I have never been so glad to live in the time of technology as I was February 7th. FaceTime has become a staple of our daily routine since my husband has been deployed. For nearly two months, we have been looking at his face every day and night at 8:30 through the iPad screen. My sweet boy has been able to see his daddy every day since we’ve said “see you later”, which has helped his transition immensely. And, seeing my husband’s handsome face has kept my loneliness at bay.

I heard in the beginning of this deployment, that wifi is like a military wife’s best friend. This was beyond true as I was laboring with my husband far away in another country. For being a less than ideal situation, it was like the stars were perfectly aligned. I could not be happier with the way my deployment birth went. From the very beginning it all fell into calm and perfect place.

I was up by 4:30 that morning, with what I was expecting to be contractions. But, not sure sure. John called me right as I got in the bath, to decide if the contractions were the real deal.He never calls me so early in the morning! From then on he was there. Facebook chatting through the irregular contractions. And, as they got more consistent. I was able to let him know within seconds that I was going into the clinic, even though I didn’t feel like I was that far along. Within a simple matter of hitting send, he knew I was at 7 cm at 12:00 pm. That it was time to go to the hospital.

The nurse joked that when I came into the ward, there was no way I’d be in labor. That they we would talk about me behind my back, because I came in smiling and looking good. There is no way she is at a 7. I think I was in shock, it was actually time.

It felt so unreal that I almost forgot to hug Easton goodbye!

But, I did feel good. I was on a high of “oh my goodness it’s actually happening” and “my husband isn’t going to miss out”.

Within an hour, I was waddling laps around the maternity ward with my phone right in hand. Between every hard contraction, I’d check my Facebook messages. I was literally walking around the hospital texting while in labor. I’m sure I looked like a phone – obsessed teen, but it was my only connection to my husband. My phone was connected to me. And, my phone kept my husband connected to the birth.

In a lot of ways, it kept me distracted too. The time seemed to pass quicker, because I kept going back to give John the run down. It feels silly to say that Facebook was such a blessing to my labor. Or, I was on Facebook at all. But it was, with no exaggeration.

By the time 2:29 rolled around, they broke my water, and my husband’s face was right there. Set up on the iPad next to me on the bedside table. My mom jokes that after every push I would turn over and smile at John. I don’t remember this,  but maybe it’s true. Because, even though my husband was physically thousands of miles away, in another country, he was right there. Even though from the first positive pregnancy test, I was fretting that he wouldn’t be.

At 3:29, exactly one hour after breaking my water, and a few screams, our sweet little Mason entered the world. As he was laid on my chest I was overcome with emotion. This baby who felt like nothing more than a dream. A moment we had wrestled with in the months leading up to it. Was here and it was imperfectly perfect.

My second labor, was much like the first, easy. It was manageable. Uneventful. And, quick. But, most importantly John didn’t miss a second.

We never dreamed we would be having a baby over deployment. Who would? But, this is military life. You deal with it, and make it work, because it’s what you’re living with. We would have given anything to make it so John was there to hold my hand as the contractions hit. To cut Mason’s chord. And, to be able to hold him, smell him, touch him. But, that’s not the way it works. So, I feel beyond thankful that technology exists.

Mason Craig Ronan was 7 lbs even and 19 inches long. His birth story is imperfectly perfect. I wouldn’t change a minute of the physical aspect of it. Maybe that was a trade off for having a husband so far away.

I know attitude definitely plays into the way you handle hardships in your life. And, I know that I do my best to choose to be positive, especially in moments that are out of my control. But, I think my midwife said it best when she said , “God is giving you so much grace, with your delivery and the way you are coping.” I feel so blessed with the ease of my delivery and that my husband was there.

One day, my husband will be home. Our baby boy will recognize his daddy’s face and voice, before he’s ever even felt a hug from him. Until then I will be so grateful for our unique memory and story. And, for FaceTime itself!

Huge thank you to my mom! She was kind of volun-told that she was to be my birth coach. And, she rocked it! So thankful for the calm environment she and my midwife provided.

