A Mother’s Journey


Growing up, I was surrounded by strong, dedicated, loving, successful women. My role models weren’t celebrities, politicians or educators. Whenever I was asked who I looked up to or who I wanted to be like when I grew up, I thought of those who were a part of my own family and shared my blood.

So of course, I thought I would be just as successful as them in my professional career and as a mother. Boy, was I in for a huge wake-up call!

The Long Road Ahead 


There have been many times, in pageant and job interviews, where I have been asked “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” You would think by now, this question wouldn’t scare me… it still does.

I can see where I want my life to be. I can vividly see myself working from home, owning IMG_6785my own business and being the stay-at-home mom I’ve always wanted to be (I can already hear the “Skeptic Stacys” out there questioning my choice of profession: “You want to be a stay-at-home mom??” Yes, I always have). I can see myself attending every little league game, dance competition, soccer game, pageant or whatever it is our babies decide they want to do, without having to ask work for time off or worrying that my vacation time won’t be approved.

Why then does this question make me so scared?

Even though I can see it, the road there is far from a straight path. I have always known and truly believed that every person’s journey in this life is unique and that God has a plan. A plan that so amazing, we could never imagine it for ourselves.

IMG_6748I just can’t help but wonder if I have deviated too far from this life He had set out for me. Did I take a wrong turn somewhere? I have never questioned my life as a wife and mother. I will never question these two roles given to me because I know I was meant for this part of my life. What I do question is, did I take my family down a path we shouldn’t have traveled down and now we’re constantly trying to find our way back?

A Purpose-Filled Life

I am eight years post-grad, halfway through my graduate career and three years into motherhood. I feel like I’m far from the successful woman I thought I would be by now. Rather than feeling successful, I feel like I’m one more failed career attempt and tantrum before I begin questioning what my purpose is in this life.

Am I here to just jump from job-to-job the rest of my life or just here to manage the IMG_6162tantrums until they’re old enough to understand that life isn’t fair and you don’t always get what you want?

I have always put others’ needs and wants before my own. It’s how I was raised. I watched my mom do the same thing. Although she pursued her dream to earn her Master’s in Business Administration, I watched her constantly put herself last when it came to the dreams and goals my dad, sister and I had set for ourselves.

I feel like that’s exactly where I am today. The second things seem to get tough, excuses are flying from every direction, I immediately become discouraged and think that what I had dreamed for myself isn’t possible.

Maybe it’s just that. My purpose in this life is to help others towards their dreams and goals. Whether it’s to rise in the ranks at work, to live a healthier life or to be the best parent there is, maybe I was meant to help those in my life make these things possible.

A Journey Meant to be Traveled

Instagram: @kaleandchardonnay

So many people have said to me on my journey towards creating my own business, “Oh you’re one of those people now.” or “You’ll go crazy working from home.” What they don’t seem to understand is while some may feel trapped working from home or dealing with the wants and needs of kids all day, this is where I have always felt the happiest.

Yes, the days may run together and the quarantine hasn’t given us the option to leave the house, but I’ve never been happier to put in a few hours of work in the early mornings before the kids have woken up or at night when they’ve gone to bed! All that means is that I get the entire day to do whatever they want without having to worry that I’m not doing my part in providing for our family.

IMG_6746I know this journey was never meant to be easy, but it was meant to be traveled. Anything worth it, never came without hard work. There’s a part of me that wishes I had more support, but then there’s a part that understands that God sends us on some journeys alone so that when we bring others later, it’s a journey filled with less hardship and more joy.

I pray that God gives me the strength and persistence to do all that I can for my family. My journey as a wife and mother may not look the same as my role models, but I know that I am not weak because of who raised me.

To all the mommas out there who are struggling to find their way, know that while our paths may not look the same, you are never alone. You are strong and you are the foundation that your family needs to thrive in this world!

Seriously, Why?!?!

I could already feel the eyes rolling to the back of their heads as I told family and friends that I’ve started my own business. I could hear the “virtual” walls going up between us as they mutter “OMG! You too?!” Six months ago these reactions are the exact same ones I had too…

Now? I’m shouting “YES ME TOO!” And I don’t care what anyone thinks because I’m not doing this for them, I’m doing this for my family- Tory, myself, Bryan and Kennedy. My family and friends can either support me or not, that’s their choice. I’m simply here to share the opportunity with them, it’s their choice to take it or not.

Why? Would You Do This?

This is a silent question that I hear from the silence and unanswered texts from those that are close to me. I was told not to pre-judge people when I reach out to them, so why are they pre-judging me before actually listening to me, not just hearing me.

You really want to know why Stacy (I have too many friends named Karen)? I was getting worn out working 3 part-time jobs, going to school part-time and raising a family with my husband.

“Well, why you gotta work 3 part-time jobs for then?” (In the snarkiest voice you can imagine).


I’ll give you 4 reasons- two of which should need no explanation, but apparently they do-

  1. Bryan
  2. Kennedy 


Childcare, for those of you who haven’t looked into it recently, is EXPENSIVE! On a teacher salary…nearly impossible for two toddlers, 5 days of the week, 4 weeks of the month, 12 months of the year. I’d be paying more in childcare costs than I was making and the waitlist was a year and a half out! It’s like we had to put our children on the waitlist even before they were conceived!

I was tired of missing out on all of the big, little, maybe pointless to some, moments that Bryan and Kennedy were experiencing each day. As much as I loved being in the classroom, I was quickly realizing that as much as I loved my students as my own, it wasn’t the same and there were two babies at home  who completely had my heart.

I applaud the full-time working moms, it’s not easy!

I grew up watching my strong, dedicated, loving mom work full-time as an IT Analyst, raise two very strong-willed and busy daughters and go to school part-time to earn her Masters in Business Administration.

My favorite picture of my mom and I.

So you can see where I got my strength to pull off 3 part-time jobs, part-time school and raising a family… but this life and path were not for me! I’ve known from a very young age that when I became a mom, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I’m blessed to have been able to fall in love with someone who supports this dream.

Yes, we have been in quarantine, we haven’t been able to go to the store or get out of the house for a break and I’ve heard my name called about 100x before noon each day, but to say I haven’t loved each day at home with them, would be such a lie!

