Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Inspirational Parents

I have some pretty incredible friends.  Many of them are parents.  They are all so incredibly inspirational, encouraging, motivating, genius and simply amazing.

It got me to thinking about what made them those things.  None of them share any of the exact same parenting philosophies.  Not all of them have easy or always happy kids.  Not all of them are two parent households.  And some are like night and day if you were to compare them.  Yet, they are all such great parents.

They all have one thing in common.  They love their kids.  Sincerely and genuinely.  How can you not respect that?  And they recognize that they do not have all the answers.  They are open to discussion about why they make the choices they do and listen earnestly.  They are creating the next generation of critical thinkers and empathetic contributors to society. 

To all the parents who:

* breast feed or formula feed or extend breast feeding into toddler hood
* cloth diaper or disposable diaper or skip diapers all together
* bed share or co-sleep or have baby in their own room from night 1
* had epidurals or unmedicated labors
* had cesareans or vaginal deliveries
* are super mom or hero daddy or laid back mommy or care-free daddy
* have playrooms or man caves
* home school or private school or public school
* vaccinate on schedule or modify vaccine schedules or do not vaccinate at all
* teach their child about Santa or tell the truth from the beginning
* have an adventurous elf on a shelf or do not have one or has a lazy elf that's always being touched
* have staycations or travel frequently
* have strict bed times or lax bed times or no bedtimes at all
* stay at home or work from home or work out of the home
* have cookies for breakfast or ban sugar
* watch Adventure Time with their kids or don't own a TV or only allow educational shows
* make homemade costumes or buy them on Halloween at the store or not at all
* are helicopter parents or "they'll be fine" parents
* have date nights or mommy nights or daddy trips or family time all the time
* throw big parties or little parties or no parties at all
* take too many pictures or too few pictures or no pictures at all
* live in the moment or plan months in advance
* make decisions for their children based on what works for their family despite any social beliefs, peer pressure or traditional ideologies

Thank you.  Thank you for parenting.  Thank you for being the boo boo kissers, the story readers, the first teachers, the playground referees, the chauffeurs, the rainbow makers and the parents that inspire me to be a better mommy each and every day.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Potty Training

 One thing I know absolutely for sure about Samantha's personality is that she is incredibly stubborn.

I don't even think stubborn adequately describes it.  

She can hold out to get her way for a really long time.  Longer than Kaitlyn ever did.  Longer than I sometimes want to.  Long enough to make me question what we're even battling anyways. 

Potty training has been no different.

Samantha knows how to use the potty.  She knows when her body is ready for her to go.  She will run and tell you.  She just doesn't always feel like using the potty.  Which is fine.  But so frustrating.  She is on her way to being 3 this November, and I'm a little tired of cleaning up her poppy diapers.  Especially since they are so massive.  And stinky.  And, did I mention she's going to be 3?!

Originally, I had wanted to follow the new guidelines and wait until she was 3 to even begin. Then, one day she started taunting me when she used the bathroom in her diaper.  And I realized, she was beyond ready.  It would cut down on diaper rashes and she is really mature and expressive for her age.

So, about a month ago (she was 32 months), we potty trained in about a day and a half.  All it took was 1 jelly bean each time.  She would hold the last part of her pee, and go every 4 minutes to get as many jelly beans as possible.  She would go on her own, running to the toilet, using her step stool and then yelling super excited when she was done.  We even ventured to the store a couple times where she used the bathroom there as well.  All was going good.  I bought her some new jammies and panties as a job well done gift.  We just had to work on poop.  Only about half went into the toilet and the rest were accidents.  I seriously thought we were done.

Then, after a week, she said she didn't want to anymore.  No reasons.  No excuses.  No explanation.  I asked her why.  She said she didn't want to.  I offered a jelly bean.  Nope.  I offered a bike.  Nope.  I offered everything under the sun and it was still a big, fat no.

