Just Married

Hi guys! If you have read my blog you’ll know I stopped posting a while back and you may not have realized that until right this moment or you’ve been checking to see if there are any new one’s up every day and have been seriously disappointed. I’m going to assume it’s the latter and just move forward.

There are plenty of reasons that it has taken me so long to update. Kids, sports, obligations, schools, gyms, what have you. Truth be told we have just been extremely busy.

I was told yesterday by Thomas that people have asked him about Messybed now whether that is true or not who knows but it did make me realize i’ve missed doing it.

Either way here are some updates…..

Maverick is adorable, chubby and nine months old. I would describe him as the mascot of our family. He keeps things happy, light and truly is a reminder of what we are working toward as a family and a the important things that can get lost in the daily madness.

The kids are still busy as ever doing all the things. Sports, plays, aerials, gymnastics, chorus, band, girl scouts, ALL THE THINGS.

As for me and Thomas we finally tied the knot. After almost two years, a baby, blending households and endless challenges we are now husband and wife and pretty psyched about it.

We did it at the local Magistrate’s office with our friends to witness who were nice enough to come on a very short notice.

The most important thing you need to know about our wedding is this.

I had baby Mav dressed so cute and right before the ceremony he had a serious code brown situation that got all over his cute outfit and had to be hosed down and put in pajamas.

This my friends, sums up our life together.

Seriously though I am very lucky to have Thomas, he has boundless energy, enthusiasm and positivity. He takes great care of me, prioritizes our relationship every single day and loves my children like they are his own. We have very similar backgrounds and the same wants, dreams, goals, priorities and morals when it comes to life and our family. I am so thankful.

He’s also not bad to look at.

I have decided after years of wanting to to get my license in real estate. With the amount of kids we have and our crazy homelife it is really hard for me to go back to work full time. I miss working and being around adults but between the cost of childcare and the time it just doesn’t make sense for us right now. Real estate gives me the opportunity to be working toward something and learn and grow in a way that is more realistic for our schedule and lifestyle.

I hope you guys have enjoyed my little update. I feel like blended families while they can bring a lot of joy has it’s challenges as well and I’d like to share our story as much as I can so people can see that. Please comment or ask questions I look forward to hearing from you!

A Peak Into our Home.

Our Morning in Pictures.

I thought I would give you a little sneak peak into our home today so you can get a better idea of what the daily life is like in our family.

Up until my eighth month of pregnancy I was working full-time and running a business. We decided at that time that I was needed at home so that was where I went. I stay home full-time for now while Thomas goes to work everyday.

It is summer here of course and I currently have in the house the baby and my for lack of a better term “step” children this week. It is our first week of summer with them and a couple are under the weather so we are doing a lot of bumming around.

Our doggies. They are spastic and have been brought from two families as well. The left is my girl I’ve had for years and has been by my side and the right drools a lot. Like a whole lot. Moving on……

Our living room with one of our lovely daughters helping watch the baby so I can get the other two moving. She has been up watching you-tube and all around enjoying her quiet morning.

The dining room with some syrup left over from breakfast. Flowers from our oldest daughter’s last day of school and a wedding we recently attended. I have to admit I don’t usually sit down to eat with the kids, we’re either feeding them in a hurry on our way out the door or I’m feeding the baby or something is taking me somewhere else. Even when we’re all together I’m standing in the kitchen with Thomas while he is finishing up cooking as he is the talented chef of the family.

Oh the laundry. You can guess that it never ends around here. When you have this many people you are doing it every single day or you are way behind. We currently have the blankets there because of the sick kiddos I referred to earlier. I am trying to avoid getting me or the baby sick because then the whole operation is in shambles and so far so good!

The boys’ room including one of them waking up. The bottom bed has some of his sisters’ “babies” so she could sleep seperate from her sick sister. The hanging clothes are because try as he might he can’t quite reach the closet to hang them on his own.

