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“Are you thinking about harming yourself?”

“Are you thinking about harming yourself?”

How did those words feel when you just read them?

I’ve been sitting on finishing this post for weeks now. The words have been heavy on my heart, but I’ve been taking most of my downtime to focus on healing. On being present with my family. On making time for those I want to show up for. While writing can be an outlet for me, writing posts like this also opens up a very fresh wound.

Sunrises were William’s favorite.
He’d beg his friends to drive out to the beach at 5am with him to watch them.

With the Holidays here, this message has been even heavier on my heart. So has the thought of facing family gatherings where it’s inevitable that we’ll all feel a large presence missing; because, he is.

Thanksgiving 2016

Since my last post, I’ve been told several stories, many by friends and some by strangers, of how they’re trying to manage their anxiety. How they’ve experienced suicidal thoughts. How they’ve even attempted suicide. And the good part? How sharing William’s story was a wake up call. How this is the first time they’ve said it out loud. How they’re seeking help. How they’re realizing that maybe suicide isn’t the answer. 🤞🏼

Convos with KB 🕊

Another thing I’ve realized through these stories? All too commonly, it’s the people we least expect. The ones that showed no signs. The ones that seem happy. The ones that are there for everybody else.

Happy. Athletic. Funny. Compassionate. Popular. KIND. All of these are words I’ve heard used to describe my baby brother, over and over again.

I told my therapist I’m terrified.

“How do I really check in on my friends and family. How am I supposed to know if they’re not okay?”

I didn’t even know my own brother was in a dark place. How am I supposed to know if someone else is? How far do I take it? When I ask if they’re okay, they’ll probably say yes. How do I know when to push it a step further and that they may not be okay?

“ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT HARMING YOURSELF?”

That was her answer. “Ask your friends if they’re thinking about harming themselves.”

WOOF. It’s forward, right? It’s hard to hear. It’s even harder to ask. But the alternative? I promise it’s the worst. Asking it is the easiest thing you can do, in comparison.

Uncle Wee-yum 💙

Her analogy gave me a lot more confidence in how I can truly show up for the people I love. You can’t talk someone off of a ledge. You can reach out your hand out and offer for them to take it. And maybe they won’t.

But, how can we expect an honest, vulnerable answer without an honest, uncomfortable question? Someone’s not likely to respond to “you doing okay?” with “no, I want to kill myself”; but they might respond to “are you thinking about harming yourself” with a very honest “yes”.

So if you check in, CHECK IN. Be present in that conversation. Be intentional with your words. If you’re not sure where to start, tell them William’s story. Use it to start that conversation.

I can tell you what I did do immediately after that phone call was talk to the 3 people I was most worried about and asked them this very raw question. Fortunately, at least for now, I got 3 “no”s. What I didn’t expect was how it opened the door to the most honest conversations I have had with those people about how they were truly feeling and full disclosure: it was a complete relief, on both sides.

I hope sharing this helps someone. Anyone. On either side of the equation. If you feel alone. If you’re struggling. TELL SOMEONE. Anyone. Hell, you can tell me if you have no one else. I promise it’s not a conversation I’ll shy away from. If this time of year magnifies that pain, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

If you’re worried about someone, CHECK ON THEM. Really check. Ask the hard questions. If you’re close enough to care that much, they’ll understand your actions come from a place of deep love and you never know, it may lead to one of the the most honest and open conversations you’ve ever had.

I hope everyone gets to spend this time of year with someone they love, whether it’s friends or family or both. I hope it feeds your soul and fills your heart. I know it does for me. ❤️

Let’s normalize not being okay.

This may be the most vulnerable post I have ever written, but if it helps even ONE person, it will be worth it.

Normally this blog is used as a memory journal for my girls, so for those that have followed us for years, I’ll fill you in on the fact that they’re both doing wonderfully. Kensie is an (almost) 4 year old teenager and Leighton is a 16 month old ball of personality. I’ll attempt to get around to a real update on them in the near(ish) future. 😜

In case you missed it…we lost my youngest brother last month to suicide. 💔

It’s been traumatic to say the least; however, one of the positive side effects in my family sharing the honest story is how many people have reached out to us, privately, and admitted THEY were in a dark place, and seeing/feeling the effects of losing Will has been their true saving grace. They’ve taken the steps to get help and I hope that means their family and friends never have to experience a day without them.

I am certain for every 1 that has reached out, 5 others have also benefitted and we will never know about it. If being honest and open can help others in such an impactful way, I figured why stop there.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine this morning, a Doctor that specializes in child therapy, and we discussed her mission of PREVENTATIVE therapy. Ya’ll, the the concept is so simple yet simultaneously mind blowing. The thought that if we can NORMALIZE expressing ourselves to someone at a young age, of understanding ourselves, less kids (and adults) would get to the point of depression, much less act upon that depression. 🙌🏼

If I’m being blunt, I have been dealt some pretty shit hands in the last 30 years. I’ve experienced some traumatic losses that, thank GOD, most people could never fathom. After my dad was murdered when I was 9 (he was a cop, line of duty – I am happy to answer questions or honestly just google Ofc. Christopher Horner and you’ll get the answers you’re probably looking for…), I have always had this small voice in my head that said, “you’ve already experienced the worst of the worst…nothing that bad will ever happen to you again”.

