Welcome! I'm Cookie's Mom. You can learn all about Cookie and why I blog here: About Cookie's Chronicles. If you're new here, you may want to SUBSCRIBE TO MY RSS FEED. Thanks for stopping by! Pull up a beach chair and be my guest, won't you?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Guest Blogger Extravaganza:
That's a Wrap!

What a month! It's hard to believe another August has come and gone.

It's time to wrap up the August Guest Blogger Extravaganza. Throughout the month I have been priviledged to bring you guest posts from some of my favourite blogging moms. I can't thank them enough for allowing me to take this much needed break!

Click the button to view the list of 
contributors and links to their stories

It's been an emotional month. We've laughed, we've cried, we've nodded recognition as we identified with the stories being shared, and we've connected with some magnificent women.

I have never met these moms in person, and our history together is relatively short, yet they are women I would proudly call friends. We are geographically challenged - we may never sit down to dinner together or arrange play dates for our kids - but we share common goals, common struggles and a common wish to somehow make the world a better place. We believe that through sharing our stories - the dramatic, the tragic, the funny, the tragically funny - we can connect with and learn from others, and remind each other and ourselves that we are not alone.

I want to thank my guests for opening up their hearts, for trusting me with their stories, and for allowing us to see ourselves in them. Ladies, thank-you for informing us, for the laughter, and for providing us with moments to reflect on our own lives as we remember the people and events that matter so dearly to us.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Carri of Mommy's Little Monster Blake
"My New Normal"

My guest today is the bold and beautiful Carri of Mommy's Little Monster Blake. She loves horses, water skiing and vodka. I have yet to see a post where she has combined all three, but I wouldn't put it past her. She's pretty adventurous! Carri is your host for the Sunday Funday link up. Check it out, link up, make some new friends, and grow your blog presence.

Carri lives in Thousand Oaks, California with her husband of eight years Ken and two-and-a-half-year-old son Blake. They own two horses and a flock of chickens. You can learn more about Carri by reading her bio. You can even learn more about little Blake - he has his own bio!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Carri better:

Favourite Time of Day? 
Nap time!
Favourite Treat? 
Ice Cream (I wonder if they make bacon flavored ice cream?)
Favourite Pastime? 
Sitting on the back porch and watching Blake play while I BBQ. Margaritas are usually in the picture, too.
Favourite Word? 
Cantankerous (I think it describes Blake perfectly.)
Favourite Family Outing? 
The park on a summer day.

My New Normal
by Carri of Mommy's Little Monster Blake

I never wanted be a mom.

To me, the word “mom” was never a positive one. As the daughter of a mother with bipolar disorder, “mom” was a word that I associated with anxiousness, hurt and abandonment. “Mom” was the person who gave birth to you but didn’t necessarily like you. “Mom” was not someone you could count on; she was not a person you could cry to; she was not your biggest supporter.

“Mom” was just the opposite.

She was unpredictable; she was mean; she was the reason your friends wouldn’t come over to play.

I never wanted to be that.

I never wanted to be a mom.

As I got older, I began to change. I slowly went from an anxious, depressed and self loathing teenager to a fun, confident, and witty young adult. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t held down or held back by my mom’s mental disorder and I didn’t let it define me. I refused to let it define me.

I was me. I was not her.

And then I became a mom. A real mom.

When my son was born, I made a promise to him that I would be a better mom to him than my mom had been to me. And even though post partum depression made the first few months difficult, I think I’ve made good on that promise.

We go to the park. We play “trucks”. We spend every waking moment together.

Blake is the happiest and friendliest little guy I’ve ever met, and he makes friends wherever he goes.

People can’t help but love Blake.

I can’t help but love Blake.

I love being a mom.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Christine of The Aums Mama
"What Goes in Must come Out"

My guest today is Christine of The Aums. She's witty and very funny, and she's a fellow Gemini (i.e. instantaneously loveable like yours truly - ahem). Christine lives in Santa Cruz, Californina with her husband and 4 kids (aka her Aumies) ages 7, 5, 3, and 2. Christine's family are known as The Aums because they included the Sanskrit spelling of 'om' in all of their names. How cool is that?

Christine has just made the switch from Blogger to Wordpress (it's getting lonely over here... is that tumbleweed?), and I have to say the new space looks mighty fine. She'll have her About page and others up soon. Be sure to visit today and then check back often for updates.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Let's get to know Christine better:

Favourite word?
ApparentLY adverbs ending in -ly. I tend to say 'honestly' 'seriously' 'definitely' 'totally' A LOT. ActualLY, I do love to say ALOHA and I wouldn't be @TheAumsMama if I didn't say AUM.
Favourite time of day?
I am both a morning person and night owl, which leaves very little time for sleep in between...so my favorite time of day is NAPTIME...when I actually get one.
Favourite treat?
My favorite treat is ME time. I especially love it when I get to be home and my husband and kids are out doing something fun.
Favourite family outing?
My favorite family outing is one on one time with one of my Aumies. We spend so much time together as a family, that I try to schedule regular dates with each one and give them my full attention. They take the lead and I am less stressed not keeping track of 4 kids at once.
Favourite comfort food?
Definitely toast. Extra comforting if it's sourdough and buttered all the way to the edges! Extra extra comforting if it's served with Mexican hot chocolate!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

What Goes in Must come Out
by Christine, aka The Aums Mama

A couple of week’s ago, my daughter swallowed a marble.

I was standing maybe 3 feet away, with my back turned, when I heard her make a loud spitting sound. My first reaction was to tell her to keep her saliva in her mouth, but when I saw her wide-eyed face, I immediately connected the dots. 

She’s three going on four. Toys in the mouth are not something I worry about any more. I don’t even worry about it with my 2 year old!

I have four kids and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened. You’d think I’d know what to do.

So this is what I did:


Actually, I freaked out on purpose. I wanted my daughter to see me in all my worked up glory to hopefully teach her a lesson. I cried along with her and did this shallow breathing thing and kept looking at her and shaking my head. I know I freaked her out, but I think it worked.