3. Something I worked hard to create

You remember saying my mom had two very strong-willed, busy daughters right? We grew up watching a woman that put 100% into everything she did- whether it was church, school board, school volunteer, her Master’s degree, work, etc.- you never saw less than everything she had in her to succeed. She got all A’s in her graduate school career while working full-time and raising two pre-teen daughters…well, except for the one class she made an A- in because she went on my 6th Grade camping trip, but hey, no one’s perfect right- she’s close!

What worked for my mom, doesn’t work for me. What works for other full-time working moms, doesn’t work for me. Every mother, heck, every person’s journey in this life is completely different from the next. So if someone wants to work a 9-to-5 job, by all means, go ahead, I’m not going to stop them! So why do they feel the need to insert all these opinions about my choice of work?

I’m proud of what I’ve worked hard to create and continue to work hard to build so that I can be present 100% of the time at home with my babies instead of trying to squeeze in hours of work into the late nights after my babies have gone to bed.

IMG_6086Before this quarantine, I was going to bed around midnight after I had clocked in some hours of work at the church and studied for classes. 2-3 days out of the week, I would wake up at 3:00 AM to be at work at the gym by 4:30 AM and working until at least 11:30 AM on most days so that I was only missing an hour of the day when my babies were up.

You can see how quickly I was wearing out, but that doesn’t seem to matter because people still felt they had a right to pass judgement on how I’m choosing to make a living to support my family. I’m building a business that allows me to be at home with my babies, but at the same time I’m still a partner with my husband to provide for our family.

4. A healthier life inside and out 

If I have shared with you this new adventure in my life, it’s because I thought that this IMG_6123opportunity could help you in your life or more importantly, I know how dedicated you are to living a healthier life.

Quite honestly, it’s just like shopping at your local health food store or makeup brand, instead you’re redirecting all your purchases to a “store” that provides healthier products for your skin and body. So it’s not about buying product you’ll never use for it to collect dust, it’s about replacing what your currently use with something better.

“When faced with an obstacle, a decided-heart finds a solution, an undecided-heart finds a way out.” -Cecilia Stoll

There will always be people in life ready to tear down you down because they believe that you should be living life the “correct” way or have an opinion for everything. It’s all a matter of how you take that negativity and use it, either as just an obstacle to overcome or a roadblock that you can’t get over.

My “why” will forever be my family and the only motivation I need to create a better life for them.


Two Under 2

“The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.”
-Jessica Lange


It’s 10 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and I’m already on my second cup of coffee as my two babies take a nap (we’ve been up since Daddy left for work at 6 a.m.). In this first month of motherhood with two under 2 and my new life as a stay-at-home mom, I’ve quickly learned how much flexibility and patience it takes to get through a day.

Mommy’s Got 99 Problems, But Her Kids Aren’t One 

Going to the bathroom… Much like teacher bladder, mommy bladder is REAL! This Mommy is seriously driving that struggle bus! The only difference is that when I was a teacher, I actually knew what time I could go to the bathroom and just had to plan my breaks around my class’ schedule. As a mom, I’m not sure how long my kiddos will sleep for or how long Bryan can entertain himself before he starts screaming (loud enough to wake his sister up)! There have been days where I won’t realize until after my husband has come home from work that I haven’t gone to the bathroom all day (that can’t be good)!

img_5559Showers… I have never appreciated them more than I have now (granted I wasn’t allowed to take showers the first 4 weeks postpartum- check out my last post “Exhausted…Postpartum Recovery”– and I’ve only been starting this week)! It’s the only time I have some quiet to myself- not even complete quiet…I always hear Bryan screaming in the background because I’ve left him in his crib. I’ve had to scream from the shower to calm him down! “You’re fine buddy! Just give Mommy 5 minutes!” Or I’ve had to reach my hand out of the shower to bounce Kennedy in her bouncer when she starts to make noise so that she continues to sleep and I can finish my shower (all of this is happening when Tory’s gone at work- I’m not waking up, if I’m asleep, at 4 or 5 a.m. just to shower before he leaves). Having my hair dried and straightened when Tory isn’t home? HA! Forget it! There’s not enough time for that!

8 STRAIGHT hours of sleep… HA! That’s hilarious! I’m a big fan of naps and coffee now! img_5715Just when we finally got Bryan to sleep through the night, enter Kennedy into our lives. Now, as soon as she cries, there are times when she’ll wake up Bryan too! She’s not sleeping at night either! Last night, I was up from 12:30 a.m. until 5 a.m. with her! She was fed, burped and changed… Why wasn’t she sleeping? Who knows! As soon as I set her down in her bassinet she’d started crying! So I tried her swing downstairs, I tried her crib in the other room (maybe the mattress in the bassinet was too thin), I tried walking back and forth while rocking her. Every time I looked down at her, those grayish blue eyes (yes, she might have gotten her Daddy’s blue eyes!! YAY!) would be staring right back at me!

Clean house… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to keep a clean house everyday. That’s not exactly on the top of my list of priorities. I would rather be spending my time playing with my kids when they’re up, teaching them new words, letters, numbers and colors than cleaning up every mess they make or constantly picking up toys. The best I’ve done is kept up with laundry. Even before we had 2 kids, the most I swept and wiped down the countertops was once a week if not every two weeks. Life with a kid happens so quickly, I don’t want to spend most of it cleaning up! I read this article the other day on Love What Matters and I completely agree with everything this mom had to say about being a stay-at-home mom.

img_5494Work and School… Thank goodness I’m only working part-time and I’m somewhere that doesn’t mind me completing some of those hours from home! I’ve worked it out to where I’m going in one day for a 12-hour day, another day for 4 hours and the rest of the week I’m finishing the other 9 hours from home. I’ve been trying to study to transfer my Texas teaching certificate to Michigan, but have you tried studying with a 17-month-old? Bryan gets into everything! I can’t take my eyes off him without him reaching for my laptop or climbing up on the dining room bench to get to my flashcards. Throw in a 1-month-old who will cry just as I’m about to settle down with a stack of cards to look through… Needless to say, my studying hasn’t gotten that far.