I know it sounds ridiculous and you’re probably thinking “yeah Jenn, that’s not how it works”. Well, yeah…I noticed; but, I always used that thought to calm my (unbeknownst to me) anxiety. How I’ve made it this far without an on-call therapist is actually baffling to me! 😆 (Disclaimer: they did send me to some counselors or something after my dad died but I don’t really remember it and I don’t think I said much…)

I’m an “expert distractor” meaning that when I am in pain, sad, etc. I am GREAT at finding a way to distract myself so I don’t feel those feelings. I have also always been a writer. If I am upset or angry, I will write my feelings alllll down. Sometimes I will say it out loud, sometimes I will delete it, but something about putting my thoughts on paper has always been a cathartic release for me.

Shortly after things settled down from the “to-dos” (…ahem…my welcomed distractions) and William’s service, my cousin and one of my best friends asked if I was going to talk to someone. My initial response was “no, I think I’m good. I mean I’m sad, but that’s normal.” They continued to ask, to check on me and encourage it.

I was sitting in bed one night and reflecting on the day. I realized how disengaged I was from everything going on around me. I didn’t care to be in random conversations with people, hell, I didn’t even want to be around people in general. While I do know the wound is still fresh, I also know that that isn’t me. So I figured, what can it hurt?

I decided I would reach out to a contact another friend had sent me. Well, after my first session I went from “okay, I’ll try and stop it if it’s useless” to “you have lifetime memberships? I didn’t realize how screwed up I am and I need to find a way to fund therapy forever.” 😂

For me, therapy has been a lot of learning about myself. It’s been discovering how and why I process things the way I do, and in understanding how I deal with grief, I’m able to help others grieve, too. It also allows me to have less confusion, frustration and guilt over my feelings and actions, which in turn allows me to be a better friend, mother and wife in the midst of processing this loss.

I want to share a small piece of one thing I learned because it was extremely eye opening to me and I hope this message reaches as many people as possible: The THOUGHT of Suicide is NORMAL. It is a natural, biological reaction. 😯

This is the stigma so many people are fighting to overcome.

Now, if you have those thoughts – the danger comes in when we INTERNALIZE them. Talk to someone. A parent, a friend, a professional, SOMEONE. And if someone talks to you about it, take them seriously. Validate their feelings. Find someone who can help them.

My hope in sharing all of this is that I can do my part to truly normalize NOT BEING OKAY. I also want to state that going through something this traumatic isn’t the only way to “justify” needing therapy. It isn’t something anyone needs to justify. Honestly, it isn’t even something anyone else has to know about if you don’t want them to.

Even if you think you’re okay, I still encourage it. We ALL have hills to climb, obstacles to overcome and sometimes the world just feels like it’s against us. Having an outlet to speak those things out loud (without it being taken out on a spouse, child, friend, etc) is completely invaluable. Therapy truly embodies the concept that we “can’t pour from an empty cup”.

I know for me my first thoughts were “this is so weird. I don’t know this person. What would we even talk about?” but I promise, their schooling did them good. LOL All you have to do is commit to having the conversation; they find a way of opening the door for you to say things you didn’t even know you needed to.

There’s a million things running through my mind constantly – one of the loudest things being “if everyone felt the kind of love and support that has been shown for William BEFORE we lost them, maybe we wouldn’t continue to experience losing loved ones to suicide.”

I’m not saying I have the answer for that, but damn. Why do we only voice how much someone has touched our lives once it’s too late?

I hope if you take nothing else from this, you can take this: reach out to someone who has had an impact on your life and TELL THEM. Not only will it make their day, it might literally change their life.

Let’s normalize not being okay. Let’s normalize needing help. Let’s put time, effort and dollars into resources for mental health. Our minds are not separate from our bodies.

We’re still here! Sorta 🤪

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated our blog…but we’re still here!

Life has been full of lots of fun with family and friends, a huge project at work for Chris and some new adventures for me…but we’ll get to that later. 😉

We had 3 trips within 6 weeks and took one family photo….we’ll work on that. Haha!

The longer I go between these posts, the more overwhelming they are to finish – but I so want these babes to have these memories to look back on so here’s to me attempting to recap 2+ months of chaos! 😜

Elle turned 14 months old last week 😢 and KB is quickly creeping up on her 4th birthday!