I hope.

So…what goes in must come out right?

I immediately tweeted the situation and received some much needed support as well as something I didn’t need or want: confirmation that yes, I would have to check her bowel movements until the marble made its re-entry into the world.

So we gave her the lowdown. From now on she would have to use the little potty so that we wouldn’t have to fish her poop out of the toilet. It made her laugh to know that we somehow had to look for the marble in her poop, and we did indeed all share a good laugh.

She had a BM in the next 24 hours and let me tell you…I was ready! I was game for getting this “mommy milestone” out of the way, under my belt, on my blog!

While she was doing her business, I had a moment of brilliance, ran to the kitchen and found some plastic take-out cutlery. A fork and knife combo! I was determined to cut those turds up with manners, so as to diminish the weird wild animal feeling I had of going through my offspring’s poop.

But mere seconds before I began slicing and dicing, my husband stopped me with, “What are you doing?!”

“What do you think I’m doing? I’m gonna dissect her poop!”

“You don’t do it like that. Let me handle this.”


“You put it in a plastic bag and squish the bag til you feel the marble.”

“Ooooohhhhh…” I nodded my head slowly.

When did he become an authority on finding crap in crap? That’s what I wanna know.

So, in case this ever happens to you…here are some fun facts:
  • It took 3 poops and nearly 4 days for that sucker to come out!
  • My husband squished 3 bags of poop! (There’s something I never thought I’d write.)
  • My daughter didn’t feel it coming out.
  • It went in silver and came out black!

Our loved ones told us, “You have to save it! It’s a family memory! An heirloom!”

So we did.

We even named it The Black Pearl, and there’s been talk of having it set into some kind of jewelry and giving it to her when she turns 18.

So what do you think? This ever happen to you? If the “squishy poop bag technique” helps even one parent out there, this post will have served a purpose.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Brittany of Changing Diapers and Taking Names
Thoughts on Motherhood

Today, I'm pleased to be hosting Brittany of Changing Diapers and Taking Names. Brittany is a hardworking mother and nurse, as well as an active member of the blogosphere.

Changing Diapers and Taking Names

Brittany is a big fan of Twitter, and hosts a weekly Twitter Hop called Momday Monday. Brittany also has a new feature aimed at recognizing extraordinary moms. Contact Brittany to nominate someone for Mom of the Month. And don't forget to link up mid-week for Wine Down Wednesdays!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Brittany better:

Brittany is a single mom living in South Carolina. She is well known for her famous phrase “Bless it!” She enjoys various types of music, but is wearing out the new Colbie Calliat album lately. She loves to indulge in dark chocolate and red wine. And you can usually find her curled up with a book or watching one of her favorite movies. You can learn more about Brittany at her blog, Changing Diapers and Taking Names. Stop by and say hello!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thoughts on Motherhood
from Brittany of Changing Diapers and Taking Names

I am so excited to be doing a guest post for Sue! I love her site and it is such an honor to be featured! While exchanging e-mails about possible topics, Sue gave me an idea! She asked, “What does your role as a mom mean to you in the grand scheme of things?” This made me think for a while, then a little light bulb in my head turned on!

First of all, let me preface this story by saying, having a child was never in my life plan! I never thought I had enough patience for them (and it turns out I don’t)! But apparently, I didn’t have the right life plan, because Brody Michael was born February 2008. It was quite overwhelming holding this precious creation in my arms for the first time. I couldn’t speak, I could only cry. What was even more overwhelming was the thought of being a single mother! How was I supposed to do this on my own? Luckily, I have an amazing family who has been hugely supportive! I didn’t know it then, but God was preparing me for an even bigger role!

One year later, I became a Certified Nursing Assistant. I only had one interview before I got the job working in a retirement community. I worked in various parts of the community, but I mainly worked with Alzheimer patients. I immediately fell in love! These were some of the most precious people I had ever met! With some patients, you would have never known that they had this debilitating disease.  My role as a CNA was to try to improve their quality of life, because unfortunately there is nothing we can do to change the course of their fate.

Taking care of a patient with Alzheimer’s, is just like taking care of a toddler. So, it was so natural for me to go from taking care of Brody at home to taking care of my patients at work. I was doing the exact same thing! It’s funny that I never wanted to have children, because now all I do is care for my “children.”

I have always had a passion for helping others, but never in a million years would I have dreamed that I would be helping others in this way. Being a mother has prepared me for one of the greatest jobs I have ever had! It has taught me how to love unconditionally, how to truly empathize and has strengthened my patience and understanding for others! I wouldn’t trade being a mom to Brody or a helping hand to my patients for anything in the world! I have been truly blessed!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Samantha of Medtopicwriter
"The Nuts and Bolts of Bike Safety"

My guest today is Samantha Gluck of Medtopicwriter. Samantha is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. At Meditopicwriter she addresses a variety of healthcare-related topics in a format that the layperson can easily understand. I for one am grateful for her advice. There's an entire collection of pediatric health articles that parents will want to check out!

Samantha owns All Media Freelance, LLC where she works as a professional copywriter, blogger, ghost writer, and contributing author for several online publications including the prestigious Houston Chronicle. She also writes for Balanced Living Magazine. You can learn more about Samantha by reading her bio.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Samantha better:

Samantha lives in Spring, Texas with her beautiful, heroic hubs Duane and their 7 kids (4 Samantha's and 3 his)  — Connor, 16; Iain, 14; Liam, 10; Sarah, 8  Taylor, 14; Tatum, 9; Justice, 7. They also have several pets: Hemi – 8 month old “puppy” who is HUGE – he’s half Siberian Husky and half Pitbull; three kitties – Oreo, Milkyway, and Katniss; and three turtles – Hooks, Wolverine, & Mario.