I remember so vividly how hard it was waiting for my first born. I can still feel the strong sense of impatience like it was happening right now. Not much compares to the emotions of a pregnant woman. Especially one who has gone well over her due date. I have never cried more in my life than the three weeks leading up to the birth of my first son!

The way I felt waiting for my first born could be summed up in one story of irrational emotions. I was wallowing in bed when my husband came home from work. Probably had been there for a couple hours. He came in and gave me the perfect husband speech. It would all be okay. Baby will come. We both smiled, thinking I was okay. But, as I went to get out of bed I hit my knee on our wooden bed frame. I tried to laugh it off, when really it hurt! My husband headed down stairs to relax. Thinking it was safe since I laughed. You guys, within two minutes I was sobbing hysterically. Thirty minutes later, when I was able to control myself, I went downstairs and my husband literally had no idea I had lost it!

Waiting for your new baby is hard! It is knowing that you are getting the best gift ever, but not knowing when it will arrive. We have all checked the tracking status of a package repeatedly, and watched out the window daily, for something we ordered online. It’s that feeling times a million! We are given that silly due date so early in the pregnancy, when the baby is a size of a blueberry. It’s the only date we have to cling to. But, unfortunately, as many moms can attest to, babies don’t answer to due dates. And, we just can’t change that!

With my first born I started my maternity leave 38 weeks. I knew there was no guarantee that baby would come anytime soon. But, I thought maybe it was possible. Every morning I would hop on Facebook and see baby after baby being  announced. I did my best to stay patient, but it felt like now that I was on maternity leave there was nothing else to do besides wait for him to arrive.

His due date came and went. I ended up watching at least five baby announcements before he came. It was torture. But, then nine days past his due date my sweet baby finally decided to make his appearance. I said on his birthday that the next due date, would mean nothing to me. It would only give me a guesstimate of when I may meet them. But, I would hardly acknowledge it. And, I am so proud to say that I did, indeed, keep this mind set!

My second baby was late as well. Four days “over due”. But, going over was different this time. There were three main differences going over the second time versus the first.

I was naturally more patient, because I knew how long baby could really wait to be born. I learned first hand, the hard way, that a due date is not a guarantee. There is no way to know when baby will come. Some come early. Mine come late. With my first I knew that, but I couldn’t convince myself to be ok with it. With my second I knew that I could wait nine days or even more after the due date. So, there was no sense in getting impatient. I wasn’t even pregnant for as long, so heck he came early!

The first time around every thought I had was wrapped around what this baby would be like. Forty weeks is a long time to obsess over finally meeting somebody you’ve always dreamed of. But, the second time around I was soaking up the last moments with my first born. Instead of impatiently waiting to just finally meet my baby. My heart did a lot of worrying about what the transition would be for my first baby . I stole every snuggle and every kiss in the days we prepared for his baby brother.

The second time going over I was able to really sleep! When you become a parent, or a parent-to-be, you’re told to “sleep while you can”, but a lot of times that’s easier said than done. Yes, I was sleepy with my first, and I did take naps. But, goodness, all I did all day was wait for him, I couldn’t sleep for 24 hours! The second time around I was totally relaxed. I wasn’t watching the clock, waiting for the days to pass. When you live relaxed in the moment you find time passes fast. Faster than if you’re fretting! Not to mention, I knew that sleep was about to become really limited. I let myself sleep when big brother did. And, it was glorious.

A week into this mom-of-two thing, I wonder if you can chalk differences up to, “been there done that”. I still would never wish going over, especially nine days with your first, on anyone. But, the second time around it was almost a blessing. I never felt annoyed or frustrated. I was able to give my sweet first born extra one-on-one time before he had to share me.

If you find yourself in your first pregnancy going over your due date, try to remember your baby will be here one day soon! And, one day this impatience you feel will only be a memory.

Four Moments to Cling to in the Midst of Terrible Twos
Oh my heavens, terrible twos. They are a thing. 100% yes. Undeniably. Now, I took Early Childhood Education classes, I know they are just exploring their independence. That they really aren’t being naughty. But, goodness it doesn’t make it easier when you’re trying to get your toddler to eat the oranges that they loved last week. Or, when your patience for another “I don’t want ___ ANYMORE!” fit was worn out three hours ago. There is hope though, sweet mommy! While these moments are overwhelming, the cute factor of these four two-year old moments are enough to make it through another day!