Watching these two love each other is my absolute favorite part of life. When I pick them up from daycare, Elle is awake and K is napping. As soon as she comes out, Elle leans over and gives her the sweetest hug. Every. Single. Day. 😭🥰

Leighton is still OBSESSED with baby shark. She loveesss to sing and dance. Elle babe is super smart, copies everything – the best is her fake sneeze – and finds creative ways to tell us exactly what she wants (and has a very stern scream, body throw and tantrum if she doesn’t get it 😳).

If only you could hear the whine that accompanied this face 🤪

She says “bravooo!” when she claps, “thank you” when you hand her things (and instructs you to tell her thank you when she gives you things as well 😂), hi, bye, Kensie, mama, dada, baby, cheeeseee, shakes her head and pointer finger for “no”, has a dramatic “yes” nod, and rarely holds still.

My favorite development has been her hugs, kisses and snuggles (finally)!! She’s got those open mouth kisses on lock and blows kisses when she says bye bye! She loves to “use” remotes and gets so proud when the tv stops working as a result. 🤪

Elle recently started her swim lessons and she’s picking it all up so quickly! She LOVES the water and tries to dive her face into the pool every time we’re in it so i’m excited for her to actually get to swim soon!

Never seen a more appropriate bathing suit in my life. 😂 🦈

She’s SUPER close to walking…

…and unless you piss her off, she’s still the happiest babe in town. 😂

And then there’s Kens. K is my sweet snuggly soul.

Of course she can turn on that sass with friends but she’s the best, kindest big sister and loves hugs, kisses and snuggling.

KB is a swim CHAMP and constantly impresses us with her skills. Her quarantine pool days did her good and she can dive all the way down and get toys off the bottom, tread water and loves being thrown.

Kens now has “favorite songs” and we play them on repeat every time we’re in the car. “Hard to forget” by Sam Hunt and “Lady” by Brett Young are her JAMS. She knows (almost) all of the words and it’s adorable to watch her sing along!

We finally got her to stop sneaking into our bed in the middle of the night but it was short lived. She also has this extra pathetically sweet line when we tuck her in…“But I want a real person to snuggle with me. Mommy PLEASSSEEE” …in response to me telling her she can snuggle her stuffed animals. 😆

I go back and forth between “get up and get your knee out of my back” and “one day I’ll miss this”. The struggle is so real. 😬 If I get up to pee, or because she’s actually kneeing me in my back 🙄, she crawls over to Chris and lays on him. Girl has to be touching one of us. No wonder she stayed in my womb so long. 😂

Last month we got to visit family up in Wisconsin and had the best time! I think photos sum it up the best…so here’s the virtual flip book. 😝

After too many tears were shed, I got KB to wear something other than a dress to the airport…but the shoes remained. 🤷🏼‍♀️
No clue why we bought a stroller with 2 seats. This one works just fine. 😆
We had boat days…
“Beach”…aka lake days 😆
This was the COOLEST aqua park. They had a zip line and a HUGE slide down the side of a hill into the lake!
Pool days with super cool drone footage…
And KB convinced just about everyone to drive her around for hours on this thing. 👸🏼
And Elle charmed everyone with photo shoots, dance moves and her sweet snuggles.

We got to spend so much time with my parents, aunts, uncles, grandpa & cousins and made the best memories!

I think that’s a solid synopsis and doubt many are still reading anyway…😆 I need to figure out a better timeline for posts moving forward but let’s be honest – that probably won’t happen. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Elle is ONE!

Leighton turned ONE last week and I’m going to say what every mom says: it went by way too quickly!

I think Leighton has more nicknames than K did at this age and she responds to every one of them. 🤷🏼‍♀️ K calls her “sister”, “my little cutie girl”, “Elle babe” and “Elle girl”. I mainly call her Elle (L-E) girl but I throw in a “Leighton Elizabeth, calm down!” as she thrashes her body around while I dress her. She actually might think her middle name is “calm down”.

Elle is SO animated and there’s no holding back the whole body bounce and arm flails when she’s excited. She loves to dance to baby shark and Elmo and her favorite toy is still a door stopper. Second best is a remote, but don’t you dare give her a “baby toy”. Not interested.

Leighton is obsessed with her daddy (and seems to just stare at men in general 😂) and has FINALLY started giving me snuggles. Only took a year…

L has zero chill. She’s either 100mph or asleep. Even when I feed her at night she eats, then shoves herself away to lay back in her bed. I don’t think she’s let me just hold her, calmly, since maybe 6 weeks old. LOL

She finally started crawling on all 4s, but she still prefers to army sprint across the house. She’s standing and makes her way around the couch as long as she has something to hold on to. She’s so eager to get up and run around with K!

Their bond is the sweetest thing to watch. Kensie is the most caring, protective and gentle hearted big sister. She can be in the middle of a screaming tantrum and will stop in her tracks if it’s for “sister”.