Favourite word:  
Love – It’s my favorite word because it encompasses what really living is all about -- LOVE
Favourite family outing:
Going to the beach in Galveston or skiing in Utah with hubs and kids
Favourite song:
"Dare you to Move" by Switchfoot
Favourite emotion:
Joy –because it’s what I experience when I see God in the faces of my husband and children
Favorite color: 
Pink – because it’s just so me
Favorite of my posts:
Are Doctors with a Social Media Presence Better Healers?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Nuts and Bolts of Bike Safety
by Samantha Gluck of Meditopicwriter

Why is bike safety important in general and how can wearing a helmet help? Bicycle accidents, especially for kids, include falls, collisions with stationary objects, collisions with pedestrians, or collisions with other bikes. About one-half the injuries to children under the age of 10 involve the head or face. A head injury can lead to permanent brain injury and this is why it is important for all children to wear a bike helmet.

Wearing a helmet doesn't mean riders can act carelessly, but a helmet will provide some protection for the face, head, and brain in case an accident does occur. Understanding bicycle safety can reduce the risk of severe injuries and in some cases, death. Teaching proper bicycle safety to children can prevent both minor and serious injuries, elevate personal safety awareness, and save many lives. Parents can connect with their children in a powerful way by teaching cycling safety to them.

Safety Check

Before pushing the pedal to the metal, follow these simple tips to keep biking adventures enjoyable for the whole family:
  • Wear a properly fitted helmet. Make sure the helmet fits your child and that your child knows how to put it on correctly. The helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position with the helmet straps buckled.
  • Check your equipment. Before riding, inflate tires and check to ensure the brakes work properly.
  • Make certain your child is visible. Whether it is daytime, dawn or dusk, have your child wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors so pedestrians, other bicyclists, and drivers can see him. Teach your child not to assume a car’s driver can see him simply because the child can see the driver.
  • Maintain control of the bicycle. Keep hands on the handlebars and ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars.
  • Avoid riding double and discourage stunt riding. These actions create an unnecessary opportunity for accidents.
  • Go with the flow. Ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as other vehicles.
  • Obey all traffic laws. A bicycle is a vehicle. Encourage your child to obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings.
  • Stay alert at all times. Teach your child to use his eyes and ears to watch out for potholes, loose gravel, puddles and traffic.
  • Use appropriate hand signals. Your child should always properly signal before making a turn or moving in and out of traffic. Learn the proper hand signals and teach them to your child.
  • Children do as you do, not as you say. They learn best by observing you, the parent, so whenever you ride, wear your helmet and observe traffic laws too!

Head Injuries

Head injuries represent the most common injuries related to bike riding. In the event that a head injury or accident does take place, look for these symptoms to help determine the urgency and extent of the injury: 
  • Scalp swelling - Scalp swelling is common. If the skin is not broken, it may develop into a large lump from bleeding or swelling under the skin. Frequently, an outward swelling where a bump occurred does not pose a serious danger, but an indention in the head at the point of impact requires immediate medical attention. 
  • Loss of consciousness - Only about 5 percent of children and adolescents with a mild head injury pass out (lose consciousness) and usually just for a brief period of time (less than one minute). Watch closely for loss of consciousness, or you may miss it. 
  • Headache - Headache occurs in about 20 percent of children and adolescents after a head injury that necessitates medical attention. 
  • Vomiting - Approximately 10 percent of children and adolescents have at least one episode of vomiting after a mild to serious head injury. Vomiting may indicate the presence of a concussion, a condition requiring medical attention. 
  • Seizures - Less than one percent of children and adolescents have a seizure immediately after a head injury. Watch your child carefully for signs of seizure.

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Many of these symptoms can indicate the presence of a concussion, which is damage to the brain caused by a sudden blow or other force. Left untreated, concussions can develop into far more serious and permanent brain damage or death.

Biking provides an active means of transportation for children and affords them the personal power to pedal to school, the neighborhood park, or a nearby friend’s home. Proper instruction and active parental supervision can protect children from potential harm when bike riding. Parents should ride along with their children often; biking as a family can enhance fitness as well as the parent-child bond. Enjoy the outdoors on a bike, but always remember that safety is the best route.

Bike safety training resources for parents:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Rach of Life With Baby Donut
"Knitted Together"

My guest today is Rach of Life With Baby Donut. She and I have many things in common. We met our husbands in similar ways (check out Rach's So How'd You Meet Him? story), we share two hobbies (reading and knitting), we each nicknamed our children after dessert items, and we both willingly (mostly) left the comfort of our jobs behind to enter the world of the stay-at-home mom.

Rach is your host for Life's Lessons, a weekly meme that asks, What did you learn this week?

Rach lives in good ole sweltering hot Texas with her husband, Mr. DIH (Does It Himself), and baby Donut. You can learn more about Rach at her blog: About Rach

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Rach better:

Favourite word:
I think it's "Home."  That word is so comforting and it connotes familiarity and nurturing to me.  It's not always a place either.  Sometimes being with a certain person reminds you of home.
Favourite time of day:
Early morning, just before the sun breaks through.  I'm rarely up that early, but whenever I am, I love the peaceful quiet that time of day brings.
Favourite family outing:
I love going to the zoo.  We haven't taken Donut yet, but I hope to in the fall when she's a bit older.
Favourite pastime:
A few hobbies are reading, knitting, blogging and sewing.
Favourite comfort food:
Hot tea.  Not exactly a food, but hot tea always reminds me of my house growing up, where my parents had tea time every afternoon.  Drinking a cup of tea reminds me of family and friends and provides me the chance to just slow down for a bit.
Favourite of my posts:
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Knitted Together
by Rach of Life With Baby Donut

I remember sitting with my grandmother during the cold Minnesota winters, watching her wield her knitting needles.  I was fascinated by the thin metal needles bobbing in her hands as balls of colored yarn were woven together.  She would knit us hats, sweaters and socks every fall to wear in the freezing winter.

She never used a pattern.  She just seemed to know how to coax the yarn into shape effortlessly.  She would knit, hold up the piece she'd made and call me over to measure for size.  I remember feeling her hands on my back and arms as she measured her handwidths against the woven yarn. 

I proudly wore my hand-knit sweaters.  I loved them because I loved my grandmother.  She'd moved in with us when I was in kindergarten and stayed with us for 3 years.  We became best buds.  She'd play the game Memory with me, make me my favorite foods, even let me play with her hair. 

