Monday, December 15, 2014

Preferred Qualifications

It's about 8:15 on a Thursday evening and I finally get to sit down. I listen. I hear nothing. I look down to find that I still have my nametag and my suit jacket on; time to get on my jammies and go to bed. Yes, I said it was only 8:15. Three hours before...

I ended my work day at 5pm and realized I had to go to Hobby Lobby to pick up crafts for us to do in Riley's therapy tonight. We have a new therapist (long story) and she is on her game when it comes to doing crafts, reading and cooking during therapy. We use most of our language when actually doing things so we are learning as we do. sounds good to me.

I have to hurry because therapy is at 6:30 and I live 40 minutes from work. I get home around 6pm and have to get the kids fed. Thursdays are usually a crock pot day (thank god for that thing) so its already to go when I get home. We have 20 minutes to get food on plates, feed the baby Emmy and get ready for therapy. I eat standing up because I have to get all the baking supplies, open all the craft materials and get her seat ready for Barb (our online therapist).

6:20 hits and its go time. By the time I have everything ready to go, I get the email from Barb wanting us to sign in on the computer; she is all set. While Josh is still cleaning up and scrubbing off the crock pot, we start our therapy.

Thirty minutes may not seem like a long time in your eyes, but keeping a toddler occupied and engaged for that long is an eternity. We are making a pom pom Christmas tree and glitter water shaker. The pom pom tree went over great; she loved it. She said more, push, on and tree....Yay! The glitter shaker, not so much. She didn't like the fact that the glitter was messy and going everywhere; we had a toddler melt down. Yup, right in the middle of therapy.

Cookies! Were are the baking supplies; she loves to make cookies. As soon as she saw the sugar her face lit up and she was ready to go. She said pour, stir, more and mix...cookies for the win! By the time they are in my Kitchen Aid mixer (another one of my prize possessions) 30 minutes is over and she is heading for bath.

Tonight is Emmy and Riley bath night so I get E's bath filled up and start taking Riley's clothes off. We are starting the potty training so she sits on the potty for about 15 minutes and just gets enough toilet paper to fill clog the toilet. She loves to wipe. Whatever gets her on it.

If I put Emmy in the bath without Riley the water works and screaming starts. She can not have Em in the bath first- Riley goes first. Okay so we put Riley in, then Em; get her waterproof cochlear implant on....Shit that one is not working. Let's try the other one. Works:) She will hear with one ear in the bath. After bath getting dressed in another story. riley will not wear any "normal" kid two piece pajamas. Not my child, she has to wear sweatpants and a big t-shirt that she picks out. Mommy or daddy can  not pick them out.

Baths are done; time for more therapy. Let's read, play with play dough, and do her TIGGLY on the ipad. Is it 8:00 yet??? Nighttime! Both kids are in bed and all of a sudden it is silent. Time for bed!

It's funny because my career is helping student find jobs; everything within the job search process. I look at resumes, cover letters and job descriptions on a daily basis. I coach students on interviewing and where to find jobs. I tell them to not apply for jobs they aren't qualified makes me think. What are the qualifications of being a mom? Sometimes I wonder if the "preferred qualifications" are more than I can handle. If I had to write a job description for being a mom to my children, it would go something like this:

The Niedzwicki family is currently seeking a caretaker and provider on a full time basis. This position will assist the father in all day to day operations and communication. This person is responsible for the training and care of a toddler and a newborn, age 2 and 7 months.
This role requires an understanding of parenting theories and ability to train on these theories. Assists in the development of budgets, coordinates records and maintains flexibility on a daily basis. This individual must be able to work in a team, organized and have a strong ability to communicate effectively. Patience is a must.

REQUIRED: Must be able to multi task; 3-5 years experience in supervising and or elementary education training.  Must be able to work long hours, overtime and receive little compensation for your efforts. Ability to take harsh criticism and be tired all hours of the day. Working with a diverse staff and able to think of your feet. Experience problem solving and risk taking is key to this position. Valid drivers license. 

PREFERRED: 5-7 years experience in elementary education with experience in a supervisory role. Ability to eat cold foods and not shower alone for 10 years is a must. Ability to think on your feet and be consistent. Computer proficient with knowledge of picture editing. Fort building is kept in this role; must understand the importance of growing personalities. Ability to French braid.  Desired: Budget management experience with flexibility for emergencies. Able to be flexible in a situation you could never dream up yourself. ability to make everything better.

As I love my kids with everything I have, some days I  need a do over. A day  to say "Lets do that one again so I can be better". As moms, we constantly feel we aren't good enough or we are being judged for every little thing our child says and does; Maybe we are the ones judging us. If this were a real job description,  I would never apply because I'm not qualified; in real life this is my full time job. Some days we are moving up the corporate latter, and other days (like Thursdays) we hope we get through the day with both kids fed, dressed, bathed and sleeping in their own bed. If all those things happen then we are doing an okay job!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

And Now We Wait...

And now we wait. This time around seems a little bit different then the others; not sure how or why, it just does. Maybe because we know what to expect; we know the ins and outs of the hospital: the nurse will come around every hour and the doctor will be out when Riley is in recovery. Maybe it's because we already have hope. Riley already has one implant working well and progressing as expected.