K gets so excited when L wakes up in the morning and L is ALWAYS overly excited to see her. Once I change her diaper K crawls into the chair and says “mommy, can I hold the baby?” 😂😍

Leighton seems like she will be our “rough n tough” one. She climbed Kensie’s Elsa castle 3 times in one week (and fell off twice). 🤦🏼‍♀️

She has always been and still is our little sleep champ!!! Elle sleep trained herself and she’s currently weaning herself from breastfeeding, too. Girl just wants to sink all 4 of her teeth into some FOOD. Zero complaints here.

Except eggs. Gets her lack of love for those from her momma. 🤢

Leighton also has quite the vocabulary. She says momma, dada, hi, bye, yeay, wow, uh oh, cracker (well, “cack uh” 😆)…and I think that’s it right now. She’s a chatter box. She’s also very physical in that when she’s done with something she will chuck it across the room, smacks anyway anything she doesn’t want (with impressive force) and smacks her mouth awkwardly hard when she wants food. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Elle has insane flexibility – her pediatrician thinks she has hyper joint mobility. As long as she continues hitting her milestones, it just means she’s abnormally flexible. I hope it helps her in gymnastics and she’s blessed with the straddle hips that I never had. 😂

This is her signature pose. She likes to sit as well as twerk in this position. Also, she’s obsessed with “petting” Jack.

Leighton’s 1st birthday photos are where we discovered her love for SUGAR. 🤪 She rarely looked up at the camera because she was too busy rolling her body in her cake. 🤦🏼‍♀️

When we tried to get K involved, she asked the photographer for a fork and plate and said she couldn’t kiss her bc she was “messy messy!” 😂😂 If that doesn’t tell you she’s my kid I don’t know what will. I had to point out a clear spot on her face (and probably bribe her while I was at it) for K to commit.

Next up: become bilingual!! Leighton is officially at daycare with K and with how much she already talks, I have no doubt she will be speaking Spanish soon, too. We are SO grateful for Nana, Isa and Mrs. Ria. L has zero tears when I hand her off and the way she reaches for them tells me she LOVES them. They also threw her the sweetest 1st birthday party and K officially has competition for the “princess” role. 🙄😆

I’ve said from the day she was born that she has the most special little sparkle in her eye and it hasn’t faded one bit.

Happy first birthday, Elle babe. We love you SO very much. 🥰

Day 358: L started Daycare!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS OVER HERE!!

No I’m not pregnant.

Elle babe started daycare!! (Cue the mixed emotions)

Elle loved Nana the second we got there!

I wasn’t actually sure when we’d start L at daycare. I knew I didn’t want to before a year mainly because I hate pumping and it was easier just to have her home and nurse her. 🤣 Also, I just have this weird thing about wanting my kids to be home the first year. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Day 1 came just shy of 12 months and was literally planned 12 hours prior! Haha

Maria sent me this photo of her eating rice and I died 😂😂😂

I had a crazy day of appointments and errands and Chris and I figured well, if not now, when? That process did not happen with Kensie…It took me 16 months before I sucked it up and took her to daycare and I cried every day I dropped her off the whole first week. LOL

We are SO thankful for Nana and Mrs. Ria and they were so excited and ready to give Leighton allll the lovin’. I was a little emotional but no tears fell…I think it was only because I was so distracted all day! 😆

Safe to say she LOVES Nana’s cooking because she’s been eating like I starve her. 😂😂

I can’t believe my baby is only a baby for one more week. 😢

In other BIG news…WE FIGURED OUT WHAT A HOPEJACK IS!!! Y’all. Kensie has been saying the word “hopejack” for probably a year now. Chris and I are always like …wth is she talking about. It’s been in several different contexts and we just really had no clue what she was trying to say. PROJECT. HOPEJACK IS A PROJECT. 😂😂😂 I felt like I solved a real world problem with that one. I called Chris and he thought I won the lotto with my level of excitement. Hahahaha

She also says “Jew-wa” for the word drawer. We know what she’s trying to say, it’s just hilarious.

If there was ever a time to feel bad for Chris, it’s now. K is becoming more like her mama every day, but on hyperdrive. 😆 She won’t get in bed until she puts all her heels in a perfect line on her shelves…cleans her vanity. Puts her animals back. She’s so particular and OCD and part of me is entertained by it – the other part of me would like for her to be less dramatic sometimes. Haha!!

Apparently she’s not OCD about those make up lines, though. 💀😂

And last big moment I’ve slacked on posting…(I think)…K’s first haircut!!! She got a fresh trim and her tangled mess is looking so much better. She was SO excited and Ashley was the BEST at making her feel safe!!