Disney Jr. reruns and Finding Nemo… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the same episodes for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Puppy Dog Pals, Elena of Avalor, Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins and Muppet Babies… Does Bryan get tired of it? Nope! He watches each show like he’s never seen the episode before. Oh and don’t even get me started on Finding Nemo! There have been days when we’ll watch that movie 5 times! I know the movie backwards and forwards now. Thank goodness we have Finding Dory now so I can at least change it out. But try changing it to another movie… he won’t have it! All hell will break loose! Disney Jr. changed their morning lineup this week and it’s been the old school shows like Little Einsteins, Handy Manny and shows I remember watching…Bryan hasn’t been the happiest (try teaching a toddler to be flexible…HA! You’re killing me Disney!). He’s been getting into more things around the house instead.

Mommy’s Got Ninja Skills

My reaction time in the past month has doubled! If it’s not one thing it’s another and there’s absolutely no time or ability to be slow! If I’m even half a second off my game, disaster will strike!

In my case, the disaster is my 17-month-old getting into something he shouldn’t, putting img_5694something in his mouth he shouldn’t, or about to hit his little sister because he’s playing too rough or he’s trying to climb onto my lap while I’m holding her.

I’ve had to lunge across the room while holding Kennedy to catch her backpack from falling onto Bryan because he decided to pull the strap off the shelf (yet I couldn’t prevent a can of peaches falling on my head the other day). I’ve had to sneak up on him just to put food in his mouth because he’s gotten so picky about what he wants to eat (boy, you’re 17-months-old! You can be picky when you start paying the bills- that’s what his Daddy always says)! This morning, it was me pushing the brew button on my Keurig before I placed my coffee cup under it (what mess that would’ve been)!

I used to be such a heavy sleeper, but after we had Bryan the smallest movement he made I would spring up from bed to check on him. Now with two, it’s like my Mommy radar is on even higher alert! When they sleep longer than they usually do, I’m still up just to check on them to make sure they’re okay (Kennedy slept for 4 hours one night and I still had to get up at the 2 hour mark just to make sure she was still breathing).

Bryan will make a slight movement in his sleep and I’m able to tell the difference between whether or not he’s looking for paci that’s dropped out of his mouth or he wants a baba without him fully waking up.

They Call Me Mommy

I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the time I’m getting to spend with my babies. img_5701Don’t get me wrong, I do miss being a teacher as my friends and old students start school again, but I love every second I’m able to be home instead.

There are days when I’m not entirely sure if I’m able to make it or if I’m doing all that I can for Bryan and Kennedy. There are moments when I have to remind myself that regardless of what others are telling me I should be doing or what I’m doing wrong, at the end of the day, I’m just doing the best I can to provide a good life for them.

I live for those moments. Those moments that may seem small to everyone else, but to their Mommy it means the world! Like this morning when Kennedy was crying in her crib and before I could get up from my work, Bryan had reached for her baba on the table and tried to feed it to her. It’s moments like that, not captured on camera (although I wish it was), that will always be one of the best memories I carry of my time with my babies.

Being Bryan and Kennedy’s Mommy is the best “job” or title I’ve ever held. It’s by far the most rewarding and I know that throughout the years as I watch them grow, there will be even more moments that make me so proud of them.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.”
~Deuteronomy 4:9

“That Mom”

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you- plans for your welfare and not foe woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

PC: Christopher Martin

16 months ago we held our sweet little boy for the first time. As we looked into his beautiful brown eyes and counted all his little fingers and toes, we couldn’t help but think of all the hopes and dreams we had for him.

As parents, people always want the best for their kids. We dream of dreams while they’re young and can’t dream of their own just yet (or at least voice them). We can only hope for the brightest future and for them to have more than we ever did!

The {Unwarranted} Opinion of Others

Since we have become parents, we have been on the receiving end of so many opinions. “You need to do this, you need to do that…” all so that our son “can be this or that.”

I’ve constantly needed to remind myself that all these are just unwarranted opinions of others trying to stick their noses in others’ lives. These are the opinions of those who think they know better.

It’s one thing for family to give their opinions, after all, they too only want what’s best for our kids (for the most part). The “advice,” more so opinions, that have really gotten under my skin are from strangers, acquaintances, or people who think they have a say in our lives. It always starts with a “In my opinion…” Let me stop you there… unless we have a relationship or I’ve spoken to you about my kids on a regular basis, I don’t want your opinion.

“You need to let your daughter be this.” {Do I really?}

“Your son is going to be (insert occupation/relationship/personality here). {Oh is he now? And you know this how?}

“She needs to wear this.” {Why?!}

“He needs to do that.” {No he doesn’t need to do anything}.

What needs to happen is others butting out of our personal lives when they’ve never been invited in.

Before and After

Before I became a mommy, I told myself I wouldn’t be “that mom.”

That mom that’s over protective. That mom that’s defensive.

Now, as I learn more about what our moms {and dads} did and sacrificed for us to be who we are and have all that we do, I can understand more now, why they were/are the way they are.

Those moms {and dads} are protective of their kids’ rights to dream their dreams and choose for themselves what path they take in life. Those moms {and dads} are defensive so that their child may never have to experience the unfairness life has to offer before they’re ready to experience it.

Have I become like those moms? Yes, I have {and I don’t mind it}. I will do everything in my power to protect my children’s rights to live their lives as they choose {when they can make those choices}. I will love them unconditionally no matter what plan God has for them. I will support them 100% even when it’s not a plan I had hoped for.


Their happiness is what’s most important! Not my plans, hopes or dreams. At the end of the day, I can dream as many dreams as I’d like, but what I’m concerned most about is that they’re happy, healthy and safe!


As I sit here, sipping on my cold up of coffee {I’ve reheated it several times, but let’s be honest, when’s the last time I finished coffee in one sitting}, watching my toddler son nap and feeling my unborn daughter kicking, I can only prevent my children from the opinions of others for so long. I pray that they one day can understand that God’s plans for them are far greater than we could ever imagine.

“I can do all things, through Christ, who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:13

Dear New Parent, You’re Doing Great!

Dear new parent,

I know there will be days or situations that happen that will make you question your ability to be a parent or question if you’re doing good enough for that little baby in your arms. You are NOT alone!

In these first 4 months with Bryan I can’t remember how many times someone has said something or something has happened to make me feel this way. I wish there were more people, other than my sweet husband, reassuring me that I’m doing the best I can or that Bryan could verbally tell me that he’s happy, but there isn’t.file1-4

It’s sad that there are more people judging Tory and I on the ways we choose to feed Bryan, burp him or even let him sleep. Whatever happened to the idea that every parent does parenting differently and respecting that?! Did people forget that they were once new parents as well? When did it become okay for others to insert their opinions on your parenting styles and belittle you or undermine your ability to be a parent in front of your child (I’ve even gotten this from people who have never been a parent themselves)?!

