty diapers. All near impossible with two small children.

Last week we received a call from both our realtor and our realtor’s office about a request for showing the following day. Awesome! So excited! I text my hot, hunk of a hub telling him that we need to clean the house that night but I was stopping out to the county fair with his parents and would bring him home LERCHS DONUTS. (FYI they are amazeballs) Well we go to the fair with my inlaws. Sass had a blast, the babe had some amazing ice cream and unfortunately the entire time I was dreading coming home to clean the house while fielding work calls on my cell phone. Well we get home and lo and behold there are two cars parked in my garage. Now remember how I was fielding work calls most of the afternoon, yea I put my phone away for the 20 minute car ride home. I pulled my phone out and our realtor had called 4 times. The other realtor who requested a showing screwed up her days and WAS IN OUR HOUSE!!!!

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Bear with me here, remember my reference about keeping the house clean? Yea, that day I basically said screw it and figured we could tackle it together that night after soccer practice. So let me paint a picture for you of what my home looked like when we left for the fair. I had been working all morning, finishing up an article for my writing gig (which I freaking LOVE btw), I had stripped Sass’s bed to wash her sheets and left them in the hall, had a basket of clean clothes that needed folded on our bed, the upstairs bathroom was locked because the baby likes to go fishing in the toilet, Sass’s Barbie’s and tiny figurine character things (that she has 100s of) were strewn about her room, a big basket of toys were dumped in the playroom and I had dirty dishes in the sink. I was completely mortified. I wouldn’t have invited family over to my house let alone complete strangers. See, I am THAT mom. The mom with the messy house and now need this pillow.
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So these strangers saw the disaster that my kids can create, the accumulation of dirty dishes that these two can create in 12 hours, and my clean underpants on top of the basket of clean clothes that needed folded. Somehow I kept it together while trying to portray my annoyance in a professional manner to this realtor who could not apologize enough times. Oddly enough she said our house shows beautifully and better than most of the houses she sees (even with the shit show that was inside). Anyways, all we can do is laugh about it now.

So please forgive me for being so disconnected from my little blog
lately. My life has been a shit storm of disasters nonstop, dealing with an incredibly clingy toddler and the never ending sassy attitude from Sass.

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Labor of Love

Happy Labor Day!  To most of us, Labor Day means enjoying burgers, hot dogs, watermelon and pasta salad with friends and family to commemorate the end of summer.  20170825_170013_resized

To us moms, the world labor is a bit of a cringe worthy word (along with the word moist…eck!) so having an entire day dedicated to “labor” just seems a bit painful. According to the United States Department of Labor, Labor Day “is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”  Well I say, “NAY!” to that.  Labor Day is now a day to all you parents out there.

Parenting is a full time job.  Parenting is a labor of love.  There are no breaks, there are no sick days.  We have had some kind of disease circulating our house for about a week and a half now.  Sass had been to school a total of 4 days before she came home with a fever, headache and miserable as ever.  Ignore the fact that I had already been sick for about 3 days and dealing with a baby who is teething and sick, this mama did not get any sick days.  I had to rush into Super Mom mode to care for both of my sick babies all while getting our house ready to put on the market for sale. (buy my house)  Instead of washing that baby snot out of my hair, I slicked it back into a sleek ponytail as if it were super hold hair gel and toughed it out.

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Today is for you parents.  May you enjoy a brief period of your cookout.  Tip back an ice cold beverage, put your feet up for 3 whole minutes before retrieving your toddler from the corn hole tournament.  Enjoy an entire piece of fruit pizza before “noticing” your kid is throwing rocks in the pool.  Sit just a bit too long with bbq sauce on the corners of your lips and enjoy your labor of love.

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Note: Thanks to my baby daddy for coming home early last week to help a mama out, couldn’t do it with out ya.

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(ugh so hot even caked in dirt)

My little goblin

Happy Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week! Breastfeeding is a touchy topic and I have not yet been able to wrap my head around why, considering it is why God gave us breasts; to feed our young.  Yet society is totally fine with Vickie exposing all her secrets at the drop of a hat….Anyways,  I digress.  (Still love my girl Vickie and her secrets).  As always I am here to be relate-able to other mamas and parents.

Growing up I had never seen anyone breastfeed so when I first had sass I was a little hesitant to dive into the whole experience.  I decided to ease into it and exclusively pump with her. (She had a gnarly tongue tie so she refused to latch anyways so it just worked out well for me).  I  was able to exclusively pump for 8 weeks for her and decided to stop when it was time for me to go back to work.  My office at the time didn’t have a designated lactation room, we had an empty office that didn’t lock so I was a little skittish about the whole thing.  Not to mention a nasty case of Mastitis around 6 weeks PP…so it just wasn’t something I had my heart set on.  Enter formula.

Fast forward to today…here I am with our little man and currently at 14 and a half months of breastfeeding.  I remember telling my husband that I really wanted to succeed at it this time around.  I had major mom guilt when I stopped EP-ing for sass and I just hoped to make it to 6 months this time.  Well turns out our little guy is a tiny boob goblin. He has basically refused a bottle from the start.  We had a few good streaks of him taking one, but he just has a preference I suppose.