I’ll end this way overdue post with a few (Ha!) photos because the overload for L’s one year is about to start…now is the time to unfollow me on social media if you don’t like baby spam. 🤪

The girls are loving being back in the gym!!!
And K loves to ask, “can I hold the baby?” Every single morning. 🥰 …though L tries to escape the whole time.
This child is my sugar obsessed one…K could care less about sweets and this mess would give her anxiety. 😂
She wouldn’t smile…but she wanted to eat breakfast on the barstool and she looked so grown 😰
Neighborhood walks and popsicles are the daily staple!
This chunk is adjusting to “real food” like a champ!
And we squeezed in a beach day before our weekends get back to being booked with craziness. They must get their love of it from their dad because this momma is not a fan of sand and salt… 🙈

Here’s to the last week before we have 2 toddlers…😢❤️

One month to go…

In typical Chris & Jenn fashion, we’ve found a way to make ourselves insanely busy again. 😜

I’ve really enjoyed certain aspects of this quarantine…like the projects that are getting done and the uninterrupted family time that I feel like I can be fully present for because I literally have “nothing better to do”.

Child labor is also a plus.
Work hard, play harder 😆
These 2 are always so excited to see each other and it is the CUTEST ❤️

The real motivation to finally post is that LEIGHTON TURNED 11 MONTHS this week! 😅

L hates baby food and purées. She prefers to put toys, paper and shoes into her 4 tooth mouth. 🤢

She loves teething crackers, avocados and SUGAR. We took her cake smash photos for her first birthday (😭) and homegirl was ALL 👏🏼 IN 👏🏼 on the cake. I’m talking full body commitment. I’m actually shocked she didn’t puke after. 🤷🏼‍♀️😂

Leighton only crawls on all 4s for a step or 2, then drops to her army crawl position to literally SPRINT across the house. She went from scooting short distancing to standing and becoming our CLIMBER overnight…so we baby proofed the playroom this weekend. 😆
Leighton is a wiggler and a chatter box. She mimics every noise, motion and several words. It’s a little creepy. 😂 She says 5-6 words in context but she repeats things we say and literally sounds like a parrot. It freaks me and Chris out. Hahah
This is the calm version of “party Leighton”. This girl plays HARD, flaps her wings in excitement every 3-5 minutes and throws toys across the room constantly. 😖

And as you can see, her favorite toy is still the door stopper. 🤨 At least she can’t throw this one.

While Chris reorganized the garage, I put together this awesome birthday surprise for L from her Aunt Ashley and Aunt Shell!! Both girls are pretty pumped. 🥳

Ah, and we can’t leave out Princess Kensington…👸🏼

3.5 years of adjustments 💪🏼
We still wear dresses and backpacks/purses every single day. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Kens never. stops. talking. Shows anyone and everyone the boo boo on her toe 🙄 and how she spins in her tutus…and she’s officially full on potty trained! 🥳

We started getting her to poop on the potty by rewarding her with something from the “treasure box” (thank God for target dollar spot) and then used that to convince her to go on the big potty instead of her little plastic one. THEN we moved to tickets before treasures because it started becoming excessive…🤪

I was real happy with where we were at and not even going to brave the bedtime training anytime soon; then, a few weeks ago she started begging us to wear panties to bed. So, we let her. 🤷🏼‍♀️

We’ve had one accident but I’d say that’s a big old W for this 3.5year old!! 🏆

The last few weekends we’ve also got to spend extra time with Gramma and Grampa! I think the girls needed this time as much as I did. 😆

Zero napping while L is around. She will literally pull your eyelids open. 🤦🏼‍♀️😂 Sorry Uncle Matthew…

As the “reopening phases” start, we’re looking forward to getting our normal life back, hanging out with all of our friends, opening the gym back up and planning a first birthday party!!! 🤞🏼🥳

Elle’s First Easter!

Ah, Easter. L’s last “first” Holiday…😢

Part of me considered getting the girls dressed up for a nice Easter photo, the other part of me had zero interest in fighting K to wear something that she didn’t want to. Decided I’d test the waters and see what she picked out – lately it’s been any tutu or dress in her closet, so there was hope. She walked in and laid this out…and it was then I realized there was no transitioning her to a bright Lilly dress just to pose for a picture. 🤷🏼‍♀️😂

I actually didn’t even get a photo of her in this dress because she changed into about 4 different bathing suits 20 minutes afterwards. 🤦🏼‍♀️😂

I know she looks like she’s being attacked, but they were playing with bubbles.

This was K’s first year decorating eggs and boy did she make it memorable….

The “rainbow egg” pictured here was her favorite.

She took the above pictured egg out several times and one was to show daddy (for the 3rd time). Well, that time it didn’t make it back to the carton.

I don’t remember how I realized it was gone, but a solid 30 minutes was spent looking before we gave up. K usually knows where everything is. This time, not so much. She originally told Chris she put it back in the fridge. Looking in the fridge determined that was a lie. I was convinced Jack (our dog) already found and ate it OR we would find in once it stunk up the house.