I wanted her to teach me to knit.  She tried, but my little 6 year old fingers were clumsy and impatient.   I just settled for playing with my dolls and Legos instead.

When I was 9, she moved back to her home.  I still remember that day as we watched her board her plane, tears pouring down my face as I held my mother's hand and half-hid behind her so my grandmother wouldn't see me cry. 

Later on at home, we realized that my grandmother hadn't taken everything.  She'd left her knitting needles.  I was determined to learn to knit something, anything, before we went to visit her in a few months.  With my mother's help, I painstakingly knit a small scrap of yarn.  It was probably 2 inches tall and 5 inches wide. 

It was nothing.  But it was everything.

I packed it in my bag when we went to see grandma during my summer break.  When we arrived, I ran excitedly to her and jumped in her arms.  I then rummaged through my bag and triumphantly thrust my offering of yarn to her.  I don't remember what she said, but I knew she was pleased with my effort.

Years passed and my new skill gave way to other hobbies and to growing up.  I became busy with school, friends, driving and boys.  I forgot about knitting for a long time.

A few years ago, a co-worker started bringing her knitting to work.  I remembered my fascination with the craft and decided to pick it up again.  I found a local yarn shop and signed myself up for a private lesson.  It was just as magical and beautiful as I'd remembered all those years ago.  I learned quickly and only needed that one lesson.  I started knitting like crazy, making scarves and baby blankets. 

Knitting is soothing.  I love being able to take a skein of yarn, thread it around a piece of metal, and make something beautiful out of it.  And every time I pick up those needles, I'm reminded of the love shared between my grandmother and me.  These needles, knits and purls, will always be our special bond.

My grandmother passed away earlier this year, just a few weeks after Donut was born.  I haven't knitted since, being busy with Donut, but also finding it painful to pick up a needle.  I miss my grandmother every day.  But one of these days, I'll get back into it again.  And when I do, I'll know I'm not only knitting yarn, but sweet memories across the generations. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Leighann of Multitasking Mumma
"Big Girl Bed"

My guest today is Leighann of Multitasking Mumma. If you haven't visited Leighann's blog yet, you'll want to take a look. She's seriously funny, her vlogging skills are unparalleled, and there's no subject she won't talk about (not even poo is off limits)!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Leighann better:

Leighann lives in Ontario, Canada with her fiancé Brian and 15-month-old daughter.
"We have a bulimic cat (for real) named Drucilla." 
She describes herself as a hardly serious, witty mother of one, surviving PPD, motherhood, and a messy husband. She writes about the pain of Post Partum Depression, the bumps and joys of being a mom, and the annoyances of being a grown up. She can be easily found roaming twitter, #wineparty, and participating in all things social media. She is best known for her love of peacocks, a symbol of pride, and her awesome writing. You can learn more about Leighann at her blog: About Leighann

Favourite word:
I don't have a favourite word, I have a favourite phrase. I say "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" a lot. It fits every situation.
 Favourite time of day:
Night time. I'm a night owl and love to be up at night.
Favourite emotion:
Favourite song:
Forever and Ever Amen by Randy Travis
Favourite pastime:
Haha, Blogging and writing.
 Favourite comfort food:
Ice cream... mmmmm.
A favourite post of mine:
Surgery, farting, and Jack Tripper

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Big Girl Bed
by Leighann of Multitasking Mumma

The space beside me was still warm from where the small, sleeping body had been. Each night, for the past several months, she had fallen into a deep slumber with her tiny toddler body pressed close to mine. I found comfort in the rise and fall of her chest, the steady flow of her breathing, and the occasional reach from her chubby hand to ensure I was still there.

We had never planned on having her sleep in our bed. She slept in her crib from 8 weeks old and then was sleep trained at 8 months. We were confident that she would be an independent sleeper, but she continued to have difficulty with reflux and then Roseola.

We sought help for sleep training through books, online, twitter, and family. The guilt overwhelmed me. I pictured my daughter struggling with sleep throughout her life because I didn’t want her to cry alone in her room. So she continued to sleep with us, tucked closely beside me, and the guilt slowly washed away. I was her mother and she was sleeping. She wouldn’t be sleeping in my room at 18, so I let my self blame go and embraced my sweet child.

But as much as I loved it I recognized that she would need to move into her room at some point. We began to watch her sleep patterns. She was able to fall asleep in any bed, anywhere, as long as we laid beside her in the beginning, but she would not sleep in her crib. The crib caused tantrums, thrown blankets, and screaming until she threw up.  This made us think that perhaps she didn’t like the feeling of being inside the bars.

We gave it careful thought and decided to put together her toddler bed. We involved her in the construction, the decoration of her new big girl bed, and then let her get used to the feel of getting in and out. The tears stung my eyes as I watched my little baby turn herself around with ease and slide out of her bed and then pat the mattress with delight so that she could do it again.

She fell asleep with no fussing, slept in her own room and I went to mine. I had a cold space at my side, an empty bed, and an aching heart. I didn’t know I would miss her so much or that I would yearn for her warm breath on my arm. She was growing up and it made me sad.

But then I heard a familiar cry.

A baby needing her mommy.

And a mommy who’s never been happier to hear her baby.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Abby of Mommy Moments with Abby
"Losing Yourself in Parenthood"

Today's guest poster is Abby from Mommy Moments with Abby. Abby is relatively new to the blogging community, but I'm so impressed with her contribution. She's not out pounding the virtual pavement looking for followers. She's not busy glamming up her blog, like so many of us, or climbing the multitude of social media ladders. What Abby does have is a beautiful spirit and really fantastic ideas for crafts and activities that you can share with your kids!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Abby better:

Hello, I am Abby from Mommy Moments with Abby.  Here in Gilbert, Arizona I reside with my husband Eric, our two kids (Avery age 1 ½ and Andrew 6 months), plus our 3 rescue dogs (Gizmo, Denali, and Blaze).  