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Looking back, I am embarrassed to say that I used to find it odd and unnatural to nurse a baby after their first birthday and now here I am with a 14 month old who is showing no signs of fully weaning yet.  He goes through phases of only wanting to nurse 3 or 4 times in a 24 hour period to the past week reverting back to what feels like newborn days and not letting me out of his sight.  We are currently working on “boob manners”  because he is getting a bit rude and unruly with his frisking.

According to the CDC’s 2016 breastfeeding statistics, 8 in 10 mothers begin breastfeeding their babies at birth, but only about half are still breastfeeding at 6 months and less than a third at 12 months.  For the life of me, I can’t seem to find how many mothers continue to breastfeed after a year, apparently we are like a lost treasure and extremely rare. Boob Unicorns. Support is such a HUGE thing when it comes to breastfeeding.  Just hearing how proud someone is of your achievements is a real morale booster.  I honestly couldn’t have done it without my husband telling me how amazing I am day in and day out.

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I have been on the other side of it though, a formula mom, and I can honestly say feeding babies is the best option.  Feed all the babies! Whether with breast milk or formula, it is what works best for the family of the child.  So feed on mamas and don’t let anyone get you down!

Below is what my mornings often look life.  Trying to work with a little goblin refusing to unlatch, multitasking at it’s best.

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Shower Me with Compliments

Kids have an innate ability to make their parents feel like they are the most unattractive human beings on the face of the planet, especially their mothers.  They deprive us of sleep and suck the life out of us.  Not only did I suffer 10 months of haulin their asses around (I hated pregnancy), but they seem to remind me of my “mom bod” on the daily.

It is a million degrees outside currently and I hate the heat.  I love nice weather, but I usually tap out around 75 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  We have done a ton of swimming this summer so there has been a lot of sunscreen application.  (Note: applying sunscreen to a baby is comparable to wrestling a greased pig, but being just careful enough to not get it in their eyes or mouth.)  19748668_856439448182_5803820596675168684_n

Our stroller and car seat for the little man are currently stained white due to the amount of sunscreen his little white bod requires.  I digress.  Sass also hates sunscreen application, heaven forbid she stops her Evil Knievel scooter tricks into traffic for 90 seconds to have SPF applied.  Upon explaining to her that sunburns hurt really bad and cause wrinkles she replied “That’s okay mom. I want wrinkles, just like you.”  In addition to that gleefully pleasant compliment she tells me on the regular that I have cracks in my forehead.

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As I stated previously, it is hotter than the depths of hell outside right now.  So I have been rocking a lot of shorts, tanks…apparel to keep cool, the usual.  Like most women, at least most women/mothers I know, I don’t shave my legs every single day.  I am usually an every other day type of gal in the summer.  Leg shaving season is A LOT of work.  This morning sass came downstairs happy as could be when she woke up (at 9:34 am mind you – mom win!). She climbed on my lap and wrapped her tiny arms around me and exclaimed “Good Morning Mommy!”  Right after her pleasant, little greeting she told me “Mom, you need to cut off your skin, you have spikes, see these points?” Dully noted, kid.

Henceforth, like most women who have had children, I have some saggy skin on my tummy.  It has faint silvery stretch marks and I never comment on them or point it out in front of my kids.  I want my children to think motherhood is beautiful; saggy skin and all.  The baby loves to pinch my belly, a lot.  I have no idea what his fascination is with it, but he cracks up.  Maybe this is the baby version of play doh.  In addition, every time I rock a bikini sass makes sure to point out that I have a squishy tummy.  Without skippin a beat I reply with “Yes I grew two babies in there, I had to make room somehow!”

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If you want to know how you really look, just ask a 4 year old, she is sure to point out all of your troublesome areas and boost your confidence.  Below is Sass showering me with compliments…

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THIS IS 30

I turned 30 in May.  It didn’t really hit me right away since we had a lot of things going on throughout the month of May.  The baby turned one and my sister got married on the 27th, so between soccer games, work, wedding prep, every day parent stuff and first birthday shenanigans, we overlooked the dirty thirty that crept up rather quickly. My sweet man felt bad that we didn’t celebrate big, but this is 30 to me, not a big Vegas shindig.

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I can remember thinking 30 was SO old when I was in college, and yet here we are.  I don’t often feel like I am thirty.  I get carded when buying alcohol, EVERY SINGLE TIME.  A year or two ago some political campaigners asked me if my folks were home when I walked up the driveway after a run because I “looked like I went to the local high school.”  I spend most days in yoga pants with a messy bun.  I look a lot like a college kid when heading off to the grocery. We got married young and started a family on the earlier side compared to a lot of my peers, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  This is 30.