However; on Easter morning…I discovered it in the best place possible. THE FREEZER. 😆😅 THANK YA JESUS!!!

First win for the week (well, I guess second but finding the egg before it rotted is more of the win for the whole month): K is officially falling asleep by herself again! Recently I’ve had to lay in K’s bed until she falls asleep (5-10 min unless I fell asleep, too 😆) then sneak out of her room. We decided to break it and after 3 nights of drama, she finally went to bed on her own without screaming/yelling. 👏🏼

But we do have to leave her light on…🤷🏼‍♀️
And yes – she has night lights. 4 of them. It’s a control thing. One battle at a time 😂

Her present for going to sleep alone 5 nights in a row was a Minnie purse she picked out from Amazon.

It came with a phone, wallet, passport and watch and she won’t leave the house without it. “MOMMY! WAIT! I NEED MY PHONE”. So honestly I pray for myself a lot lately. 🙏🏼

At least she keeps us entertained.

Having these little mirrors around (our children) really do show you the of the best and worst parts of yourself, huh? (Especially at age 3. Woosah.)

K gets in trouble for her smart ass comments pretty often, but we also have to laugh because she’s only repeating what she hears. 🤦🏼‍♀️

This doesn’t include her sass, but it’s one of my favorite discussions this week because she literally thinks she’s me. 🤣

K holding a lollipop: Hey mom, know what fruit this is?

Me: No. What is it?

K: Mottermelon

Me: Watermelon?

K: Yes. Say Mottermelon.

Me: Watermelon

K: Good job mommy!

😂😂 OKAY Kensie. She also walks out in the afternoon and says “hey guys, it’s 15 clock. Time for the pool!” 🧐

Then there’s this sweet one who hasn’t learned how to test boundaries and talk back, making her the current crowd favorite. 😜

Win numero dos: Elle slept in a new sack with her arms free!!

Leighton has slept in the “Love to Dream” swaddle since she was a few months old. I tried the transition one where you unzip her arms but she flailed around and I gave in after 5 min and zipped them back up. Why fix what’s not broken, right? 😅

This kept popping up on my ads (solid marketing) and the reviews were great so we gave it a shot. I mean, uhh, the Easter Bunny hooked us up 😉 Night 1 was a success!!! She slept free armed all night long!! I can’t say the same for nap time…but I’ll take what I can get.

Win 3: Leighton’s teeth are all coming through at the same time and she isn’t screaming about it – this week her top teeth broke though and her favorite teether is still cans.

Win 4: Our children are sleeping in past 7am. (Knock on wood)

Win 5: I am the tannest I’ve been since my pre-baby tanning bed days 🙈 😎

We’ve been making the best of this gorgeous weather and time together with evening strolls, pool days, drinking and eating too much and probably letting K watch too much TV. But, we’re alive. Healthy. Functioning. Getting house projects done and taking extra time to hang out and explore in the evenings because as we literally say every single night, “well, got nothing else to do.”

Disclaimer: not our golf cart. But now I really want one. And obviously so does L.

OH. And we finally started Ozark. 10/10 would recommend. 🤑

Elle is 10 Months!

Ah – tis the month of quarantine. Fingers crossed we get to celebrate the big UNO in style! 🥳

Elle is still our sweet, calm one…but as her personality grows I have no doubt her stubborn and demanding side will shine through soon. 😆

Just going to rep all our Easter outfits for the gram since she can’t show them off anywhere else 🤷🏼‍♀️

Leighton is happy as can be until she spots something she wants and you don’t give it to her. She doesn’t actually cry though, she screeches at you and does this loud fuss/yell. It’s something else. 🤣 L is obsessed with water, remotes and basically anything that isn’t a toy. She will straight chuck a toy across the room if she sees a better option within her reach.

Example A

She planks and has been popping up onto her knees, but she still army crawls all over the house. She’s like a cheap swiffer. (Or a REALLY expensive one, depending on how you look at it). Elle’s first teeth popped through this month, too!! 2 on the bottom and another coming in!

Now that she’s on the move, scooting, “crawling” and climbing everywhere, her favorite hobbies include pulling out any and every toy she can reach – which is Kensie’s nightmare. 😂 Since K was a baby I have always cleaned the playroom every single night when she’d go to bed. My OCD may have created a monster. Kens won’t play in the room if it’s a mess and freaks out when L is the one making it. She gasps and goes “MOMMY!!! Sister is making a MESSY!!!” I have to assure her it’s okay and that I’ll help her clean it up. 🤣

Best part of this month? She started giving hugs which is the BEST. K was the snuggliest baby (still is, my little stage 5 clinger…) and I so took those baby snuggs for granted. L doesn’t hold still unless she’s asleep.

We’ve adjusted decently well to quarantine life these last 2 weeks and are finding our new “normal”. It includes lots of walks, pool time and the best: time with daddy!