Maybe it's because we are anxious; i have been waiting for this day since last December and want to move on with our lives. I want her to be able to hear with both ears, not worry about infection and  be her own kind of normal. People ask me how I am. They want to know how I am feeling. I'm feeling calm.

I don't know how to explain it really. Josh and I have two beautiful daughters and are in a great place in our lives. Emerson is 5 months old today and our Riley Mae is in surgery on her way to hearing all the beautiful things in this world- with both ears.

When we got to the hospital this morning, yes at 5:20am, Riley just held on tight. I doubt she can really recall the past surgeries but she definitely knew something was up. She sat there, they took her vitals. She sat there, they went over all her history. When it was time for her to go, she just wanted to get into the Step 2 car and go. Mommy didn't want her to.

So now we wait. Josh sleeps, and I blog. We wait until the nurse comes around again to give us an update. We wait with other families. There a family next to us who's son is having open heart surgery. there are about 30 family member, pop, chips and all kind of snacks. families pulling together when it matters the most; reminds me of Riley's first surgery June 18th 2013.

I may be calm because she is so strong. She's not even two yet and already she is teaching me more than I have taught her. I learn patience from her, I learn to wait. teaching her to learn to listen makes me learn to listen also. She knows what she wants and is not afraid to go for it. I already know this about her at such a young age. She isn't shy. She laughs and tries to do exactly what you do, she loves to imitate (hopefully that is gone by the time she's in high school).

Nurse just came by and told us she's doing great! "Such a strong little girl". It should only be an hour out before she's in recovery. 

I really believe everything happens for a reason, its so cliche I know. Riley was given to us for a reason. We moved to Indiana for a reason and had the opportunity to be part of the the Riley Hospital at IU Health family…for a reason. This place has been awesome to us. It's 2 hours each way from our house but there is no distance I wouldn't drive to give our daughter the best care. Riley Hospital is that. This morning they gave Riley a little doctor set so she could play doctor when they were doing her vitals. Everything they do is for the childs experience; their comfort level.  I hope our journey continues with their support in audiology and speech therapy.

I know she won't remember this experience, but I will. I will always be grateful for the opportunities that she will have because of Riley Hospital and Dr. Yates and his team. Every time I see him it's bitter sweet; we love seeing him, but we wish it was under different circumstances.

I go back to when I first found out Riley was deaf and we were researching hospitals and doctors. We looking at Columbus Children's Hospital and Chicago Children's Hospital. Both have great cochlear implant departments and have great reputation; however when I met Dr. Yates, I knew this was the surgeon that I wanted working on Riley. He's a perfectionist, he cares and the amount of research he does on cochlear implant implantation, activation, and oral speech communication floors me. He works non stop, goes off the Washington DC to meet with other research developers for the cochlear implant. He has three daughters himself; he's a family man. And most of all, the first time she had her surgery, he came out after 9 hours of surgery and said "thank you for letting me take care of your daughter". No thank you Dr. Yates.

Monday, September 8, 2014

In My Daughter's Eyes

In my daughters eyes, I can do no wrong. She looks at me with admiration, with no fear, with the sense that her mommy is the best mommy around. When in reality I struggle. I fear. I don't know what the future holds and that can be scary. But in her eyes everything is perfect.

703 days ago I gave birth to a daughter who was deaf. I think in reality it took me over 1 year to actually say the word deaf instead of hearing loss, or nothing at all. I remember the pain I went through the first 6 months thinking about her future and what opportunities I can give her. Doesn't every parent want this?

In my daughters eyes I know everything. She can come to me and I can fix everything. If she's crying, I know how to calm her. If she's excited, I know why. Lately it's been hard. I read other CI (cochlear implant) parent blogs and they assure me that one day your life begins to feel normal again.. When is that exactly? I still feel unbelievable sadness because I still wait for her to have  a revelation and use spoken language to talk to us. Tell us what she wants; but she doesn't know how. Parenting to me involves therapy, learning to listen sounds, Ling 6, auditory sandwich, conditioned play and everything else that will help with her spoken language. Every book I read, gift I give her, or sound she makes has something to do with her development.

In my daughter's eye she is not different. She doesn't know what the world is like; How people judge and make assumptions based on appearance, monetary things and your successes in life. She doesn't know that she is special. I try to give her every opportunity she can and let her just be a child, but I can't. She is different and the harder I work now, the better her life will be later. Riley doesn't know that everyone doesn't have a CI. Every child she meets she's going to have to explain that she has a CI and that's how she hears. It's my job to teach her to be her own advocate and be proud of who she is.

In my daughter's eyes I am her main teacher. Through her eyes I give more when I want to give up. I break down sometimes and need a break. I shut my door and sit down and take deep breaths. I yell and get frustrated at the progress but yet amazed by her perseverance. I get back up, look at her, and in her eyes realize that she sees no wrong. I realize that we are the main piece in her success. That's not about having a deaf child; its about being a parent.

Through my daughters eyes I am her hero. The steps I take, she will follow. The heartbreak I go through, she will also feel. This makes me put one foot in front of the other and be the best parent I know how to be with the situation we have. In reality, looking through her eyes brings a little bit of me back everyday. I couldn't imagine not being Riley's mommy.