After working in Health Care for about 10 years I found myself with a Bachelors in Health Services, married, mother of 3 fur babies, with a baby on the way.  I had planned on going back to work, but once that little girl was born I knew I wanted to stay home.  

How to make an income and stay home was a big question with it would seem an obvious answer once realized.  I had worked in childcare prior to working in Health Care and loved it.  I loved being a mom and so upon the suggestion and support of my husband my home daycare was born.  

At Home with Abby is in its 2 year now and we are having a blast.  Many of the parents would ask for advice or how to's on the projects and crafts we did and from that (plus a desire to one day write) my blog Mommy Moments with Abby was born.  It’s only been a few months, but I enjoy sharing with others my thoughts on everything and crafts that not only are fun, but can save a buck too! 

My favourite word:
Huggies- because I love it when the kids come over asking or opening their little arms for Huggies.  It is the best remedy for crankiness and mid-day crazies, plus as a mom there will be a day when Huggies aren’t considered cool and may be hard to come by so right now it’s my favorite word! 
My favourite outing:
Maryland- because we got to have a blast meeting family, seeing the area, and eating some amazing Maryland Blue Crab which I am now even more obsessed with!
My favourite famous person:
Amelia Earhart- she loved what she did and didn’t lose herself or her desire even though others may not have wanted her to succeed. 
My favourite comfort food:
As stated above Maryland Blue Crabs are an obsession and I would eat them 4 times a week if I could, not more or I’d probably die from lack of other nutrients.
My favourite emotion:
Calm- because life is so busy that a moment of calm is hard to come by and seldom lasting.
Favourite of my posts:
Baby Food Making because I had thought doing my own baby food would require a lot more money and time, but I can blend while I type!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Losing yourself in parenthood
by Abby of Mommy Moments with Abby

Parenthood: The days are long, busy, stressful, and exhausting.  Your life revolves around these little people and your job is the most important one found today.  You are a parent.  Your children will shape the world ahead and raise others to shape it more.  It is up to us what kind of world we want them to create because we teach them the knowledge, patience, and decision-making skills they will use to develop the future. 

Wow, did I really take on something of this magnitude?  Did I really realize what having kids means?  Did I think about how my parenting affects others?  Well, I didn’t until I became a mom.  So, now I do my best to create the environment my kids need to flourish.  This seems reasonable and it is, however, I have allowed being a mom to consume me.  A simple moment in my day sent a shock through my system of this consumption.  I realized I had lost myself, likes and dislikes focus on the kids, events of the day focus on the kids, anything regarding me is all about the kids.  This leads me to my current issue of having no idea who I am outside of the kids.  Not that I had a crystal clear vision of who I was prior, but I had career aspirations, hobbies, and the time to figure it all out. 

While I love being a mom, I have thrown myself into it with such fervor that my hobbies are gone with little memory of what they once were.  My life is now developing kid’s crafts, learning tools, I only have a vague idea of what airs on adult TV, finding grocery deals is a form of sport, and cleaning the house is my primary hobby. Leaving blogging to be a cherished past-time which gets set aside if the kids need something or their schedule is off.  No grammar development for me, just unprocessed thoughts on a page because that’s all my time constraints will allow.

I go-go-go non-stop and talk to a crowd under the age of 6 so the conversation rarely delves into adult topics such as how lame the adult sitcom was last night or a major news event.  I realized the acuteness of this problem when I checked my email the other day and saw an article on how the space shuttle was to be retired from NASA.  No, more shuttles for us. Where have I been while this was all being decided? I suddenly found that I have no idea what the events are outside of the kid’s development unless my husband shares a tidbit of information pertaining to the world around me.  Something needs to change! 

So, does being a mom mean that I become a mom warrior with no knowledge past child development, how to get out a stain, or wrestling tactics for diaper changing?  This question outlines my dilemma.  How to be an amazing mom providing everything my kids need to grow into intelligent, respectful, motivated people but still be able to work on developing or expanding my own interests or knowledge all at the same time?  I thought about this a bit and decided that my problem could be addressed.  So, now that I’ve decided to make the change, the question can be asked again, “Does being a mom mean that I become a mom warrior with no knowledge past the needs of the kids?” 

No, I can be a different kind of Mom Warrior, I can still get back to me, but help is needed.  I have decided to start with a few possible solutions and see what works and what doesn’t.  I can start with seeing if I can get an explanation of what happened in the news from a source able to watch it, hopefully the hubby (he is busy too so not sure if it’s possible), while I cook/clean/or sew a torn pant leg is the first start to becoming someone who does it all.  I feel multitasking is going to be key in the solution I seek.  Next, I will work on being OK with having only a few minutes between the kids bedtime and mine to be dedicated to reading a book; must be careful not to neglect the marriage in doing so; maybe a joint designated reading time?  I must also come to the realization that news in spurts can be alright for the kids to watch as long as the storyline isn’t too violent and graphic in order to keep them and me informed of the world outside this house. Lastly, I am going to pick something new to learn and become proficient in and dedicating at least ten minutes a day.  I plan to do all this knowing that in bettering myself I can better my kids.  In fact, I will make this my new mantra: Bettering me creates the opportunity for me to expand and better my children! 

Now to put this plan into action, the hardest part!  My husband had the idea to put signs of the Arabic alphabet to help me start to learn dedicating ten minutes a day.  I feel better already! Unfortunately I now find the dilemma of explaining them to kids who are learning the ABC’s. Not the easiest thing to do since they don’t exactly match up perfectly.  As for my plan to watch the news during the day, I find it easier to focus on it when all the kids are down for a nap at the same time even if it’s only for 20 min.  I find it hard to keep track of what is being said without feeling like I’m neglecting the kids when they are up and playing.  I am devising ways to incorporate news stories to toddler conversation to help with this so that I’m not completely out of the loop with world events.  Difficulty has been found with reading after the kids have gone down for bed.  I’m often so tired I start to fall asleep during the first page.  Not sure how to remedy this since sleep is important for intellectual and physical growth, plus sleep helps one maintain sanity during the day.  I plan to continue to think of new things to do in order to reach my goals, developing those goals as I grow.

