Adoption | Ashlyn | life

Talking about Adoption to our Children

By on April 27, 2017

  Since Ashlyn is adopted we talk about adoption randomly and are very open with the children. Now that Ashlyn is getting older I try to talk about it a little more than before because I know she is going to start understanding things. 

Ashlyn and YaYa in October 2016

Tonight we were reading a book from her first mommy called Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You. I love this book so much. It is seriously such a great book for children who are adopted. The book is read by her YaYa so in the beginning she says this is a book for you Ashlyn from your Mama YaYa. It’s a great way to remind her that she has two mommies and how lucky she is to also have two sisters. 
Tonight I told Ashlyn that she was in YaYa’s tummy. When I asked her whose tummy she was she goes JoJo’s. I was like no you were in YaYa’s. She laughed and said no JoJo’s, Gavin’s Mommy. She thought it was so funny. 
This is the interesting thing about an adoption. We are learning how to talk to our children about it and when is the right time to tell them certain things because we aren’t quite sure they will get it. This was a time when I realized I really needed to make Ashlyn a book about her adoption and family so it’s less confusing. 
Another funny thing the girls do is when we talk about Ashlyn’s sisters she will then ask who are Everly’s sisters and I will tell her you are. She doesn’t get yet that she has two extra sisters so then they both just say they have two more sisters. I know as time goes on things will make more sense to them but it is funny to see how they process things. Ace gets everything way more than the girls and seemed to understand it a lot earlier too. I think the girls have a harder time because they don’t understand why one has something the other doesn’t. They don’t really know how to separate themselves from each other in that way yet. 

I am curious how other families talk about adoption with their toddlers. I never want it to be a shock to Ashlyn so we have always talked about it, talked and met up with her first mom so hopefully it will just be her norm.

 

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Ashlyn | Birthday | everly | life

The Girls Unicorn & Donut Birthday

By on April 6, 2017

Better late than never right? We did a joint party again for the girls this year. Originally I thought I wouldn’t get around to doing one because things had been so crazy but Ashlyn kept talking about having a birthday party so I threw one together last minute. I called my best friend Kat and told her to come help me (because I don’t do parties without her) and she was more than happy to help with the festivities. I planned it during her girls Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day. So perfect! 

 
I wanted to do an early party because that is when my kids are at their best. This also made food easier and more difficult because it wasn’t really breakfast or lunch time. We decided on donuts, muffins, cupcakes, confetti popcorn and fruit. Drinks we easy since we had water and juice. 
  
 Since we have a large front yard on a cul de sac we put everything out front for the kids. 
I wanted to have a bunch of activities for them to do so I knew for sure we would have our Little Tikes bounce house out (seriously best purchase we ever made when Ace was a toddler). I also bought a bunch of crayons from Amazon, this bubble machine, sidewalk chalk and a big unicorn coloring poster. 
  
Kat and her oldest daughter made the cupcakes. I bought little unicorns from Target’s dollar spot. They worked out perfect as little toppers.  I also got the favors from there too. They had wood unicorn and robot painting kits. Seriously, I love Target’s dollar spot. I also got unicorn stamps and sunglasses for the girls there. 
I picked out these dresses in purple and aqua for the girls to wear for the party. Then she put on this dress and then Everly decided it wasn’t happening so she wear some random pair of shorts and t-shirt. I finally got her to agree to put her dress on for cake pictures and she put a Mickey zip up on over it. Such a stinker. I also realized I didn’t get any great pictures of the girls together but I did at school for Everly’s actual birthday so you get what you get, right? 

Everly’s Dress

Cart

!
This picture cracks me up. They were waiting for us to sing to them and were like hurry up!

Bubble Machine / Ashlyn’s Dress

Bounce House

 


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Ashlyn | life

Dance, Girl!

By on January 23, 2017

Friday after school I took Ashlyn for a trial dance class at our local My Gym. I was so excited to get her all dressed up in a tutu and ballet slippers and see her little moves. She has always loved music and dance so I thought this was a no brainer. 