I mean, yes, Bryan is still too young to understand what’s happening, but if he continues to be around people, even family members, that are constantly telling us that we’re not doing things right and go against what we’ve said, how will he ever learn to respect his parents and our decisions?

It hurts to hear that I’m “neglecting my child,” because I left him at home with his uncle and aunt (it’s okay to ask for help)- instead of taking him with me, because I know there would be an opinion about that too- so I could go to the store. Or that I’m neglecting him because I’m not letting him finish his bottle (when he’s clearly pushed it out of his mouth), that I’m not feeding him on his schedule- I just fed him an hour ago and he eats on a 3-hour schedule- so you decide to mess with his schedule and feed him anyway. OR, this one just irks me, that I’m not letting him sleep enough so he’s not going to grow properly. You are NOT at home with us at night, so you don’t know that he’s sleeping longer at night now and only takes little cat naps throughout the day instead of sleeping hours on hours all day!

If that didn’t get to you, here’s something that will! Your baby sleeps in his bouncer, swing or crib at home, but others think that he can’t sleep unless they hold him or carry him the entire time and won’t listen to you when you say you let him fall asleep on his own without having to rock him to sleep. So they undermine your authority again! They continue to carry him and create a habit that you- NOT THEM– have to break! Now, you’re the one dealing with the crying and fussiness because they’ve taken him off his schedule and routine, that you, his parent, has created.

It hurts to hear that you, the parent, have ruined your baby’s schedule and routine. Excuse me?! He has a perfect schedule and routine, but you didn’t think so because it’s not how you did things!

It is so hard to blend two different parenting styles while having to juggle the opinions of others about how things used to be done and how you’ve chosen to do things now isn’t good for your baby.


It hurts being told that you and your husband had your baby too early in life because you guys aren’t ready to be parents (check out our post about how parenting is a full time job) and are too busy going out all the time. Really? Where have we been going? To work (so we have money to pay the bills), to the store to buy food and formula to feed him. We can’t take him to the  store or anywhere out of the house without being told that we are hurting him by exposing him too early. So are we supposed to stay cooped up in the house until he goes off to school?!

I’m constantly being told that I’m not doing things right or being told that I shouldn’t be doing all the things I’ve been doing- like going grocery shopping, lifting bags, doing too much at work (I’m not even sure how there’s an opinion on that considering no one that makes that comment even sees me at work) or even doing too much around the house.

I listened for a month and tried the recovery process that was traditional for our family {not everyone in the family even did it or was made to do it}, and to be honest, it was miserable! I couldn’t do anything I wanted-like shower, all I wanted was a hot shower after being spit up on all day or to wash my hair- I felt more disgusting the entire month than I felt helped. I couldn’t eat what I wanted, and even now, 4 months later, still get yelled at for eating certain things. That recovery process stressed me out more than it benefitted me. It makes me miserable even thinking about having any more kids because I’d have to go through all of that again. I know that if I object, I’ll get more backlash than I do now for the way I’ve chosen to raise my son.

Honestly, when did it become okay for people to insert their opinions, expect you to follow them and then say that you aren’t doing things right because you chose to do things differently?! When did it become okay for people, who have NEVER been parents, to comment on the way you raise your child?! How are new parents supposed to learn what works or doesn’t work for them if they are constantly being ridiculed for their decisions?!

So to my new parents, as hard as it may get or for all the backlash you will receive, remember you are not alone, there’s a whole bunch of other new parents experiencing the same things!

So when your little one isn’t having the best day, remember it’s all worth it when you hear that giggle or laugh. When someone is telling you that you aren’t doing something right, look at your happy, healthy baby and know that you’re doing the BEST you can! You’re doing great! Hang in there and good luck!


A new Mommy that’s still learning


P.S. I know that there will be MANY opinions that come with this post, but someone had to say something and why not come from someone who has experienced a lot of it!

Goodbye Texas, Hello Michigan


So it’s been a while since I’ve had the time to update what’s been going on for our family! Many of you know that we decided back in February that it was time to be around more family {after my baby shower was a complete failure} and that we wanted Bryan to be raised around a big family the way both of us had been raised {and of course the SNOW!! Many people have had their opinions about our decision on that!}

Most of May was spent packing up our, what seemed like a tiny, apartment- I had no

Living room/dining room

idea that a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment could fit so much… Since Tory was working overnight for Sam’s and spent the days- sleeping, I took on the responsibility to pack everything up. I’m pretty sure I had a burst of energy as I packed most of all our stuff up in two days! So for the next month, we had boxes on boxes in every room!

Surprisingly, I wasn’t the one who had the most stuff! It was Bryan! Who knew a baby could have so many different boxes filled with so many different things!


So as I sit on the floor {Bryan is in his bouncer and doesn’t fall asleep without being bounced for a while} this Sunday morning, I can’t help but be grateful and astonished at how much has happened to us the last couple months.

It hasn’t been all sunshines and rainbows though, Tory and I have definitely learned some hard lessons in “adulting” and parenthood. Owning your first house- not easy. Being parents to an infant son- not always easy, but surely rewarding. Moving cross country- not easy. One of us changed jobs and the other is only part-time- not easyfile3-2

With all these hard lessons, we have learned the strength of our relationship and have learned that the love we have for each other and for Bryan will get us through every obstacle thrown our way.


Our sweet little boy is now 4 months old and as aware as they get! He is so curious about the world around him and it’s such a blessing to be able to witness him learning about things. The way his face lights up with the biggest smile when he hears or sees a familiar voice and face, the way he coos {loving the baby talk with him} to himself as he watches cartoons each morning as Tory and I get ready for the day or even the way he cries for a bottle.

Bryan loves watching TV with Daddy

When Bryan hollers…he hollers!! I used to fear that neighbors would hear us and be concerned about what was happening, but I’ve learned to catch it right before he starts hollering now. I can feel him moving at night; as soon as I feel him turning his head back and forth I know that it’s time for Mommy to haul her butt downstairs to heat up his bottle {those 3 minutes are the longest 3 minutes when Bryan is screaming and hollering}. Poor Daddy, though, is still learning when to catch him at that point. But we are getting there!