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” ~Linda Wooten

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pale is the New Pretty

They say I am one of the lucky ones; I caught it early and I should feel really lucky. The truth is, when you hear the word Cancer in any changes you. I've spent my whole summer thinking back, feeling guilty and going through every occurrence in my head. When all of my friends and family are at the pool this summer sunbathing, I was (and still am) getting wide excisions done on my skin. I currently have on 6 inch scar, and 2 other scars with a fourth on the way. Every time I go in, is every time we find something.....

Let me go back...I have always been a sun worshiper; I love the sun. I sun bathed with tanning oil, lotion and even baby oil some days. I took spring break trips, summer vacations and tanned in the tanning beds during the winters. I always loved a sun kissed glow; even though it didn't love me. I remember getting burnt all the time- that was how I could tell I would get tan. I got burnt,  then the tan would come a couple days later. I loved summer...I could lay out all day and read a whole book. Times have changed.

I have always gone to the dermatologist once a year for annual check ups but haven't since we moved to Indiana. I am always healthy, rarely sick and haven't even been to the family doctor in years. Well I noticed a mole on my chest when I was pregnant with Emerson that was unusual. It was getting bigger and darker. When I showed my OB she suggested I go in immediately and get it removed; You don't have to tell me twice. I was able to get in that next week and got it was what came next that changed my life.

My doctor called me directly and asked me to come in immediately; I knew from that moment it wasn't a good situation. Once he was able to talk to me he told me the mole came back and it wasn't was Melanoma. I swear that is all I heard in the whole conversation. I went numb. Melanoma, cancer? Really? He said we caught it early but the next 5 years will determine my fate. 90% of melanoma stage 1 survivors are alive in 5 years. Okay, what about the other 10%? To think about cancer and not being around for my daughters scared me. It totally freaked me to say the least.

Once I did my excision, they removed a couple more moles. Those came back Displastic (pre cancer); I had to have more excisions on those. I am going on my 4th excision in one month and it doesn't stop there. Every 3 months I have to get a full body exam where I sit on the chair and two of them examine every inch of my body. Melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer killing one person ever hour. They say I'm one of the lucky ones....

This has been a lifestyle change for me. I wear sunscreen, all the time. It's in my moisturizer, my makeup, my lotion, everything. I wear spf clothing and cover up all the time in the sun. I seek shade on all occasions or wear hats it I can't have shade. To say cancer changed my life is an understatement. Most people think Melanoma is "just skin cancer" but they just aren't educated. 1 out of 4 melanoma cases come back, and she attacks hard- goes right for the lymph nodes and organs. Most people wont know it came back without PET scans. Again...I'm one of the lucky ones.

I wouldn't say I feel sad. I don't. I feel mostly guilt. Why didn't I know that tanning caused skin cancer? Why didn't I protect myself in the sun? How could I have been irresponsible with my skin care and now I am paying the ultimate price? It seems like once my family is up and in good spirits, something else comes knocking our way. God only gives you things you can handle...right? I'm beginning to wonder.....

My goal is to educate people. You can still lay out in the sun and be protected; you DO get sun tan through sunscreen. The SPF will just block the harmful rays and the rays that cause aging. Absolutely do NOT go to the tanning bed- use the spray tan if you want to look tan. My future is bright and I plan to be around to see my girls get married; I will not let my love for the sun take over my judgement to take care of myself. I will be pale. Besides look at these celebrities....Pale is the new Pretty!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Coo Coos

Friendship means so many different things to me and it's hard to explain to some people. Our group of friends have been together since grade school and have cried together when you think you can't take anymore and celebrated life when your life rocks! My girls are the coo coo's- you may remember the Ya Ya sisterhood, well it is very similar to that. These are the sisters that I chose, the ones that know all my fears, lived through my faults and embraced who I am today.

Friendship means standing by your best friend on their wedding day when you know they are following their heart; not necessarily their head. It's driving four hours one way when you best friend gives birth, then picking up and driving back home that same day. It's being the first one at the funeral home when you loose a loved one unexpectedly. Friendship is blasting "Like a Virgin" in college and dancing around your apartment for hours; laughing and making memories.

Friendship is not judging, but understanding. Understanding that we are all different and we don't have to have the same life as everyone else, and we don't want to. It's realizing that you have been friends for 20 years and so proud of the mothers, wives, and women they have become. You treat their children as your own and understand that it's okay for them to have other friends. Friendship is not letting distance make you grow apart, but having a phone date with a glass of wine is just as fun as a girls night out.

The Coo Coo's embrace their imperfections as mothers and women and rely on each other to help them get through life. We laugh until we cry and cry until we are cracking up. Life is short to not laugh at yourself. Friendship is saying your sorry. The Coo Coo's understand my love for the red carpet and know when I need a hug.

Friendship is forgiving before you even know you did something wrong. It's really being there...literally. Knowing that as we get older life gets busy; don't let time be the reason you go weeks without talking. It's calling because you heard a song on the radio or saw something so funny that only your fellow coo coo's would understand.

This past weekend I went back home to Avon Lake and was able to be reunited with these girls. We laughed, we talked and we cried. We went and got best friend tattoos and now are bonded for life! I got to see their children and hang out with their loved ones- everything about last weekend was awesome.

I can only hope that my daughters will have friendships as solid as ours. Ones that aren't scared to tell you the truth, but don't judge you in the meantime. Friendships that celebrate everyone's accomplishments and aren't competitive in nature. Ones that are honest but comforting when they were totally right and you didn't listen. A friendship that is easy; one that doesn't require you to dress a certain way or be in the same economic class. Once they have these type of friendships, a Coo Coo is born!

