To My Stepdaughter

To My Stepdaughter

Wow Kami, you are 18 today! My husband’s first born and our oldest. I think back to the first time I met you. You were just as sweet, so bubbly, kind and always, always smiling. I remember your bedroom. When I started dating your dad you were 8 and I visited what is now my home for the first time, and I remember your bedroom with the pink and purple comforter and the stickers all over your dresser. You came to visit every other weekend like clockwork and my daughters would get so excited to see their new big sister. You were ecstatic to have sisters. I will never forget your spunkiness and how happy you were to see us every time you came to visit. You instantly loved me and my daughters and my family. And then when I got pregnant with both boys, you were overjoyed. I never imagined that little bedroom would be your little brother’s bedroom, navy blue with boy toys everywhere! Our family has grown and changed so much.

When I became a stepmom, I was skeptical that you and your brother would accept me as your mama. I was expecting some rebellion. Daddy’s girl and all. Now daddy had not only a new wife but two new daughters. But you surprised me every time you were with us. You never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. You never made me feel like you loved me any less. I saw the way you watched me. But not with inspecting, jealous eyes… but with curious, inquisitive eyes. When we were in the car, while I was doing my makeup, as I fed the new baby. I saw you trying to impress me. You have ALWAYS loved me like I was here all along. And I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated that over the years.

Being a stepmom in our family hasn’t been the easiest job, I’m not going to lie. Our blended family dynamics are unique and one of a kind. My daughters only have one mama, as they have never had a stepmom. Life is different for them. Your dad and I are their only parents and this is their only home. But you have had to grow up with two sets of parents. I’m sure that has not always been easy for you, especially when you were younger and had to split your time between two homes… two sets of rules… two different lifestyles. You have gone from being an only child to having a TON of siblings on both sides. You always had to share basically everything and you never once complained.

One thing that’s for sure is how lucky I am to have you in my life. I’m lucky our children have a big sister, BB, who loves them so much. Being a stepmom has taught me SO much. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve learned lessons. I’ve had to bite my tongue. I’ve let little things get to me and probably said things I didn’t mean. I’ve had to hold my feelings back. I’ve cried tears I didn’t want you to see. I never thought this gig would teach me so much about myself. Thank you for being patient with me.

Things we never get to tell you…. because well, life. We have ALWAYS looked forward to your visits! You have grown up to be a beautiful young lady. We love who you’ve become. You’ve made choices on your own. You have your very own car, that you bought yourself! You have a real job. And even when you wanted to quit your job because it sucked, you didn’t. And that says something about you, your willingness to stick with something. You’ve made it through your first serious relationship and I’m sure you’ve learned some things about love and life in that. You are strong. You know when to walk away and when to keep going. You never let your guard down. You always hold your head high and never show your vulnerability. You’re funny and witty. I believe you’re ready to take on the world. You are smart, caring, and compassionate. The thing that stands out about you the most is how selfless you are… I think that’s the best trait you got from your daddy.. always caring about others and how others feel. We are so lucky to be your parents.

I asked your siblings to describe you in one word. This is what they came up with…. pretty, amazing, gorgeous, and Brady says clean??!! Haha!

That pretty much sums you up girlfriend! Although life has now shown you what it’s like to be an adult with plans, work, and things to do, and we don’t get to see you as much as we’d like to, you are always loved! Thank you for allowing me to be your mom and for being a daughter I never knew I needed! You’re not my stepdaughter, you’re just my daughter and we’re just family. I love you! We hope you have an amazing 18th birthday!

Xoxo,

MK

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s the holidays!!!! That means holiday shopping and gift giving. Well I have 6 kids to buy for so I’m here to share ideas and deals that I found this year!

Teens and tweens – I have an 18 year old, a 13 year old, and a 10 year old daughter. Beauty products are my go-to! I have some really picky daughters when it comes to clothes and their style. So beauty and skincare products are always a win in my house!

Links:

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser click here.

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Cream click here.

Makeup Blenders click here.

NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette click here.

NYX Highlight & Contour Palette click here.


Ok so next up are my favorite clothing items! Whether it’s your sister, your teen daughter, or maybe just yourself.. these are cute and comfy!

Womens mid-rise skinny jeans click here.

Black fleece Crewneck click here.

Riders Jean jacket click here.

Black leggings click here.

Waffle knit Crewneck pullover sweater click here.

Black puffer vest click here.


And here are some BOY clothes because y’all know I’m a boy mama!

Boys Dino hoodie and pants set click here.

Boys raglan tee click here.

Baby boy onesie and pants set click here.

Long sleeve striped onesies click here.

Cloud pajamas click here.