1. When they use their manners without being prompted.

We are working on “May I please…” right now, and it’s really starting to click with E. And, it’s so exciting! I am proud to be raising a toddler who will turn into a polite adult, because we are having him be polite now. Not to mention, how adorable that little voice sounds using such kind words. It will hit you in all the feels!

2. When they are playing. Fairly quietly. And, jabbering away.

I love to watch how his imagination is growing. And, so wish I could be inside his brain. What is he thinking? What is he saying. And, after you’ve finished admiring how cute and big he seems, you have some free time for Pinterest – eh, chores – while they are still playing alone.

3. The loves they give out so freely!

Nothing turns me into mush quicker than when E grabs me by the face and gives me kisses. You know mommy, how amazing it feels to be loved by your little. Words cannot describe!

4. Sleep time!

You knew that was coming. Nothing beats that victorious feeling of checking on your wild 2-year-old to find them peacefully knocked out. That sleeping face. When they are quiet and still you can really admire how stinken cute this kid is!

Two year olds are an adventure. They are strong-willed. They are learning so much, all the time. There are definitely hard moments. The moments where you’re telling yourself it’s only one day, but these four moments act as reset. Remind you that two really is such a fun age! And, quite possibly, an age you might miss one day.

Even if it’s just the sweet two-year old sleeping face!

Boy, am I grateful for FaceTime! Since John has arrived at his station we have been able to FaceTime twice a day; when each of us wakes up and goes to bed. Nothing makes me happier than still being able to see that handsome face. It’s like that giddy feeling you get when you’re talking to your new crush. And, Easton gets so excited every time that FaceTime ringer sounds. He loves to see daddy on the iPad! So I know it’s helping him with the transition.

But, at 38 weeks it’s becoming sooo real that a tiny little baby is coming very soon. We are so excited to see Mason’s little face. I cannot wait to hold the tiny squish on my chest; and, smell that sweet newbie smell from his soft little head. And, to see if he’s as squirmy on the outside as he is on the inside. But, I’m more and more aware after every 10 minute chat, that John is gonna miss out on this. That he won’t nervously hold Mason as a fragile newborn. Or, be there for the first roll over. To dress Mason in his favorite shark onesie that big brother wore.
We are so lucky to be doing this in the era of technology! I haven’t had to go any longer than a night’s sleep without talking to him in the two weeks we’ve been apart. And, honestly that makes such a huge difference. I feel truly blessed and lucky, that my husband is deployed in such a place that communication is so consistent. But, it still doesn’t replace touch.

My heart breaks for my husband; as I know he never fathomed he’d miss a birth when he swore in as a 20 year old. But, to be honest… I’m pretty sad for me too. Obviously no one would ever choose this. And, while I am beyond thankful for the friends and family that are here for me, all the babysitters, and the support I have in this transition.The fact that I was able to move home in the first place! John is real home now. I knew he was the The One when I felt that sense of home with him. This is OUR family that we’re building, and HE has to miss a huge milestone in it.
I am so happy to know that our boys will be able to see daddy’s face and hear his voice every day while he’s gone. That he and I get to still see each other. My heart bursts with excitement every day at 8:30, am and pm. And, truly I feel okay in our first couple weeks. I know we will be okay. That the blessing of technology is going to make this time tolerable. But, I am still hoping that the newest Ronan will hold on tight in there, so his daddy has less precious time with him to miss.

It has been one week since I snapped this picture. My eyes were wet and I was unaware of what the next week held. My sweet little toddler was just pumped to be walking on his own onto the AIRPLANE! He didn’t understand that that was our goodbye to daddy for six months.

I saved this picture. With plans to post it a once John got on the plane to start his journey. But, in true fashion of this out-of-our-control chapter in our lives, my poor husband has been stuck in two different cities for nearly a week. Before he even hops on his military flight.

