Monday, March 19, 2018

Celebrating WINS! Of ALL Sizes.

I recently got a prayer journal that has an area to write the things that you want God to teach you. The thing I've been noticing writing the most is for God to speak clearly to me on what HE wants from me; not feeling pressured to do the things other people expect from me. To hear HIS voice clearly and to drown out the noise of everything else that isn't going to matter in 10, 20, or 50 years. I just keep feeling God telling me to slow down, that He has given me 3 amazing boys, and that they are a gift, so THEY are my calling. My husband and my kids are the thing God has called me to first and foremost. Everything else comes after. I've been much more intentional about how I spend my days. 

This little buddy here is such a gift! He also challenges me and my patience more than anyone has ever been able to do. Thanks to the good Lord bestowing upon him every possible stubborn, strong willed, and independent personality trait that his dad and I have, and then doubling it. Awesome for the leader of a organization, sometimes difficult to know how to parent as a 6 year old. Well, after making some changes, we are starting to see real results in ourselves as parents, and in him. We are seeing that we can lead him first and foremost with our actions and words and it takes being intentional every second of every day. That is a lesson that I'm learning more every single day but sure is a hard pill to swallow sometimes. I can't change anyone but me. I can change his actions, and outward attitude, yes, but his true feelings, his heart, his thoughts??? Nope. That cannot be forced. But I can definitely change my own. 

Today I didn't get anything done at the house, I didn't get anything done with either of my businesses, but I did get to see my precious buddy get recognized at school with a perseverance award and I got to have lunch on the lawn with him while he told me about every part of his day so far. He sat there and ate and held my hand and then hugged me and was so proud telling everyone I was his mommy. Those might be little wins but they are definitely going to be celebrated. So today we celebrate with Wendy's for lunch and an Almond Joy for dessert. Because, why not?

When I do what God tells me to do I have peace. I have joy. I have more purpose than I ever thought possible. 

Something that is working amazingly for us here is a pom pom jar system! I wrote the things out for each child that they were struggling with and that maybe they needed more help with, and if the do those things, or don't do them all day, depending on what it is, then they get a pom pom to work on filling up their jar. They each decided on one thing they are working towards and when the jar is full, they get that reward! It's positive reinforcement, so although they don't get a pom pom if the list items aren't met, they don't get any taken out either. It's doing wonders for these boys! Any boy moms out there know that having boys is like a puppy pack mentality. One is adorable and not too hard, but then you get more than one together and it's just barking and accidents everywhere. My life is trying to be the best leader of this puppy pack I have created!

Oliver is 6 1/2 years old

Harry is 5 years old
Simon is 3 1/2
So as you can see it's working and they almost have them all full! YAY!!! Now, if you have super amazing, well behaved children, then maybe just do a small prize for filling it up, because they could fill it up fast! This is going on week 3 for my kids, and you will notice there are a lot of potty issues we are working on!

Let me know if you try it and it works for you!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dealing with Loss and Feeling Thankful

22 weeks. 22 weeks with our 4th boy. #teamblueuterus I really only make boys <3 And that's okay with me, because for years I didn't think we could have children, I didn't think that we would ever be parents. I turned angry, bitter, sad, confused, depressed, and angry again, all the while being happy for my friends that were having babies, but also feeling so much guilt because I wanted my own. I wished that was me being pregnant. I wanted to have not have had lost babies, I wanted to be happy and joyful for my friends with no underlying sadness and bitterness. I remember planning a baby shower for my best friend and crying so hard on the way to it that I had to stop at another friend's house and borrow their make up to cover up the blotches of red all over my face, because I am not a pretty crier. Nope. No way.

It's the weirdest feeling to walk into your OBGYN and feel like you want to cry because ladies are happy and pregnant there. I wished the doctors had created a separate waiting room for people like me so we didn't have to see all of the happy moms to be. How horrible of a person am I? This compounded the guilt. Compounded the shame. What did I do wrong to lose 4 babies? Why couldn't I carry a baby to term? Was it the time I worked out at the gym and then had a miscarriage the next day? Was it the time I went to the Marine Corps ball and had a glass of wine without knowing I was pregnant and then lost that baby? Was it that I wasn't eating right? I wasn't healthy enough? I didn't exercise enough or I exercised too much? Did I have too much stress and work too many long hours and had an inhospitable uterus? What was wrong with ME? What DID I DO WRONG?

Testing, treatments, medicine....all tried and nothing worked. Nothing could be found wrong with me or my hubby. I prayed for a baby every night. I would go to sleep praying for a baby and then be angry with God when I didn't get one and my friends did.

