What happens when you have insomnia, three active kids, a mind that won't shut down, and touches of ADHD?! (ok.. "touches" of may be an understatement!) I'll tell ya....you wake up at 3 am, experiment in the kitchen by making an egg casserole, clip coupons, and create a blog so that you have a way to document your crazy life!
Welcome to my blog. I'm hoping it sticks around and allows me to share my adventures as a Stay at Home Mom with you! There are so many times when I wish I had written down a new recipe, a fun craft idea, or simply just a memory I never want to forget as I venture through this wild ride called....Motherhood! I am not a perfect mother. My house is not spotless....not even close. I yell at times....LOUDLY! I cry at times in frustration. I lose my cell phone on a daily basis. I often forget important dates. I beat myself up about the fact that I'd rather be home raising the kids over making a big salary. All of these imperfections aside, there is one thing I know for certain. My kids and my Husband make me who I am and I am grateful beyond words for the role I have been blessed with in life.
So who am I and why should you follow my blog?! I'll tell you a little about myself, in a nutshell, and you decide if it's worth following me. If anything, you may get a laugh every once in a while...or perhaps you are sitting on a beach somewhere soaking up the golden rays with a cocktail in hand reading this thinking, "I am SOOO glad I decided to stick with the single life!" lol My name is Michelle and as corny as this may sound, I always knew I wanted to be a Mom. Anyone can be a Mom, but I always knew I wanted to be the kind of Mom who was there for her kids. I am not writing this blog as a knock on working Moms and this is definitely not meant to be my platform to promote Stay at Home Moms. I've worked outside the home, inside the home, and everything in between.....but no matter what I have done over the course of nearly 12 years of parenthood one thing is certain, I was meant to be a Mommy.
I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in Fairfax, Virginia my entire life with my Mother, Father, and older Sister, Tina. My Mother, Kaija, was born and raised in Finland and decided to leave her large family (she is the oldest of 9!) and move to the United States at the age of 19 for what she thought would be a year long adventure. Little did she know she would meet my Father, Patrick, who had recently immigrated to the US with his family and never return back to her home in Northern Finland. They were soon married, had two daughters at an early age, and are still happily married living in my childhood home, in Fairfax, VA.
I was a good kid growing up. I know that sounds weird to say that about yourself, but looking back at my childhood I can honestly say that I did not give my parents a hard time and I was definitely a pleaser. In fact, a part of me wishes I had gotten into a little trouble now and then just to have fun stories to share with my Husband...but that's ok I guess. I played soccer from the time I was five years old until I was 13. I swam every Summer on the swim team, played basketball in the winter.....now that I think about it I had no time to get into trouble:) When High School started I knew I wanted to play soccer. I tried out for the team and when the day came to find out if I made the cuts we all crowded around the list displayed for all to see. I searched for my name confident that all of those years of soccer had paid off....and I searched....and I searched some more. No such luck....I was cut from the team. I realized that most of those girls were on a totally different level than I was as they had all played on travel teams for years (perhaps that is why I have my Daughter in travel soccer now:). So what else is there to try out for if not soccer? Cheer leading!!! You know, they are such similar sports! (insert sarcasm) lol Being that I am uncoordinated, have very little rhythm, and have never been a dancer, I'm not sure what made me think cheer leading would be for me...of course my name was not on that list displayed on the wall once again. I guess everything happens for a reason as the Cross Country and Track Coach approached me to let me know he had seen me run in a Middle School race and thought I would be great at running. I gave it a shot and found something I continue to have a passion for today...distance running! I devoted myself 110% to the sport in High School and was blessed to have success beyond what I think would have ever been possible with any other sport for me (yes it is a sport people....a REALLY...HARD....CHALLENGING...SPORT.....no haters allowed here....lol).
I became involved in a Christian Youth Group in 9th grade called Young Life. I honestly think it is the most amazing organization as it taught me so much about the kind of person I wanted to be. It also kept me on a good path. I was boy crazy like every other hormone crazed girl...but I was also shy when it came to boys. I never had a boyfriend in high school and found myself to be the girl on the Homecoming Court who brought a guy friend along as my date...same thing with the Prom Court.....(man the more I write the more I hope my Daughter reads this and decides to be like Mom and stay away from boys! juuusssttt kidddiinnggg...sort of!)
