Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Year one and My Learnings of being a Stay at home Mom

One year has past since I quit my job to stay home and raise our girls. There are days I wonder how I could have ever done anything different and there are days I wonder why I ever left the work place to begin with. There have been days I wonder how I ever managed to work and be a mom and there are days I wonder how on Earth anyone who has kids has a clean house. 

There have been moments of great excitement and moments of great frustrations, moments of laughter and moments of tears, bouts of anger and illness but through it all we all survived the first year. In that first year we added Paige to the family, Quinn started Preschool and dance, Emily started talking, Emily is potty training, Paige started crawling and has become a bottomless pit, and I started to learn that my children may be the most stubborn, bull headed, opinionated, dramatic,loving little people there are in the world.

A look back at the highlights

Quinn: the Drama Queen
*Cut her own hair: "because I needed a short cut and you weren't doing it!"
*Uses and understands Moods: "I was grumpy so I wasn't going to smile since you didn't take me for a walk" "I'm going to be mad b/c Emily is touching me and I don't like when she touches me ! (Emily smiling mischievously)" "STOP LOOKING AT ME, I don't like that, now I'm going to pout"
*Is TERRIFIED of bugs to the point she won't walk across the drive way after the rains due to all the worms.
*Learned to ride a bike
*Learned to Swim
*LOVES to shop
*Will run down the hall and throw herself on the bed (in a very Disney princess fashion) and cry because something didn't go her way
*Is tenderhearted: will burst into tears every time you remotely raise your voice at or in her general direction
*Favorite Phrases: "but I want to listen, I want to earn my star back!"

Emily: The carefree spirit
*Learned to talk
*Loves to swing and will spend HOURS on the swing set
*Loves birds - unless they land in the yard and then she has to chase them - Outside and she keeps disappearing from my line of sight, I finally ask her what she is doing "I chasing birds mom!" Well of course she is, I guess we won't need a dog anytime soon.
*Has an extremely quick temper
*Is the instigator of most of Quinn's dramatic outbursts and Paige's screams of Terror
*Can climb out of her crib - but is smart enough to only do it when the bean bag is there for her to jump on
* favorite phrase: "What do in the morning"

Paige: My sunshine
* Usually a very happy baby (unless there is no food on her plate)
* the least picky eater and a bottomless pit
* Started crawling 4/2/2017
* giggles at her sisters ALOT
* Mommy's girl - but gets REALLY excited when Daddy comes home
* refuses to sleep through the night if Mommy is home!

Overall the last year has been good, an adjustment, but good and as much as the kids have grown and changed, I have done even more changing and discovering about myself.

In that year I've learned that it is okay to need time to yourself. It took me a year but I know that if I get up before the kids, eat breakfast and spend 30 min just to myself, I have a much better day. 

I have learned that having organized activities helps move our day along more smoothly. And being flexible. in the beginning I had a very strict schedule and would get anxious when it didn't go exactly as planned. Then Paige was born and all schedules went out the window and it was survival mode. Now I just plan activities and we move from one activity to another and if we don't get to them all that is okay.

I have learned that it is important to have a network of friends - and this has been the biggest adjustment because most of my friends work so getting out during the day is hard and sometimes results in very long days because my Adult interaction is so limited. Due to that I have to take advantage of the evenings and regardless of how much I should do I need to just make time to go for that walk, go play volleyball, or go to a movie. Admittedly I'm better about some than others, as how much time I spend on an activity is dictated in part by what time Craig gets home and what time the kids go to bed.

I have learned that it is ok to Leave your kids and have date nights - Ok I've always known this and I enjoy these nights - sometimes convincing Craig who works all week and has an endless TO Do list around the house (mostly his, not mine) is another matter; that and finding babysitters is challenging, but on the nights we do get out of the house it is so wonderful. I'm also coming to love giving up my whole chair and snuggling while we unwind with a good TV show at night as a substitute to going out.

I've learned that sometimes you have to put you and your spouses needs ahead of your kids, because if you and/or your spouse fall apart, that isn't good for the kids either.

I have learned that less is more - I don't need a bigger house, I need less stuff in my house. The kids don't need more toys, they need a few toys that will foster their imagination, and a rotation of what is upstairs. That realization has now taken hold it has been a whole other journey to begin the process of purging and re- decorating.