So, I backed off.  We went back to diapers for another week.  And now, if I don't even mention it, we will have a complete day without diapers or accidents without any prompting.  Followed by another day of the same.  Then, out of no where, a day of diapers.  I have to commend her for sticking to her guns so well...

In other Samantha news, she is growing like crazy!  

She's been off Benadryl for about 3 weeks now and mostly sleeping at night.  It was another issue of backing off. 

Once we hit the point of her taking a full dose and still staying up until 1-2 a.m., I knew it was a lost cause.  So, I stopped giving it to her, made sure her room was super safe and just started asking her to go to sleep.  Once she knew I wasn't forcing it anymore, she started going to sleep at 9:30 and sleeping for a full 12 hours.  We've had a couple of nights where she woke up, but she always goes back to sleep.

I stopped forcing her to brush her teeth and now she is begging to several times a day.

She has recently went through a growth spurt, so I really need to measure the princess.  And she's exploded where vocabulary is concerned.  She is talking all the time.  In complete paragraphs and asking questions.  She remembers things from months ago and mentions them in conversations.  She says some crazy stuff and always has a funny story.  For example, yesterday, she kept stealing Charlotte's puffs.  Then, she asked me to put on her wings.  I said no,  She was being mean to Charlotte.  She said she was not.  I told her "you took her treats." and she said "I did not!  My belly did!  Remember?"  And she has totally mastered the "Ugh Moooom" as well as tattling, keeping secrets, playing make believe with her dollies and just acting far older than I think she should be.  

I cannot believe she's going to be 3 so soon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Joshua Reagan

A few months before Kaitlyn was born, I really wanted a way to share her with family and friends near and far.  It was before social networking sites were as popular or as easy to use as today.  I discovered and Kaitlyn had a page.  I would update it just like a baby book and then share it.  My nieces had one, Matthew has one, I had started one for the first baby we miscarried and updated them often.

BHP (babyhomepages) was similar to a message board once you started posting.  You would see the pages other people created for their kids, and could leave comments.  It started friendships from one side of the world to another with people who had the same interests, kids of similar ages and who were going through many of the same trials as you were.

A couple of years ago, I had received a message that someone was using Kaitlyn's pictures as their own.  I didn't really pay much attention to it and didn't take it too seriously.

Over the last year, it's changed.  I've been contacted by numerous people with more information regarding the craziness this woman has created.

From the sources, I was able to gather that they were using the persona Joshua Regan.  A single father of now three girls and one little boy who passed away.  They had a facebook page and mostly found relationships on dating websites.  Their mother died in labor when Charlotte was born, and prior to the birth of each child, there was a different story as to mom's whereabouts.

Joshua Reagan was a woman.  Obviously sick in the head and from Florida.  I was able to track down their IP address and knew they were visiting the blog and the BHP sites.  I enjoy blogging and described why I started putting watermarks on my photos here.  I made the BHP sites private.  I, naively, assumed they were only getting the pictures from the blog.

Until I received a friend request on facebook followed by a message.  The messages included a photo.

Those first 4 photos were found only on one place: facebook.

The middle one of Matthew was also on facebook, but not directly on my page.  Rather on friends pages.  The next three were all on instagram and shared on facebook.

They all had facebook in common.  And I had over 475 friends.  So, I started deleting everyone that could have possibly been someone else.  Someone who could have been pretending.  Someone who could have actually been "Joshua Regan." 

After I deleted the first 10, the woman who had given me the photo said that "his" instagram page was going crazy and photos were being deleted.

I kept deleting.  I mean, to be honest, I didn't know who this person was that was messaging, or the people who had messaged me about it before.  All of them could have been the same person for all I know. 

I learned rather quickly that facebook is not a fan of you just deleting friends.  After about 50, it started glitching.  I ended up accidentally deleting many that I didn't need to.  I ended up getting down to closer to 150 friends.  Which, has made my newsfeed feel naked.

Throughout the time of unfriending, I continued to receive FB messages from the woman with photos of the texts she had received.