Since Everly isn’t 3 yet she wasn’t old enough to do the trial class with Ashlyn so I figured it was the perfect time to have some one on one time as well. 
Once we got in the car Ashlyn said “Where’s my sister?” I thought it was so sweet and funny that she didn’t say Everly but my sister. I actually asked her to repeat herself because I didn’t think that was what she said. Love their sweet little bond. 
We got to My Gym a bit early so the dance teachers played with her. It was a good way for her to warm up to the place. 
Once dance started she seemed to really enjoy herself. They did simple positions and dance moves then had a play and water break. After that it was back to simple dancing. Ashlyn actually wanted to leave at one point because I think she got a bit bored but then went back to the class. 


I didn’t really feel like it was the dance class we were looking for but I did think it was a good class for children who are more energetic and need that break in between. Ashlyn is my much calmer child and I think she was kind of over it after that. 
When we left I asked Ashlyn if she liked dance class and she said “that’s not dance class”. I was like well, there you go. In the car, though, she did ask to go to dance class again so obviously she is confused. 
I am going to see if I can try out some more places around here. I really loved Ace’s old dance studio but it’s not close by so there is no way that would work for us right now. 
Did any of your little ones take dance? If so what was their favorite dance class? What other classes would be good for a more mellow child? 

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Ace | Ashlyn | everly | life | life lately | Summer

Life Lately: Summer 2016

By on August 13, 2016

Ahhh I can not believe Summer is almost over. It seriously flew by. We had a lot of fun traveling, seeing friends and the kids loved camp. Now we are onto a new chapter of life. All of our kids will be in school! I can’t believe the girls start preschool full time and Ace is going into Kindergarten. It seems surreal. I feel like I need to update on the kids so I don’t forget these ages. 
I was just looking at pictures of the girls when they were babies and it seems so far away yet it could have been yesterday with how fast time flew. In so many ways I miss having those two little babies playing on the floor but I love how fun they are now. 

Their personalities are so fun to watch the older they get. They are so distinct from one another too. 

Everly is very sensitive. She is also hysterical. Such a clown and once she warms up to you she is the funniest person ever. She also is my cleaner and likes things a certain way. If it’s not she gets pissed. She also is a really good little girl because she listens really well and likes to help. She is also very physically sturdy and can do so much. It’s crazy to watch her do a flip. I still can’t get over how she has always been advanced physically. 
Ashlyn is very much my sweet, goofy girl. I always say she dances to the beat of her own drum and I love it. I love that she sees flowers and wants to pick them. She isn’t in a rush or aggressive. She likes to be snuggled and is just such a good girl. That being said she is so mischievous. It kind of makes us laugh and roll our eyes like “that’s Ashlyn being Ashlyn” because she has always been this way. She also is very silly with her movements. I can’t even really explain it but she does the funniest things because she is so goofy. She always has the sweetest smile too. 
Some of the girls’ favorite sayings are “Hold you” which means hold me, “My do it” which is I do it and my favorite of Ashlyn’s because of the way she says it is “this is mine.” I wish I could relay how it is said because it’s hilarious. 
Then there is my big boy Ace. He is such a good boy. He definitely has his moments but he has just matured so much. He amazes me with how much of a helper he is if I need him when we go somewhere or helping the girls with things. He is a rule follower so that helps a lot. He is still a big talker and loud so that can be interesting. I can not wait to see how he does in school this year. We have started working on a few words with him and he does really well. He has always been a smart cookie but more importantly a sweet guy. 
Oh sweet Summer we will miss you. 
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Ace | Ashlyn | everly | life | Summer

A Summer Update

By on July 5, 2016

Hey there! How was everyone’s 4th of July? Ours was pretty low key but nice. We have had such a busy Summer already that I have a lot to fill you in on. 

So far Ace has spent a week at camp

We went to our Keys house
Celebrated Ace’s birthday early
Bran and I had my best friends girls for a few days, we went to see Pan. Ace is now obsessed with being able to fly. He actually told me to today that I should have named him Peter Pan so he’d be able to fly. 

