Category Archives: Transition

MALIA MEI: A Courageous Birth – Part I

When we got our hands on the birth story of a very special little lady as seen through the eyes of her father, we couldn’t put it down. We don’t often have the opportunity to experience the challenges of bringing babies into this world through the perspective of their dads. Michael Moline, a college instructor, loving husband and devoted father, has graciously agreed to let us launch a series using his writing on this very topic. He titled his memoir “Malia Mei: A Courageous Birth” and we will be sharing it in multiple parts on a bi-weekly basis right here on the blog. We couldn’t be more honored that he is allowing us to share his beautiful work and we think you will love it as much as we do. Please include your questions and thoughts in the comments and we will make sure Michael has the opportunity to address them.

MALIA MEI: A Courageous Birth

by Michael Moline

A father’s recollection of the joy, fear, and hardships leading up to and following the unexpected premature birth of his daughter. The story of Malia Mei’s courageous journey following her birth. Continue reading

Dear Kids, I Want You To Know I Will Always…

Dear Kiddo A and Toddler B,

I want you to know…

I will always love you. Even on days when I’m frustrated or you don’t like me very much, my heart still swells with overwhelming adoration for you. This love is unconditional and will never change, even if I don’t agree with every choice you each make. My heart is permanently yours.

I will always fight for you. There are no two people more precious on this earth to me than you. Even if the cost is great, I will do everything in my power to make sure your situation is fair, healthy, and right. When it is time for you to make your own choices I will still stand in your corner, firm in my protective conviction. I believe you are worthy and capable of handling anything. I will be there to remind you to persevere when times get tough and I won’t be silenced or stopped. Continue reading

Negotiate Your Medical Bills Away

Bills, bills, go away! Don’t come back on any day!

So, Kerstin has told me a number of times that I need to blog about the topic of Continue reading

The Love & Joy of Raising Our Toddler Daughter

As I shared in “Loving Life with a Toddler: The Things I Most Appreciate Today” I was extremely surprised by how deeply I loved being the mom of a toddler. I must say that I have a completely different relationship with our little girl, Baby B, than with our little boy, Kiddo A, but I’m just as fond of her toddler stage. She regularly leaves me missing the two-year-old version of the boy who made me a mom and I delight in watching her explore, develop, and acquire knowledge.

Baby B is quick to  Continue reading

All the Single Working Mommies

All the Single Working Mommies:

I see you and I couldn’t possibly pretend to fully understand your reality. I will tell you that when my husband is away at a work conference, I can barely hack it. From the moment he leaves I start a mental countdown to the time when my support will return. Continue reading

I Talked to Fierce Women about Health Hacks and it was Awesome!

Happy 2017, Jelly Bean Journals Community! I hope you are off to a wonderful new year.

You already know that I’m not a traditional “new year resolution” type of gal. I try to engage in serious self reflection often enough to establish necessary goals for staying on track or changing my course through each year. However, at the risk of sounding cliche and in the spirit of heading into the new 2017, I reached out to some of the most impressive Casper ladies I am lucky enough to know. I asked them to share their best health hacks for women and moms, requesting that they provide real life advice which they actually utilize themselves.

These gals absolutely delivered and gave awesome health hacks in differing areas including emotional well being, physical fitness, and mental sharpness. Cheers to a new year and honoring resolutions using the advice of fierce women who reach their own goals on the regular!

Advice from Kristen Zook: Listen to Your Body & Don’t Stress

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Don’t stress yourself out trying to follow ALL the health suggestions. That leads to anxiety, insanity, and likely the opposite results you were aiming for. There are a lot of “gurus” out there giving nutrition, exercise, and health advice. Your body is the best expert and is always telling you what it needs. The trick is figuring out how to speak its language. Some days it will want a workout and vegetables, other days it will want a nap and cookies. There is a time and a place for all of it.
Advice from Tara L: Find Your Support System & Work Out

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Now that we have our daughter {L}, I realize time is incredibly valuable; time with her and time to myself. My family makes health and fitness a priority not for vanity reasons but because it feels good to be active and strong. It’s also important for us to raise our daughter around like minded individuals who lift each other up instead of tearing each other down, which is why I’m proud to be a part of CrossFit307. At CrossFit307, we’re surrounded by friends who have become family. They were there when our daughter was born and are there for support when we need parenting advice. I know your readers have heard it before, but it’s worth saying again, having a village to lean on is the key to making it out alive at the end the day.