In the last couple months Bryan has become more aware of his surroundings. He now recognizes when I come home from work and his face just lights up {best feeling in the world}! He could be on the couch watching TV with Daddy, or even his great-grandparents when they’re watching him, and as soon as he hears my voice it’s over people!

Loving his new bouncer/walker

He’s starting to become attached to things. He’s learned to roll over, although, he still has one arm that doesn’t always come out from under him. When he does get both arms out he’s trying very hard now to start crawling-it’s only a matter of time before he’s mobile! He laughed for the first time a couple weeks ago and now when he’s talking to his daddy, he giggles and laughs so much {Tory’s really great at getting him to laugh}.

These first 4 months have been such a life changer with him in our lives and we are just so blessed to be his parents.


Trying so hard to crawl

Daddy is home every night now!!! Yay!!

After 5 years with Sam’s Club, Tory weighed his options and decided that it was best to explore other opportunities that would give him a chance to advance faster and be home with us at night.

We are so happy to have him home every night now {he works 4 am-12:30 pm instead of 9 pm-5:30 am}. He gets to spend more time with Bryan and has so much more time to do things than before.

Coming home to my hometown has been a disadvantage for him since he wasn’t so familiar with the place before we decided to come back here, but he’s made such a big effort to make us a home here. He’s been working really hard to make our house {which needed a lot of TLC when we first moved in} a place that we love being in.

Master bedroom

I’m really hoping that as he becomes more comfortable with Holland and gets to know more people {let’s face it, it’s easier for Tory to make friends than it is for me at times}, he will jump back into things that he used to love doing- like playing softball on the weekends.


Since we’ve been home, I’ve had to learn how to juggle being a mommy and going back to work {it wasn’t something new to Tory, but I’ve had 3 months at home with Bryan}. It was definitely hard to return back to work after being so used to just spending my days with Bryan and making sure that he was taken care of {being a parent is a full-time job..with no breaks}!

Master bedroom

I’m currently working at Hope College’s CASA {Children’s After School Achievement} program teaching 5th graders- who are incoming 6th graders. I forgot how much I loved teaching.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time at home with Bryan and I miss it a lot, but the last 4 weeks I’ve spent with my students have reminded me why I went into teaching in the first place.

It was a rough start at first- these kids were learning those infamous middle school attitudes {and there are times when those attitudes will surface during class and I have to deal with it}- as soon as they learned that I wasn’t there to make their lives hard, things started to roll smoothly each day. I’ve been able to see these kids thrive in Reading, Writing and Math {ugh, Mrs. S is learning to thrive in Math too- HA}!

Bryan’s room

I’m still hoping to find a job for the 2017-2018 school year, but for now I’m just enjoying my time with these kids while I still have them for the next 2 weeks.

The Swanks: 

We are slowly making our home feel a little bit more like our own place and learning all the ins and outs of being homeowners. This adventure has taken us on a roller coaster ride that at times we were completely prepared for and others we felt like we were walking blindly, but it’s been a ride we are grateful to be a part of.

michiganWe do miss some parts of our life back in Texas- like our best friends and the little apartment we started our life together in- but we are loving the new things we’re experiencing and learning about ourselves in Michigan. Thank you Texas for being the part of our life that helped us come together as a family and helped us learn who we are. Goodbye big city life in Texas and hello small city {I still think of it as a small town} life in Michigan- we’re here and we’re ready for whatever comes our way {next experience: Fall and Winter}!


Parenting is a Full-Time Job

Bryan’s first Easter {4.16.17}

Last week I talked about how it’s okay to ask for help when you have it (check out our post “It’s Okay to Ask for Help”). I have definitely missed having so much help, especially at night when Tory’s gone off to work (there’s no such thing as a break time when it’s just you and baby-just like that commercial for Nyquil: moms and dads don’t take sick days).

For the past month we had a lot of help from my mom. She came from Houston to stay with us and to help me recover and take care of Bryan. To be honest, she did a lot when it came to bathing, feeding and watching Bryan.

Mom created his daily routine. A routine that he has gotten used to and I’ve tried my best to continue it so that this transition is a lot easier for him (and for me).

IMG_2701It’s been a week since she returned to Houston (and Bryan’s a month old now) and we survived! Survived? I sound like I just came out of some sort of battle! Well, it is! It’s a battle against your own thoughts of failure. It’s a battle against your fears. It’s a battle between sleepless nights and curbing your frustration (baby feels everything you feel).

Growing up I used to love the idea of being a stay-at-home mom (don’t get me wrong, I still do and want to when the time is right). It is definitely NOT as glorified as it’s made out to be by society!

Stay-at-home parents (we can’t forget those dads; it’s not just a job for mom. Or quite frankly even those few grandparents who have changed their lifestyles to be parents again-but don’t get me started on that) don’t just sit around all day and wait for the baby to wake up or the kids to get out of school (HA! I now laugh at people who think that’s what it’s all about). They don’t go on extravagant shopping sprees, lunch dates with their friends and makeovers (well at least not 95% of them-there’s always the exceptions). It’s a full-time job!

I may have only had to do it on my own as a stay-at-home mom for the last week

Bryan loves cuddle time with Daddy

(and for the next couple weeks until I return to work) but my hat goes off to all the parents who do this 24/7, 365 days a year! You guys are the best and so amazing for all you do (I hope someone has told you that today, if not, I am)!

I’ve learned that it’s all about establishing a routine and sticking to it. Yes, Bryan is only a month old and his routine may change each day based on his feedings, but there are still some things that are consistently done the same and at certain times of the day in order for him (and honestly mommy) to stay happy (and sane for mommy)! It’s never too early to start a routine with baby, whether it be bath time, bed time or tummy time.

I’ve accepted that dinners will be separate (occasionally Bryan will sleep long enough that Tory and I can eat dinner together). I’ve accepted that my dinner may go cold because Bryan needs a bottle. I’ve accepted that my coffee will be microwaved several times throughout the day before it’s finished (I now understand why my mom’s coffee was always cold or forgotten in the microwave).

I’ve accepted that I no longer have 8-hour sleeps and that I’m working on 2-3 hour naps throughout the day (lets face it, there’s still chores to be done when the baby sleeps). I used to be a heavy sleeper, but now even the slightest sound from Bryan and I pop out of bed like a pop tart out of the toaster to his side. I used to roll around in bed a lot but on the nights when Bryan sleeps in our bed, I’ve stopped moving and I’ve learned to stay on my side of the bed. I’ve accepted the idea that going to the bathroom is like a race against the clock (more like hoping and praying the baby doesn’t start crying).