Plaid boys zip up sweatshirt click here.


Last but not least.. the kids favorite things! Toys! Here are some great toy gift ideas for your littles and older kiddos! My thirteen year old daughter’s most wanted gift was paint sets! We actually splurged and got her some more expensive sets from Amazon but I found this cool inexpensive set at Walmart! My ten year old daughter wanted AirPods (ha!) and our budget didn’t quite allow for the Apple version so we found these on clearance at Walmart that will hopefully work just as good!

Horse ride on walker click here.

Stacking toy click here.

Boys bike click here.

Art set click here.

Wireless earbuds click here.

3-pack caterpillar construction toys click here.


So there you have it! My favorite gift choices for our kids this Christmas! Now to wrap everything!

Happy holidays!

Xoxo,

MK

Christmas Advent Calendar for the Whole Family

Christmas Advent Calendar for the Whole Family

We’ve been home for months now. We are halfway through our first year of homeschooling and I think the kids are in a slump. No one has any motivation and the weather is getting colder. We aren’t getting as much fresh air. But the holidays are among us and with them comes a little excitement!

I decided to do an advent calendar this year and I let the kids help decide what we will be doing each day! It’s a fun way to get them involved and frankly, get the tween and teen off their phones for a little bit.

So here’s the full list of things we will do for the next 24 days!

Make paper snowflakes

Make a gingerbread house

Watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

Making Christmas cards for the nursing home

Print Christmas coloring pages

Wrap gifts

Gather canned goods for needy families

Go see Christmas lights

Make gingerbread house flower pots

Watch Elf

Family game night

Make Christmas cookies

Watch a Christmas movie we haven’t seen

Decorate outside

Watch The Santa Claus

Take Christmas pictures

Make a handprint wreath

Make ornaments via Pinterest

Christmas scavenger hunt

Visit Santa

Go ice skating

Create dollar tree foam Christmas trees and decorate

Get in pajamas and watch The Polar Express

Make cookies for Santa!

Open gifts and enjoy time together!

Also I have attached the image we used to print for our “Countdown to Christmas” board as well as the Christmas lightbulb printable!

Find a cute spot in your house – maybe it’s on a bulletin board or on the fridge! Make a visual so the kids can see it and have something to look forward to every day!

Link to the downloadable svg file – click here:

https://www.thelatestfind.com/2015/12/christmas-countdown-free-printable-and.html?m=1

I hope these ideas bring your family joy! Happy Holidays!!!!

Xoxo,

MK

Life After Loss: Rainbow Babies Are Real

Life After Loss: Rainbow Babies Are Real

You lose a baby. Then what? Life doesn’t just stop. Your grief doesn’t just go away. Days pass. You somehow keep going. Things get easier. Your grief comes up every day but it doesn’t tear you down the way it used to. You’re stronger. You’re braver. You’ve grown to know your grief. You manage it better than you did at first. But just when you least expect it, every now and then it will still bring you to your knees.

New hope emerges. It seems like it’s been forever. Forever since you felt that feeling. The feeling of hope and excitement and giddiness, and all that comes with the thought of a new baby.

You see those two pink lines again. God is telling you to hang in there. You are scared to death. With each doctor’s appointment there is so much anxiety. So many nerves. But with each month that has passed, you start to believe this could actually happen.

You really don’t truly believe this baby is real until you hear that first cry… or until you feel that first latch. Everything about this is different. You notice every moment. You feel every touch. You take in every smile, every milestone. This baby is real and here and you just can’t get enough. You notice every little crevice and roll in those chunky baby legs. Every diaper change. Every bath. Every time he wakes you up. Every giggle. Every smile. You don’t have any other care in the world when he’s looking at you with those big round eyes.

There is something truly special about a rainbow baby. This baby isn’t a replacement. The memories of before are still there.. but this baby reminds you that there is hope. There is joy again. And it’s that much sweeter.

Xoxo,

MK

Our Pregnancy Journey

Our Pregnancy Journey

I write this as I sit here waiting to go into labor. It could be any minute or it could be days. My impatience and anxiety are growing yet I am trying to treasure every last moment. I have all of the third trimester things right now… my body hurts, I spend most of the time going to the potty, I can hardly breathe anymore, and don’t even think about asking me to bend down! But through all of that I am constantly reminding myself how lucky we are and the road that brought us here.

It was the fall of 2018 when we decided maybe another baby was in the cards for us. We have a big family and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. We are literally made up of his, hers, and ours. Gene (my husband) and I each had two children before we got married and in 2015 I gave birth to our son Brady. That pregnancy was a dream. It went by fast and everything about it was easy until my placenta wouldn’t deliver. My ob had to manually remove it but that was the worst thing that happened during our entire pregnancy and delivery so hey, not bad for our first try at babies!