Enough was enough. My sister in law has also had losses and has taught me so much about mindset and how to truly love. She had an ectopic pregnancy, had to have surgery, and when I talked to her about it, she said that she was sad, but when she woke up the next morning she decided to praise God anyways. Praise God anyways...this struck something with me. God gives, God takes away, and we are to bless His name through it all. He doesn't say when it's easy, or when everything is perfect. We are to praise his name without ceasing.

So I took action. I got myself into counseling. I also had my hubby and I do marriage counseling too. I decided that if God wasn't going to give me what I thought I needed and wanted then I was going to be the best me I could be so that He could show me what I was really supposed to do and be. That if it wasn't in His plans for us to have babies, then I wanted to figure out what His plan really was for me, because I'm sure it would be amazing if I would allow Him to show me, use me, and grow me.

We got pregnant without fertility treatments, randomly and I was shocked. After 5 years, multiple miscarriages, one day I felt a little off and decided to take a pregnancy test in the bathroom of McDonalds because I didn't want to wait to get home. It was positive. And I was cautiously excited. My hubby and I hugged and couldn't believe it. And then one day I woke up and started spotting. I felt my heart sink. I went to the ER because anytime I spot I need the Rhogam shot since I have a negative blood type, and they did blood work and told me my levels were low. The next morning I miscarried another baby. My heart hurt so badly. But I knew that there was a plan, I refused to become bitter again. My doctor was following my levels and doing blood work every single day to make sure I passed the baby naturally. And although things were happening like they should, he saw a spike after about a month. He didn't understand what was going on. In one Ultrasound, he thought I might have a tumor or something more serious because he was seeing something odd. Low and behold, it wasn't a tumor, it was a baby. Another baby growing inside of me.

So much confusion and so many different thoughts. I was happy, but I was nervous. What if we lost this baby too? What if I had to have the "So sorry, I'm praying for you" from friends and family yet again??? Maybe this sounds crazy to you? Maybe this sounds like a way you shouldn't feel as someone who experienced loss and is now given this amazing gift? That's how I felt too. Why was I feeling like this? Why did I feel sad and stressed and nervous, yet also excited and happy? But things were different this time. My levels seemed to be rising, not dropping. My doctor seemed excited for me. And a shout out to that amazing doctor, Dr. Acromite from the Naval Hospital in Pensacola who was with me through all of it; was loving and caring and listened. He talked to Steve and involved him and was on top of testing and when we did go into labor at 37.5 weeks (or so they thought because there was no real way to track other than ultrasound) he left his son's baseball championship game and delivered our precious gift at 12:52 am and was with me through it all. Definitely find a doctor who is what you need! He will ALWAYS hold a special place in our hearts.

When Oliver was 7 months old, we got pregnant again! Without medicine, without fertility treatments; completely natural.  And we lost that baby too. I remember it being different, because I had Oliver. I couldn't lay in bed and cry; I didn't want to let myself be angry and let anger overcome me. I also decided to talk about it. I talked to my friends, I talked about it on social media. I shared bits and pieces of my heart. I wrote about it in Oliver's baby book, because I wanted him to know later and read my heart. I also wanted him to know that bad things happen in life sometimes and that his mom chose to praise God, that she made mistakes and got angry, and had hardship, but she chose to see love and see the good in things. I switched my thinking to feeling thankful for what I had instead of for what I was lacking. I know to some of you who may be struggling right now with a  loss, and don't have another little one to help ease the pain, this may seem hard, but I really feel like it helps with bitterness and it helps to not allow your mind to go into dark places. Your mind is such a powerful weapon, realizing that you have control of that weapon and can use it to strengthen yourself, or to completely disable yourself is sobering. We are the only person who has control of our mind.

This was the letter I wrote to Oliver in his baby journal when I found out I lost another baby from miscarriage. 

Being a military family, we move a lot. We found out we had orders to move from Florida to North Carolina and I was still in the process of getting my levels checked and going to the hospital every 3 days to make sure they were going down. Well, they weren't going down. They were going up. The doctor did an ultrasound and found some "re-growth" where they thought my body wasn't releasing the baby like it should. They suggested a D&C, but I declined for the time being. I mean, we were moving on Monday, and it was Thursday! So I had to move to North Carolina and quickly switch over all of my Tricare (insurance) info to get more testing done immediately to see what was going on. I had another ultrasound once we moved and the technician thought she saw a gestational sac! What?!? This entire time moving, I thought I wasn't pregnant and was maybe going to have to have a procedure done but now they are saying I'm pregnant over a month after my miscarriage?! And Harrison was born at a whopping 9lbs 3 oz later on October 29th. Being high risk the entire time, and the doctors having really no idea what happened or why it happened and having no way to even tell me a due date, except through measuring him on ultrasound.