Birds of a feather flock together....

Cochlear Implant Child

Being a mom of a child with cochlear implants is different. I can't really explain it any other way but just different. Now that I have a hearing child, it makes it even more relavant that my first time as a mom was...different. Ok, ill be honest, it was HORIFYING. Before Riley was able to hear I couldn't soothe her with my voice. She didn't hear the sounds of the television or vacuum cleaner to wake her up. She never turned to sounds or was startled when I walked in the door; this is all stuff I am learning right now with Emerson.

Cochlear implants parents experience different things that eventually seem "normal", whatever that is. Nothing surprises you and you are constantly aware of your surrounding. I have been thinking about how my life is different and thought I would make a list. You know you're a mom of a child with cochlear implants if:

  1. You use the word CI more than eat, sleep or bath.
  2. calendars do you no justice- I live day by day to make sure everyone (including daycare, grandma and dad) is on the same page with days we have therapy- which is three times per week.
  3. You will be amazed by how many times you can say "moo" or "quack" in an hour (200 to be exact).
  4. Everything is a teaching moment
  5. Troubleshooting a red light is like diagnosing a chronically ill patient
  6. you are terrified of plastic slides
  7. You are on a first name basis with you audiologist and the company that makes your implant- in our case Advanced Bionic.
  8. Fed Ex comes to your house about once a week
  9. People stare at you- and your child. It makes you sad but they do.
  10. When traveling anywhere, you grab extra cords, batteries, processors and anything else you can find.
  11. You constantly fear your child throwing their CI in the toilet- my worst nightmare
  12. You hear things- things you never really "heard" before, you hear. Cars driving by can be so exciting to someone who has never heard them
  13. When they are sleeping you can be as loud as you want; this is also good for bad storms in the middle of the night.
  14. The I love you sign is your family symbol; and we don't even use sign language
  15. When someone says "are you deaf" in public, I get nausaus in my stomach
  16. Brown Bear is your favorite book you read everynight
  17. You dread the day you have to have "the talk" and answer question on why she is different from her sister and everyone else.
  18. You know what "Ling 6" and "Learning to Listen" sounds are
  19. You can't understand why parents teach their kids the alphabet in the bathtub
  20. waterproof CI's are the best thing since sliced bread.
  21. You look at your child and still get an overwhelming sadness; you're still not over it.
  22. You realize your child's education is your responsibility; not the states or school systems
I sometimes wonder what life would be like if Riley wasn't born deaf or didn't have cochlear implants. The reality is I couldn't really imagine her without it. Its a big part of who she is and who we have become as a family. She will never know any different...and that's okay with us!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

She's HERE!

Well two months ago she's here. I have been a really bad blogger and I apologize. It wasn't intentional, it just happened. Now with two babies under two life is pretty crazy amazing. I also have been contemplating what to do with my blog since I now I have to babies. I created this blog as a journey for me, on my road to motherhood, then it became a mom blog and a baby book for Riley, then it became all about riley and her hearing journey; I'm going to keep it to that. There may be some parenting, mommy posts here and there but I want to keep the Mae flowers and focus on her journey. Now more than ever I am so motivated to get her access to sound and developing expressive language.

Now back to Emerson Marie....

She's an angel. Such a gem. A beauty. I can't imagine my life without her already. This experience of motherhood the second time around is just as amazing. The love keeps growing for these girls. I never knew how I could love more than Riley Mae, but I do. It just happens.

Emerson passed her hearing test with flying colors! Thank you jesus. Even though we were totally prepared if she didn't, I thank God she did. Having a baby that is hearing is a whole different experience.

Riley love Emma. She runs up to her if she's crying. She pets her and pats her back. She tries to pick her up if she's crying; until I run up because she might throw her across the room:) I am just so proud of how she has taken to Em. I was nervous about her being jealous but that isn't the case at all. She's going to be the best big sister.

My heart if complete (for now). I have everything I want right here in my little family. Emerson makes everything better. I can't wait to see them grow and go through all of life's challenges, tribulations and most important memories:)  

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day to me….

Mother's Day is a holiday that means so little to some, and the biggest day of the year to others. Everyone has a mom in their life. You could be a mom, you have a mom, someone like a mom, your best friends are moms, you're a dog mom, you have a step mom or maybe you are a mom to be. Mother's day means so many different things to so many different people; to me mother's day means taking time for whoever that special mom is.

Mother's day to me means sleepless nights and long days. It mean's long hours of speech therapy so your daughter has endless opportunities. To me it means watching Mickey Mouse clubhouse over and over and over, and secretly loving it. It means shearing a popsicle on the porch before bed; going through countless bubbles and saying "POP" over and over.

To me mother's day is going to target for diapers and coming out with a couple outfits because the girls need one more pair of leggings. Some days it's not taking showers and forgetting to eat. It means going to the grocery store is your "get away" for the week. It means worrying that you are making the right decisions for your children; it means your diet consists of chicken fingers and mac and cheese because that is the only thing your children like to eat . It means putting someone else's needs before your own.

