Tag Archives: parenthood


4 Nov

As promised, I said I would post a picture of my Rider-man once he decided to let me catch his handsome smile with my camera. And he finally did! He smiles all the time and makes the most adorable coos/sighs at the same time. I could simply just eat him up All. The. Days. Of. My. Life.

And a big Happy Birthday to my hubby, Jason! He’s the best husband and dad that we could ever ask for. No wonder this kids smiling!


27 Oct
This is a good day. Rider slept all the way through the night last night! Gosh, what a difference a consistent night of sleep makes! And it hasn’t been horrible- Rider has always been a very good sleeper and has only ever woken us up once maybe twice during the nights to eat. He always goes right back down to sleep and so we’ve been relatively rested since he was born. Well, I’ve still been exhausted but it hasn’t really been because of a lack of sleep. It’s just hard when you aren’t getting consistent sleep, you know?
Last night I fed him around 10:30 and put him to bed. I was fully expecting to wake up around 3:30 or 4 to feed him. But I woke up at 4:30 am, jolted awake wondering why I hadn’t heard from Mr. Rider yet. I went into his room to check on him just to make sure that he was still breathing, and of course he was. He was swaddled in his blanket, sleeping away in his comfy little room. I was for sure that I was going to crawl back into bed and five minutes later he’d wake up. I went back to sleep and didn’t hear from him until 6:30 am!!
We were so excited that he did it on his own. And he’s not even quite seven weeks old yet! I’m so happy that we chose to do Babywise with our kids. Given that if you approach it with balance in your life, it can work for most kids. I am confident in that. Our kids have both gained healthy weight and learned tremendously good sleeping habits through this method. And sleep is something that is SO important for kids and adults. We are a happier family when everyone is sleeping well.
I am aware, however, that it was only ONE night so far. We’ll see how tonight goes. I am grateful for today, however. Jason and I are rested. Cruz and Rider are rested. Everyone wins.


9 Oct

I’ve been wanting to take Cruz to feed the ducks for awhile now. Every time we’d drive past the park with the duckies, he’d always point and say “tweet tweet!” and so I knew that he’d love getting an up close look at them. But I was always gianormous pregnant and it was always 115 degrees outside.


It’s definitely cooled off this past week and this was the first thing I wanted to take him to do. I waited until a day when Jason was off work and when we could go as a family. I didn’t want Jason to miss out on something that I was FOR SURE was going to be an amazing experience for Cruz. And I’m embarrassed to report that I’m not sure if it was an amazing experience for Cruz because I was too busy FREAKING OUT and being an incredibly paranoid mom. Good grief, I could not get it together! Ha!

We started out at the edge of the lake with one little lone duck. It wasn’t too intense. Just one little duck and Cruz got to check him out up close. It was actually really cool, aside from the fact that I was CONVINCED that Cruz was going to dive head first into the lake. Every time he so much as moved his foot, I would gasp and inch closer to him. Jay finally looked at me like, Seriously?? and I knew that I was completely overreacting. Of course he wasn’t going to dive into the lake! Jason was RIGHT NEXT TO HIM. Even if he did happen to fall in, I’m pretty sure both of us would be in the lake faster than you can blink to fish him out. Why was I so worried? Oh cuz I’m a mom.

Then there were a couple more ducks that tried to join the one lone duck that had all of our attention. Not a huge deal. They came and left because they weren’t able to retrieve any food from the one duck we were originally feeding.

We were starting to run out of bread, which sort of disappointed me. I had envisioned Cruz throwing bread to dozens of ducks and having a brilliant time watching them all. One duck? One lousy duck??!! That was it?? Cruz wasn’t disappointed, but I kinda was. We started heading back to the car. As we were walking back, we saw a couple ducks up on the grass. We thought we’d just feed them the rest of our bread and be done with it. I asked Jason to pick up Cruz as I saw the ducks approaching us because I know ducks can be kind of aggressive- especially when you have food. And seeing as that they were as big as Cruz, I really felt better that he was in Jay’s arms.

But then I looked up and more were starting to come up from out of the water. Where were they coming from? I’m not sure. But more were coming.