What have I learned at this point in my plan?  I have found that I was meant to be a mom.  I love it; love the poop, pee, tantrums, and screams.  I realize that sounds crazy, but they come with cuddles, inspirations, creativity, growth, giggles, smiles, and (the best part) love.   I have found that learning a language is hard.  It is a full time job if you didn’t grow up bi-lingual.  Due to this discovery I am adamant that my children learn multiple languages early on so it won’t be an issue for them down the road.  Aside from the struggles I’m experiencing learning another language, the first time you recognize a word or in my case the symbol representing a sound/letter either written or spoken you get seriously pumped.  It’s a rush of excitement because you grew.  Growth feels awesome! 

Oddly in experimenting with these changes, I have discovered that I’m more tired than I realize.  I am not sure that sleep isn’t a luxury us parents will not get when the kids are young.  It is an issue that I continue to experiment with on how to gain sleep, but find time to do all I want to in each day.  I had forgotten how world events can evoke emotions even when they have nothing to do with you which seem absurd when you think about it. Watching the news has not only made me more aware of external factors attributing to my emotions but has caused me to realize that from what little I know of history, it seems to be repeating itself.  All in all, change is occurring and I am optimistic that more changes will happen as I continue to strive to balance it all.  Through these changes I will understand better how to lead my kids as I learn to lead myself. 

Most importantly I have realized that being a parent is not an easy task, but one should be proud of taking it on and truly dedicating themselves to it.  You and I made the choice to have a baby and we should not be afraid or feel tied down to that choice.  I hope that as I use the moments I can find or make for discovering me that I will have a better understanding of the events in the world, I will be better equipped to offer a wider array of knowledge to my children, and that I will be able to better myself for my family becoming a mom not defined by the label mom, but one who defines the label.  The choice we made can only make us greater and yield the opportunity to truly make a difference in this world with these changes I will make a difference.

I offer us both some closing thoughts from me to you for the journey of growth ahead. Don’t lose yourself in the process, discover the greatness inside of you and on the hard days remember that by finding amazing things out for yourself, you create a new discovery for your children.  Never stop learning about who you are and always be brave enough to pass that knowledge on.  Read a book or newspaper, watch the news or how-to networks and smile at the person you’re creating within yourself because you are a mom or a dad and the only people your kids have to show them that losing yourself in something can lead you to the path you were meant to travel if you remember to stop and take in the scenery!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks so much for being my guest today, Abby! I think we can all relate to what you're expressing. We want the best for our kids, so we strive to be the best people we know how to be. Abby, I wish you much success on your journey. It's clear that you care deeply for your children's futures. I hope you do allow yourself time that is just for you, whether or not it benefits the kids, since a happy and fulfilled mom is a good mom. You're well on your way!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jen of Runner Mom
"These are the moments"

My guest today is Jen of Runner Mom. It's true. She loves to run. Thank goodness she has the willpower to stay fit. As a working mom of four, she needs her energy! Jen is a very optimistic individual. Her posts always lift my spirits, and I'm grateful for the support she offers me personally on my blogging journey!

runner mom blog

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Jen better: 

Jen writes:
A few loves of mine, besides my husband and four children (Jacob 8, Anna 6, Camden 5, and Katelyn 1) are running (I'm addicted), playing outside with my kids, and reading. A favorite book of mine is My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult...PLEASE do not read this book if/when you are pregnant, which I did, and cried a LOT. I had to go back and read it a second time...you know, when I wasn't pregnant. Don't worry, I still cried.
I am so honored to be here at Sue's "house" today! And not because cookies are one of my favorite things to eat (which they totally are, along with chocolate ice cream, and brownies, and chocolate cake), but I love coming here because I feel right at "home".
You can learn more about Jen by visiting her blog: About Jen

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

These are the Moments
by Jen of Runner Mom

These are the moments...

I wake up early, before anyone else is stirring, and sneak down the stairs. I put my contacts in, throw my unruly hair into a pony, lace up my running shoes, and head out the door. I love running at this time of day; the sun is just starting it's ascent, the air is light, and the streets are quiet. These are the moments I cherish; running to my own tunes, listening to my own thoughts, just...being.

These are the moments...

I get home from my run, refreshed, armed with a cup of freshly brewed coffee; ready for the craziness to begin. The kids wake up, one by one; their sleepy-eyed look greets me followed by a hug and a smile. These are the moments I cherish...

Summer has a laziness about it; no mad rush trying to get the older two kids ready for school; staying in pj's a little longer; watching a movie cuddled on the floor in slumber party style; no rigid schedule. These are the moments I cherish...

Going for a nature walk; playing baseball in the backyard; a surprise picnic lunch; an afternoon at the pool; a game of freeze-tag-you're-it-until-you-can't-breathe; playing until dinner time; then baths and bed; a story and more snuggles until sleepy eyes drift off to sweet dreams.

Of course, our days aren't always sunshine and rainbows; there's always chaos and clutter and crumbs sprinkled in. Sometimes there's fighting and screaming and wrestling; but these moments will pass all too soon.

All of these moments are the moments I will cherish forever.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

IDITAROD: a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth
Book Review and Interview with André Jute

Hop on over to Cookie's Book Club today to read my review of IDITAROD a novel of the Greatest Race on Earth and interview with the author André Jute.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Robin of Farewell Stranger
"Love in a Grain of Sand"

Today's guest is Robin of Farewell Stranger. Robin has struggled with many of the strong emotions that can come unexpectedly with motherhood. What sets her apart from others is her willingness to talk about it. I am inspired by her honesty and I admire her for helping others who need someone to speak on their behalf.


When Robin was 38 weeks pregnant with a breech baby and low amniotic fluid that indicated a need for a fairly quick c-section, the doctor asked her and her husband a question: “Would you like to have this baby today or tomorrow?” Not prepared to be whisked to the OR that instant, they chose “tomorrow”. Their son Connor was born on June 13, 2008, which happened to be a Friday. Friday the 13th. And thus began Robin's journey into motherhood.