Then we had a little romantic couple of days away while my best friend took the girls and my sister took Ace. We got to explore St. Augustine. So beautiful! 
Spent some time in Daytona and celebrated the 4th. We had ice cream for dinner and the girls loved it!
We are now back home settling back into normalcy before our Summer gets busy again.

Next up we have more Summer camp for all kids, $1 movies, play dates, another trip, Ace and Branden’s birthdays, mine and Bran’s 7th anniversary (how did that happen?!) and getting ready for our girls to start preschool and Ace to start kindergarten (again how did that happen?!).




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Adoption | Ashlyn | life

The Story of Our Girls: Traveling to Cali & Ashlyn’s Birth

By on May 29, 2016

If you are new here and want to start from the beginning of The Story of Our Girls go HERE.

When Ashlyn’s due date was a week away we planned to fly out to California. We knew this was our best shot at getting to be at her birth. I was super stressed before leaving because I had never left Ace longer than a weekend and we really only left him with my cousins or sister. 
Branden’s Mom was kind enough to come down to stay with Ace so he could be in his own home and we would have someone to take care of the dogs. We also didn’t know how long we would be in California so this just made the most sense. 
By this time things were getting tense, our daughters bio Mom had an awful OBGYN and the day before we were to fly out she basically told her she somehow wasn’t as dilated or effaced as she was the week before. We both were upset. I felt horrible for her because this doctor was so disrespectful to her because she was placing Ashlyn for adoption. 
After we talked I had a meltdown. I was worried about being in California for weeks and being away from Ace, I was worried about whether we should stay home and change our flight and chance missing Ashlyn’s birth or just go and possibly be waiting another week or two in California for Ashlyn to get here. No answer really felt right. I called my friend Christel in tears. She basically suggested just going to California because chances are the baby would come within the week. Branden also wanted to just go because changing our flights could end up being a bigger hassle and we may miss Ashlyn’s birth. This was also difficult because I was pregnant and extra hormonal so it wasn’t like I could even be logical about it all. Looking back Ace was going to be fine here with his Grammy and we would have been fine spending some extra time just us in California. That is probably my one regret was not being able to fully enjoy the week before Ashlyn was born because I was so stressed. 
We flew into California on October 11th. We met up with Ashlyn’s bio Mom and had lunch. We both were so excited to see each other. We talked about the kids and how she was feeling and how I was feeling. We also went over to her house and hung out and looked at pictures of her when she was a baby. After awhile we went back to our hotel and passed out. The time change made it really hard to adjust. 
I honestly don’t really remember much about what we did that weekend. I know we were too freaked out to go to Disneyland in case Ashlyn decided to make an appearance. We did drive around the PCH but really that weekend was a blur for me. 
Tuesday was an OBGYN visit and the new Doctor was amazing. He schedule an induction date (something the other doctor would not even consider). He didn’t think she would make it to the induction date which was the following Monday I think but we had it in there as a just in case. He understood the situation and was very sweet. This man was the right doctor for our daughters first Mommy. 
Another one of our friends came into town to be with all of us during Ashlyn’s birth but mostly for Ashlyn’s bio Mom, knowing this was going to be a very difficult event. We all spent time together and then Thursday we met up for lunch. Branden and I were supposed to go view the hospital after lunch so they went to the store and walking to try to coax Ashlyn out. 
Later that night I was feeling very overwhelmed. I missed Ace so much and I didn’t think Ashlyn was ever coming. Branden and I went to a pier and walked around and he tried to keep my mind off the stress. I ended up breaking down and crying that night over everything. I barely slept. 
Then early in the morning, maybe 5am I get the call! Ashlyn is on her way. I jump out of bed and start getting ready really quickly and wake Branden up. We probably didn’t need to be up and out of there so early but I felt like I needed to be there. Like it was wrong for us to just stay at the hotel and wait for there to be any progress. Now looking back I wonder if it would have been better for us to have given Ashlyn’s bio Mom some more time to just get in the hospital and have some alone time. 
We grabbed some breakfast let family know and got to the hospital bright and early. Ashlyn’s bio Mom was in labor and delivery and we all basically just hung out for the day for Ashlyn to make her arrival. 
Branden and I decided to grab lunch at one point thinking it would still be a few more hours. Of course right before we finished lunch I got a text saying she was at 10cm but to not rush. I didn’t even read the second part and bolted out of the cafeteria and text them we were coming. Then I read the whole thing and they said not to rush they still needed to get the room ready. 
After they were all ready for Ashlyn’s bio Mom to push I started having a minor panic attack. My mind was racing. I wanted to make sure I got video and pictures of the moment Ashlyn is laid on her first Mommy’s tummy and them together. That’s all I could think about. I needed that for Ashlyn and for her First Mommy. The person who is giving me this amazing child. After pushing for a bit the doctor said Ashlyn was sunny side up and had to turn her. He did that and she came right out. I will never forget seeing her little face for the first time. She had the chubbiest little cheeks and seriously the cutest face. She was the most perfect little newborn. 