I removed the information shared by the person who shared them with me for a couple of reasons.  The main one being she talks about her kids, and I'm not sharing anyone's kids information.  And, it's not really necessary to get the creepy factor of what "Joshua Reagan" did.

I also received these:

I then received more texts after "Josh" was called out in regards to not being who he said he was:

He also sent a picture of his real daughter.  Who I thought about posting as well to find the true parents of, but have decided against.

This, according to "him", is his sister and her family:

Disgusting.  Right?

So, the next morning, I received this email (from

 Hi my name is Carrie. I'm 27 years old and I am sending this because I want you to know that your blog about cat fishing is wrong. As a freshman in high school, I lost my little sister to leukemia. I got really depressed and started spiraling downhill. I started doing drugs and I was known at school as the gothic girl. There was a specific girl, holly, in my grade who used to be so cruel to me. So I went home one day and created Josh Reagan. I found pictures of a guy who was attractive on aol profiles back when that was our social media. I messaged her, and made her fall in love with this guy only to break up with her and break her heart. Cruel I know. But at that point it made her weaker than me and that's what I needed. So I became addicted. I came across your family when your oldest was a baby. On babyhomepages. My sister had one for her memory and I was just browsing and came across your family. I don't know why I did what I did from there on out. I did use your children's pictures. I don't know why. I don't really have answers. What I can tell you is I'm sorry. I'm done with it all, and I'm trying to get my life back where it needs to be. I no longer have a computer, I got rid of it. I'm in a program to help with Internet addiction and the first step is to apologize to the people you hurt with your addiction. I am very sorry for doing what I did. It was wrong, and stupid. I you have any questions you can email me back, but I want you to know I won't be doing it any longer. 

Sent from my iPhone

Obviously, this person has some serious mental illness issues.  I have absolutely no sympathy for them and I hope that they seriously stop what they are doing and realize how much it can hurt others.

I think it's another example of how we cannot control what happens to us in life, the only thing we can control is how we react.

If I accidentally unfriended you, and you're not a psycho, please friend request me.  :)  And be safe on the internet people!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Only 4 months until Christmas!

And 5 days.

Which means that this little princess is 8 months old.

Charlotte has grown so much in the last month.  I haven't weighed her or measured her yet, but there is absolutely no question that she's gone through a growth spurt.

But, she's also grown in other ways.  She has such a personality.  She is incredibly outgoing but likes to play shy.  She does not like to see anyone upset, but laughs when she hears someone else giggle.  She is curious about everything going on around her.  She is quick to smile, quicker to stick out her tongue and goes to just about anyone these days.  And she does the cutest little thing with her nose.  It gets crinkled all the time.  I love it.

She is crawling so fast and getting into just about everything lately.  She loves to be in the kitchen.  It's the best place to open drawers and cupboards.  She loves to get out all the sippy cups and play with the lids.  She's just so fast, and wants to be where the action is. 

Charlotte is anxious to stand up.  If she's in her bassinet (I know we need to move her, more on that in a moment) she can put her hands on my nightstand and then pull herself to stand.  But, her body is more like a triangle.  She spends a lot of time pulling herself to her knees and grabbing onto anything to pull herself up to stand.  If we help her up to stand, she'll stand for a really long time.  Like minutes.  If we hold her hands, she'll make a lot of stepping motions to get where she wants.  She's so excited about every single movement.

She loves to be picked up and reaches her arms out to you and waves her little hand towards you like, please let me love on you.  And when you pick her up, she will love on you.  She will turn her head into your chest.  She will give you wide open mouth kisses.  She will just love you.  It's the sweetest thing.

She is babbling a lot and can say mama, but I don't count it yet.  If you ask her where mama is or dada, or Kaitlyn or Samantha or bottle, she knows.  There are actually a lot of words she understands.  She loves the dogs, is just absolutely crazy about Archie. 