After Connor was born Robin struggled with undiagnosed postpartum depression, and through writing about her experience she has found the power of brutal honesty in helping others and a new sense of purpose that's reflected in her goal of living the life she believes she's meant to.

Robin lives in Victoria, BC, Canada with her husband, three-year-old son (Connor) and dog (Finley - he's a Wheaten Terrier).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Robin better!

My favourite time of day:
My favourite treat:
Chocolate, baby! Especially in ice cream form.
My favourite song:
Right now it's Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw
My favourite book:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
My favourite comfort food:
Roast beef and yorkshire pudding with mashed potatoes and gravy. Yum!
Favourite post that I have written:
I think right now it's this one: Valentines

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Love In a Grain of Sand
by Robin of Farewell Stranger

When you become a mother, I’ve discovered, you never quite know from day to day what gross things you might have to do in the name of parenting. Changing diapers was not nearly as bad as I’d been led to believe. Wiping snotty noses I expected. And I figured I’d have food thrown at me at some point, although if I’d known how often that would happen I’d have bought a personal splatter shield.

Some things, though, I just never would have anticipated.

My husband apparently has a sentimental fondness for sandboxes. He had one when he was little, I think, or wanted one, or something. In any case, he figured a sandbox would be nirvana for a small boy, so last summer he went about putting one in our back yard.

Being a do-it-yourself kind of guy, he planned it out, got the wood and other sandboxy supplies, and ordered sand.

A LOT of sand.

The explanation had something to do with not knowing exactly how much is in a yard when it comes to a big pile of crushed rocks that ends up in one’s driveway or a miscalculation on the size of the sandbox or something along those lines. I don’t remember exactly. All I know is that we had more sand than we had box.

Not being one to waste good sand, my husband dutifully trucked it all out to the lovingly handmade sandbox. And put it all in.

The result was less of a sandbox and more of a sand mountain.

Have I mentioned that I have a small boy who’s fond of making gigantic messes? I knew exactly what was going to happen.

Or I thought I did.

Let me first explain that I’m not a huge fan of sand when it’s not at the beach. I thought a sandbox sounded like a great idea but, as it turns out, I’m not so fond of sitting in it in non-beach clothes for many afternoons in a row.

Anyway, back to that messy two-year-old.

He was definitely in sandbox heaven – no doubt about it. He climbed right in and sat down and started picking up sand and moving it around and building little piles.

When we showed him that you could build roads out of sand and bring trucks in and actually drive the trucks on the sand roads, I thought he was going to refuse to ever come back inside.

He spent a lot of time in that sandbox over the next few days, and every day when I came home from work he wanted me to climb right in with him. I generally opted to sit on the edge rather than immerse myself in it entirely, which I figured was better for two reasons. It would reduce the (already large) amount of laundry this very full sandbox was going to create and it would prevent undesired daily exfoliation.

My son, of course, had no such qualms. He evidently didn’t mind getting sand in places that really aren’t meant to have sand in them.

Until he put a handful of it into his mouth, that is.

I’ll never forget the look on his face. Horror, mostly, and get-it-out-right-now-mama.

No problem, I figured. I’ll help him rinse it out and everything will be okay.

Except apparently that wasn’t a fast enough solution.

What do you do if you’re a two-year-old boy who wants sand out of his mouth RIGHT NOW?

You lick your mother.

Because that makes sense, right? The sand goes onto her – who cares if she isn’t interested in incredibly slobbery exfoliation running pretty much the length of one leg – and off your tongue.

It made sense to him, at least.

Having removed the unwanted sand, he went back to playing while I went in search of a washcloth.

A year later, the sandbox is still there and we have sand all over our house. It appears in little trails across the kitchen floor, coats the bathtub and has somehow even managed to find its way into my bed.

Oh well.

At least this year he knows not to eat it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Mandi of Smile and Mama with Me
"Hand in Hand"

Today I have the pleasure of presenting the beautiful Mandi of Smile and Mama with Me. Mandi has a real zest for life and it shines through in her writing. Her motto is Live, Laugh, Love, and I think she's doing a fantastic job of carrying out that purpose. If you're not already following Mandi, check out her newly refurbished blog. Love the new design, Mandi! It's fresh and sunny and definitely makes me smile.

Mandi lives in Arizona, USA with her husband - tall, daughter - 5, son - 3, and dog - chihuahua. You can learn more about Mandi by visiting her blog: About Mandi

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Mandi better:

I have a passion for writing, my family, reading for fun, good food, good drink, and life in general. At Smile and Mama With Me you'll hear a little bit about a lot. My kiddos, of course. They certainly aren't perfect and neither am I, but I  absolutely relish the precious moments with them and I love to document  them here and over at Today's Mama (link on my blog). Sprinkle in some  pieces on family life, my cooking successes and fails, my career choice  of writing/editing/freelancing, my love of reading (watch for some  upcoming book reviews) and randomness from every corner and there you  have it: Smile and Mama With Me.

My favourite time of day:
Around 8:00 AM. I've just dropped the kids off at  their summer program (or very soon, dropped off at preschool and  kindergarten). I come home and water my garden. Maybe pick up the  house a little bit before the day gets started. Maybe. I'm usually  dressed and showered by this point. Usually. Then the anticipation and  excitement of what's waiting for me in my inbox sets in. I sit down  and get to work for the day. I'm much more a morning person. The  afternoon feels tedious and boring and harsh to me.
My favourite comfort food:
Elbow macaroni with plain old tomato sauce on  it. No, don't put garlic salt or anything else on it, please! Except  for cheese. Cheese, please! Preferably grated cheddar. That to me is simple comfort food. And simple is what comfort food is to me!
My favourite treat:
Dairy Queen chocolate ice cream in a cone. Dipped in chocolate. Two other top-raters are German chocolate cake and cherry cheesecake.  
My favourite emotion:
Love. Pure and honest love like the kind that comes  unfiltered and unabashed from a child towards their mother. There is  nothing quite like it.
My favourite book:
I read a lot and I have many, many favorites. My  recent obsession was the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins where I  stayed up till 4AM to *almost* finish the first book in a day. I woke  up just a few (two) hours later at the kids' prodding and finished off  the last 17 pages. I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Lauck and her books Black Bird, Still Waters, Show Me the Way and Found (the  latter which I have just ordered and anxiously waiting to read it). Here's a link to a really great (and short) review of her first two books. A book  that has stuck with me since college is A Heartbreaking Work of  Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Good stuff, if you ask me! I like his stream of consciousness style... :D
One of my favorites posts:
"Niffles and Polygamy"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hand in Hand
by Mandi of Smile and Mama With Me