Family nap time-Daddy and Bryan are always out!

In this first week alone, I’ve learned a lot about what a parent will do or has to change in their lifestyle to care for his/her child because I’ve changed a lot in my own routine to work with Bryan’s. Ive learned how to do most things one-handed while holding Bryan in the other.

I’ve started to slowly get the hang of things on my own when Tory’s at work. The first night, I’ll be honest, I was so terrified of being alone with Bryan.

Caffeine has definitely become my best friend! I used to be able to check my emails, texts and pick up phone calls whenever I wanted, but now it takes me hours to respond and days to check my email just because I’m trying to squeeze in a nap, run to the bathroom or try to finish up the dishes before Bryan wakes up.

Would I trade it in for my old lifestyle? Not at all! Every sleepless night, duration of fussiness or cold dinner has been worth every second with Bryan. I have a whole new appreciation for all the stay-at-home parents!


I welcome all their advice because they’ve gotten it down to a science! I only hope that what I’ve done for Bryan has been the best for him. Everything else for me, can come second (definitely the opposite of how I felt weeks ago. Check out our post “Newlyweds to New Parents”).

It’s Okay to Ask For Help

We are nearly at Bryan’s first month of life and though it is exciting, this first month has definitely been one of grit, tears and a very big learning experience as first time parents.

17523613_1106777462801973_8635050676621369670_nThough I have learned a lot about what it really takes to raise a child (I’m not saying I know it all, because I’m far from it), I have also learned a lot about myself. A child definitely makes you think less of yourself and what you may want and need and more of what you can do to raise your baby in a safe, healthy and happy environment.

This post may contradict a little of what I wrote a couple weeks ago in my post about not forgetting that you are just as important as the baby (check out our previous post “Newlyweds to New Parents”), but in these last couple weeks I have definitely had a small change of heart.

It was a huge wakeup call for me the other day when Tory pointed out that no matter how tired I am, I still have a small human who relies on me to be my 100% self to take care of him. But how can I do that when I’m drained and feeling overwhelmed? How can I be 100% for Bryan if I can’t even give myself 100%?!

In this first month of parenthood I have learned that there are some feelings that others still seem to shame new parents on (in my experience, you may not feel the same), or at least we feel ashamed (I know I have) for admitting it to others. You know what, it’s 100% OKAY to admit you need help! 17861748_1106777876135265_7380787502588670829_n

I honestly wish I had realized this a little earlier because it would’ve saved a lot of restless nights of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated and inexperienced and insecure. It would’ve saved so many nights where I tried my best to hold in my tears so that my sweet baby wouldn’t pick up on my mood.


Trying to juggle a crying infant while cooking dinner and making his bottle has been a challenge I have faced several times during this month.

I know that my mom has been here to help and Tory is home during the day, but I didn’t want to ask for help. I wanted to do it on my own, thinking that when my mom returns to Houston, it would just be me and Bryan at home when Tory’s gone at work each night. So my mindset was that I should learn how to do it on my own, right? WRONG (so completely wrong)!

Always remember it’s okay to ask for help when you have it and when you can! My overwhelming thoughts could’ve been spared had I just asked Tory to cook dinner one night or just asked him to watch Bryan while I cooked dinner. Instead, I chose the long, tiring route.


For the first weeks since we came home from he hospital, I exclusively breast pumped to feed Bryan. As you all know from my last post (“The Breastfeeding Debate: To Breast Feed or Not”), breastfeeding directly had been out of the question so I had been working on a pumping schedule of every 3 hours. But what was exhausting was that the pumping, feeding and changing schedules never matched up.

So when people say “sleep when the baby sleeps,” they must’ve figured out how to do everything in their sleep because it sure hadn’t worked for me!

Frustrated and Inexperienced

Babies can always sense when you’re feeling a certain way. I’ve tried my best to stay17862760_1106777516135301_7102259811872923429_n as calm as I can, but I have to admit there have been days when I’ve had my fair share of frustration.

Frustrated that my baby wouldn’t eat for me the way he does for his daddy or his grandma. Frustrated that he seemed to cry bloody murder when I rocked him to sleep but fell asleep so quickly and easily for his daddy.

There have been days where I felt so inexperienced to the point of tears and I look over to see how easy Tory made it look.

Granted, he had experience with his niece and nephew when they were infants. Of course I have nieces and nephews of my own, but I just got to play the role of aunt and gave them back when they started to fuss. I had never had to play the role of caretaker, let alone try to fuse two completely different cultures of parenting together to raise our baby.


2017-04-10 (2)
Left photo: 39 weeks pregnant. Top right: 1 week postpartum. Bottom right: 2.5 weeks postpartum

I know this doesn’t relate to asking for help, but I’ve also experienced days where I felt like I wasn’t in my own body (it might also have to do with the lifestyle I’ve been living the last month- check out our post “The Long Road to Recovery”).

I felt insecure (in the past I’ve never felt this way about my body) and I couldn’t openly admit it.

I wanted my old body back. I missed fitting into my old clothes instead of having to wear my husband’s t-shirts. I missed my toned abs (from years of being an athlete in high school and college). I missed not having to wear a bra 24/7 (I’ve felt so restricted, especially at night when I go to bed, they are not meant to be trapped in a bra all day!). I missed not leaking milk or bleeding all the time (this may be a “TMI,” but who are we kidding, every mother knows what I’m talking about and it’s no surprise!).

When would I go back to “normal”? Or was my new normal the little flab left on my stomach from pregnancy? Was it the new chest size that hurt my back all the time? Was it the swollen fingers where my engagement ring wouldn’t fit anymore?

How could I admit this without feeling some sort of guilt? Of course my body was different. I had 9 months of gaining 50 lbs. of pregnancy weight to prepare me for postpartum. I have a precious baby boy, why would I be insecure about my new body? This body brought me the best gift life could ever give me.

It Gets Better

Each day is getting better little by little, but I wish I had known earlier that it’s okay to ask for help, be honest about how you feel, and there are people who won’t judge you for it.17884078_1107761639370222_1145566842131192844_n

It’s okay to admit that you need a break. We’re all human, we can’t constantly do something 24/7 and not expect to need a break once in a while.