Pretty soon we were surrounded! There were ducks behind me wondering if I was going to throw down more bread! And that’s about the time that I started having a panic attack, hyperventilating and all as the ducks started closing in on us. They were fighting one another for the bread and completely ready to EAT CRUZ if I would have let them, I’m sure. Finally, Jason had to tell me to LEAVE because I was definitely ruining the experience for all involved.

“Maybe you should go wait in the car with Rider.”, he said. Ha! I couldn’t get it together. It was the single most scary thing I’ve done in awhile and I’m pretty convinced that the ducks were conspiring to attack us and our children. NOT OK. These pictures don’t even do it justice. There were SO MANY DUCKS. And I didn’t even get to enjoy watching Cruz look at the ducks and watch them eat our bread because I was too busy freaking out.

Geesh. What was my problem? Maybe feeding the ducks wasn’t as harmless as I thought it would be. I wasn’t expecting the ducks to be so aggressive! So I think Cruz liked feeding the ducks? But I am not sure if/when we’ll be doing THAT again. These pictures don’t even do it justice as to how many huge ducks there were. Terrifying.

one month old

8 Oct

It’s been a month?? A MONTH? Really? That is nuts! Rider is one month old today and I can’t believe it’s been that long! That’s not even THAT long, really. But when you have a newborn, it’s kind of an eternity. If you’ve been following my blog and reading any of my posts, you know that this past month has been one big, giant roller-coaster! Good moments, bad moments, exhausting moments, cute moments- all of it. And while I’m exhausted, I wouldn’t change anything that has changed/happened for us this month. It’s been such a growing experience and I’ve already learned tons more about myself through all of this. What a crazy ride it’s already been! And while I try not to wish for Rider to be bigger than he is, I do look at this little face and remember that this will not last forever. I will blink and he will be walking. I will blink and he will be talking. He’ll be going off to kindergarten and riding his bike and making science projects. This IS a season. One I will miss someday. It’s so hard to remember that when you are completely exhausted and wishing for the days for him to be sleeping through the night. But he will get there. And when he does, he won’t be a newborn anymore. And it will be gone. And I don’t want to look back and remember how I just wished for him to be bigger and onto the next stage. Because the truth is, every stage has it’s ups and downs. And I can’t be always wishing for the next stage, because pretty soon, the next stage will be him moving away to college.

Oh how my heart already hurts thinking about that.

It goes so quickly, this life. It’s passing before my eyes. Between exhaustion, tears and changing more diapers than I know what to do with, I’m taking in the moment and trying to embrace this stage. Although it’s so hard, it’s really not forever. And while I am eager for Rider to be able to do more than just eat and sleep, this stage is precious. And he’s such an endearing little boy. Such a sweet, easy going spirit. He’s such a lovable little guy. It is hard at times. But I AM taking the time to love it too.

Happy One Month Rider! We love you more than you know!

i am tired

5 Oct

Who isn’t, right?

Remember yesterday how I posted about balance and how I’m trying to get a grip on life? Yeah. Today I woke up completely overwhelmed, emotional, and well… I guess ‘overwhelmed’ pretty much sums it up. It didn’t help that we had a HORRIBLE night with Rider last night, who I think had a tummy ache all night long. I think I need to cut back on how much dairy I’m taking in since I’m nursing him. It’s hard because I totally crave milk right now, but I think it’s making him gassy. And he just spits up A LOT, gets bad hiccups, is gassy and uncomfortable very often. Needless to say, he’s still such a happy baby but it makes night time a little tricky on some nights because he just can’t get comfortable. I’ve tried gripe water too, which is hit or miss on how well it works for him.


I’m struggling to find the balance that I talked about yesterday even though the emails are piling up, there’s photos that need editing and dishes in the sink that are driving me crazy. We are starting to get into a routine of sorts, but I’ll be happy once it’s a daily rhythm and once I’m not so super exhausted. I love the baby/newborn stage for lots of reasons, but you kinda forget how hard it truly is at times. And I’m realizing how I’ve completely taken for-granted that Cruz is such a good sleeper and how he’s been sleeping through the night since he was THREE MONTHS OLD.

Anyways. I’m basically complaining about what I posted about yesterday. And you’re probably thinking that you’re wasting your time reading this crap because I’m such an emotional mess that I’m fine one day and complaining the next. Oh well. It feels better to write it out. And I know that I’m not the only mom that feels this way. It’s possible that YOU, dear reader, probably feel the exact same way to some degree!