 

 

Most days we have discussions about bowel movements at the dinner table.  “The baby took a massive shit today.”  “Ugh, I haven’t pooped yet today, it is going to be a hog.”  “Did the dogs poop when you let them out?”  “Yes, we will wipe your butt, do you want mommy or daddy to?”  It never fails our daughter has to take a massive, steamy dump during dinner.  Almost every night, it is like clock work; we have a shitty dinner.  Note: She is also a religious Target pooper, but we have to turn away as she goes…

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I can’t remember the last time my handsome hub and I went out drinking together.  We will sit and watch an episode on Netflix and have a beer or two, maybe sit on the patio while the kids dodge pug poop in the grass, but days of going out are long over.  I went to my sister’s Bachelorette party at the end of April.  I had approximately 4 beers the entire night (5pm-2am) and had the worst stomach ache the next day.  Back in college I could have case races with friends at parties and do keg stands; classy I know.  Fast forward a few weeks later and my husband had my (now) brother in law’s party in Cleveland and felt like hell for about 24 hours following.  It takes us far too long to recover from those nights, I may look like 21, but I cannot drink like I am.

My husband is very busy at work, I work from home (not one of those pyramid things) and have deadlines to meet and I chase kids all day.  Every day our text conversations consist of the below.

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Never fails, almost every night we end up saying we are too tired to watch a show together after fighting with our children to go to bed and stay asleep.  Long gone are the lusty texts we used to send each other…Maybe we should start that up again?  (insert fire emoji here)  I think that is what the kids use these days…sigh.

Some days, my joints kill me.  That tells me I am 30.

I don’t look far enough into the future in terms of retirement. That tells me I don’t act 30.

Last night I practiced crocheting while Grant had a cup of tea, does that say we are 70?

I roll my eyes in disgust at some of the things kids say and wear lately.  I hope that just means I am trying to set a better example for my kids than the nipple pasties and booty shorts I see at the mall and on TV.

Everyone tells us to enjoy our lives now, enjoy the chaos because one day it will be gone. We do, very much.  I love our little life we have together.  I love our kids and that we can keep up with them.  Just because I need to vent from time to time about the temper tantrum that happened in the antique store over a chicken cookie jar or the fact that I haven’t had a full nights’ sleep in over year doesn’t mean I wish it all away.  We are blessed.  Some days are chaos.  Some days my ankles crack up and down the stairs.  Some days I let sass watch the iPad far longer than I should.  Other days my kids eat 3 balanced meals and we do fun activities.  Today, I let my son chew on an empty paper towel roll while our daughter helped herself to chocolate milk with sprinkles poured in it.  This is 30, I love it.

 

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An Angel Tea Party

Up until last month the hardest parenting tasks I have had to deal with were potty training and breastfeeding, but explaining death to a 4 year old is on a whole new level.  I joked that potty training was the Lord Voldemort of parenting, but death is exactly as you would picture it; The Grim Reaper that puts a shadow over your child’s innocent and naive, little life.

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Last month my husband and his family said goodbye to an absolutely amazing, selfless woman, his grandmother; Margaret. She was and still is the glue that holds the family together and my heart breaks when I think we will never hear her sweet voice or play cards with her again.  She welcomed me into her large family over 8 years ago as if I were her granddaughter my entire life.  Sass loved visiting her great grandma; Grammy Miller and associated cookies and flowers with her house whenever we talked about visiting.  Baked goods and flowers were pretty much Margaret’s mantra.

The night Margaret passed away, I laid with sass in her bed and explained to her that Grammy Miller had died and was her angel now.  She looked at me very confused through teary eyes and asked if we could go see her tomorrow.  In the past we had taken flowers to my grandfather’s grave, and most recently I had taken the bouquet from my sister’s wedding so it gave me an opportunity to connect the dots for her.  I had no idea how much empathy and compassion my sassy, little lady had in her tiny body but I soon learned.  Kessler

She proceeded to ask me if Grammy would be buried and if we could take her flowers, then very quietly asked me if I missed my grandpa.  Through tears and a cracking voice I told her I missed him very, very much and that we could take flowers to Grammy Miller whenever she missed her.  Over the next few days she continued to ask questions and seemed genuinely concerned that Grammy Miller would get dirt on her face and in her hair if she were buried in the ground.  Throughout the wake and funeral, our brave little girl marched up and back from the casket a couple dozen times.  She told her great grandmother how much she loved her and how pretty she looked over and over again. In all of the heartache, it was the light my husband needed.  I was so proud of her.

Flash forward a few weeks and our sweet girl asked me if we could go have a tea party with Grammy Miller.  Up until now, she had not mentioned much more of death and didn’t bring up her great grandma since the funeral.  I explained again that Grammy had died and was now her angel.  Sass continued in a snarky, little attitude that she knew and wanted to go have a tea party at her big rock with her name on it.  I couldn’t help but chuckle and wrap my arms around her.  Just like I promised that we could go see Grammy Miller any time she missed her; we got ice cream and went and sat with Grammy Miller for a tea party in the 90 degree heat that afternoon.  If it were 20 below zero, I think my heart would have still melted that afternoon at how sweet and grown up she is becoming.

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