I still can not explain those feelings from that day. My heart could have exploded but also broke into a million pieces all at once. It was the definition of bitter sweet. To watch my friend hand her daughter to me and call me her Mommy still to this day makes me feel like the most honored person in the world. For her to trust me with this person she loves so much because she knew I was meant to be her Mommy is unbelievable. Seeing her look at her from across the room when I was putting a headband on her head and knowing she was hurting broke my heart. That moment is forever engraved in my mind. I never want to forget these moments because I want Ashlyn to know she loves her so much. She wanted her more than she will ever understand but made the biggest sacrifice she will ever have made. 
Then I watched my husband hold Ashlyn and there was nothing like it. He bonded with her instantly. Nothing was different from his bond with Ace and Everly after their births. It was incredible. I didn’t know if it would be the same for him but it was. 

 

If you want to read a more detailed post about Ashlyn’s birth story you can HERE
Stay tuned for the rest of our time in California.
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Ashlyn | Birthday | everly | Party

The Girls’ 2nd Tutu Birthday Party!

By on March 30, 2016

Since the girls are still young I really wanted to do a party for them together. They share everything and honestly doing two parties I feel like can be a bit much when they all have the same friends and family members and they are literally like twins at this age. Same size clothes, same toys, same room, pretty much on the same level learning wise. The age gap has pretty much closed so why not just do it till they want them separate? 

 
 So of course since there is 2 of them turning 2 I had to do a TuTu theme party. My best friend Kat did all the desserts because she is truly amazing and we kept it fairly simple. 

We set up our bounce house outside.
Had a dress up station.
And a piñata, which I will never do again, at least not the ones where you hit it. I was traumatized. 
And of course had the girls favorite character come, Elsa! Ashlyn was in Heaven! Everly was scared of her so she didn’t go near her. This is when we realized she isn’t into characters at all. Well, she likes them from a far but up close is a no go. 




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Ace | Ashlyn | Day in the Life | everly | Giveaway | life

A Day in the Life + Gift Card GIVEAWAY!

By on February 20, 2016


  I haven’t done a day in the life post in so long so I thought it would be fun to journal what a typical day is for us. I chose a weekend day since the weekdays are not as interesting since I work now. You can see what our lives are like from the kids waking up to dinner time and past bedtime! Make sure you enter the GIVEAWAY at the end!
Thank you to Publix Viva Italia for Sponsoring this post!

7:00AM
The kids are up. Diapers are changed and we head downstairs for breakfast. 
Then it is breakfast time. The girls usually eat waffles, fruit and milk. Ace will eat cereal.

8:00AM
Outside playtime! I love our backyard. We don’t have a large yard but we have a good size patio and the kids have fun stuff to play with making it easier for them to be entertained out there for awhile. 