So on a happier note, I’m going to post a few pictures of both boys. It’s fun to see their similarities and their differences already!

And it will end this post on a note that is not me complaining. Even though that’s all I feel like doing today.

– Cruz at almost one month

-Rider at almost one month

– But there are differences- Cruz is SO blonde and fair!

– Rider at the same age- dark hair and darker skin!

– Just a funny and cute picture of Cruz!

it’s time

1 Oct

Yes. It is time to snap to it and do something about this lingering baby weight. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Jess, you JUST had a baby 5 minutes ago. You should cut yourself some slack and give yourself a break!”. And while I LOVE the way your brain works, you would be wrong. This is not the time to cut myself some slack. If I don’t jump in head first and get back on track I fear I am never going to.


I have rejoined Weight Watchers and I have begun an eating “plan” of sorts. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you should know that I had HUGE success with Weight Watchers a few years ago. I found myself in a similar situation with no baby to blame the weight gain on. I knew that I needed to loose some pounds before we actually did decide to start a family. And I am SO glad I did. I lost almost 50 pounds the first time around and became a Lifetime Member with Weight Watchers, making the program completely free for me today- especially since I am nursing! So I am doing the Nursing program with Weight Watchers and have about 30 pounds to loose. I’m starting on getting my eating and calorie intake under control so that when my doctor clears me to excersise (probably at my 6 week appointment) I can start doing P90X again.

Intense? Yes. But I refuse- REFUSE- to hang on to this baby weight. I understand that it’s important to maintain the health of the baby and pregnancy, but the baby is out now and the weight should be on it’s way as well.

Anyways. I’m blogging about this for some form of accountability. So expect updates. And if you see me, feel free to ask me how it’s going. I’ll make sure to blog updates on my successes and failures. I know every mom can relate to gaining/loosing/hanging onto weight. And it’s not an easy subject to talk about. But the way I figure it, if more of us are talking about it, maybe we’ll have less to be insecure about and more support in our lives to make the changes we need to.

So here’s to taking off the baby weight!

dear rider,

29 Sep

I meant to write this letter to you very soon after you were born, but you’ve kept me very, very busy these past two weeks! I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks! I feel like you’ve been in our lives forever, but it hasn’t been long at all! You have joined a crazy busy family, sweet boy. A life that is full of ministry, music, love, friends and family. We are a family that laughs a lot, cries a lot and fights a little too. We love to work hard and are making our own dreams happen for ourselves. We are all still adjusting to your arrival a little bit, but even still, I can’t even imagine what life would be like without you here. You are just the sweetest and best little guy- you are super laid back and you have the sweetest little personality already! You are quiet most of the time, only crying when you are hungry or uncomfortable. You can sleep anywhere and are already on a pretty good schedule. You let Mamma and Dadda sleep at least 4 hours at a time at night and we only have to get up with you twice already! You are already growing and are such a cute little one- we couldn’t be happier to have you here.

Your brother is warming up a lot more too! Every morning, you are the first person he asks for now. He’ll run over and grab my hand asking, “Please! Please!” and I know that it means that he wants to go see you as you sleep in your crib. I have to tell him that we will go see you once you start to wake up because he doesn’t understand how to whisper quite yet. But he’s very interested in you. He’s always pointing to your eyes, ears and nose and telling me what they are. And whenever you start to cry he says “No cry brother!”, even though he can’t say that super clearly yet. He love to give you kisses, and gives them to you freely without me asking him to give them to you. And he loves to ‘help’ me burp you by patting you on the back. I know that even though Cruz has had to adjust big time to your arrival, you two will be the best of friends someday very soon. At least that’s what I pray for every day!

You are the biggest blessing to our family, Rider. We love you so much. And although adjusting to two little ones in the house has had it’s ups and downs already, there isn’t anything I’d change about our journey thus far. You are a special little boy, already bringing a different personality and dynamic into our home. I can’t wait to get to know you more and to watch you grow up before our eyes. We love you sweet Rider man. Welcome to this crazy family and this crazy thing called life!