I have learned that cleaning, while necessary in life, is highly overrated and nearly impossible to keep up with while children are awake... so if you show up at my house, leave your judgement pants at home - it is going to be a disaster... and no I'm not OK with that, but I'm SLOWLY coming to terms with the fact that I'll miss the mess at some point, but for now it drives me nuts!

The theme around my learnings, is take to care of yourself and your spouse, make friends and foster those friendships outside of children, because when the children get their own life, you'll need one too and it is harder to build one at 60 than it is at 30.

<3 Jacque

Friday, March 17, 2017

Potty Training Nighmares

Emily is starting the potty training journey and I'll admit, this is NOT going well, I am having several issues.

1. It has to be her idea -  she is strong headed, that one, so I can ask and ask and put her on the potty and sit with her for 20 min reading stories and she won't go, but five minutes after she gets off the potty she'll have an accident. I'm pretty sure just to spite me.

   *One day she was in the bathroom playing in the sink with her sister and the barbie who gives her dog a bath, not 4 steps from the toilet and she had an accident everywhere, this was not 5 minutes after I'd taken her to sit on the potty.

2. Incentives - we implemented an incentive program - and yes I know all the research out there says not to use food as an incentive, but the kid loves chocolate, and could care less about stickers so we thought this was a win win. She does GREAT when she is hungry, before meal times and around snack times, "Treat Mommy!"

*I had to move the treat stash as she started sneaking them every time she went potty, in her diaper!

3. Naked Butts - if I put a pull up or underwear on her she will forget to go so I let her run around the house without pants on. This is all fine and dandy on those days we have no where to go. But that is only 2 days a week and some weekends. This results in having to do a pull up or diaper while we are on our "adventures" which I worry confuses and sets her back.

   *sitting in her highchair at lunch she had on a dress and leggings as we'd been playing in the basement; she "forgot" and pottied, seeing as she was in the highchair the mess resulted in the floors getting mopped and the high chair getting a spray down.
   *It is also the season of never ending illness so when running around naked and tummy issues happen.... well lets just say the clean up is even less desirable than having to mop the floor. Not to mention a grossed out older sister!

 For many reasons, I NEED her pottied trained, but mostly because diapers are ridiculous, she is almost 3, and we are considering preschool in the fall.

She is great at telling me when she needs to be changed, but not so great at telling me when she has to go! OH EMILY!
the face I usually get when I ask "Do you have to go potty?" "NO!"

What worked for you?

<3 Jacque

Monday, March 13, 2017


The other night my family and I attended the Remsen St. Mary's vs. LeMars Gehlen boys basketball game, and I want to commend both teams and fans on their sportsmanship.
I have been to a lot of high school basketball games over the last couple years, and have seen a large number of excellent examples of sportsmanship and a large number of negative examples of sportsmanship; and not just from the players, but from fans as well.
NOT TONIGHT! Both teams played with heart, hustle and most importantly - Respect. Respect for their team, for their fans, for their opponent, for the officials, and for the sport itself.
Both fan bases were equally excited, they cheered loudly and they were enthusiastic. Something I didn't hear much of was booing or negative comments to players or officials, even when calls may not have gone their way.
As a parent who brings her young children to these games I was humbled and gracious to everyone that I didn't have to shy my kids away from that, or explain why they can't act like that.
To the parents, teachers, fans, coaches and most importantly players - THANK YOU. Thank you for showing my children that you can play with heart and hustle and not degrade your opponent. You can win and be excited and still understand the heartbreak the other team is feeling. You can lose graciously knowing that you left it all on the court and hold your head high as you congratulate the other team.
Gehlen Catholic and Remsen St. Mary's families, you both have a lot to be proud of tonight, and I am not just talking about your basketball records, for that I congratulate you.I pray that both schools can continue these examples of sportsmanship, so when other young families attend their events they walk away with a feeling of restored hope and kindness in a world where we see so much negative.
Congratulations to both teams!
Update: Remsen St. Mary's made it to the State Tournament where they were awarded the Class 1A sportsmanship award. I am excited for my children to be a part of a school that takes this part of life so seriously and am excited that others have recognized this as I have. Congratulations Hawks!
                                             *State Basketball Cheering Section*

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time where we reflect on all that we are thankful for, and this year as with every year we have so much to be thankful for.  As I reflect on all our blessings of 2016 I realize so many of those things I am so grateful for also have many other people in the back ground.