However, today at 5:30 in the morning, I woke up to a minute phone call saying that today is the day. That we are officially beginning our deployment journey.

So I’m sharing this sweet picture of our innocent little boy. And, asking that you keep my growing family, especially my husband, in your thoughts. That we can go through the next six months with our heads up, and the determination Easton had walking on to his first big boy plane ride.

Today I had a mom moment that melts your heart and breaks it all at once. I needed to get out of the house. A lot of little things were going “wrong”. I was getting plain grouchy. So I did my best to patiently explain to Easton that monster slippers will not work in the rain, and to get us out of the house quickly, with promise of chicken nuggets. I then served my toddler a fried fast food meal in the car seat. And, sent frustrated-worn-out mom texts to my husband.

We pulled up to the store. I got out, and noticed right away that my toddler who never stops even strapped into the car seat, was peacefully asleep. For a good two minutes, I stood by my side of the car debating if I should let him sleep or get him out and go in. But, I didn’t know where to go where he could continue to sleep. And, I drove all the way into the next town to come to this store. So, I chose the latter.

I unbuckled him gently, and hoisted him to my hip where his head flopped to my shoulder. The walk in didn’t budge him. Neither did the one hand fumbling for a cart. A sweet passer-by commented on how darling he was, and still nothing. I began to walk into the store. Awkward and uncomfortable as can be. 32 weeks big with a nearly 30 lbs toddler switching from arm, to bump, to arm all while pushing a shorter than usual shopping cart with one hand. This sweet little thing didn’t even bat an eye when I fumbled my jacket off. A dang near Olympic event, by the way. So, I just slowly walked and adjusted through the store for as much as my pregnant self could take – 10 mins maybe. We got compliments and I’d smile. But, I was far from comfortable.

It wasn’t until the long check out line, where it all really clicked. I looked down at my very favorite sleeping face. Admiring his long full lashes, sweet little nose, and that sleeping pout, I could see the tiny baby he used to be. I have held this human wrapped up in my arms from 6 lbs to 26 lbs. I have never gone more than 12 hours without seeing him. This exact scenario use to happen often 20 lbs and two years ago. In those moments of feeling achy, tired, and especially pregnant hoisting around a baby that’s too big for this, I couldn’t believe how I have seen him, felt him, grow up before my very eyes and it is still unreal! I haven’t missed hardly a minute and it’s still not enough.

His sleepy face could still fool me that there is baby left, but not nearly enough. Every day he is learning new things, and surprising us with things we’ve never even practiced with him. He’s learning to count, knows his colors, works on his ABC’s, says “May I please”, and takes his dishes to the sink. He is well on his way to being A KID! But, today he was just my baby for a short period of time. He was in his safe place and so content. And, I was in Mom heaven. This is 100% why I dreamt of being a mom! Nothing gets me like that sweet feeling of YOUR baby melted into you fast asleep.

Even though I’ve soaked in every snuggle like this, in all of the time he’s been here. He has still grown so big in the blink of an eye. I was reminded today by the simplicity of an extra sleepy toddler, how quick this parenting thing goes by! I adore every sweet moment. And, thankfully still get a lot. But, the weight of his two-year old body was the sad reminder that he will continue to grow.

He may still be a very sweet boy. My guess is he will be. But, we only have a little bit longer left before he won’t want to kiss and hug me on demand. Or snuggle in Mama’s bed as he drinks his bedtime milk. I am saying this all in the terrible two stage, you guys! I know there are a lot of very frustrating moments in raising a little human. It’s exhausting. You give all of yourself all of the time. And, they still cry. The still fight sleep. They still throw tantrums. And, get into everything.

But, hold on to every precious moment, because time moves a whole lot faster now as a parent. And, it’s the saddest most unfair thing in the world. Because all you want is that tiny little baby to sleep in your arms for ever.

Today I am 30 weeks pregnant with our second baby boy. While this second time around has been different for, I’m sure, the normal reasons. I haven’t taken almost any bump pics, I’ve done hardly any preparing, and the weeks are flying by because I’ve already got one crazy baby to chase 24/7. It’s been different for another huge reason.