To me mother's day reminds me of all the mom's that have taught me about motherhood and paved the path I now walk down; all the veteran's in my life. I thank you. I thank you Jill for teaching me about  time; time is a true gift. Spend time with the ones you love. You constantly amaze me with your strength and love you have in your heart. I look up to you for being a single mother and beating all the odds. Riley is lucky to have such a great godmama.  Thank you Leslie for showing me that you CAN do things with little time. No lie- you are amazing. I compare my crazy life to yours and don't know how you work full time and have 5 kids, a dog and a traveling husband.

Mom- thank you for loving me unconditionally. Now I know how a mother loves their children and realize that you are no different. You had me at a very young age and made the best decisions you knew how to at that time. All those decisions made me into the person I am today; the mother I am.

To all the new moms in my life- you are amazing. Never doubt yourself and never compare yourself or your mothering values to others.

Everyday is mother's day because I think about what motherhood means to me daily. However I like to spend Mother' Day thinking of all the mothers that do so much for others and little for themselves. To my mother in law, my coworkers, Joyce, my friends, my boss, and everyone else I forgot- Happy mother's Day! I wish you have a great day no matter how you choose to spend it. You are amazing!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

To my first born....

My Sweet Riley Mae,

I sit here an begin to type and think about everything I wish I could put int this letter. In 20 short days you will no longer be an only child; we will be bringing another loving piece of this family in the world. In 20 short days your life will change forever. You will never know the difference, you will never know what life was like without your sister at your hip- but I will. I always will.

There's a part of me that wonders how I could ever love another child like I love you. How on earth can my heart fit all of that love into my life? I have heard time and time again that it just does. All your children fit into your life like a puzzle, that with so much prayer, came together just as it should. You are by far by biggest accomplishment so far; there is no degree or success at work that will ever compare to how proud I am of you.. You are my first born and that will never change. You made me a mommy. I can't remember my life not being your mommy.

This past eighteen months has been the scariest, most painful, happy, most awesome time of my life. The challenges you have already over came lets me know that one day you will walk at my front door and be able to stand up to anything that comes your way. Stay sweet. Don't let the world change that. Don't let the bitterness of a situation ever take away your sweetness. Sometimes I wonder how you are my daughter because you are the sweetest, happiest, little social butterfly I know; How did I get so lucky?

I know you are my angel, you're our miracle baby.  God sent  us a message that struggle or challenges doesn't come from things we create- they come from things out of our control. Overcoming obstacles that are out of our control make us who he intended us to be. They make us stronger. Wiser.  I wouldn't change one thing about our life with you right now. Every day I hear a new sound come out of your mouth makes every day more rewarding with you.

I know that you will be the best big sister that Emerson could ever imagine. I'm sure that one day when you are teenagers you may want to trade her in for a newer version,  then just before you know it, you can't live your life without her; your best friend. Between the slumber parties, tea parties, dance recitals, boyfriend stealing, hair pulling and clothes stealing, you will wonder how your life would ever be normal without her. I never had a sister but I hear from so many people that sisters are the best gift in the world. That their sister is and will always be their best friend. I wish that for you two. I pray that life makes you different but still puts you on the same path.

Riley, we love you more than you will ever know;  More than spring time; More than chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream; and certainly more than a nice new pair of shoes! Here's to a new adventure for all of us.

Monday, March 24, 2014

As long as they're healthy....

This post may be controversial for some parents but it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, especially because our second daughter will be here in 3 short weeks. So many times I hear expectant mother's say " As long as they're healthy". This usually comes when asked " Are you hoping for a girl or a boy", which in my opinion is a really dumb question to ask someone anyway. Yes, maybe they have hope for a little girl, or want that future quarterback, but just because the ultrasound says the other doesn't mean they are unhappy parents. Are you not going to love your child the same if it is a boy or girl?

When I hear mom's say "as long as they're healthy" makes me think: What if they aren't healthy? Are you going to send them back? Will you not love them? Will your life be ruined? I pray everyday that Emerson is a healthy baby girl but I just can't be sure. Now Riley was a healthy baby but was born deaf; is that considered in the phrase "as long as they're healthy".  The more appropriate answer would be " We will be thrilled with a boy or a girl; we pray everyday that they are healthy".

One God knows if your baby is going to be healthy or not; why put the impression out there that as long as they are healthy you will be happy. Somethings you can't control and through our hearing journey I have learned to let go of the uncontrollable.  I can't imagine Riley any other way and I'm sure every parent that has a child with a disability feels the same. It has changed their life in some miraculous way that everyone with the "perfect", "healthy" children could never understand.

Please, the next time someone ask you that boy or girl question, think about your answer and how your future would be with a child that is not health. Think about who you are talking to and what is really going to matter when you have your beautiful baby girl or boy in your arms. The love you have won't be determined if they are healthy or not.

That is all. Happy Monday:) 20 more days

Monday, March 17, 2014

Then and Now

St. Patty's Day is seriously one of my favorite holidays. There is something about being lucky, 4 leaf clovers and lepracauns that just make me happy; besides the fact that you can drink green beer and not get looked at like your crazy. St. Patty's day this year really got me thinking: Boy Have times changed! Not only am I giving up my green beer and irish car bombs for baby bottles and spit up, but there are other areas in my life that have just...well changed. Thinking back to then and now......