I am so blessed to have three wonderful children and as I continue my journey as a stay at home mom I am fully realizing it takes a village to raise children; so there are several people I want to call out.

I am so thankful for my wonderfully supportive husband who sacrifices day in and out to provide for us and make sure we have everything we need and want and does so without hesitation. Who comes home exhausted after a long day  and immediately takes on the role of "best dad in the world." I am forever grateful for all that he does and admire his patience and dedication to our family, even when he has given so much of himself outside the home.

I am thankful for my wonderful mother who has been a life saver, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I know that the last year has had its struggles but she is always willing to take the girls when I need a break; and She is always a phone call away when I need someone to talk to. There are truly no words I can say that will express my gratitude to her.

I am thankful to my Dad, who despite his health scare earlier this year keeps going and complains less than a rock (literally the man never complains) and takes what life deals him and does so with optimism, gratitude, and a smart ass remark. I look forward to our Thursdays together and the girls always enjoy their "Papa time"

I am thankful for my In-Laws, who are willing to drop just about anything if we need something, from a 6 AM phone call to come sit with the girls when I went into labor, to helping me clean my house because we have visitors coming and it has been a crazy week, and everything in between.

I am thankful for my friend Susan, who over the last year and a half I have come to rely on more than even she realizes.  She is my much needed adult conversations and evenings out when the days all blur together. I always enjoy our conversations, her positivity is something I envy, but at the same time it is the exact type of person I want to be around.

I am thankful for our Doctor and nurses that work tireless hours and give up time with their family to make sure that mine is healthy and well taken care of; and for never making me feel like the over bearing parent who brings their kids in for every sniffle (even if that is exactly what it is) :)

Last, but certainly not least I am thankful for my Children - There truly are no words I could use to express how amazing they are to me. I love watching each one of them develop their own personalities, I love that they are strong headed and opinionated (except when they use it against me), I love the sweet innocent way they discover the word, the way that they love each other, and they way that they trust and love so easily - even when I may not deserve it.

There are so many more people I could and should mention but there would never be an end to this post, so to all who have touched our lives Thank you, and we appreciate all you do for us.

Happy Thanksgiving
<3 Jacque

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy 6th Month Birthday Paige!

WOW! Where has the last week, not to mention the last 6 months gone?! It is so hard to believe my little peanut is 6 months old.

Paige turned 6 months last Wednesday, November 16th.  We celebrated with shots for the whole family. All three girls did excellent, Emily's response was the best; they gave her some stickers and as she is sitting on my lap examining her stickers they give her the shot.  They are midway through and she turns to the nurse and says: "HEEEYY!" it took all I had not to burst out laughing.

Paige weighed in at 13 lbs 10 oz and 24 inches long, according to growth charts she is still a little peanut but growing nicely, especially since we started small (5 lbs 8 oz and 18 inches).  Paige was a trooper for her shots too, but when we got home she needed some serious Mommy time!
This is the only picture of her for the day as she was not having much of being on her own for the monthly milestone photo... Hopefully this week (I know only a week late)

We started solid food with her this week and I also attempted making my own baby food.  I would say the first time was a huge success.  She devoured the squash, and managed to get it ALL over her face.
First taste of Squash - YUMMMMY

Paige is a good combination of Quinn and Emily when it comes to milestones, Quinn was a one hit wonder, and Emily was, well... lazy. Paige can roll from her tummy to her back, she has done it several times, but despite being able to, she still gets mad if she is on her tummy for too long.  She hasn't rolled back to front yet but we are so close.  In her defense she doesn't get a whole lot of floor time as her big sisters think that is the perfect time to close in and even attempt to pick her up. She is a tripod sitter, she is doing really well on this and loves to sit up. 

If I had to pick a favorite baby gear item based on what my kids have liked, I would say hands down the Bumbo seat. We use it for everything, feeding, hanging out with mom while I work in the kitchen, and watching big sisters from a safe distance. All of them have loved it. So for any new parent wondering if you need one, I would say YES! Quinn and Emily even love it for their dolls, so much so that they are getting one for Christmas so they stop stealing Paige's!