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Advice from Jenn: Share Your Passion & Read with Your Kiddos

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Find something you are passionate about and share it with your kids; for me that is reading. My firm belief is a home with books creates a home of readers. The more books and more choices, the more likely you are to raise a reader. Our house is covered in books, stacked in every room, including all our bathrooms, kitchen table, and in toy baskets, backpacks, diaper bags, purses and even in the car. Some we buy, some are borrowed from the library, some are gifts; books to fulfill the growing interests of our kids, books to solve our latest parenting conundrum, some just to escape into. My kids know that books are usually the one thing mom won’t say no to at the store and reading could get them five more minutes awake at night, ease a long car trip, or make us late for school in the morning. Reading doesn’t have to be limited to physical books as it could be blogs, newspapers, magazines, eBooks, listening to an audiobooks, and it can happen anywhere, anytime. I read as much for fun as I have time for to balance the mental load of learning, working, and parenting.

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Advice from Beautiful L: Stay Focused & Mind Your Eating Habits

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I generally eat six smaller meals/snacks throughout the day and ensure that I have some source of protein in each meal, if possible. I try to focus on consuming healthy fats like avocados and nuts and good carbs like whole grains, oatmeal, fruits and veggies. Proteins are typically eggs, cottage cheese, lean meats and chicken. I aim for a small meal made of protein and carbs about an hour before I train and a healthy quick protein snack right after. This provides fuel for a workout, keeps me satisfied while training, and then provides my muscles with nutrients for recovery. I also try to drink at least half my body weight in water (or more) to help prevent dehydration and breakouts.

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I cannot thank these four ladies enough for sharing their real life health hacks. They are valuable gems and each a different approach to daily health. My favorite part is that their words can be instantly applied! Be good to yourself, find a support system, spend time with your loved ones and be mindful of how you fuel your mind, body and spirit. Perfect advice from stunning women to carry us into the new year!

If you liked this post, I think you’ll love these Jelly Bean Journals shares:

There’s a Hack for That: Bottle & Breastfeeding

Our Family Today

I’m a Bad Ass and So Are You.

I Hit Your Mailbox: Thanks for the Reminder

The Easiest Kids New Years Eve Craft Ever!

I Talked to Cheeky C about Coping with Child Suicide During the Holidays

Morning Sickness Tales & Tips

I Talked to an Educator about Age Appropriate Choices & It was Awesome

6 Pinterest Wins You Should Try

I Talked to The Tall Mom & She’s Awesome

Mentally Preparing for VBAC: 4 Tips

Our Family Today

Life has certainly changed since I posted He’s Here back in October. Today I thought I’d talk a bit about our last couple of months, what we’re enjoying, and where we’ve found challenges, as well as share some of our newborn photos with you.

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Overall we’re loving being a family of four. We’ve definitely hunkered down and spent most of our time at home the last few months. We tend to do this in the winter but with a newborn, I’ve noticed a bigger desire to stay in and be surrounded by my sweet boys. Seano and I have been shocked at how little we’ve spent from our Eating Out Budget. We didn’t even think it was possible!

Little Brother N is a happy, mellow baby. He smiles so easily, is patient, and has started cooing. His expressions while he coos tell me he knows exactly what he is trying to say to me. In addition to his own personality, I’m guessing this has to do with me being more relaxed as a parent and not having the turmoil we experienced with Big Brother N just weeks after he was born. Everyone thinks he looks so much like Big Brother N as a baby and I have to say, their personalities are quite similar, too. It’s like God gave two of the exact same babies except this one doesn’t really puke! I’m looking forward to seeing how they remain similar and what qualities will differ.

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Just like Big Brother N, Little Brother N was slow to gain weight after birth. He’s been doing great the last seven weeks making big jumps and trying to catch up. He’s still low on the percentile charts but because of the good gains and the amount he’s eating, we aren’t concerned and neither are our doctors. We caught on early because of our experience with Big Brother N and knew the right steps to start making positive gains.

The four-year age gap, although not completely intentional, has been amazing. We have found a helper in Big Brother N and his ability to independently play has been a life saver at times when one or both of us were caught up with the baby. As much as we’ve enjoyed the advantages of the gap, we forgot many things that come with a newborn. Oh my gosh, newborns don’t sleep 10 hours! I mean…I knew this. But, I forgot what it FEELS like. Big Brother N was sleeping through the night fairly regularly by 8 weeks. At 12 weeks, we are getting 5-6 hour stretches with Little Brother N. To us, this seems rough. I was reminded at the pediatricians office talking to another new mom whose baby sleeps in 45 minute stretches, that we are actually quite lucky.