It took me a while, but I’ve realized that as your baby grows, so does your level of experience. The exhaustion, frustration, inexperience and insecurity will disappear and you’ll be able to do things one-handed, half asleep or even imagine it in your sleep, and you’ll be able to embrace the body you have no matter what size or shape it is. So hang in there, because you’re not alone!


The Breastfeeding Debate…To Breastfeed or Not…

Ask me several years ago if I would ever breastfeed my children and I would’ve told you “absolutely not!” I had heard so many horror stories from my family about how much it hurt if you didn’t pump on time and what happened if the baby didn’t latch on correctly that I was more scared to breastfeed than I was of giving birth!

In my mind, breastfeeding was no big deal. I didn’t see the benefits it outweighed formula fed babies…after all, myself and 15 of my 17 cousins had all been formula fed and we all turned out just great!

Breast is Best…Is it the Only Option Though?

17499300_1094823600664026_4345808364742699565_nWhen Tory and I first found out we were pregnant, we took into consideration both options- breastfeeding or formula feeding. Most people have looked at me oddly for even asking that, but like I said I was formula fed and didn’t really see anything wrong with it. In the end though, we chose to breastfeed…or at least try to.

As if the contractions leading up to birth weren’t painful enough (I started experiencing pain around 4 cm dilated…thank goodness it was only another 15 minutes until I hit 9 cm and was ready to push)…breastfeeding Bryan the first time was the most painful thing I had ever experienced. Yup, you heard me right…pushing him out of me wasn’t even that painful…but to have him latch onto my breast and not latch correctly, hurt so much.

I didn’t want to give up on the idea of breastfeeding our son though. I endured the pain for the first two days while we were in the hospital. Tory could see me grimace every time Bryan latched or attempted to latch on.

A Mother’s Instinct

While we were in the hospital, I had spoken to several different nurses and lactation specialists about Bryan’s latch and this gut feeling I had that he wasn’t getting what he needed. When he did latch it was for no more than 5 minutes at a time and I was beginning to grow very concerned.

Nurses were telling me that he had to latch on for at least 20 minutes each side, but then 17553695_1094822930664093_3684632813339788484_nspecialists were telling me that the time didn’t matter because every baby was different. Some babies could get what they needed quicker than other babies and that I should just be rest assured that my baby was getting all that he needed.

I still wasn’t convinced! Our first night alone was a nightmare! Bryan was up all night crying to be fed every hour. I understand that I was a new parent and we were told that the first night was the toughest until we all got used to a routine or even to each other, but if this was going to continue where he would want to latch every hour, it was going to be a huge problem.

We continued to ask the nurses and specialists about my growing concern and we still received the same responses that it was fine and normal, but I still couldn’t believe them. My baby was constantly crying and wanting to be on the breast, that wasn’t normal! I may not have been breastfed as a baby, but even I could tell that this wasn’t normal behavior and that something was wrong.

I had read an article a couple weeks earlier about a mother who had breastfed her baby and had an instinct that something was wrong, (I still cry when I reread it because no parent should ever have to feel the loss of a child, nor a loss because they were told by doctors and nurses that things were fine and that their baby was just “cluster-feeding”) but was told by nurses and specialists that the behavior was normal and my gut was just telling me that things weren’t right.


First doctor’s visit after being discharged

On our second day at the hospital I insisted that we begin supplementing with formula because I just couldn’t believe that Bryan was getting all that he needed and being fed enough. You try eating something that’s hard to get to (colostrum definitely doesn’t flow out as fast as milk does) for as little as 5 minutes and tell me that you’re full and you’ll be able to last hours without anything else…I don’t think so!


After we began supplementing with Enfamil, we could tell that our sweet little boy was turning around. He was sleeping for longer hours, he was crying less and he just seemed happier. Tory and I were both happier as well to see that our son was doing better.

On the day of our release, our pediatrician told us she was going to suggest we supplement formula, as well as, breastfeeding because Bryan’s weight had dropped and was almost on the border of concerning (he was born at 6 lbs. 10 oz. but was released from the hospital at just 6 lbs. 2 oz.).

Had we not supplemented, she would’ve suggested that we leave Bryan at the hospital and come back at the end of the week for him. You better believe we wouldn’t have left that hospital without our baby! We would’ve asked to stay longer, no matter the costs that built up.

Every Baby is Different

Like every pregnancy, every baby is different. On our first day home, as we were unpacking our bags, I noticed that the hospital had sent us home with Similac instead of Enfamil formula.

The last thing we needed was to change things on Bryan again so I posted on Facebook

“I cried but when my bottle was ready I wanted to sleep…”

asking my friends if any of my new mommy friends used Similac and would like for me to send them the 8 bottles that we had been sent home with; instead I received more backlash for supplementing with formula than strictly breastfeeding.

Honestly, I don’t remember asking anyone for their opinions on what I should do for my son. After all, I’m his mother, not anyone else. I knew the situation we had experienced our first two days and I wasn’t going to starve my child just because breastfeeding is supposedly the best and the only option (who said it was the only option?!)…maybe it was for other mothers (and good for them!) but it wasn’t for us!

I was infuriated (maybe it was my hormones too) for trying to help out another mommy and instead was getting lectures about how I shouldn’t be giving my son formula because he wouldn’t get all he needed from my breast milk. He wasn’t getting what he needed in the first place, which is why we had to start supplementing!

I was already physically tired from spending two days in a hospital room on the most uncomfortable bed, not being able to sleep next to my husband (most nights I need to lay on his chest before I can actually fall asleep) and being up for most of the last 48 hours trying to take care of our newborn; now I was emotionally exhausted too from being told that I wasn’t doing what was best for my baby by people who didn’t know our situation or didn’t have any say in the decisions that we made for our family.

Sleeps just like his daddy

When did it become okay for us to speak badly to other parents for their decisions that they make for their children. As parents, we need to do what’s best for our babies, not for other people’s babies.

What works for one family, may be a huge disaster for another. What I didn’t appreciate was that my son was being compared to other babies. Well that’s nice that it worked for your baby, but it’s not working for mine! Again, was I supposed to let my baby starve just for the sake of exclusively breastfeeding?! NO!