Happy 1/2 Birthday Paige, I can't believe how much you have changed in six months. We love you so much and can't wait to watch you grow!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Birthday Weekend - Nov 12, 2016

A long harvest finished up just in time to celebrate Craig's birthday and the marriage of two good friends.

We started our weekend by celebrating Craig's 31st birthday with his favorite meal (Roast, cooked carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and rolls) with his parents and his four favorite girls :). Due to the price of cards the girls opted to color Daddy a sign - I think it was more of a hit with Quinn and Emily than anyone! Then came presents - Emily was extra excited (inwardly) as she got to go with mommy to pick out the present. Emily likes to go shopping with me, she doesn't however, like when the cashier "takes her stuff" so she wasn't overly thrilled when she had to give her daddy's present to the strange lady behind the counter; so when Craig opened the present she had to try it on - after all, she picked it out!

Saturday meant it was wedding day.  Our friend and old babysitter is going to cosmetology school near the wedding location so we detoured up there so she could do my hair, it was great to see her, and she did an awesome job! Thanks Taylor!

Then it was time to celebrate.  This wedding was the first time in 8.5 years that all of Craig's college roommates (and Kleiss) were in the same place. It was so awesome to see everyone again.  Hopefully we don't have to wait so long between the next meeting. Luckily the last of the five roommates gets married this spring. Unfortunately it is the same weekend as Quinn's dance recital, so we may be doing some major juggling that weekend! 

Roommates 501 S. Duff - Kyle Shipley, Chris Blome, Matt Dolch, Craig, Dale Sturges

The whole gang with spouses - Allison and Easton and Kyle Shipley, Chris and Abby Blome, Matt Dolch (missing Dana) Sarah and Dale Sturges, Kayln and Adam Kleiss, Craig, Jacque and Paige

It was a beautiful wedding and in true Dale fashion he managed to thoroughly embarrass Craig by getting the DJ to pull him to the middle of the dance floor after the reception and have everyone sing "Happy Birthday" to him. The night was way to short for the amount of catching up we all had to do, but it was wonderful to see everyone and I look forward to the next time.

A huge thank you to my mom who graciously kept the older girls all weekend so we could have an adult weekend.  Paige got to come, only because she threw a fit every time my mom tried to hold her, next time :) Oh well, she was a very well behaved baby all weekend (of course mom was holding the whole time so what was there to complain about)

Until next time....

The start of our Journey

I have been toying with the idea of a blog for a while and have decided to make the leap.  I wanted a place to document happenings and still be able to share them with others that wasn't Facebook.

Craig and I have been married for 6 years, we met when I was still in high school and got married a month after I graduated college.  After living in Des Moines for a year and a half, Craig accepted a transfer to the Cherokee Pioneer Plant which moved us closer to home.  Prior to this year, we had celebrated each of our wedding anniversary's in a different house.  We have so much to be thankful for and we start with our three biggest blessings!
Quinn Catherine is our oldest, she is a beauty inside and out (but I'm biased). She is dramatic, she is loud, she is loving, she feels deeply and she is a great big sister.  She loves to read stories, Curious George is her favorite, she enjoys playing with all her cousins, and she likes going to sporting events and church with me.  Quinn is so much like me some days it is CRAZY, but her eyes are 100% daddy!

Emily Justine is the middle child.  She is all 2! She is a cheeser, and so darn cute it is hard not to laugh at her on a regular basis.  Emily has the best facial expressions, you know exactly where you stand with this one.  She is also a brute, she is rough and tough and loves to get dirty and is a 110% Daddy's girl, mommy will do only if daddy is not around. She is loud and energetic and has a smile that can light up the room.

Paige Michael is our baby.  There is no other way around it, she is a Mommy's girl!! She is a snuggler, she loves you to talk to her and she loves watching her big sisters; although their noise level terrifies her some days (not that I blame her). She is a relatively easy going baby - until you try to take her from her mom :)

I love my 3 little blessings that make this journey so much more fun, crazy and full of laughter.

<3 Jacque

Year one and My Learnings of being a Stay at home Mom

One year has past since I quit my job to stay home and raise our girls. There are days I wonder how I could have ever done anything differen...