Then:   I would get up at 4am and go out for st pattys day, drink green beer all day and all night. I would by decked out head to toe in green and love every minute of it. Now: I had trouble finding a green shirt; I ended up borrowing from Josh because my pregnant belly is too big and will probably be in bed by 9pm.

Then: I would go out and buy anything I wanted. If I saw it, I like it, I bought it. Now I feel guilty for buying myself a $20 shirt.

Then: I would watch sex and the city and live my life kind of like I was one of the cast members. Now: I live in the county and am 8 months pregnant- sex is the farthest thing from my mind:)

Then: It wouldn't be a weekend if I didn't have something going on or some gathering to go to. Now: the best weekends are the ones relaxing with my little family.

Then: I only had pictures of my friends on my Facebook and camera. Now: I think Riley is, if not in all, in like every picture on my account.

Then: Date nights consisted of going to a dinner, a movie, maybe even an awesome concert. Now: if we can stay up past 10 to watch a movie we feel good about ourselves!

Then: Bud Light Bottles were my go to beverage of choice. Now I prefer only Tommie Tippee Bottles. 

Then: I didn't know what true love was. Now: I can't imagine my life without Josh and Riley Mae and soon to be Emerson.

Looking back from then to now, From college to present time, From Ohio to Indiana, I get this feeling that even though you don't think things will change, they do. I grew up. I remember back to college and I thought that was the rest of my life; in reality my life is just beginning.  I never thought that I would live me life by labels but now I do. Wife, Mother, Friend, and Daughter are the labels that I live by and the ones that make me realize that NOW is exactly were I want to be.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Noone said it would be easy.....

I have to admit: I have some fears and confessions that have been floating through my mind lately, especially with baby coming in less then 5 weeks (YIKESSS).  I do things my own way most of the time and  these are so random that you may wonder about my pregnant state of mind- I know I do. However, this is really happening in my mind...scary I know.

I confess....

I'm not the best mom on the block. I don't look up everything on the internet and go by the stats that the national journal of pediatric medicine provide. If I give her a little too much tylenol one day...oops she seems okay; We role by how riley reacts to most things. I dropped the comparing and research long after the failed hearing test and the fact my daughter still isn't walking. I have no idea what I am doing half (ahem, most) of the time. She beats to her own drum.

I love taking showers but I alsolutely hate getting ready. I usually take a shower in the morning and night (yes that's how much I love them) but if I could walk out of the shower dressed, with my hair dried and straightened, and my make up done- that would just make my life amazing.

I am unorganized and messy. THERE! I said it. I'm not dirty by any means but i like my closet and my car to look like a natural disaster just went through it. Josh is the complete opposite. It actually makes me laugh that he gets hives when he goes into my car sometimes. Ha

I miss my best friends. That is all.

I used to be really into "How I met Your Mother" then life happened and I stopped. I wish I just knew how he met the mother so I can stop wondering about it.

I would buy a new bag or purse every month if I can afford it. It's actually one of the reason's I teach Spinning classes. They really don't even have to be all that expensive; it's the one way I stay organized. Just get a new bag!

I'm slightly obsessed with the Pantone color of the year. I just bought a new pair of hunter boots in purple (closest I could get) and my calves are too fat to fit in them. This is where pregnancy drives my crazy.

I fear....

Anything under the water. I won't even go on a cruise because something "could" happen where we are surrounded by sharks or whales. I mean, have you ever seen titanic? I have.

That my heart isn't big enough to love my two girls equally; I constantly wonder how this new little angel is going to fit in our family. How could I love anymore than I do Riley? Can you mom's help me out.

looking back one day and not remembering the little things in life because I am so busy with the big things. I am on constant go go gadget mode and sometimes I don't know how to slow down. Before I know it my girls will be having there own baby girls. PLEASE SLOW DOWN TIME!

Wrinkles- most everyone knows this about me. I  try to stay out of the sun- or use major SPF, I exfoliate and use moisturizer twice a day. I want to stay looking 30 for the rest of my life. If Cindi Crawford can do it so can I. Right?

No one ever told me life would be easy....they just said it would be worth it!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Like Mother Like Daughter

When I was growing up and thought about being a parent, I mostly figured I would be a boy mom. Yup! That was going to be, lot's of food, and toy cars. Well God sure did play a trick on me because now that our second daughter is almost 7 weeks away, ahem, I consider myself a total girl mom.

I have been reading a couple different mom blogs that got me thinking about about the responsibility of being a girl mom. The responsibility of being the same sex parent and getting the opportunity to raise daughters into women. This would come easy to me if I were the person I want them to be. Not that I am a bad mother or women in general, but I want them to grow up to be better than me. I don't want them to experience the same things I did or go through the worst to get through the best. I want to be a role model, a mentor, a friend and most importantly, a mother. I want when they are 30 years old to role their eyes or walk really fast somewhere to stop and say "Oh my....I'm just like my mom," and be proud.

Our girls are going to learn a lot from their father but I think they will rely on the girly aspects of life, love, success and happiness to come from me. Dad's going to be more of the outdoor, fishing, hunting, don't let the boys anywhere near my girl type of dad, and that's okay. Lately Riley has been obsessed with bracelets and necklaces; she won't take them off. Like ever. All I keep thinking is "where did she get that from", and everyone keeps pointing right at me. Really? Am I that girly? So it got me thinking...