Fast forward to December 2018. I saw those two pink lines on a pregnancy test that told us we were going to be parents again! I called and made the confirmation appointment a few days later, only to be let down later that same day when I started bleeding. They told me it was a chemical pregnancy and if I hadn’t been tracking my periods I wouldn’t have even known the difference. There was no sac. No baby.

I was heartbroken. I had gotten super excited already in just the few days that I thought I was growing a tiny human again. December came and went and with it we lost our beloved pet shih tzu of 8 years as well. December was a whirlwind of emotions and sadness but wouldn’t compare to what was coming.

We got pregnant again on our next cycle. Wow! We started telling ourselves all the things you say when something positive comes after tragedy. This is meant to be! God works in mysterious ways! There’s always light after darkness! We just needed to be patient! All the things.

Later in January, we went for an ultrasound at 9 weeks. There was our little bean on the screen! My palms were sweating. Gene looked like he was going to pass out. Something wasn’t right. No heartbeat. To say we were devastated is an understatement.

I had birthed 3 babies with no complications. How could this be happening now? Was something wrong with me? Were we only meant to have Brady and that was it? Should we just be grateful for the beautiful family we have? So many unanswered questions. So much doubt. So much guilt. So much heartache.

I chose to get the D&C because honestly I just couldn’t bare to go home and sit and wait for my dead baby to literally leave my body.

Just when I thought my body was starting to recover, two weeks later on Valentine’s Day, I was in my classroom having a Valentine’s party for ten bright eyed third graders when blood started gushing down my legs. This is graphic so if you don’t want to know the details, skip over this next paragraph!

I went to the teacher bathroom and was passing softball size blood clots. I managed to waddle outside of the bathroom to the phone to call my mom who also works at school to come to me. We ended up going straight to the Women’s Center where I was admitted to (of all places) the Labor and Delivery floor for the next three days.

I had to walk the halls so the clot would pass while listening to newborn babies cry and watching pregnant mamas prepare to meet their unborn babes. There are no words. It was a huge setback.

The following months we tried to get back to “normal.” Finally summertime came and we enjoyed life again, spending more time in the sunshine and with family. Time was healing us.

July 2019 was a good month. In August, I saw those two pink lines again! Only this time I didn’t get too excited. I didn’t freak out like I wanted to. I didn’t tell the world that we were expecting again.

We went for an ultrasound at 12 weeks. Scariest. Day. Of. Our. Lives. Everything was fine! Baby bean was growing. From then on I never got comfortable but I was hopeful. We found out at 20 weeks that I had a low lying placenta. They assured us it would correct itself and it did. We decided that we weren’t going to find out the gender. This was our surprise rainbow baby.

When you are pregnant after experiencing a miscarriage, anyone who has been through this will tell you that there’s always a trickle of doubt in the back of your mind. Even at 38 weeks pregnant, the moment you notice you aren’t feeling baby move will send you into a frenzy. You will be nervous for every single prenatal appointment. You will continue to think “Is this real?” You will pinch yourself just to make sure.

Time is a funny thing. When I look back on this journey in particular, I think about how I felt then. How I couldn’t see past my grief. I couldn’t believe that I could get past that empty feeling. I didn’t think I would ever feel like myself again. Grief never really goes away but it changes.

I think about the baby we lost every day. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what life would look like today if that baby was here. Was she a girl or a boy… would she have had red hair and big brown eyes? She or he would be 8 months this week.

So we made it this far. We are at the end of this pregnancy. Just when we think, “We did it!,” a national pandemic hits the US. Coronavirus. One baby shower cancelled and a change in birth plans… leaves us with no birth photographer and our other children won’t be able to visit us in the hospital. This has tried to bring us down. The anxiety and fear that has set in surrounding this virus has been overwhelming. We are nervous about being in the hospital where there are known cases. We are worried the baby, or any of our kids, will get it and have to go receive treatment without us by their side. It is terrifying. But we will not let this ruin what we have waited so long for. This happiness. This joy.

We are only days (maybe hours!) from meeting our rainbow baby. We are overcome with excitement and gratefulness. Our entire story has led up to this. And I know this isn’t where our story ends and I am nervous about how our delivery will go! We are praying for a healthy baby.

Maybe it’s a “thirties” thing.. but you begin to see your life as a novel God has written for you. There’s a setting and a plot… even characters. There are chapters. There is heartache and tragedy. Love and happiness. We are starting our next chapter and it just feels right.

Xoxo,

MK