Why Two Is Enough For Us

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Brittany Besaw Photography

Do you ever have those people that have to ask you a million questions about your life? “Are Michael and you going to try for a boy? Two girls?! Good luck!” Most of the time, I laugh and say something like “thanks, I’m going to need it” or “no more babies for us!” If I’m being honest here, I am one to ask a thousand questions also. I love getting to know people. I love to find out what people like and dislike, their struggles, and their dreams. I love knowledge. Or maybe I’m ridiculously nosy. 

I’m going to take you back. I had kids YOUNG. The day I left for college to a different city, I found out I was pregnant. It was August 16th, 2009. I’ll never forget the fear and emotion of that day. August 16th is my late Nana’s birthday. I really held that fact close to me. Maybe it was a gift from her? Or was it a challenge? I didn’t really know what to think. I just knew for sure that I was scared and clueless. I had dreamt of going to college and getting my business degree in order to open up my own nightclub.

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 To be completely real, I didn’t even want kids. I was 18. I was a child. I wasn’t really ever around babies growing up and didn’t really have the slightest knowledge of how to be a mother.

Looking back at that now, I feel so incredibly blessed to be given the gift of motherhood. There are so many women that struggle with infertility and I just want to hug and cry with them. If you fit that criteria, please know that I pray for you every night. Stay strong, and I’m sincerely hopeful that you will be given this gift soon. 

I ended up finishing my semester and moved back home to be closer to Michael and my family. Boy was I lucky to have the most amazing boyfriend (now husband). If y’all only knew what that pregnancy was like for HIM. Sorry Michael. When Madison was born in April 2010, I felt a sense of overwhelming love. There is really no feeling of describing it. I felt pain (because, ouch) and I felt love. And 13 months later I was pregnant with Savanna and she was born in February of 2012. Again, I felt a sense of overwhelming love. After Savanna, I knew my heart was full. I knew that was it.

 

Fast forward to now. Michael and I get asked ALL OF THE TIME if we are going to try for a boy. No, no we are not. I’ll tell you why.

Because our two girls give us enough joy to make us the happiest people in the world

We decided to invest all of our love into these two girls. In our hearts, we feel like we can give them the best life with it just being the two of them. And we won’t have to buy a van! (No offense to minivan families, we hear they are great, but they aren’t our style) They are close in age with makes things a lot easier! They fall into some of the same age groups when it comes to sports, to make them on the same team, which is always a plus when it comes to scheduling.  They CAN play together with the same kind of toys, it doesn’t mean they always will, but they can! That makes things great around Christmas because we really don’t NEED to label presents if we don’t have to because they both love the same toys. Madison is always trying to teach Savanna new things that she learns at school. They love to play student-teacher, which I actually adore because Savanna knew so much going into Pre-K. I genuinely think that they would be lost without each other, regardless on how much they argue.

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Fun fact: Michael and I get asked almost daily if our kids are twins.

We are so excited to keep raising these girls and learning more and more everyday on how to be the best parents we can be. We want them to experience so many things and we are excited to help do that. We are taking them cross-country next year and we have so many trips planned in the future for them to experience more. I think Michael secretly loves being outnumbered in our house and I certainly get a kick out of it. We are making the best out of our little family. We never want our kids to feel like they had a terrible childhood. Having two kids, it’s not hard to afford sports for them which is such a blessing. Madison is in gymnastics and soccer at the moment and Savanna is in cheerleading and gymnastics. They love that they get to do these things and we love keeping them active! It’s the little things such as the happiness they have over activities, that make having only two kids, a blessing.

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To the people with more than two kids, know that Michael and I are ridiculously jealous of your patience. There are some days where I feel defeated and I have to remind myself that if I feel this way, imagine what the 7th Heaven mom feels like. You guys are rockstars. All of us moms and dads are in this together, just trying to raise the best kids we can.

DIY- Christmas Eve Box

I don’t really remember many holiday traditions from growing up. We were kind of all over the place so there wasn’t much time/money/consistency for any traditions. The few I do remember involve my grandparents having the BIGGEST Christmas tree. I’m sure it wasn’t as big as I remember it being, but it was huge. We’ve started a few traditions as a married couple and our goal is really to create many more traditions that we can share with our children (or child, jury’s still out on that one). Having a kid to celebrate the holidays with is SO MUCH FUN! I know he won’t remember any of this, but we’re trying to lay the foundation for years to come.