I went on a number of College recruiting visits as I had decided to run in college and settled on Penn State University because it was not too far from home. Within my first week of school I met Dan and was completely enamored with him!!!! My first serious boyfriend and I was thankful that God saved the best for last...and first....lol! (Again I often wish I had crazy stories of old flames to share with Dan....but I also like sharing this story with my pre teen as well:) College was a crazy fun time and as they say....the rest...is history! Dan graduated a year before me which was a challenge as we had never been apart...and had no desire to be apart. He proposed to me on December 18th of my Senior Year at Penn State. I was 21 at the time and my friends thought I was crazy to be thinking of marrying already...but they also knew how in love we were! We married ten months later on October 25, 1998!!!
Within a month of graduating from college I began teaching Elementary Special Education and continued teaching until our first born was a year old. Riley, our daughter, was born in June of 2001 and changed our lives forever. The memory of her birth will be etched in my heart forever.....I was in love! Dan and I always talked about having three children and although, once again, our friends thought we were nuts to be having kids already, we knew we wanted to be young, fun, and active parents! I cried every single morning after dropping Riley off at day care. It was probably my sixth month of dropping her off in the morning when my Principal at the time stopped me in the hall, gave me a huge hug and said, "Are you still crying about dropping your daughter off in the mornings." "Yes" I answered...a bit embarrassed. I will never forget her response...."You have one lucky daughter. We need more Mom's like you." Well....I stopped teaching at the end of that school year and spent the next decade doing various jobs here and there to help the family but keeping the job of "Mommy" as my focus. Our first Son, Brock, was born on September 3, 2003 just two days before my 27th birthday. Having two children in diapers was a challenge and to be honest.....a blur as it was...... exhaustingly awesome.
Life isn't supposed to be a smooth ride and we definitely navigated through some personal bumps over the next years. Looking back I think God was testing us....to see how strong our relationship truly was. After battling some pretty challenging personal, financial, and family situations we came out even more in love and stronger than we were before! I am convinced that God was sitting in heaven somewhere smiling down on us saying with a wink, "You passed the test!" So the little test he gave us was sort of the reason as to why that third child we always knew we wanted happened to come a little later than we had hoped. We were ecstatic to find out that we were pregnant with our third child and then God decided we needed one more test. We miscarried, as so many do, around 11 weeks. I had just heard the heart beat and seen the tiny tiny limbs the day before and I was devastated. I was smart enough to know the facts; that it was common to happen in the first trimester, that it happened for a reason, that the baby was probably not going to be healthy if I had carried full term, etc etc. But it didn't help the hurt we both felt in our hearts. Within two months....we found out we were pregnant again. This time I was SICK....just like I was with the first two. I took my horrible morning sickness as the sign God wanted me to have that we passed that last curve ball he had thrown at us:) On December 10, 2008 our last child was born. The minute he was born I remember thinking, "Ok God....now I understand." Cooper was a blessing and I couldn't imagine not calling him mine. I'll never forget the feeling of watching my 7 year old daughter hold him in her arms as Dan and I embraced all three kids...feeling so very grateful for our family.
Well....so much for my life "in a nutshell". I think my lack of sleep caused me to be a bit nostalgic and share more than I had planned. Some tid bits I forgot to mention....we started our own company which I am proud to say has grown into something we are so proud of. The World Wide Speakers Group....which was once The Agency Speakers....was built on blood, sweat, many many tears, debt, and more tears. I am beyond proud of Dan for following his dream and working so hard for our family. He literally started the business from the ground up and although I am not surprised by it's success...I am amazed and completely and utterly grateful! It has allowed me to focus on our children and what a blessing that is!
So what can you expect from my blog?! Who the heck knows! Perhaps this will just be Mom Therapy for me like scrap booking used to be. There's a good chance it will last a week and then be forgotten like so many things in my life...including my cell phone. But I am hoping it is around for years to come and I can look back on this one day and remember how crazy, exhausting, challenging, and fulfilling raising three children has been:)