Adjusting to Life as a Stay At Home Mom

A month ago, just before we left to fly to Haiti and bring home our new daughter, I left my job as the Director of Engineering for a wastewater treatment equipment company. It’s actually a temporary leave of absence since I plan to go back part time once Rose is in school, but that’s probably two years away.

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Even though I have worked from home for the past ten years, this is very different. I really had no maternity leave with either of my first two children. When you start-up a company and work from home you don’t get maternity leave. You never stop answering the phone or email. The most I did was miss our big annual conference twice. I hated missing that conference each of those years because it’s always so great to see my colleagues, my industry friends and present the great work my company does in front of a large audience.

This year things are so different because I’ve been waiting for this little girl to come home for two and a half years and now she’s here and I wouldn’t dream of having any other focus. I will miss some fun nights in New Orleans but I’ve had enough of those over the years to sustain me for quite some time. I do not yet miss work at all.

My job right now is therapeutic parenting of a little girl who doesn’t even know what a family means. Watching her thrive and blossom has been so joyful and fulfilling, and I can only say it’s a miracle from God that she is doing so well.

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I usually only have one or two big things to get done a day right now and I like it that way. Maybe a trip to the grocery store, maybe some laundry, maybe going to get my allergy shots. I am always happy to get out of the house and talk to some grown-ups, but I try to keep like simple and unhurried.

My little sidekick is very accommodating and I see her using her orphanage coping skills less and less often. Sometimes she thinks she’s the boss of me but I pick my battles and I’m bigger so I can win but I also know how to circumvent or repair any disconnections that happen. Life with Rose is a dance of connecting and disconnecting and reconnecting.  She chooses to shut down instead of throw a tantrum and I don’t like when it happens but I can fix it quickly. A quick game of Patty-cake is my go-to solution, she’s usually up for it and it brings back the smiles and eye contact immediately.

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The toughest time of day for me by far is after the boys get home from school and the couple hours up until dinner. She gets pretty wound up around them and they need to get homework done right away. The boys seem conflicted because they really want to play and engage with her after a long day away but they also know they need to work and sometimes need my help. One thing that has really helped us was creating a new rule to keep the screens off until after dinner. The boys can get sucked into playing Minecraft or watching Stampy videos quickly and that leaves Rose trying to get their attention and them getting annoyed. Since I started that rule they mostly choose to play with their sister, which leaves me peace to go fix dinner.

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So right now I’m pretty much taking one day at a time with her, passing up lots of fun opportunities like blogger conferences or races. I know it’s a season and before I know it she’ll be speaking English and staying with babysitters and life will probably be much like it used to be except with more singing and giggling and talking.

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The New LeapFrog LeapBand is Fit Made Fun!

*This post is sponsored by LeapFrog and CLIF Kid. I received free products but all opinions are my own. 

Over the years our family has enjoyed a great many children’s products from LeapFrog. I am a big fan nearly anything they make so I was excited to try out the brand new LeapBand from LeapFrog with my kiddos and their friends. The LeapBand is a little like a Fitbit for kids, and though I don’t use a fitness band like that I am a big believer in personal and family fitness! I have plenty of friends who love their FitBits so I was anxious to see how the kids would enjoy the LeapBands.

On Saturday, September 6th, we joined loads of other families in having a #FitMadeFun party. Our party was small because we did not want to overwhelm our newly adopted daughter with people, but it was super fun.

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The LeapBand is designed for kids ages 4 to 7, but my two year old loves it and the 10 year old had great fun with it as well. It is worn on the wrist and tracks movement so the kids earn “joules” with lots of activity. There are customizable pets that the kids get rewarded for taking care of and there are fun fitness challenges that inspire kids to get moving. We had the most fun with the challenges!

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The kids participated in the Fit Made Fun Record Breaking Challenge with ten minutes each of three different activities.  Here they are playing follow the leader and dancing like chickens! There were giggles galore.

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After several more planned activities such as a game called Frogs on the Lily Pads, the kids did some stretching to make sure no one was too sore or got injured.  We made sure they had plenty of water to stay hydrated on our super hot Texas afternoon.

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After all that exercise the kids had worked up quite an appetite, so they had snacks provided by Clif Kid. Clif Kid sent us three flavors of Zbar Protein bars to choose from, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Chocolate Mint.

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Rose and Nathan both loved their Zbars and I love the fact that they are full of nutritious ingredients and healthy.

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The kids seemed to love the new LeapFrog LeapBands. It has kept them busy with fun physical games for days. The digital pets are cute but it’s the challenges that really interest them, which is of course the same appeal that any adult fitness tracker has. I’m definitely in favor of anything that keeps kids up and moving.

I received free products in order to host the LeapFrog and CLIF Kid sponsored MommyParty. The opinions expressed here are my own.