Then when Harry was a year old I took an old pregnancy test I had lying around at my house for fun and it was positive.....that's another story all together how that happened LOL But Simon was my only baby that I have ever had without having a miscarriage first and having a real due date to go by. You can imagine my shock and fear the entire time thinking I was going to miscarry at some point. But I didn't. He was born 1 day after his due date, with 1 push and no tearing and weighed in at the toddler size of 10lbs 6 oz.

After Simon, I had another miscarriage; the week before my husband left for a year long deployment. I was in the hospital alone because we had no one to watch the children, and Steve couldn't bring them into the ER. (Living in California and having all of your family in Maryland is sometimes difficult when you need a quick sitter.) I was hemorrhaging pretty badly. But you know what, I cried, of course. I even posted a picture on Facebook, because I want to remember where I was and where I'm going. I want to remember that God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever. I will eternally be grateful for where He has brought me from, and I know that He is able to do the same thing for you, if you can allow your hard walls to be broken down. God so desires to get to your heart and mold it into something so beautiful.

My actual Facebook post: When you aren't having the greatest day but your husband takes 1 boy to school, and 1 boy to work with him, so you get to cuddle on the couch and get kisses from a are so thankful for what you have and what you've been given. Your Name is a strong and mighty tower. Your Name is a shelter like no other. Psalm 73:26 “...God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

We are now pregnant with our 4th boy. That seems crazy to even say that. 4 boys....Yes, I know I will have my hands full! So all of the same emotions crept back in when I found out. Basically I didn't want coffee one day and I knew I was pregnant. Because I's coffee.... There was no cute wrapped test in a wrapped box over a dinner of baby carrots, and baby peas, (Full House reference) there was a call to my husband at work.

Me: Are you busy? Do you have a minute?
Husband: Sure, what's up
Me: Um, So I'm pregnant
Husband: Um....okay
Me: So.... I just wanted to let you know
Husband: Okay, so make a doctor's appointment. I can try to get off work to watch the kids

Yep. Nothing fancy. And that's okay because extra fancy doesn't mean extra loved. This little baby is so loved. I cry every time I get an ultrasound because I can't believe how blessed we are that we have been given this amazing gift. Will it be hard? Oh yes. Is it worth it. Absolutely

So I share this LONG post. I share to help you beautiful friend, going through something similar. To know that you are not alone. So that you know I have been there too. I know what your heart is feeling like and how you think it's broken and will never be put back together. I share so you know that you are 1 in 4. You are not alone and by reaching out to someone and sharing your heart you are growing your heart because you are allowing people in. People that can help heal it and turn it into something even more beautiful than what it was before. Anger is okay, all of the emotions are okay. They are real and healthy. But don't allow bitterness to steal your joy. Don't let it rob you from experiencing all the beauty that this world has to offer. So sweet friend, I cannot guarantee you will never experience loss, or that you will have the baby you so badly want tomorrow, but I can tell you that you can experience true joy in living every day, and that you can have the most beautiful heart anyone has ever experienced in the process. And people will see that beauty. They will flock to you, because they will want what you have. Be sad, grieve, be angry, then make your heart beautiful; I promise you won't regret it.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tuesdays are my BFF

The amount of things that I need and want to tell you is astounding. I guess that's what happens when you try to be a blogger but then don't post for years at a time. I would say that I am turning over a new leaf, and that I am actually going to keep this up once and for all, but that would be saying something that I don't know if I can actually do, so I won't lie. I'll just say that I want to post more, and hopefully it actually happens. I really use Instagram as my blog now, and you can follow me there @amy.otis.

So I really hopped on to say that I freaking love Tuesdays. Is there any other momma out there that has a random day that they just love? We don't have to do anything to do except to pick up Oliver from school at 2. The rest of the day we stay in our pjs. If I'm being completely honest, I even sometimes throw on a sweatshirt and wear my pjs to get Oliver too. Because I'm cool and secure in myself like that. Sometimes, I don't even wear a bra....gasp! Yes, I've become "that" mom. Thankfully I pick him up in the carpool lane and I don't even have to get out of the car, or that would be embarrassing. Oh, and I am usually wearing my slippers. So that's my Tuesday. That's why I love Tuesdays. I do need to do a video for my business Facebook group though, So I'll probably have to throw on a top and be business from the waist up at some point. Hey , hey....bonus for working from home! I will throw on yoga pants and a bit of concealer before my hubby gets home though around 5:30, then around 7:30 probably throw back on these same pjs. So I do really up my game since still being sexy for my hubby after 11 years of marriage is a good thing.... I mean, who doesn't love a good yoga pant and some concealer??? Sometimes if I'm feeling extra sexy, I might even add some old Bath and Body works spray that I find in my medicine cabinet, not perfume, because that's a bit too pricey to are on wearing around the house though for a bunch of boys that praise themselves when they fart and feel a sense of accomplishment when they make the bathroom stinky...