9:00AM
The kids came inside and played with some of the girls new toys. We did a joint party for them on Saturday. They are all really into pretend play. 

10:00AM
Snack and playtime upstairs. A change of scenery is a must. Branden was cleaning the floors so the kids and I hung out upstairs and did puzzles and other random stuff in their rooms. 
12:00PM
After picking up a RX it was lunch time! We all sit together at the table and eat together on weekends. It’s nice for me since I don’t get to do this during the week.

 12:45 PM

More playtime before naps. My sister came over so the kids played with her and my niece. 
1:00PM
Nap time for the girls and quiet time for Ace. Bran and I watched The Walking Dead while they napped. OMG, no spoilers but OMG!

3:30PM
Girls are up and then it’s snack and TV time again for all three. After they finish their snacks they play some more. 

4:30PM 
Branden or myself will cook dinner. Sometimes it is both of us like tonight. We both kind of threw things in a pot to make some really delicious italian dish for the kids. I always use Hunts® Diced Tomatoes in our pasta dishes because it gives it some more substance. We also had a treat and I made Pillsbury crescent rolls. Another favorite.
Check out Publix for some major savings on their Viva Italia Sale now till the 2nd of March. 

5:00PM
Dinner & Family Time!
 Branden and I try to always eat dinner together as a family. We sit down together, pray, talk and eat dinner. I love hear what Ace’s favorite part of the day is. The girls are still a bit too young to talk much during dinner but they still talk or sing. We also find that if we sit together as a family and eat we have less issues with the kids eating. Ace and Ashlyn usually are our picky ones so this has made it a lot better. This night everyone was happy to eat and devoured dinner. Italian food is a huge hit with them.


 6:00PM 

More Playtime for the kids
  7:00PM 
Bath Time
The kids all take a bath at the same time, which makes life so much easier on me. I don’t know how much longer this will last since Ace is getting older but as of now they all love playing in the bathtub together. 
  
7:30PM
Girls’ Bedtime
We have the same bedtime routine every night. We go into the girls room after baths, get PJ’s on and the kids play for a little bit. After they have played we read a couple of books of their choice then we sing songs, their favorite is The Wheels on the Bus. After that we read Goodnight Moon quietly and then the girls are off to bed. 
8:00-8:30PM
Ace’s Bedtime
Ace’s bedtime varies between 8/8:30. It really just depends on how tired he is. If he has had a busy day it’s earlier. If he isn’t super tired we let him come hang out with us downstairs for a bit then we put him to bed. His routine is we read books then snuggle in bed till he falls asleep. He was having trouble going to sleep because he was really scared so we now like to lay with him till he falls asleep. He usually falls asleep within 10 minutes and it’s a nice time for us to just have a little one on one time with him. I really cherish this time with him. 
8:30PM
Mommy and Daddy time.
If Branden isn’t working or isn’t working on school stuff this is when we get to just hang out together. We have our shows we like to watch so we cuddle on the couch (totally cheesy I know but we do) and I usually fall asleep on him at some point, ha! 
9:30/10PM
BED! 
I am usually passed out at this point. Branden not so much.

Now enter to win a $10 Pay Pal Gift Card Sponsored by Viva Italia at Publix! Check out their delicious recipes and coupons!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 
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Adoption | Ashlyn | everly | life | The Story of Our Girls

The Story of Our Girls: The Announcement

By on January 23, 2016

If you are just reading The Story of Our Girls you might want to go HERE to catch up.

The weekend we found out both babies would be girls would be the same weekend I announced my pregnancy and that we were adopting. 
When we made the announcement it took people some time but after some guesses and people putting it all together they found out we were going to be expecting two little ones! One through adoption in October and one through my own pregnancy due in March. 

I made a picture with clues on what the announcement would be. I figured if you didn’t know I was pregnant you probably wouldn’t figure it out but if you knew I was pregnant you would at least know that part and figure out what the rest was. 
So the clues were a pear to represent two girls (like a pair of girls), Irish Twins soap since the girls would be less than a year apart, the calendar to represent when they were due, 4 rulers which meant 4 feet, A&E for their first initials and the baby beanies for two babies one in October (pumpkin) and one in March (clover). 