I want to raise my daughters to be confident, loving, a great friend, kind, and a family girl. These atributes have to come from me, come from what they see. They will look to me for the decisions they make and hope I will support and give them advice on love and life.

If I obsess about food and exercising then they will grow to look at only the exterior beauty and not see what's inside. Even if we think we don't do it- we do. As women we are always criticized on our weight and looks that this rubs off on the ones that look up to us.

If I look in the mirror and only see imperfections all the time- my girls will only see imperfections with them. If I don't want to take pictures with them because I think I'm too fat or I don't like my smile then they will see that and it will influence their inner beauty.

If I focus on success more than family then it will teach them that family comes second and your career is first. When in reality I do the most I can in my career because of my family- to give them the things I didn't have and hopefully they will look up to me for my dedication and committment to both.

If I don't love their father like I should- they will learn how to love like that. I want them to learn how to love like we do, not like we don't. I want them to find true love and not rely on any man to take care of them because they can.

 I want them to look at my best friends and me and know that true friendship is a bond like no other, just like sisters. I want them to know that there are some people that aren't your friends and you don't need people that use their power or do not take pride in your accomplishments as much as you do. I need to be that friend first for my daughters to learn that.

You see, being a girl mom is a blessing like no other but it is a scary road. You have to put your best foot forward and know that even from 18 months old, your babies want to be like you. The things you do influence their decisions and when it's all said and done, when they are mothers themselves, they will look around one day and be proud to be JUST LIKE THEIR MAMA.

Wish us all luck!

Monday, February 10, 2014

We Have a Name....

To say this whole second pregnancy has been such a different experience then Riley is an understatement. From getting pregnant, staying pregnant, getting ready and picking out a name has been like a whole different world. We had Riley picked out within the first 3 months of being pregnant; before we even knew that she was a girl. We knew her name was Riley Mae (Mae) after my grandmother and Riley because we both absolutely loved it, and still do. So now that I have 9 weeks left (holy $%#$@$%) it was about time we finalized a baby name- parent fail # 5637.

Choosing  a name is hard- there are so many factors to think of when you have to name your child. Will they like their name? What are possible nicknames? Will classmates make fun of them? How does it sound on a resume? You know all the big things that parents think about...

We had a couple names that we were for sure were our babies name: Reagan. While we loved Reagan and still do, I just couldn't name her with another R name because her middle name is going to be Marie no matter what. We would have two RMNs in our house and if any of you monogram things you know this could be an absolute nightmare.

Finley and Sadie were ones we both like too. These were good because they rhymed and flowed great with Riley. Then I got to thinking- if I have another child (which we want to) there would be pressure to rhyme them all. NO THANK YOU!

Kate was her name at one time. It was a combination of our mothers names but there was just something about it. We didn't feel the connection- the light that comes on when you hear that name. After getting a painted ornament from my best friend Jill and having a stocking made in that name, we decided to scratch that name.

The name we chose wasn't a name that we even talked about for the first 6 months of pregnancy. It's a name that is not in the top 100 baby names; which again surprises me because I love traditional names. It's a name that is "trendy" right now but the people that I do know that have this name for their child I will probably never see again.

It's also a name you can shorten. I always wanted a to be able to shorten my name or have a cool nickname from my original name. The shortened version is in the top 5 baby names so it's a win win. Although her real name wont be printed on any sippy cups or keychains, her shortened version will be!

It's a name that is definetely longer than Rileys but is also a unisex name. I seem to be drawn to unisex names for some reason. Josh and I both love it- We have been calling her this for 2 months while still looking at names; i think we went through about 3000 baby names. You can come up with some very interesting nicknames for about any name, let me tell you. The wait is finally over....

Our baby girl.....

Our second daughter.....

No longer named baby sister.....


 Emerson Maire Niedzwicki  
I know it's a mouth full- she can hate me later:)

PS...while I am not creative enough to make the hot air balloon mobile because I can't sew, you may or may not see these paper mache letter in her room. Nursery reveal coming soon!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ode to the Working Mom

I thought I needed or should give a shout out to all the working moms today because lately I feel (from other blogs, facebook, etc) that working moms get the low end of the mom chain. Some of us moms work because we need to financially, some of us work because we need to mentally, others, dare I say it, just love our jobs. Does that mean that we love our kids any less???

Absolutely NOT! I am the type of person that is wired to work; although I need to financially, I would still probably do it if I didn't. I have always been very driven in my career and that won't change because I start a family. Don't get me wrong, my family is the most important thing to me. I made a decision to slow down and start a family a couple years ago and now I'm on a role again; that is something that means a lot to me also, it's in my blood.

Working moms work 40 hours a week but that isn't even our full time job.....being  a mom is my full time job and everything else is behind that. Some may think " How could you have someone else raise your child?", or "why would you have kids if you're not going to be around?". I argue that I still am raising my children. While I know that being a SAHM is hard, believe me, I tried it during maternity leave and about went crazy with how busy I was; it was not for me. SAHMs do a lot in their daily life, but it is not for everyone. I started talking to myself and making up professional scenarios in my head... that can never be good.While I miss my baby during the day, it makes coming home so much better. There's never a day I need a "break".