Enter the Christmas Eve box. I have seen these all over Pinterest and Etsy. And while the boxes on Etsy are MUCH cuter because they use fancy tools, I didn’t want to spend all the money on one when I figured I could just make one myself. After buying all of the materials and with a coupon to Michaels I think I spent a grand total of maybe $18? The problem is I get so excited about completing a project that I just do it and don’t spend time thinking about how I want it to look and how the materials I have will work together. I just do it and hope it’ll work out in the end. And it did….kind of….?

I really wanted a white or non-painted letter W for the front of his box but every craft store I went to was out of every letter W, because of course. The only W I could find was black. I shrugged and said, “I guess we’ll go with black” (see, that’s where the not wanting to wait thing comes in). So anyway, I made his box with the materials below:

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And then I decided to make a box as a Christmas present and I liked theirs SO MUCH BETTER!

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See the glittery snowflakes and the grey and the cuteness overload? I just stared at Wyatt’s and then at theirs and back at Wyatt’s and woke my husband up one morning and said, “I’m redoing it!”. Yeah, I’m a winner, guys. I didn’t want to go out and buy all new material but I was able to find a white W when I was searching for materials for the other box I made. So I pried off the things I already hot glued on and repainted it.

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So cute! I love it. Below are directions for how I made mine but just remember that this is all about the look that you want. There are no rules!

Materials: Wood crate (Michaels has them for about $10 but if you can snag a 50% off coupon it’s an even better price), craft paint (or spray paint- see note below), wood embellishments, glitter, newspaper (to put the crate on for painting), sponge paintbrush, regular smaller paintbrush

  1. Paint your box. My husband suggested spray painting it and I suppose you certainly could but we live on the third floor and I painted it while W was napping so I couldn’t go all the way downstairs and outside to spray paint. And it was cold. And I didn’t want to wait for a warm day. And I’m impatient, remember? It would be faster to spray paint so if you can find a color you like, go for it! It will probably take a few coats of paint. I used craft paint which definitely took a long time, but I did it in shifts so it wasn’t too bad. The box I made as a gift was for two sweet girls so after I painted the crate a light grey I painted over it with a glitter paint. I skipped this step for Wyatt’s. Originally I painted his green, which I was not a fan of, but to each their own. I also painted the inside, which I chose not to do for the gift box. I think I like it better painted on the inside, but it is more work. The inside of the box is rough, so definitely use a sponge paintbrush that you are ok with throwing away.
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  2. Paint your embellishments. I did this while the crate was drying to cut on time. I found these super cute reindeer in the dollar section at Target (PS- can we all just agree that the dollar section of Target has turned into a $3-$5 section?!). They came in a 4 pack, which actually worked out well considering I had to pry them off to repaint the box and they broke in the process. For my snowflake I painted it white and then added some glitter on all the ends to make it sparkle.
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  3. Once everything is dry, hot glue items on how you like them.
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  4. Fill box with fun things! W is just a baby so we were a little limited but some ideas are: pajamas for Christmas Eve, a new toy or puzzle (ideally something to play with on Christmas Eve), a Christmas book, Christmas socks, hot chocolate, a craft, a movie (or certificate for which movie you’re going to watch on Netflix), ornament for the tree, etc. We included a “My First Christmas” bib.
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We’re going to be traveling for Christmas so we let W open his box this past weekend so we wouldn’t have to pack it in the car and we absolutely loved this new tradition. After we took everything out he hung his ornaments up on the tree with Daddy and it was so special. We can’t wait to do this every year!

Bloom Where You Are Planted

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Alright guys, look forward to a lot of random thoughts.

My husband recently reenlisted for three more years in the Army, and believe me, I’m the proudest of them all. We have been stationed here at Fort Drum for 4 1/2 years, which is longer than one usually stays at a duty station. I have absolutely fallen in love with this place, which just means that it is going to be like pulling teeth to try to get me to leave next summer. We are headed to Fort Lewis, Washington and we will be there until the end of 2019.

Our girls have celebrated five Halloweens here! Look at how much they have grown!