So, cheers to you momma, out there working it, dressed however you feel most beautiful, and however you can best do YOU. And cheers to me who wrote this blog post while letting her kids watch an episode of PJ Masks because I did something for ME! Cheers to freaking Tuesdays.

What I look like on Tuesdays 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

So Cal Moves to Nebraska

I have 3 little wild and crazy boys and my husband just got home from being gone all year except the month of March. So yeah...explanation of why in the world you haven't seen me post over the past year. 

What you say? I haven't posted in TWO YEARS? Well, I guess I was trying to keep the tiny humans alive. That's my explanation. I'm going to *try* to be better. Right now the children are watching TV so I can post to my blog because I'm the #momoftheyear. TV...what would I do without you? If there was no TV I might be in a looney bin. Yep. I can shower, I can not stink, I can have brushed teeth, I can post on a blog, I can use the bathroom, I can do laundry... all because of TV. Holla!!!

Anyways...This is my friend Laura.

She is a major boss babe. I'm talking MAJOR. Her story is amazing but the short story is that she had a Etsy sewing business and was happy when she sold a burp cloth and is now a millionaire because she joined a network marketing company. She *just* had a baby (2 weeks ago) and has a total of 4 littles under the age of 7. She retired her hubby from his job where he was a USMC officer stationed at Camp Pendleton and now they live in Nebraska! When she showed me photos of her house I was so excited to get my hands on it and update and improve it in so many ways...think late 90's style brought to the current decade and then some! I'm going to share just her kitchen renovation here today!

I designed this almost completely remotely. I flew out a flew times (I also live in SoCal) but did almost everything virtually and with a great contractor! Then I flew out for 8 days and designed the crap out of the space and made it a home!! I was so tired and even got bursitis in my knee (ouch), but gosh darn if I didn't get that house finished! All 6 bedrooms, 3 season room, deck, family room, kitchen, living room, dining room, man cave, playroom, office, and 4 bathrooms of it. 

When I got to the house their entire 3 car garage was full to the TOP of the ceiling with boxes! I ordered, and ordered, and ordered. I think I was ordering something new for the house every minute of every day! This was her dream house that she worked SO hard for though so I wanted to make sure it was perfect! Oh and did I mention that my hubby was deployed during this time?? Yep. And I had 3 little dudes under the age of 4?? Yep. This was a bit of a crazy time in my life! I think I put my babysitter through college with how much I used her last year! Love you Megan!!!

Moving on...THIS KITCHEN. I absolutely love it. LOVE it. Laura wanted it light and bright but also functional with her kids and their grubby (yet adorable) little fingerprints all over the cabinets. So I went with a gray for the bottom counters and white for the tops. I also moved the weird not-really-functional-and-no-idea-why-it-was-the-way-it-way island. The most amazing carpenter came in and custom build a island that is now pretty and functional! If you are in Nebraska and need something build with wood hit me up and I'll send you his deets!

We went with a farmhouse double sink, copper fixtures, and quartz counters. We also ship lapped the crap out of this place! Here are some pictures!
The before

The after

We removed the microwave and built it into the island and replaced it with a copper vent hood. It took a long time to find one that would fit in that space and we ended up with 3 different vent hoods until we got the right one that worked!

Those chairs are a almost white fabric....can you guess if I scotch guarded those or not???

They are from Ballard Designs. I have a slight love affair with Ballard Designs You can find them here.

So those lights right?? I mean; SWOON. They are custom made copper pendants and you can find those here

And that Gather sign?? Made by my amazingly talented friend Natasha and her company Simply Schulze. I keep her very busy with sign requests for like every person that I've ever met. But, if you're lucky you may be able to pursued her to make you one. Go here for your own. Or another one of her fabulous designs. 

I'll be posting another post with the details of the eat in kitchen/dining area tomorrow! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Adelyn's Newborn Photos

Adalynn was born last year; her Mommy and Daddy won a contest to have her newborn pictures taken. I can't believe that these were almost a year ago! In honor of her birthday I decided to post some of her newborn photos on my blog so you could see her adorableness. 

Adalynn's dad just got home from deployment before these photos were taken. So many military couples have to go through their pregnancy and their childbirth without their significant other by their side to share in the joy with them. I love that I got to capture these memories for this precious family!

Happy Birthday Sweet Adalynn!