I love you so much,


PS: Seriously, check out the cuteness! We just can’t get enough of how simply adorable you are. Such a sweet boy!


25 Sep

We got Cruz this new toy. I’m not sure if it was a good idea or not. The jury’s still out on that one. BUT, we did decide to get him his own little drum because he LOVES drums. He loves anything musical really, and we are trying to figure out if it’s a legitimate ‘love’ of his or if it’s just a phase and something that will pass. I know it’s too soon to tell what he’s going to be into as he grows up, but I figure that it’s a good idea to grasp onto anything they show interest in because you just never know, right? I mean, what if he’s supposed to be a world famous drummer someday? And what if we miss the boat simply because we didn’t nurture his interests when he was young? Ha. Ok, I know that is extreme. But when any of my kids shows any form of interest in anything musical, I’m going to be anything but discouraging.

So for now he’s into drums. And it is LOUD. I can’t imagine having a whole set in the house. That day will come, I’m sure. But for now, it’s this little toy drum that he cannot get enough of!


22 Sep

If there’s one thing in this life that drives me absolutely crazy, it’s bullies. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand why kids have to be so mean to one another. If there’s one thing that hurts my heart more than anything, it’s kids who are bullying MY kids. Gosh, I never knew or thought that other kids picking on mine would hurt my feelings so badly. And make me furious at the same time. Why did it hurt my feelings??

Ok, here’s what happened.

Jason and I took the boys to McDonald’s last night to get some ice-cream. It was mostly to get me and Cruz out of the house because we had been home mostly all day. Since I had a c-section, I’m not allowed to drive until I go see my doctor for my follow up appointment. So I’m stuck at home and at the mercy of Jay to take us all places and get us out and about a little bit. If you know me at all, you know that I like being at home. But I REALLY hate being stuck here. I’ve gotta have the freedom to come and go or I can go a little nuts.

So we went to McDonald’s to get some ice-cream and to let Cruz play on the playland. It sounded like a good idea, and actually was one until as we were walking up I noticed that there were what seemed like twelve 8 year olds playing in the play area. Ok really, there was probably 6 of them and and they were probably between the ages of 4 and 7- all boys. They were rambunctiously running around the play area, screaming and rough housing with one another. I scanned the room to see only three adults in the restaurant- two of which were not paying attention to the kids and were on their cell phones. I’m not sure who the kids belonged to, but no one was paying any attention to them.

So we ordered our ice-cream and I took the boys into the play area so Cruz could start playing. Jay waited for our order to come up and he was going to meet us at our table. So we walk in and immediately, ALL of the boys that were playing surrounded me because they wanted to see Rider since he’s so little. I’m not a germ freak or anything, but I REALLY don’t want strange children touching or breathing on my newborn. And one of the boys was bleeding on his elbow. Ew. Please refrain from touching my children, thank you. I put Rider down and Cruz runs over to go play. I’m watching him because I guess I tend to be somewhat of a Helicopter Mom and I’m always pretty paranoid about watching Cruz and making sure he’s ok and within my eye sight at all times.

If you know anything about Cruz at all, you know that he is the friendliest kid ever. He will say ‘Hi!’ to you no less than fifteen times within the first five minutes of seeing you. He loves playing and making new friends and he’s such a happy little guy. Keep in mind, he actually was almost as tall as a couple of those kids- so many people thing he’s three since he’s so tall. But he’s not even two yet. So he looks older than he is, until he starts talking and you realize that he’s still a little guy. But he went running right up to that group of boys, smiling and saying “Hi! Hi! Hi!”. I smiled to myself thinking, Gosh, I’ve got the best kid. He’s so friendly! No sooner had I thought this, I watched my son get surrounded by this group of boys and two of them were getting in his little face. The poor kid started backing up and he tripped over one of the play toys since he was trying to back out of the circle. He tripped, fell and started crying- pretty hard too. If you’re a mom, you know your kid has certain types of cries. This was definitely his terrified/scared cry. I’ve never leapt out of my seat so fast. I had surgery 11 days ago and I definitely shouldn’t have been moving that quickly! It was instinct. I ran into the group of boys yelling,

“Be careful with him! What are you doing?? He’s just a little baby!”