While I work 40 hours a week, working moms are still responsible for all the things SAHMs do: pediatrician appointments, extracurriculur activities, laundry, dinner on the table, baking, keeping up with appointments, dusting the furniture and making sure the kids are dressed and ready to go for the day. On top of all of that...I still have time to Pinterest once in awhile. We don't get a brake from being  a mom just because we work, we get the joys of that on top of everything else.

I feel  working is me taking care of my family. It keeps me motivated to keep moving forward and going towards my dreams. It teaches my children about responsibility, success and following your dreams. I still plan to maybe go back to school, work full time and make it to Riley's swim lessons or soccer practice. I don't want to think I can do it all but when you have a team like I do everything falls into place. My husband is an amazing father and the closest thing to a SAHD (stay at home dad) I will ever get; yet he works 40 hours a week and most Saturdays. We work to provide our kids with the best opportunities and give them a life that we didn't have growing up. It keeps us grounded, it keeps us from going insain to some level. We bring home the bacon and cook it too!

So glasses up! Cheers to the  full time moms that have a 40 hour work week! Not all superheroes wear capes! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

My List


Those of you that know me know that I am completely unorganized...not really dirty just messy. I love my clothes all over the closet because then I know where they are. When Josh picks them up and does me laundry, all hell breaks loose! I can't find anything, everything is missing and it's all his fault. Well to keep me organized in life and in work, I make lists. A lot of lists. Lists about everything and everything. 

One thing I've been thinking about is a life list. I have been seeing these on some blogs I follow and it got me thinking about me own life. I feel that I have done so many amazing things and really lived my life to the foolest but it's not over just because I'm a mom; It's just beginning. 

Learn how to sew
Drink a beer in Ireland
Go to Disneyworld for Christmas
Bake a cake from scratch
Go skiing
Ice skate in central park
Take a picture at the Bean in Chicago
Write a book, or make my blog into a book
Get my PHd
Be a grandmother
go to the red carpet for the Academy Awards
Make a difference in someones life
Be debt free
Run a 10k
Play the piano
Swim with dolphins
Host a holiday event at my house
Renew our wedding vows
Go on a cruise
Wear red lipstick
Make my own bread
Go to a taping of the View in NYC
Read the Great Gasby
Meet someone famous
Make my own furniture
Have a halloween party
Visit the Grand Canyon
Buy another house

Sometimes it's good to make lists; they keep you in check, make sure you are staying on track. Life happens fast and before you know it you are 34 and having your second baby. Live your life, don't let it live you. Do the things you always dreamed of doing; fly kites, play in the sand, build paper airplanes. No matter how big or small, your life list matters. 

Happy Monday

Friday, January 10, 2014

2013- What a year!

Now that it is a week into the new year I figured it was a good time to reflect and review what last year was all about. It went by so fast that I really haven't had time to think about it. I really have mixed feeling about last year. It was good, it was bad, it was sad and it was in credible all in one sentence.

Let's talk about the good (always go with the good first):
Riley had the gift of hearing; she heard my voice for the first time and it is a miracle. She had her cochlear implant surgey and was activated July 11th. She is really only 6 months hearing age and is taking off like crazy. It's a miracle.

We found out Riley is going to be a big sister to a little SISTER! More estrogen in our house and I can not wait. I can't wait for tea parties, spa days and slumber party galore; 14 more weeks to go.

I started a new job (same college) but working in the office of career services. I really love this move because I get to work closely with students and see their dreams come true. I am truly happy with this move. It is a little farther of a commute but still nothing compares to when I was driving downtown to CSU everyday; 30 miles turned into 60 minutes almost everyday. No traffic in the country-BONUS

Now the ugly:

Riley has had so many issues with her implants that was so unexpected. She has now had three surgeries since July and will have another one this may or June. I wish everyday that it would be me with the hearing loss, and me that has to go through these surgeries. She is the happiest baby on the block and doesn't even what she has been going through this year. She had her first ambulance ride, which our hospital is over 2 hours one way, and her first surgery in 2013.

I feel alittle guilty because I haven't been paying much attention to this pregnancy as I did Riley. I mean I had pictures weekly posted of my belly and my progress; some week with baby #2 I forget what week I am on. All I know is she will be here in 3.5 months and we don't have a name picked out. Things have just been so crazy that this pregnancy just flew girl, I promise it will be different once you are here. We love you to the moon and back.

What I've learned:

People do change: I always thought that people don't change. Maybe it's not changing, just more growing apart. I've learned that I don't have time for negativity or people that just take every once of happiness out of you when you talk to them. I have to stay positive in everything that is going on, attitude is everything and you choose how you react to situation. I can't keep up with the Joneses and I don't want to. I can barely keep up with the Niedzwicki's. In 2014 I am going to surround myself with people that I love and don't have to compete with. It's not worth it.

God's plan is the right plan. I think that is enough said. There are so many things that I think....what if? What if I never moved to Indiana? What if I Riley was born with normal hearing? What if I wouldn't have had fertility issues? god knows and he placed everything accordingly. I believe more in God's plan than I ever had. He keeps giving me test, challenges and once I think we've gotten through one bump, another one comes.

I married the most amazing father/husband I ever met or known. He is my saving grace and is everything to his girl. The way she is becoming quite the daddies girl makes me happy. That's what i want, it makes me love him even more. 

 2014 is going to be a great year and I can't wait to watch our family grow. These three are my whole world and what 2014 is going to be about.