Get it, girl. 🤣

Working out at home/alone has been the hardest adjustment by far. I talked myself into a 30 minute workout the other day and got so frustrated when K came out into the garage and “interrupted” me. I know. I sound awful saying that. Trust me, I gave myself a full guilt trip once I took a step back and used some perspective.

It started with “can I color” and turned into “I want to run with you” and laying on the mat/trying to climb on me while I was doing burpees.

After promptly saying “no”, “please move”, “stop”, “hang on” and “I’ll play with you in 5 minutes” I checked myself on one of my 100m runs and instantly felt awful. I was so concerned with getting in my workout uninterrupted that I was making her feel like she was doing something wrong by just simply wanting to spend time with me/do what I was doing.

I changed my tune, got her bar down and let her run alongside me. Her face instantly lit up & it was such a slap in the face. How lucky am I to have this little munchkin that just wants to do what mommy is doing? Workouts may be little less “intense” but at least I’ve got this healthy nugget by my side while I do them!

Also, she works out nightgowns. 🤷🏼‍♀️
Programming by KB 🧐

Welp, one more month of what’s sure to be the most literal “same shit, different day” experience – but I’ll find the time to update along the way for those who want to see repetitive videos of L squawking, K swimming, me working out and Chris dealing with a house full of girls. 🙃

Day 274-295: COVID-19

Well. Holy hell it’s been quite the week. Month. However long, basically pure chaos since I last updated!

Emergency Coaches meeting to prep the gym to go virtual 🥴

For those that don’t know me personally, I own a CrossFit gym…aka a small business that was ordered to shut down on March 20th. 👎🏽 We’re running a virtual challenge for our members right now to get us through all of this “distancing” and for one of my “mindset” goals I chose journal – which reminded me to get on here and post!

Virtual workouts FTW!!

It’s truly crazy how things can literally change overnight. I’ve felt all the emotions and finally made peace with the fact that it is what it is and I can only control what I do right now, not the outside world. So, I’m choosing to bust my ass for the gym, but also to step back and ENJOY this time with my family. I know it sounds crazy, but this too shall pass, and I don’t want to look back and have nothing positive to say about this time in our lives and I refuse to wish away even a second of these girls being little. 🥰

Favorite quote – always! 🧡

Social distancing is quite the opposite of our everyday lifestyle. Our days are usually full of errands, play dates and group workouts and our weekends are packed start to finish with get togethers, pool parties, cookouts and literally non-stop social gatherings. 😳 We’re extra thankful that some of our best friends happen to also be our neighbors, so we can quarantine together and get some sense of normalcy. 🙌🏼

But we’re going to have one hell of a “re” grand opening party when all of this ends! 😉

Our new temporary normal has actually been much more relaxing than I expected it to be when we were in the thick of the “what ifs”. Chris got the garage organized and finally set up our home gym (6 years later 😂). Chris’ job is considered essential (he feels the need to remind me of that often 🙄😂) so he’s still gone part of the day, but when he gets home our evenings consist of working out, a long wagon walk with the babes (and drinks) and pool time! Basically Kensie’s dream life. 👸🏼

Yes, she has on lipstick…just hasn’t discovered the size of her lips yet. 😅

What I’m insanely grateful for right now is the forced SLOW down. I’m lucky enough to spend more time than most with my kiddos and hubs, but we are constantly doing something or going somewhere. It’s who we are and I wouldn’t trade it – but the empty calendar has allowed me to become more creative/innovative with my business and honestly allowed me to take 10 minutes to sit down and enjoy my coffee without feeling like I need to get the next thing done, because I have all the time in the world to do it now!

PJ walks because no rules when every day’s a weekend! 😜

Anyway. K sure has enjoyed this time too. She spends her days back and forth from the pool and playroom and changes her outfit a minimum of 4 times from PJs to a princess dress to bathing suit to a new suit back to PJs…🙄

L has been planking and pulling her knees up under her and had her bottom 2 teeth finally come through! She also graduated from her survival lessons at Swimsprout and can float like a pro. 👏🏼 Dropped her in our pool this weekend just to make sure 😆 🤷🏼‍♀️ 🏆

She’s also been perfecting “mama” by saying it every single day 💁🏼‍♀️, has a strong love for wind and water, learned a new spitting noise and recently rediscovered her hand. 🧐

OH and my ever so cautious used to refuse even getting in a pool child…IS OBSESSED WITH LAKE SWIMMING. I draw the line at open bodies of water. I’m terrified. K went out in the middle, SWAM AWAY FROM CHRIS, and pitched a FIT when it was time to get out. 😳 I’m thankful I didn’t impress my irrational fear upon her, but this also means we can never go out there without Chris because no way in hell is this momma casually chilling in the lake not knowing what’s under me. 🐠 🐊🙅🏼‍♀️

Notice I supervised from the high and dry 😅
And then there’s my wild child who I’m sure will just give me mild heart attacks for the rest of my life.