After the big announcement we had so many people supporting us. We never had anyone who was negative about adopting and expecting at the same time (well, not till later). 
Now that we had made the announcement we continued on with our Home Study and preparing for our trip to California for Ashlyn’s birth. We would meet Ashlyn in less than a month! 
Next up: Part Six: Traveling to California!
 
Don’t forget to enter this months GIVEAWAYS HERE
 
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Ashlyn | everly | life

How We Got Rid of Our Girls Pacifiers!

By on December 28, 2015


Now that the girls are at an age where they really need to get rid of their pacifiers I knew I wanted to do it in a way that would be least upsetting. It might sound dramatic but having to deal with two toddlers hysterical over their comfort items and sharing a room doesn’t sound fun to me. 

 There was a couple ideas that sounded cute like the Paci Fairy but I didn’t think Everly would really understand that. I decided that putting their pacifiers in a bear from Build-a-Bear might be a good idea because then they would have control over putting the pacifiers in the bear and they could use the bear as a comfort item. 

We took the girls on a day where Ace had camp so we could really focus on them. We let them each pick out a stuffed animal. Everly picked out a purple rock star cat thing and Ashlyn picked out a puppy. 

We headed over to the stuffing machine and had Ashlyn go first. She put her paci in and stepped on the peddle to stuff the bear. She looked a bit skeptical but did it. Everly didn’t understand what was going on as much as Ashlyn. Ashlyn knew her paci was going “bye, bye”. Everly put hers in as well and stepped on the peddle. She liked watching everything. They then picked out a heart to put in the stuffed animals and they were sewn up. We explained that’s where their pacis were now. 

They “washed” their stuffed animals and played a bit then we paid and headed out. They didn’t seem to care that their pacifiers were gone. We headed home and at one point Everly asked for her pacifier so we gave her her cat and she actually tried to scratch open it’s back and screamed. After we told her it wouldn’t come out she went off to play. 

Nap time wasn’t horrible. They didn’t sleep but they didn’t freak out either. They basically climbed back and forth to each others cribs and played. 

Bedtime was another story. Everly was losing it. She was overtired and wanted her pacifier. She was screaming and throwing herself around. I have never seen her so upset. It was bad. Ashlyn cried and said she wanted her paci back and that seriously broke my heart but I told her she couldn’t have it and it was in her puppy. She was fine when we put her to bed but Everly was screaming. Branden had to go back upstairs to rub her back and separate their cribs because she kept climbing in Ashlyn’s and crying. Ashlyn did so well though. After they fell asleep they were out for the night! I was worried they would wake up and cry for their pacifiers but they didn’t.

They next day we had a play date which was a nice distraction. They did get tired while we were there so we left and Everly fell asleep in the car, not normal for her. Once we got home I put them down for a nap and they actually went down pretty well. They cried for a few minutes but they slept! 

no napping for this girl

I took Ace to see Alvin and the Chipmunks so Branden put the girls down for bedtime and said they were fine. Talk about success. 
Naps have not been fantastic. The girls end up playing in their cribs and not sleeping. Some days Everly will go to sleep but Ashlyn hasn’t been. I am thinking Ashlyn might have to just watch a movie on the couch and Everly goes down for a nap. Ashlyn has gone through phases of not napping before but I am wondering if this is it for her. Thankfully she will sit and watch a movie and have quiet time if we do that so it won’t be the worst thing. 
If anyone is looking for an idea to get rid of them I definitely recommend putting them in a Build-a-Bear stuffed toy. It’s just a fun way to get rid of it. I mean cutting it out cold turkey is probably just as good but I liked the little experience for the girls. 
And this is not a sponsored post. I just really love the Build-a-Bear company. I think they really do an amazing job at making the experience great for children. I would love to do a birthday party there but I would go broke, ha! 
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