We are so excited that in roughly TEN weeks, we become a family of four. That the “Bebe” we’ve been pointing to in my belly will become real. That we’ll be adding another crazy, but oh so sweet-and-cuddly little boy into the mix. My arms are aching for those amazing newborn snuggles. And, my heart can’t wait to watch the Easton and Mason team. How they are alike and how they are different. To see if sweet Mason has eye lashes like his brother and daddy. And, ok, mama can’t wait to sit up with ease again either!

But, with every passing Friday, as I open the baby app to see how big baby boy is now, we are getting one week closer to doing something in our military life we truly never imagined we would. While every week means we are one week closer to meeting our newest family member. Someone we’ve been dreaming of and absolutely cannot wait to meet. We are also one week closer to having a baby while daddy is deployed.

It’s been such a bittersweet time. Truthfully at times it’s been hard to day dream about when baby comes; because talking about when Mason comes has more meaning than just when Mason is born. It’s a real life reminder that John will be leaving for six months.That I will be giving birth while the Air Force has my husband in another country. So while I cannot wait for my sweet second born to make his appearance, to adore him and smother him with kisses just like I did (do) his older brother. Knowing what’s coming before baby is born has forced me to be patient in this time. Excitedly checking off weeks as fast as we can feels more like wishing away the time with John.

So at 30 weeks pregnant I am probably the first mama ever to be wishing for a pause button. Because, I’m sure not ready to say “See you later” to my hubby in six short weeks.

I won't always be His Everything but he'll always be mine

It was late. Almost 9 pm. My darling one year old still wide-eyed and babbling. I began feeling restless.


Frustrated. ‘Why does my baby not sleep?!’

‘He will never sleep!

As I let out a loud huff a small, sweet hand softly grabbed my cheek. A pair of big, beautiful, blue eyes with eyelashes-for-days stared at me in complete admiration. A single tear rolled down my cheek. Followed by another. My heart burst. And, broke at the same time.

I was reminded of something that is so easy to forget as a mom. Moms spend their time wrapped up in taking care of everything. We try to make this crazy life be all put together. Fretting over things that are often out of our control, or not worth the worry. But, with a simple touch I was reminded of why I wanted to be a mommy, this is what I always wanted. I dreamed of having my baby so in love with me, because I am their everything. My heart longed for a child, to cuddle and kiss. I wanted so badly to be a mommy for these moments.

In all my years of waiting for my dream to come true, I never longed for the frustration I put on myself. I never dreamed of the hard moments we all feel. But, I longed so badly for a baby to smother with love. Moments like this, where my little one’s only care in the world is me. Showing me that he loves me unconditionally. And, that I’m all he needs to feel safe in this world.

I get these moments every night. For fourteen months I have been sleeping with my personal baby doll snuggled up beside me in bed. He always feels safe and content. Unaware of anything that would be more important than this. But, I had lost sight of that. The dream I pictured of being a mommy was lost in the chaos of daily life. Instead of embracing my dream come true, I let my mind, my life, get taken over by the “should bes”.

Baby should be sleeping through the night.

Baby should be in his own bed.

The house should be spotless.

I should not be feeling so overwhelmed!

My poor sanity was running low. In that moment, with my first born, my dream, silently reminding me how great this life is. My dream of snuggling began to feel like a burden, when all I could see is what I wasn’t accomplishing. My heart broke, when I realized how backwards I was feeling.

I never want my baby to feel less than truly, madly, 100% adored because for years, long before I met him, he was all I wanted. And, here I am squandering this beautiful opportunity with frustration. This little one that my heart ached for is telling me that  I am his everything. And, he wants me to be there. But, I never realized it. All that was on my mind was fitting my individual baby into the Pinterest tips and Facebook ideals.
I stopped my mind. I soaked up that moment. Tattooed the feeling of his little hands on my face. And, memorized the loving look on his face. Then, prayed. Prayed that I will always parent him with love. I know life will get harder than not being asleep by the time babies are supposed to be asleep. Someday there will be talking back, missing assignments, and poor choices. But, this human, Easton Lane, is in this world because of a heart that was overflowing with love to give. I know in this moment I am his everything. I know one day I won’t be. But, he will always be mine.

One day I know this will be a distant memory. I know one day I will only remember that sweet hand on my face. And long for that again. Today is just one day, mommy. No matter the stresses. But, that innocent love of a toddler wrapped up in admiration of their mommy, is a feeling every mom wishes would last forever!

For the majority of sweet E’s life he has been a co-sleeper. Which happened accidentally within a few weeks of his life; during night feedings I would fall asleep before I put him back in the bassinet next to our bed. Not to mention I DID NOT like our bassinet it was too bulky, too high, and I had to sit fully up to check on Easton’s breathing… you know as a new mom you constantly check that they’re still breathing, it’s a thing.

Anyways. Slowly, going to bed just meant curling up with my real life baby doll; and, not even trying to put him down in that ginormous side bed. It just felt right to have him in bed. We could easily nurse, we both slept great, and I never felt the newborn exhaustion; which was important as I’m also a full time nanny. For the first half of his life we were set with our cosleeping ways. But, then my husband got off night shift, and the dreaded “baby expectations” snuck in… You know, the views that everyone hears via social media about where a baby/kid/anybody should be by a certain time. And, GASP my kid was no where near he needed to be. Six months old and he’s never even slept in his crib, let alone slept by himself. Granted, I LOVE cuddling this kid; I never tried when he was really little. Mom’s bad. I honestly did zero research about babies sleep before E was born. I just thought babies sleep, it’s what they do. First time mom lesson #1 learned. And, nobody knew we were cosleeping. I was very aware that it’s controversial, so I didn’t talk about it. So, I never personally received backlash for Easton’s sleeping capabilities. But, as a mom your bombarded with baby rearing information everywhere you go. And, I took the needing to sleep through the night alone very hard and very personal. I took on these expectations and I let them drive my parenting.

For months we struggled. We were frustrated. It wasn’t just clicking! He wasn’t sleeping in his crib yet! Because, we’ve never had to get up in the middle of the night. I reverted back to new mom and would lay in bed forever before I could fall asleep, worrying about my baby ALL THE WAY in the OTHER room. I’d hardly sleep before he’d be up. Which made me exhausted and impatient with a baby who was thrown into a completely new environment. For a solid six months I would read all the Pinterest articles and checked out at least four library books; but, I was still either falling asleep with him nursing or bringing him to bed first cry. It was hard to want it to work… to sleep train, when you’re just so tired. I truthfully didn’t want to put in work. I JUST WANTED HIM TO SLEEP. I wanted my baby to be “where he was supposed to be”; that was the root of all of it. He was starting to get fidgety in the middle of the night due to lack of space, but I still loved his cuddles. I still wanted to hold him in his sleep.

So, I took a break from fretting, from worrying about what everyone else says about a baby they’ve never met. And, listened to my baby. Slowly it began to work. We’d get six hours in the crib. All the way until four one glorious night. Then, one dream come true evening, I put my sweet love in his crib with books and music playing while I was in the bathroom… taking some mom time, I’ll be honest. And, when I came out he was fast asleep! My sweet boy who had nursed and cuddled to sleep for a straight year plus – his whole life – and had fallen asleep. On his own. No help. No fuss. I was in awe!
Truthfully though, as that becomes more common I began to steal more cuddles. I wanted so badly for him to just sleep in his crib. But, once he did I missed him! So, there are still nights, more than my husband would like, that my sweet boy sleeps in our bed after one cry. Although, since I’ve quit trying to push him to a place where he is supposed to be, I’ve been able to listen to him. I’ve been okay with the nights that he wraps his sweet little arms around my neck and falls asleep within minutes. Because, this is about him. Not about doctors with continual contradicting views. Or, moms who have raised six kids. While that is all good and well, and has a place; when your life becomes stressful because you’re trying to meet someone else’s standards, something is off. We are in a better place since I took a deep breath, a step back, and started listening more to my baby’s needs.