I know there’s people dealing with some really HEAVY stuff right now. I know depression and anxiety are skyrocketing. I hope there’s SOMETHING in your day that can make you smile and balance out the temporary suck this situation has caused. I hope you have a community of people you can reach out to, and if you need them, that you do it! And if you don’t have one, reach out to me. I’ll gladly plug you in! ❤️

And this one is for all my fellow parents that feel like they’re failing right now…we all are. But they’ll be okay. 😂😂

Might be time to put this chair away…

Day 269-273: Elle is 9 months old & Grandpa’s anniversary

My little chunkaroo is getting longer, leaner, and way too close to her very first birthday. 😭

Leighton is truly the BEST baby we could have ever asked for! I joke that it’s because Kens is currently in “high maintenance” mode and Elle knows she has to be this chill for mere survival purposes. My survival, that is. 😜

Elle was born with this special little sparkle in her eye and damn do I have a soft spot for it!

Also, I zoomed in on this and haven’t stopped laughing since. 😛

If you ever need a pick me up, come over and get Leighton out of her bed in the morning. She’s like a puppy when their human gets home from work. 😆 Full leg kicks and smiles and even some grunts and growls on an extra good morning. She doesn’t get that pre-coffee cheerfulness from her mama, I can tell you that much. 🤣 I will say it makes dragging myself out of bed in the morning way more worth it.

Elle loves to be tickled and she LOVES her big sister more than anything in this world. Kens loves to play with her in the car and Elle’s giggles are so contagious. K greets her with a baby voiced “hiiii my little cutie girl” every morning and every afternoon when we pick her up – and L goes straight into leg kicking happy mode and squeals with excitement.

Elle wants anything I’m eating – well, anything I’m HOLDING; it all goes in her mouth, shoes being her personal favorite. 🤦🏼‍♀️ We’re pretty sure she’s got an allergy to strawberries because they’ve resulted in 2 vomit sessions…so steering clear of those for a few months which she’s really not happy about.

Strawberries make Leighton happy.
Taking away strawberries makes Leighton pissed. (This face lasted for .5 seconds. I was real proud I caught it.) She was also mad I wouldn’t let her eat the leaves once the strawberry was taken away. She’s got it real rough over here, y’all.

Leighton is crushing her swim lessons and still doesn’t cry. She gets so excited and tries to climb into the pool the second I set her down. I have a feeling she’ll be my little bumps and bruises daredevil.

Her doctor said her vocabulary is comparable to an 18 month old…which is terrifying to think anyone could talk more than Kensie does. 😂 Elle’s got Mama, dada, hi with a wave, yay with a clap and uh oh down! She’s also been waving and saying bye bye…but she definitely doesn’t know what it means because she does it mid eating. 🧐

Uh oh is at the top of her list lately and most of her “uh ohs” is her new intentional game of “fetch” while she repeatedly throws her pacifier out of her car seat. 🙄

Note location of the puppy binky…she will throw 3 in a row down there then laugh about it (until I don’t give them back because I’m driving the car. Then it’s not so funny anymore…🤷🏼‍♀️)

She’s still sitting and scooting her way around town – no crawling just yet! She’s pulled one knee under her and done some solid backwards crawling, but she’s pretty content with her current butt scooting method.

I really don’t get the whole “2nd babies are good to trick you into a 3rd” concept. My thought process is the opposite. I know there’s no way it can get any better so we should quit while we’re ahead. 🤷🏼‍♀️😂

She’ll be a handful soon enough. 😂
I’m just going to soak in her adorableness – tongue and all, while it lasts! 👅

We’re posting a day late because Leighton’s 9 month mark was also the 22nd year anniversary of her Grandpa’s (my dad’s) death.

I’ve taken Kensie with me to visit every year and this year, Leighton got to join us, too!

K is at an age now where I wasn’t really sure what all she’d ask and I was even more unsure of how I would answer the questions she’d have. It’s so important to me that they grow up just knowing this is part of their past and not something that I randomly introduce them to at 10+ years old when I think they’re “ready” to understand it.

Leighton just wanted to eat leaves…

I took them to the police station first to show Kensie a picture and tell her “that’s my dad!” She was shy in the moment but full of questions the second we walked out…most of those questions being “when can we go back home to get my princess dress”. 🙄

After she put the flowers in his headstone at the cemetery, she asked where Grandpa is and if Grandma was coming. 😆

She’s a smart one, gotta give her that! I told her it’s Grandpa’s special stone they made to remember him and since she’s got a strange rock obsession, the answer satisfied her and she didn’t ask again. 🤷🏼‍♀️

I know once they are old enough to truly comprehend the whole thing, they’ll be so proud of the hero their Grandpa was!