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This place at first, wasn’t so great. I knew no one. I had never driven in awful snow conditions before I moved here. And when I say awful, I mean AWFUL. There really is no comparison to the lake effect snow that Jefferson County gets hit with. I remember my first winter here, Michael was deployed to Afghanistan, and I had taken the girls to Watertown (like ten minutes south of here) and we were trying to turn right and the car just wouldn’t turn. I was going like 4 miles an hour and the brakes weren’t working like they should have and instead of turning right, I made a huge wide turn into a vehicle that was in the left turning lane. FUN, fun I say. I remember mouthing to that lady driving in that car, “I’m SORRRRRY” in slow motion like she could read my lips before impact. There wasn’t anything I could do. That was the first and only “accident” I’ve been in here, because after that, I decided to master the art of driving in crappy snow conditions. Anyways, other than the snow, the only thing that could be better, is if my family was closer. Obviously, that’s a given. I want my kids to grow next to their cousins and look forward to some weekends with grandparents. They deserve that. I get told all of the time that my kids are so lucky to be “Army brats” because they will be able to see so many places growing up. Maybe they are right, but I know growing up, all I ever dreamed about was living in a house with a white picket fence and having a doorway with my growing height measurements. And let’s be real, it would have stopped in like 6th grade. Hashtag truth. I pray my kids don’t resent us for moving often when they are older.

Here at Fort Drum, I’ve met the BEST people. I mean, I really got lucky. I have a small, close, group of friends that meet up once a week and have so much fun together. They are my family. After I move, I have to fly back in the summer of 2018 to be a bridesmaid in one of my friend’s weddings. I’m so excited about that! I’m so blessed! The summer is so beautiful here. It’s never TOO hot and there is quite a bit to do. There are tasty family owned restaurants and AMAZING hair salons. The Starbuck’s baristas all know my name and so do the cashiers at Target. (Sorry Michael, I know I’m pathetic) My kids have grown in the eyes of the retail associates at Old Navy and celebrate every year at the same Texas Roadhouse on their birthdays. And like once a week, lets be honest. They have the best caesar salads. It’s pretty sad when the manager there gives us our 10% loyalty discount without having to ask. It’s things like this that I’m going to miss. My girls are surrounded by such a loving community and fantastic teachers. Savanna’s Pre-K teacher is the same one that Madison had two years ago. It took the teacher probably a whole month to stop calling Savanna, Madison. I was at work the other day, and one of my coworkers said to me, “I feel like you know more people that live here than I do and I’ve lived here my whole life.” (Hey Gina!) I’m going to have to start all over in Washington and that scares me a little.

We are planning on traveling cross-country for eight days next summer. Michael literally has the number of miles written down in a notebook, that are in-between each city that we stop in. He’s looking forward to the west coast more than anyone in this family. He will seriously watch Youtube and travel documentaries on Tacoma/Seattle every single day. Our first stop on our journey will be to Niagara Falls, where Michael and I have been, but the girls have not. After that, we are headed to Michigan to see my best friend Jessica which is going to be my favorite day out of the eight. It’s been way too long. Next will be Chicago! We are going to stay there for a couple of days to be tourists and eat lots of pizza. I’m excited to find the place with the Pizza Pot Pies! Sioux Falls, SD will be our next stop, what’s up South Dakota! And then to Mount Rushmore to fulfill Madison’s dream of seeing those president’s faces on a mountain. I swear she won’t stop talking about them. She’s a genius when it comes to space and presidents. After that, Michael is forcing me to make a detour to Yellowstone. Now I’m sure that Yellowstone is beautiful, but I am petrified at the thought. I just know that a certain something called a volcano, is going to blow as soon as we step foot onto that property. We will talk about our bad luck on another day. But Michael is dying to go, so maybe I’ll just wait in the car… Lastly, we will be making our way to Washington!

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And y’all, I don’t know the first thing to do when doing a military move! It’s been so long that it’s all just a blur. I’m nervous that I’m going to screw some amount of paperwork up, our movers breaking things, and that my kids aren’t going to like our new home at all. I just have to remember that people do this every single day. I know I just have to take a deep breath when the time comes and pray that everything works itself out. Will my girls find a gymnastics team like the one they have now? What about soccer and cheerleading? What about school friends? The amazing specialists they both see? So. Much. Worry.

 

Have you ever been to the Tacoma/Seattle area? What are the must-sees? Any restaurant suggestions? Places to avoid? Comment below!