I scooped him up and pulled him out of the mean boy huddle just in time to see Jay walking in with our order. Cruz is crying and to be honest, I am now crying too. HA! I’ve been pretty emotional since I’ve had Rider and I couldn’t help but well up.

“What’s going on?” Jay asked.

“Those boys were bullying Cruz and made him trip and fall! He was scared.” I said. I glanced over my shoulder and no adults in the room were paying attention or even caring that I was yelling at a group of 4 year olds. I wiped Cruz’s tears (while Jay was reminding me that I shouldn’t baby him too much), I put him down and he stood by us and watched the boys continue to play for a while. He never went back over to the play area to play. He played on the outskirts of it and steered clear of the group. He just continued to play by himself and was happy and not effected by the boys at all, really.

But I was.

I completely lost my appetite and couldn’t even finish my milkshake. How lame am I? But seriously! I now have this picture in my brain of these boys- who were a lot bigger and older than him, making him trip and fall and scaring him. No parents came to disipline. No adults were concerned but me. I sat there wondering how in the heck am I going to let him go to school? What if he gets bullied? What if he gets beat up? What if I’m not there to stop it? What if he’s the bully? When I said all this out loud to Jay, he looked at me as if to say, No, we are not home-schooling our kids.

I can’t stand it. I can’t handle the thought of bullies in school or on the playground or in the neighborhood. And the thought of it happening to your own child is sort of like pure torture. It made me pray deep for protection over Cruz’s life and for direction as a parent so that we may raise him to not be a bully. Not to be a pushover, buy any means. But to stand up for what is right, to care for and love others and to have compassion for those that are different from us. I know that the boys at McDonald’s probably weren’t intentionally bullying Cruz. I mean, maybe they were but I can’t imagine why. And I’m trying to figure out why it hurt MY feelings so bad. At one point Jay said to me, “Geez, you look like you’re about to start punching kids!” HA! But it made me so mad that a group of kids could corner and pick on my little guy. And that made me think about the future and about how I’m not always going to be there to rush in and rescue him from the crowd. All I can do is teach him to stand up for what is right and to not to be a bully himself.

Does this freak anyone else out? I don’t think I can handle other kids being mean to my children! I know it’s going to happen. And I know that I can’t shield him from every bad encounter with other kids for his whole entire life. But it pains my heart to think and to know that he’s going to go through life and will experience heartache. Kids will say and do mean things to him. And heaven forbid that he’ll be saying and doing mean things back. It’s these aspects of parenting that I wasn’t prepared for once we started having kids. I instinctively want to come to the defense of my children with all that I have- to protect them from all things bad that this world has to offer. And I know that it’s not possible. And it hurts me deep. I wish there wasn’t bullies in this world. I wish kids weren’t so mean to one another. I wish that I didn’t have to worry about this. I wish it didn’t hurt my feelings so much.

So in the meantime, I’m praying a lot and will be fighting the urge to punch other kids in the face who decide they want to try to bully my Cruz. Because punching other people’s kids only makes ME a big bully which completely contradicts everything I just wrote.

special moments

15 Sep

It’s been a roller coaster of emotions ever since we’ve come home. I expected that, I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that there was going to be an element of adjustment for us all once Rider arrived. And that’s exactly what we are dealing with. I’m grateful to say that day 2 and day 3 of being home have been significantly easier than day 1. When we got home, Cruz was excited to see us. He was happy for us to be home, but at the same time I could tell that he didn’t understand why we had been gone for so long and why we had brought another little person with us. So he was moody and temperamental all while still staying his sweet little self. But he would have these moments of acting out and weirdness- for lack of a better term. It’s understandable I guess. The little guy went from being the center of our world to us having to divide our attention with his little brother.

When we were in the hospital, he didn’t want much to do with me at all. He would say hi to me and he’d give a kiss when he first got there. But he wouldn’t really come near me much while I was there. I know that it was strange to him- me sitting in a hospital bed, all hooked up to a bunch of things that he doesn’t understand. I couldn’t get up and play with him because I’d just had surgery. And we weren’t at home with him, all of a sudden, for a couple days. Whenever he came, I would just sit there and cry (after I said hi to him). I tried not to let him see me cry because I didn’t want to scare him more. But I was overcome with emotions and fearful that my little relationship with him would change and not be the way it was. It was so amazing to see him because we missed him so much. But it was hard to see him because he acted so differently towards me. I can’t blame him. And I can’t expect him to behave, process and adjust like an adult would. But it was still hard for me to process all of this when he was acting so strange.