We’ve been home for almost two weeks now and we’ve been exclusively pumping. I’m no longer breastfeeding Bryan directly because it had hurt so much and I wasn’t sure how much he was actually getting because he still wasn’t latching on for more than 5 minutes at a time (I’ll probably hear some backlash for this decision too, but I DON’T CARE).

Since then, Bryan’s no longer on formula, although we still have it on hand just in case. He eats about 2-3 oz. at a time and it occurs about 8-9 times a day, sometimes even more. At our 2-week checkup yesterday {3.27.17}, we learned that Bryan is now 7 lbs. 8 oz. (he gained 12 oz. in one week!) and he’s 21 inches long!


Our baby boy is growing and is more than healthy! We may not be breastfeeding the way others think we should be, but we’re doing what’s best for our baby and no one else’s!

So to all those new mommies or mommy-to-be’s out there, remember that you (and your partner) are your babies caretaker(s), no one else. No one else’s opinions should reign over yours. Sure, accept all those opinions and take what you find helpful, but take it with a grain of salt. What worked for someone, may not work for you.

We should be encouraging each other, not tearing each other down for our decisions. All that matters is that we’re raising happy, healthy babies.





Anticipation, Anxiety, Disappointment and Exhaustion: The Final Four Weeks

Nine months ago if anyone had asked me what I knew about pregnancy I would’ve answered with “absolutely nothing!”

Even now, with only 3 weeks left until our due date, I only know what I’ve experienced. People were right when they said every pregnancy is different and it could be a roller coaster of emotion, I know mine certainly was. These final weeks have been no exception.

Photo Credit: Clique

If the first 8 months hasn’t been full of enough excitement, these last 4 weeks sure does have enough packed into it to give a person baby fever.

Our close friends just had their baby earlier this month and it definitely has made us more excited for the arrival of our little guy.

Everyone keeps telling us to enjoy the time we have before he arrives, but the anticipation of his arrival seems to build more and more as we prepare his nursery, items from our registry are arriving from family and friends and we hear of our other friends welcoming their little bundles of joy!


Our Manny loves to cuddle
If the anticipation of Baby Bryan’s arrival doesn’t occupy me enough, here comes the daily dose of anxiety!

There were a few times in the past 8 months when I questioned my ability to be a mother. Sure, I could teach a classroom full of 4-5 year olds, but how would I be with my own?! Would my little one be as well-behaved as some of the students I’ve had or would he be like the few little ones that tested my patience each day?! I was horrified! Tory, on the other hand, always seems to have it together and has been fully confident in our ability to be great parents.

I admit, when we first found out we were pregnant I broke down crying-not of excitement-more of anxiety of what was to come and how things had officially changed (does that make me a bad mom?).

If the 8 months of watching my students and their different personalities and

Nugget after her kennel incident
behavior didn’t give me enough to worry about, my two fur babies definitely made sure Mommy was kept on her toes. There are days when Manny won’t eat or he’ll be sick and it makes me question how I’ll be when Bryan is sick or won’t eat. But then there’s Nugget, oh our little Nugget, it takes a village to raise her!

The other day, she somehow got her paw stuck in her kennel. I thought it was just another small accident like in the past when she flipped her kennel and got her head stuck, or when she ate the tray of her kennel, so it couldn’t have been that bad, right?! WRONG! Her paw was pierced, how did my little baby get her paw stuck in her kennel gate where she was bleeding and I couldn’t get her paw out?! It made me wonder, what if Bryan got into something and hurt himself so bad I felt like a helpless parent?!


Thank you to our family for helping us put this together
I had spent weeks planning and making decorations for our sweet baby’s baby shower, only to be disappointed in the end., crying in the car by myself on the way home.

For a long time I didn’t think that I would have a baby shower because none of my family or closest friends lived near us to host one for us…and I had never heard of a mommy-to-be (in our case parents-to-be) host her own baby shower. After a lot of consideration and encouragement from a few family members, we agreed to have a baby shower for our sweet Bryan, after all, it would only ever happen once.

My sweet parents
The day had finally come, my parents and I were frantically trying to setup the hall in time before our guests arrived (unfortunately, my sweet husband came down with a fever and I felt it was best that he stayed home to rest). The first four guests arrived, my cousin-in-law Yung, her son Sam, my bestie Desheila and her newborn son Jose, and I was excited to see how this day would turn out (I’m extremely grateful for my parents, Yung, Sam, Desheila and Jose for being there).

An hour had gone by and still no one else had come…I could tell my parents, my cousin-in-law and my bestie were all trying their best to keep my mind busy and keep me laughing so that I wouldn’t be sad that no one else had come…

Not only was yesterday our baby boy’s shower, but it was also my 26th birthday. Birthdays have always been a big thing in my family, since we came from such a big close family of aunts, uncles and cousins. It was a rush of emotions for me since all of my family is so far away and we weren’t able to share the shower and my birthday with them. On top of all these emotions, trying to stay laughing but also trying not to burst into tears in front of everyone, I was worried sick about my husband who has never been so sick that he couldn’t even get out of bed and I wasn’t home to take care of him at the moment.

My cousin-in-law Yung, nephew Sam and bestie Desheila
My disappointment quickly turned into a series of questions. How could I have had so many responses and confirmations of guests who would be attending, only to have 4 people show up? What if in the future Bryan has birthdays and no one shows up, how could I as a mother possibly explain the feeling of disappointment to him? How do you not set yourself up for disappointment?

I had never once experienced this much disappointment before (sure, my wedding shower had no more than my family and four of my friends, but even then that was bearable because there was something bigger happening that weekend), but as much as I love planning parties and getting all the decorations ready for it, why would I possibly want to be disappointed like this again?

As if this emotional roller coaster wasn’t enough, add in exhaustion and some days it was multiple emotions in a single day.


People keep telling me to sleep as much as possible before Bryan arrives, but between the cramps, the Braxton Hick contractions swollen legs and arms and all the other glorious symptoms that come along with pregnancy, how, how can a person possibly get sleep?!

The sleepless nights seem to have become a normal thing. Getting through an entire day of work is just an obstacle and even having a simple conversation with someone seems impossible! So, for all those mothers out there, how did you sleep your last trimester? Help this mommy-to-be out!

Would I do it all over again? Absolutely (maybe not the baby shower, but everything else, yes)! I can’t wait for Baby Bryan to arrive and the adventure he will put his daddy and I on in the years to come!