I was sick last week. And thank the heavens above that my husband was able to rearrange his schedule and take the kids to and from their summer program. I don't get down and out sick very often. After all, I'm a Mom, and we can't do that. But this day I felt like I had a wall of bricks sitting on my forehead in addition to the stomach flu. I didn't even want to stand up, so mostly I didn't unless it was a true necessity or emergency.

And yet, I was anxious for the end of the day to come. To see the  kids, to ask about their day and what they ate for lunch, to hear all the little details they like to share. When I heard them rumble in through the garage door, I rolled myself out of bed and prepared to meet them. Obviously my husband informed them that mommy was sick and that I would be resting because my five year old ran up to me immediately, took my hand gently and started mommy-ing me. I wanted to take my hand back, you know, so as not to pass any germs to her. But I didn't. I  didn't want to at all, actually. It was such a sweet gesture from her that I wanted this scene to play out. She proceeded to take me from the living room back into my bedroom. "You need to rest, Mommy."


My, my. How the roles changed! I was so overcome with something akin to pride at my daughter's display of compassion, and relief at being told to go back to bed, that I just plopped down and curled up in bed. For a few minutes. I eventually wandered back out to the living room to curl up on the couch and listen to the hustle and bustle of their day and the dinnertime conversation. And that made me feel better.

It's all the small things like this that makes my world turn.  The daily routine.  The funny moments that pass in an instant.  The spontaneous kisses and hugs.  The honest approach the kids take, when sometimes I wish they had a filter.  These are family memories in the making and I'm loving every minute.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Guest blogger:
Kimberly of Mamas Monologues
"Fairy Tale Life"

My guest today is none other than the quirky and adorable Kimberly of Mama's Monologues. She's bold and brave and regularly puts herself out there for our enjoyment (just check out her vlog-rapping skills). She's also a kind and compassionate friend to her fellow mommy bloggers.


Kimberly lives in South Jersey, USA with her husband and three sons Matthew, Dylan and Kaleb. You can learn more about Kim by visiting her blog: About Kimberly

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's get to know Kimberly better:

My favourite word:
My favourite family outing:
A walk to the park or a trip to the shore.
My favourite emotion:
My favourite treat:
My homemade brownies.
My favourite pastime:
Playing softball when I was younger.
Some of my most popular posts can be found here!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fairy Tale Life
by Kimberly of Mamas Monologues

Since I was a little girl I always had that dream. A perfect boyfriend. A perfect proposal. A perfect wedding. A perfect family. A perfect life.

It was my fairy tale. I would meet a man who would turn out to be my knight in shining armor. He would sweep me off my feet, treating me like a complete princess. He would devise the ultimate romantic proposal, leaving me in tears of complete happiness. I would wear that gorgeous ball gown, glide down the aisle and meet my prince at the altar. We would say our “I do’s” with all of our friends and family watching us, supporting us.

We would ride off into the sunset and begin our very own ‘happily ever after.’

Needless to say, it didn’t quite play out like that.

I went through high school where I struggled to find exactly where I fit. After graduation, when everyone else planned to go to college, I was planning on welcoming my first child into my life. As a single mom.

From there on out it was a bumpy road. The odds were against us from the start. Statistics were thrown in my face constantly showing me just how hard I was going to fall. Fail. And hinder the potential life that my child and I had.

But we stuck together. I wouldn’t let society push us down. When hurdles were thrown our way, I jumped higher in order to clear them.

A few years had passed and my dreams of my fairy tale wedding were slipping further and further out of my reach.

I was starting to lose hope, accepting that my dreams of finding that perfect man and starting that perfect life were just not possible. I resented this at first, completely angered that I wouldn’t have the chance to make my dreams come true. But over time, I started accepting it.

My son and I were happy, healthy, and loved by one another. Our life would be us, together, as a team.

And then one night, I decided, on a whim, to go out with a few friends.

And there he was. He approached me, making small talk at first. He spoke with a certain ease that made me feel relaxed with him. I was comfortable, and that was rare.

After that night we made plans to go to dinner. He laughed and was able to make me laugh. He was sweet, sincere, and caring. He was a gentleman, oozing politeness.

He had a certain way about him that made me know that I could trust him. He made me feel safe. Special. Loved.

We eased into a relationship since I was particularly cautious. But there was something about him that I knew was different.

He was The One. A perfect boyfriend.

One night we took a drive to the shore. We peacefully strolled down the boardwalk, hand in hand. We talked about life, our hopes, and our dreams. We were on the same path, with each other in our futures. We stopped at a gazebo and sat down on the bench. He nervously gave me the sweetest speech, showering me with love and adoration. He got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of his life with him as his wife.

A perfect proposal.

The following summer, I put on my perfect gown and glided down the aisle with ease, meeting the man of my dreams at the altar. Through tears, we exchanged vows and said our “I do’s” sealing it with the perfect kiss.

A perfect wedding.

We settled into our daily routine as husband and wife, welcoming three beautiful, healthy, happy children into our family. Our home is filled with love and laughter. Our adventures together are always fun. We support each other through thick and thin. Our nights are ended with hugs and kisses and “I love you’s.”

A perfect family.

We have bumps in our roads, but we pull through together, stronger. It wasn’t an easy path to get here, but our journey brought us together. We’re happy. We’re healthy. And we’re loved.

A perfect life.

My fairy tale life, come true.