We tried to get him to sit in bed with me several times. I couldn’t really get up at first and I definitely couldn’t pick him up once I was up (I still can’t pick him up) so we always tried to see if he wanted to sit with me. The answer was always no, which I tried to be patient with, even though I really wanted to just snuggle with him and remind him how much I love and missed him. But I was patient. Finally on the last night that I was in the hospital, my mom and sisters brought him to visit us. Towards the end of the trip we asked him if he wanted to sit with Mamma. Ok, we bribed him with asking him if he wanted to play with the  buttons. HA! But he said yes! So my mom put him right next to me for a few minutes. Jay grabbed the camera and snapped one of my most favorite pictures I’ve ever had taken of myself with Cruz. I think it was just such a special moment for me- I missed him incredibly and it was finally a little bonding time for just me and him after Rider’s arrival. Jay showed me the picture and I just bursted into tears. Actually, everyone in the room started crying too. It was such a special moment- one I’ll never, ever forget.

Then we got home and that first day was hard. HARD. Really, really hard. We could tell Cruz was unsure of everything that was going on. I was super sore from surgery, very emotional from having Rider and all the fun hormonal junk that happens, and we were all exhausted. I think I just cried all afternoon. Cruz wouldn’t come to me at all- it sort of felt like he was mad at me- which just tore me up. Thankfully, Rider’s been a very easy baby so taking care of him has really been second nature. He sleeps a lot, cries very little and we are already on a ‘schedule’ of sorts. Praise God. So Monday was horrible. I went to bed thinking, ‘What did we do? This isn’t going to work.’ even though I knew those thoughts were ridiculous. It was just a very hard day for us.

Tuesday was better. I woke up with a newer outlook on the situation, determined to make it a better day. And it was! We still had (and are having) tense moments with adjusting, but it IS getting easier. So I was sitting on the couch early in the day- I had just finished feeding Rider and he was in a ‘food coma’. So I grabbed the camera to snap a few pictures of just him as he was laying there. He’s just such a sweetie and I’m trying to take as many pictures as I can so he has enough of him too. These are a couple that I snapped:

When I looked up, I saw Cruz standing about 3 feet away from us and just watching me taking pictures of Rider.

“Hey Cruz, you wanna come give the baby kisses?” I asked.

“Yes.” he said and walked over to give him kisses. I snapped ferociously and I was able to take some of my most favorite pictures to date of my two boys. After Cruz finished kissing him, he came around the front of Rider, climbed up on the couch a little bit and proceeded to check him out and take it all in. I kept snapping. Cruz kept looking at the baby, then he’d look at me and point and say “Baby!”. And I’d agree and give him praise for being such a sweet boy and good big brother to Rider. He was so interested for a few short minutes, and I happened to get it all on camera. Finally, Cruz ran off, remembering that he has new toys to play with that we brought home with us from the hospital. I reviewed the pictures I took and just cried some more (I seriously can’t help it right now). But it was a little glimmer of hope that these two actually ARE going to be ok. Cruz will adjust and care for him and love him. He knows how much we love him still but he also sees how much we love Rider too. And it’s teaching him that it’s ok for him to love him too. After these short moments, Cruz now always wants to give Rider kisses. He loves to help us pat his back when we are burping him. And he tries to share his toys with him, sort of (which still freaks me out because I’m afraid he’s going to throw them at Rider). But I had to share these moments with you. In the few short days since we’ve been home, we’ve had some amazing and some not so amazing moments. Adapting to two kids has been harder than I anticipated it to be. But I have two amazing kids. I’m trying to be patient, cry when I need to, and let go of all expectations I have for my boys at this point. We are getting there and it will get easier. And it’s the moments like these that make ALL of it worth it. These pictures, I will cherish forever. They are some of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken, and a symbol of what the future holds for our family.

These are two very sweet little boys. And amidst the emotions, sleep deprivation and tears, I do realize that I am extremely lucky and blessed. It doesn’t get better than this: