How’s Life With Two Kids?

In the past month we have been asked numerous times, "What's life like with two kids?" Well, for starters…When we were leaving the hospital Brantley didn't want me to ride in the car. He and Sam started a wolf pack before Brooks was born. I was never invited to be in the wolf pack but it was pretty evident brother Brooks would definitely be in when he arrived. You guys, this wolf pack is a serious thing. They practice their howling every night before bed & Brantley even wakes up some mornings howling, they have secrets, and there are no girls allowed. When we were leaving the hospital after Brooks was born Brantley realized his wolf pack was now complete and thus didn't want mom in the car. He cried the whole way home and tried to convince me to get out. Super. Welcome to life with two kids.


So here it is folks…

Two kids is feeding one in one arm and wiping the other's #2 with the other.

Two kids is getting up way earlier than you want just so you can get a quiet shower that lasts more than 2 minutes and crossing your fingers no one wakes up while you're in there.

Two kids is one parent calming one kid while the other is negotiating dessert with the second.

Two kids is working on those arm muscles carrying a toddler and a baby seat.

Two kids is a celebratory dance when both kids are asleep at the same time.

Two kids is sleeping in separate houses (per doctor's orders) when one kid has a fever and the other is only five weeks old.

Two kids is calling in that village- grandparents, best friends, neighbors, cousins- when you just can't do it alone.

Two kids is literally never being on time no matter how hard you try.

Two kids is not being invited into the wolf pack even though you definitely know the howl.

Two kids is being down by 1 in the NBA finals with 3 seconds left, ball's in your possession, and suddenly the referee throws in a second ball to your teammate. You don't have a dang clue what to do in those three seconds but you somehow figure it out and bring home that championship.

Two kids is exhausting. [Some days] Two kids is no walk in the park. Two kids is high-fiving your husband in the kitchen over small victories. Two kids is some pretty intense team work. Two kids is a full lap for morning cartoons. Two kids is endless hugs and kisses and laughs. Two kids is a heart that didn't know this much love could exist.

Two kids is better than I could have ever imagined it could be. Two kids is where I belong. ❤️

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Dear Baby H #2

It’s almost time for our family to grow by another little boy. Outside of these last few weeks, time has -of course- flown by as this babe has grown inside me. When I was pregnant with Brantley I had so many emotions- excitement for new adventures and fear we would do it all wrong seem to be what stands out in my memory. This pregnancy is no different. So, here are a few things I hope for Baby #2:

Dear Baby H #2,

There are so many things in this big world I want you to know but for now I’ll start with a just a few. 

The second you are born I hope you know how much you are loved. Your dad, brother, and I have been waiting (me not so patiently) to meet you. Your brother has been trying to feed you ice cream, makes sure you get a drink when he thinks you’re thirsty and is planning out the toys for you two to play with. I’ve made your dad crazy with my never ending to-do lists and new ideas to make sure everything is perfect for your arrival.

I hope you and your brother have days filled with so many adventures it will be hard to remember them all when you’re older. I hope you boys spend your days digging in the dirt and tracking mud in the house (you may need to remind me I said this when I get upset that the house is a full of dirt). I hope your imagination takes you places you’ll never be able to fully explain to your dad and I, but I sure hope you try. I hope your brother teaches you the ropes of your world and you love being Brantley’s Little Brother as much as I have loved being Cook’s Little Sister.

I hope you know being the youngest is pretty fabulous. I’m told things with the second child are a little different than the first. Different is good. Your dad and I are proof being the youngest isn’t so bad. 😊Maybe you won’t have as many Baby’s First Christmas ornaments, definitely not as many new, stain-free clothes, or as many of your own toys but you will be showered with just as much love. I’ve also been told seeing my kids together will fill me with more joy than I ever thought possible.

When you’re a teenager I hope you remember your parents aren’t all that bad. I hope your dad and I have given you many years of excitement, love, and trust that those years will be painless. I know, I know..but a mom can hope, right?! 🙂 When it’s time for you to leave our house, I hope you start your adventures with so much confidence because we have done everything we know to prepare you for what life brings. 

I hope you know that even though your life will be filled with so much joy, there are going to be some struggles. Things that make you think you can’t go on. But, listen up, kid! You’re going to be tough and you will make it. You’ll take it day by day, you’ll find the good, you’ll lean on your people, and you’ll come out on top. Promise. 

I hope you know just how much I love being your mom. After almost four years of being married to your dad, some days I still find it crazy when my students call me Mrs. Haddix – As much as I love that name, I love being mom even more. 

On top of all of this- I hope you always know just how special you are. You have quite the village of people surrounding you to help you through life. I love you more than you’ll ever know, buddy. ❤️

Mom

Find Your Village

A few weeks ago I had a dear friend ask me how in the world I handled it all? How do I go to work, do my job, then go home and deal with life? Ha! This friend has seen me show up to work with no makeup on and hair a mess because the baby didn’t sleep well; she’s seen me forget important paperwork; she’s seen me lose my cool on a student who maybe didn’t deserve it that time. I think I gave her a pretty lame answer of, you figure out what’s important. The petty, little stresses of the day, don’t matter. You have to see the big picture. But, let’s be real…If you know me, you know for sure I don’t have it all together.

Yesterday I figured out a better answer. We attended a memorial service for a friend of ours, a year younger than us, who we spent many days and nights growing up with. It’s been several weeks since we heard the awful news so I was completely unprepared when the waterworks showed up yesterday (pregnancy hormones, right?!). We walked in the room full of people from our youth group days, people who helped shape us into who we are. I listened to a man give a beautiful service about a kid who we all loved. The same man, our youth pastor, who taught us to pour our hearts out on Sunday nights with each other, the same man who performed Sam and I’s wedding ceremony. Afterwards we talked and laughed with people we haven’t seen in way too long.

That’s when it hit me. It’s not about the day-in and day-out of life. It’s not about making sure you wake up early, eat all your veggies, and clean your house. Yes, those things are wonderful, but life’s about the people. The moments. The memories. Your village. I get through life with my village. Seems pretty simple, right? Of course, we all know this is what life is about. But do we really believe it? Do we purposefully spend our days exactly how we want, not wasting time we’ve been given? I know I don’t always.

This week I let the stress win. This week I wasn’t able to see the bigger picture and remind myself that the little stresses don’t matter. The cool part? My village reminded me. These people I love and who love me are right there when I need them. Sometimes it’s a simple reminder, other times I need a slap in the face. I keep going from the help of these people. The people who let me vent and complain about the same thing over and over. The people who will do a dance with me when something goes right. The people who send messages to say hello and check on my family. The people who understand my small victories of learning to cook. The people who will laugh with me, instead of criticize, when I’ve had one of my ‘Andrea moments’, again. The people who know just how to help when I’m about to fall off the deep end. This is how I do it. This is how I get through life and remember what’s important. I can’t do this thing by myself. I can’t take the credit.

Find your people that will keep you moving forward and positive. Love them. Remind them that you love them and do it often. When we love ourselves and our people, it’s a little easier to forget about all the crazy in our world. And if you find you need some more people in your village…mine isn’t quite full. ❤

Keep Finding the Good

In the past 5 months since my mom’s surgery to remove her brain tumor I have had many thoughts take up space in my mind. As much as possible I have tried to keep them positive. If I couldn’t see the light, someone would see the light for me. If I wasn’t thinking positive mother wasn’t thinking positive. It hasn’t always been easy trying to think about the good rather than dwell on the bad. But I’m also not naive enough to ignore facts, or statistics, or information doctor’s have given us.

Because of the facts there has always been the not so great thought of losing my mom. Five months ago (a week and a half after learning my mom had a tumor) I sat on a hospital bed holding my mom’s hand, trying to hide my tears when we were told by her surgeon how ugly and aggressive her tumor was. He said statistics show the tumor usually takes it’s toll on the body within two years. As the next days came I thought of everything I wanted my mom to be here for. New babies, birthdays, holidays, the day to day laughs, the after school phone calls. There was no way I could fit it all into just two years. A dear friend changed my perspective and told me I couldn’t think of it as only two years. She told me to think of how much time I had to do all these things. There have been long days at doctors appointments and car rides to get blood work done. In those days I’ve spent a lot of time with my mom talking, laughing, crying, and doing things we have taken for granted. Living in the now.

I’ve been told, “Andi, some days it’s really freaking hard to find the good.” Touché, my friends. There are going to be days that overall just plain suck. But you’re breathing, right? You probably ate something you enjoyed or talked to someone who makes your heart happy. 

Here’s why I remind myself to focus on the good. Last week mother’s oncolologists told us how impressed they are with her latest MRI. Where the tumor once lived is now healing well and her brain is going back to normal shape. They are starting to wean her off her forever long list of medicines and are still hopeful about the results of therapy. Through the hospital stays, blood transfusions, sleepless nights, everything is working. Working better than expected. So I show you this. My reason for finding the good.

MRI scans from left to right: August 26, July 4, April 24 (two days after surgery), April 20 (two days before surgery). The tumor is / was the white spot on the left side of the pictures. Amazing. The best part? That hideous tumor they thought would grow back? As of now, there are no signs of him making a return. Even more amazing. Mom’s journey is far from over and we know it may still be long but for today and the days to come we are so very thankful.

So, people, instead of wasting time figuring out answers to questions you have no control over, worry about today. Enjoy the moment. Do what you’ve wanted to do for years, today. Love your people and love yourself (especially when it seems a little harder than it should). Change your mindset, change your life. We only have so many days..make them count. ❤ 

Hold Me Mom-Mom

As my summer comes to a close I started to feel a little guilty that I haven’t been into school to get things together but two times. The first time I took little man with me and my friend took her daughter, so naturally not much got done. The second day I was there most of the day and left feeling accomplished. But still..only two days?! Last night I thought I would run in today to drop a couple things off and pick a couple things up. 

Then it happened. Brantley woke up this morning saying, “Mom!”, “Mommy!”, “Mom-Mom!”. We do the usual- go downstairs, get his milk, he helps me make the coffee and we get comfy for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (he gets about 15 minutes before I can’t take it and we watch the Today show 😉). Here it comes, you ready? I wasn’t.–> He looked at me, arms up and said, “Hold me Mom-Mom.” Heart melted. My new favorite words. Well, maybe next to him saying “Love you” when I tip-toe out of his room at night. I’m sure there will be a day where the words hold me might be what makes me lose it. Not today.

Today I will wipe away all the guilt of everything I didn’t get done. I didn’t organize the spare bedroom like I wanted. I didn’t clean out the basement or the garage. I didn’t take the dog on a walk every morning like I planned. I sure as heck didn’t get any better at keeping up with the laundry or making dinner. Lots of days the house was a mess when Sam got home. And unlike other years, I only spent two days in my classroom before all the crazy begins on Monday.

What we did do? We went to the zoo with my cousin and her kids. We met up with friends we haven’t seen in months. I had lunch with my college roommates for the first time since we graduated. We spent lots of great (and some not so great) time with my mom. We ate ice cream, a lot. We went on a much needed vacation. We had date nights. We made forts in the living room. We spent time with family on both sides. We went to story time, the park, gymnastics open gym. We made lots of memories and started new traditions.

So today, I will be here with my little man as long as he wants me to hold him. I mean, really here.

We will do what ever we  want on our last-ish day of summer instead of trying to finish my list of things I thought were important. We will throw the football 5,000 times, eat lunch with dad, and play until we can’t play anymore. 

Here’s your reminder that these moments don’t last. Whatever moment you’re in now do it right, do it big, and don’t feel bad for what you didn’t do. Then when it comes time to move on (go back to work for me) you’re ready because you were really there for all the moments that mattered. When you do this, it’s easy to find the good in everyday. 💜

Lessons From Our Two Year Old

You guys ever had those days where you want to sulk in a bucket of ice cream? I’m not talking about driving to Dairy Queen, ordering your favorite blizzard and eating it in the car while listening to some awful, sap music. I’m talking–> going to Kroger, buying the biggest bucket of ice cream you can find, putting on your fat pants, sitting on the couch with a soup ladle and not getting up until that whole dang bucket is gone…Yeah, me neither ;). Life has continued to throw us curve balls over here in our adventures in the Haddix house. At one point the frustration turned to laughs as I tell people I think life is just waiting for my melt down. The largest tub of ice cream melt down.

One morning as I was making animal noises and  chasing around my nearly two year old (I have NO idea how we have a TWO year old.) he tripped, fell down, and on came the waterworks. If you have a two year old or have had a two year old you know how dramatic these waterworks can be. Screaming with alligator tears rolling down the cheeks. Almost instantly he leaned in for a momma-fix-it kiss. I kissed it, he brushed it off and we were back to running around. In these moments I thought, Wouldn’t it be nice to think like a little person. Then it hit me. We can think like a two year old if only we choose.

I’ve told plenty of people in the last few months to find the good in everyday. Recently I had to take a step back and listen to my own advice. It’s so easy to get consumed in the things that go wrong, the anxiety that builds up from day to day. It’s easy to get caught up thinking about the what-ifs and the what-are-we-going-to-do-whens. But people, while we are thinking about all this, we are losing time chasing our kids around the kitchen island or throwing a rope with our dogs in the backyard or reading that book we’ve been trying to finish for months.

During one of the hardest things we have had to do as a couple these last 11 years, as I was holding my husband’s hand fighting back tears standing next to his grandfather’s grave site, I looked up and saw our cheering section, our fan club, our people standing across from us. On the hottest day of June these people were there sweating in their dress pants and dresses with us. I even saw a couple of them wiping tears from their face, too. I then realized it’s okay to cry because in these moments, if we just look up, our people are there with us. Our people are feeling our pain and are ready to fight the battles with us.

Lean on these people when you don’t know what else to lean on. Find what makes you happy and do it as much as you can. Write down the feelings, talk them out, don’t keep them to yourself because you’ll find you’re not the only one. So today, I hope whoever you are reading this, I hope you know you’re not alone. You may be dealing with a bunch of crap, but you’re not doing it by yourself. All you have to do is look up and I bet you’ll find someone there to help and remind you to take your own advice when needed. If you can’t look up just yet, I hope you can at least find the good in today.

Find the Good

It’s 6 a.m., finally an appropriate time to get out of bed. Other than the much needed coffee brewing, the house is quiet. My boys are sleeping and the dog is curled up next to me on the couch. I know I’m not alone. I could call four other people in my family who would also be awake right now.

Have you ever experienced something that has turned your world around? I hope we all have. A new house, marriage, a new baby, graduation, a new job. For the most part my life has been filled with these moments. Moments I can’t wait to tell my parents about. Moments I want to keep re-living. I, naively, thought I had experienced enough of the not-so-great turn your world around moments. You know, the things we always think won’t happen to us.

Now, rewind back two weeks. My mom walks into my dad’s house, all smiles. My roommates in college told me once how strange/awesome it was that my parents got along so well for being divorced. Typically this occurrence wouldn’t throw me off but rewind back 6 more weeks and we were at the hospital with my dad being told they were treating him for a stroke. So, as any daughter would do, when my mom walked into my dad’s house I automatically went into freak out mode. Right when we thought Dad was on the mend, the stroke was a false alarm, something had happened and they wanted to tell us all together.

Minutes later we heard the words mass on my brain, biopsy to figure out what it is, I don’t know much else. The words came from my mom. World stopped. This can’t be real. The rest of the night and next day are a blur. I saw and talked to my mom several times that week. Several times we parted ways by giving each other a pep-talk. I called her again the night before surgery to give one more you got this! chat. I called twice, no answer both times. Weird.

She didn’t answer because she was on the phone with her neurosurgeon. 12 hours before surgery was to start he called to tell her change of plans. They were taking out the entire tumor. The tumor had grown three times in size in 20 days. World stopped, again. As we finished up our last pre-surgery pep talk my mom told me she had only packed two pairs of pajamas. She didn’t have enough cute pajamas for the length of this new hospital stay. Here she was trying to make me laugh when she had just received news that we couldn’t quite comprehend.

This past week was nothing we could have ever mentally prepared for. Especially when the game plan was changed 12 hours before go time. That was probably a blessing. Thinking about step 2 before ever finishing step 1, making ourselves crazy. There have been words in the last week we will never be able to un-hear. Craniotomy to remove a brain tumor, radiation, chemotherapy. Those words will always be in the back of our minds. They are allowed to drop by but they aren’t allowed to set up camp. We are going to have the thoughts that bring tears to our eyes. They aren’t allowed to stay.

What is allowed to stay: How impressed her doctors and therapists are with her improvement. Everyday she is making great strides to being herself again. The jokes she is able to make. The love she is being showered with from all over. A wise woman once told me: “Every day may not be good but there is good in every day.” Every day we are finding the good.

Day by day we are making this journey together. We have an amazing village of people to help us, encourage us, and love us. Today, I have a dad who has recovered like a champ and a mom who will do the same. Today, I have a mom who yells at me when I tell her to put the iPad away at 4 a.m. Today, I have a mom who continues to impress us all with her bravery. We will meet tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

Tell your people how much you care about them. Don’t apologize for being a sap. If you get emotional in the process, don’t apologize for that either. You’re human. Throw away the to-do list. Play with your kids all day. Do something you want to do. Tell the Starbucks barista she made your day. Spend way too much in the dollar section at Target. Smile at a stranger. Whatever you do, always find the good.❤

Kisses During Playtime

As another Spring Break comes to a close I am finding myself sitting on the couch sulking at the thought of having to wear real pants again tomorrow. In between the puzzles, the  family, the mass laundry, the aquarium trip, and the snuggles watching Mickey of this last week I had many moments of Is this real life? Is this ornery, rotten, little ham really ours?  In the middle of my pouting Brantley stopped throwing his basketballs up the stairs, ran over and gave me a kiss. How did his one year old self know I needed a reality check? So, instead of sitting here  mulling over my incomplete Spring Break To-Do List, I am going to soak up one more day of yoga pants, baby loves, and remember what does make me one lucky lady…

…parents that think our son is as cute as we do.

…a husband that knows when to talk down my crazy or join in the fun.

…friends that have lasted through the years.

…family who listens to my latest and greatest business ideas.

…a living room floor piled with books, balls, blocks, and stuffed animals.

…piles of clean AND folded laundry waiting to be put away (I know, this is impressive!).

…coffee and muffins I didn’t have to make this morning.

…a dog that always has a slobber filled kiss for her little human.

…a job that doesn’t feel like a chore to get up and go to with students who keep me on my toes.

…a babysitter who loves Brantley like her own which makes it easier to leave him to do a job I love.

… kisses smack-dab in the middle of playtime.

…and a week off with my toddler to witness moments like these.

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As always, the laundry can wait, the dishes can be done later, and you just let that dust keep piling up. If you’re going back to work tomorrow after Spring Break or just going back because it’s Monday, I hope you greet this week with attitude and spark. ❤

If Dad’s Not Home

Here’s a little shout out to the single parents, the parents who work opposite schedules, the military families, and basically anyone who has ever had to juggle the craziness of life and a babe on their own at any point in time. Recently Sam was out of town for a work trip and it was our first time apart since Brantley was born. He was gone a mere 48 hours (I know, that’s like a blink of an eye) and we made it through but of course not without a little adventure.

Most mornings, with the exception of maybe 3 days in the last year, both boys are still sleeping when I leave for work in the morning. This means I’ve only had to get myself ready before heading out the door. A typical morning looks something like this: wake up to my fifth alarm going off and the dog whining to go out; shower real fast; make the coffee; find a matching outfit that I hopefully didn’t wear the week before; pour myself a cup of coffee that I take maybe two drinks of; do my hair and make up; find an outfit for Brantley; kiss Sam goodbye; search for my car keys before remembering I left them in the car; get in the car; realize I left something in the house; grab that something and finally leave before getting stuck behind the bus that has a million stops on my route. Remember, this madness happens when Sam is home.

When Sam isn’t home: wake up to my fifth alarm, a whining dog and a toddler waking up; shower real fast before the babe starts screaming for momma; find those clothes even though I know we both definitely wore the same thing last week; make the coffee; get the babe from his crib and grab a few toys; lock ourselves in the bathroom while I get ready; pick the hair dryer up off the floor and put it away since it’s now become a toy; calm a near meltdown because we have efficiently brushed our teeth for five minutes and have to put the toothbrush away; put my coffee in a to-go mug; grab a granola bar; calm another near meltdown because he didn’t get his own granola bar; find his blanket to help with the meltdown; grab the lunch meat, cheese and bread to make my lunch at school, no time for that at home; figure out how to carry everything plus the toddler to the car; leave the coffee on the counter, I’ll stop and buy some; throw on some shoes and put Brantley’s shoes in my bag; make it to the sitter where he jumps out of my arms; stop at McDonald’s for coffee and wait 10 minutes while I watch all the employees fix the ice cream machine at 6:55 a.m.; make it to work with 30 seconds to spare and find the babe’s shoes in my bag.

Oh and night time? Check to make sure all doors are locked at least 5 times; decide locked doors and a doberman aren’t sufficient enough security; move a chair under the front door knob; decide that’s still not enough; move the ottoman under the door nob, too. Run up the stairs after turning off all the lights but one because obviously a light on through the night (when there’s usually not) means, I’m definitely not home alone. Fall asleep watching HGTV because anything else would probably make me have wacked out dreams.

Let’s be honest, my brain is a little more chaotic than most. I would like to think I would get in a flow if I had to do this often but I thank goodness I don’t.  Major kudos to those of you who do. If you can balance all this and maybe even add in a second child, you should pour yourself a large glass of wine and run for president. 😉

When I Think I’ve Lost It

In the classroom, this time of year seems to be a matter of making it through each day. The students are restless, teachers are restless, the cold weather makes you want to lock yourself in a closet. There are all sorts of meetings, deadlines, data collection, state testing, conferences, and middle school behavior issues like whoa. This past week I was driving to pick up the little babe when I started to think about my day and remembered a little Pinterest “research” I stumbled upon recently.

80% of unwanted behaviors come from 20% of students.

Once I got to thinking, it’s true. The overwhelming amount of students do not cause those whoa moments. This little thought popped in my head…I need those students, the 80% AND the 20%. Maybe need is the wrong word. I tried to think of a less dramatic word but I can’t. Of course I need the students because if they aren’t around, there’s no school, which means there’s no paycheck, which means the husband wouldn’t be happy. 😉

Just yesterday, after a night of little sleep, topped with more deadlines and the feeling of there’s never enough time, I had a student ask me, “Mrs. Haddix, where’s your smile today?” Those six words really got me. Similar to the 80% situation, its not their fault the 20% takes over our mind and some days makes us want to lock ourselves in that closet. It’s not the students’ fault my child is teething and can’t sleep. It’s not the students’ fault that education’s always changing, the paperwork never ending.

I need the students to call me out when I lose sight of my “why”. I need their light bulbs to flicker in the process of learning until it’s shining bright once they master something. I need those 20% of behavior students to challenge me and throw bumps in the road. If I had nothing to investigate during the day, I’d get bored. If I didn’t have behaviors to break down, the days would never change. I also may need that little surprise cupcake found on my desk after a long meeting.

I like to think the 80/20 rule can be applied to real life. The overwhelming majority of people are good-hearted. People who help little old ladies to their car when leaving the grocery. People who read books to kids stuck in the hospital. People who shovel their neighbor’s driveway. Like my students, just because they are currently in the 20% doesn’t mean they can’t get out. These 20% need the extra love and support that maybe sometimes it’s hard to find. If we keep loving our people, and our people loving their people, the 20% can possibly, maybe, hopefully decrease.

If you’re struggling with your why lately, I hope this leaves you with a smile. Keep on keepin’ on my friends. Your why matters.