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The biggest change I’ve noticed with two children, including a newborn, is the personal time we have has been minimized, or at times eliminated. We always enjoyed free time during nap time or were able to step away when the other was spending time with Big Brother N. Simply having two kids as well as nursing every two hours and having kids on two different napping schedules has definitely cut into this time. I’m confident we’ll get this under control with time but Seano and I have both said it’s been the biggest adjustment for us.

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With that said, I adore having a baby again. I’ll take the complete dependence of a newborn to get to experience this sweet and precious time again. I have enjoyed and loved all of Big Brother N’s phases. They have each brought joys and challenges that added so much to our life. And I know the same will be true for Little Brother N. But, looking into the eyes of the new baby we created and getting to know him, bond with him, dream for him, and fall deeper in love with him is something I will always especially treasure.

I feel like Seano and I are doing so much better taking care of our relationship this time. We know it is the center of our family and we are trusting each is doing his/her best, being better teammates to each other and giving each other more grace. Because we’ve continued to make each other a priority, we’ve also been sure to get in a handful of date nights which we’ve utterly enjoyed!

I’m heading back to work full-time after the New Year. I’ve been popping in here and there to work on and manage certain projects. Other than these visits, I’ve been off since the day Little Brother N was born in September. As such, I’m a bag of mixed emotions. I’m excited to head back and use my brain in another way I love and feel like I’m contributing to projects and people outside of our home, again. But, when I look at my little bug I second guess if I’m ready. He looks so little and I’m dreading what I will miss. I know as he gets older I will value his social and educational interactions at daycare and preschool so much. But, today, I want it all; I want to work and I want to stay home with my babe.

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Big Brother N has done amazing settling into his new role as a big brother. He seems to fall into two camps, “I love him so much and can’t keep my hands off him” or “I just don’t really care about him right now.” Impressively, he seems unscathed in having to share his mom (should I take offense to this?) and dad. The only challenges we’ve had to navigate are his loving can get a little rough and when he gets hurt, the meltdowns are quite a bit bigger. I expect the meltdowns are because there is extra attention and time from mom and dad that comes with getting hurt.

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So, that pretty much sums up our life today. Mostly, I’m feeling so blessed and confident that 2017 is going to be a great year! Happy New Year! Have fun and stay safe!

Photo Credit to Corrie L Photography

If you liked this post, I think you’ll also love these shares from Jelly Bean Journals:

He’s Here

Family Maternity Photos

We Have a Secret…

It’s A Girl! Welcome Baby B!

Celebrate & Bare that Baby Bump!

The New Birth Plan is My Birth Plan

N’s Birth Story – Part I

The Start of a Movement: Baby A’s Birth Story Part I

N’s Picture Project

We Are Having A Baby: Pregnancy Announcement…And Then There Were 4

Hold Your Tongue – Literally!

Our Family Yearbook

We have lots of intentional and accidental traditions in our house. Seano and I both seem to be creatures of habit. Not that we aren’t up for spontaneity, but we seem to function best in routine. One tradition that  started accidentally  but has become Continue reading

Russian Sage Bundle for Rustic Fall or Winter Decorating

Each autumn we trim our Russian Sage, or Perovskia Atriplicifolia, nearly to the ground. We do this to keep our plants healthy and thriving. Let me tell you, it works like a charm and these beauties bloom a gorgeous purple all through the following summer. Their aroma reminds me of hearty sage and they are loved by bumble bees. On hot afternoons our fence sounds like a buzzing electric line because of the busy pollinators working from one tiny flower to the next. Continue reading

A Birthday Letter Tradition: Happy 4th Birthday N!

N Turned 4 in October! Keeping with tradition, I wrote N his annual birthday letter like I did at one yeartwo years and three years. I wrote it a few weeks before his birthday and before the arrival of his little brother. I hope you enjoy this year’s letter!

Happy 4th Birthday N!

Just like that another year has passed and you are another year older. When I ask you to stop growing, you say, “Mom, I can’t. I just do.” You look more and more like a boy and less and less like a baby. Continue reading