A few things about Charlotte this month:
           * She is clapping
           * She dances to music
           * She loves having a blanket.  All the time.
           * She still has 2 teeth!!  She was the earliest to get them, but the slowest to get more...
           * She still loves the paci.  The only baby to go past 6 months with them.
           * When she wears disposable diapers, she's a size 3; in cloth, she's in the middle rise
           * She is wearing a 6-12 month in clothes.  She hasn't really worn shoes yet...
           * She is sleeping through the night.  Kinda.  She sleeps from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. and 3 to 7
           * She nurses every 2-3 hours day, has baby food 3 times a day, loves puffs and       
              gets 6 oz of formula at night.
           * We have been very slowly adding in table foods.  So far she has had watermelon, mashed
               potatoes and bananas.

I have so many things to write about.  I'm going to work on them tomorrow.  Some things I'm working on:

* Being catfished again!  And this time I have texts and emails to share.  ;) And why I ended up deleting 300 facebook friends...
* Kaitlyn's second year in cheer!
* Kaitlyn starting the 4th grade!
* Samantha potty training and all the hysterical things she says
* The miraculous recovery of Archie
* Our new daily schedule.  What it's like with having my 4 month old nephew here 4 days a week!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A 6th Birthday

Today is the 6th birthday of a very special little boy.

A boy born crying and kicking with a head full of dark, silky hair.

A little one at just under 5 lbs, with quizzical blue eyes and long, skinny fingers he just couldn't keep out of his mouth.

Today is the 6th birthday of a special little prince who changed our worlds.  Who taught us all about faith, determination and strength. 

6 years ago today, after 10 weeks on hospital bed rest, after 10 weeks of having such a limited amount of amniotic fluid surrounding him, Matthew was born.

When he wanted out, he wanted out.  He did not show the same patience and restraint he had the weeks leading up to his birth.  My contractions started around 1 in the morning, by 3:30, I was fully dilated and he did not care one bit that he was bottom first, he was going to descend all on his own, if I wasn't going to push.  By 4:30 a.m., mere moments after reaching the operating room and finding an OB (who just happened to be mine!) on the stroll down, he was born.  He cried.  He was shown to me over the curtain and he was quickly whisked away to the NICU.

And so started our roller coaster.

26 days in the NICU.  A place we called home.  The place where he met his big sister.

The place we spent our spare time.  The first place I held him, 5 days after he was born.  The place where he had his first baths, his first bottles, his first change of clothes, his first ultrasounds, so many of the only firsts he would ever have were here.

The following 44 days of his life were spent at home.  Reading stories with his big sister.

Being cuddled.

Being photographed.

Going to the park.

Meeting family. 

Taking baths.

Getting Spoiled.

And then one day, the morning after this picture was taken, it was over. 

There would be no more of that.  There wouldn't be anymore memories created or shared.  There would be a dark spot where he should be.

6 years can be so long and so short all at once.  Today, Matthew is turning 6.  His golden birthday.  There are so many things we should be doing.  So many things I wonder.

Would he like his birthday pancakes plain like Kaitlyn or filled with chocolate chips and doused in whipped cream and sprinkles like Samantha?  Where would he want to spend the day?  Would he chose to go to Chuck E. Cheese, or take advantage of a rare beautiful day in August by going to the zoo?  Would he want pizza for lunch or chicken McNuggets?  What would he chose for dinner?  What kind of cake would he like?  Or would he want pie instead?

There are so many things about him we never had the opportunity to learn.  To know.  So many things that we take for granted.  So many things I wish we could be doing with him.  So many experiences we would have had together.

I walked by Kaitlyn's room last night.  She had built a big bed on the floor and her and Samantha were watching Looney Tunes together.  Charlotte had already gone to sleep for the night.  And it was hard to realize there should have been a little boy under there, on his birthday eve, too excited to sleep knowing there would be presents.

But, he wasn't.

Instead, we carry him in our hearts.  We honor him in our actions.  We celebrate his life, no matter how short it was.