The cat who used to run free outside but has been forced back in after the neighbor complained she was pooping in their garden soooooooo……

These girls could not be more different. All of the stuffed animals and toys belong to one. It is her corner and those are her toys and she loves them and in a slightly hoarding way, will not let them go. The older one is dubbed a “tween.” She is the more emotional, artistic, social one. She likes to paint and really really really wants her own space. We try to make it work both of them together and they are really sweet about it (at least to me) most of the time.

The nursery with a sweet book given by a long-time dear friend. This room doesn’t see a lot of action quite yet because he is so young and stays with us most of the time. There is a lot of hope and promise in this room however because it holds the child that bonds us all together. (No pressure little guy.)

My oldest’s room. He would be quite embarrassed but I promise you that comforter is still there from Grandma’s visit. He got booted to the couch. He is the only kid with his own space at this point and trust me not everyone is happy about that.

Our house is so very full of a lot of different things. Noise, fun, fights, things, energy, needs and of course lots of love. I have never felt more at home with people and have found my sanctuary and I’m grateful for it everyday.

The whole idea behind this blog is our messy bed. It’s our actual bed with people and blankets, towels, electronics and anything else you can think of. As a nursing mom I use it for a lot of different things. It also symbolizes our hectic life and the controlled chaos of it that we love because it is ours.

Finally me, just me. Totally raw, no makeup hair thrown in a ponytail. Proud to show you our life and I hope you will continue to read my posts and support us. I am oh so excited for what the future will hold.

Getting Back to it After a Long Haitus.

I once considered myself a bit of an aerialist. I spent years perfecting my craft and enjoying most nights in the gym training, teaching and learning. I competed, performed and strived to get better and it was one of my top priorities. Then…..

Being pregnant changed everything as it usually does. My day to day life has changed drastically but also my body. I’m proud to say (even if everyone wasn’t thrilled about it) I taught pole and ran the gym well into my eighth month of pregnancy which as I said in a previous post made a big difference in losing the weight quickly this time.

Now at eight weeks postpartum I am attempting to get back into it. The weight is gone yes but a good portion of my strength has gone with it. Having a C-section my stomach has literally been taken apart and put back together so my core muscles are very different then what they were before.

I am prepared though, I am not as far behind as I had worried I would be and I am ready to take this on. I went to the gym yesterday nervous but ready to work on some static trapeze (one of the easier apparatuses) and boy howdy it was….interesting. I was awkward, slow, weak and a little scared. I had a great instructor helping me and making me feel supported which is the only reason I could do as much as I did but it was a far cry from before. I have thought a lot about it and as I sit here sore I have realized a couple of things that I would like to share.

  1. I am lucky to be able to do it again, I have no physical reasons I cannot so I have to be grateful for that.
  2. I have a loooot of support. My partner is very supportive of it as well as my gym family.
  3. It will be a slow process and it will be a great opportunity to feel like a new student again, learn things the right way and the compassion it takes to be a better instructor.
  4. I need to have little to no expectations. I am the kind of athlete that likes to have goals but with a new baby and five other children a competition or show may not be feasible right now and that is ok.

I encourage all of you to find that thing that is hard for you and takes you out of your comfort zone and just do it! A sport, travel, acting, learning a new trade whatever it is and know that that is how you grow as a person. Even if it is somewhat complicated and even though it forces you to make yourself the priority when it’s not always easy.

Father, Fighter, Best Friend, TIRED

By Contributor Thomas Hand

 Being a Father First, a Best Friend to my Love, and an active Fighter, it all becomes hectic. Then you mix in that I work a full-time job for the Federal Government and I just graduated from a Dual-Bachelors program (with Honors), it all now just becomes the most crazy, exciting, and loving environment available! Our lifestyle can only be accomplished through patience, understanding, and Love! Love of each other, our children, and our second lives!

 It’s a pretty common thing for people to know me to make the comment of “I wish I had your energy!” or “It’s crazy, I don’t know how you do it!”. The Answer to the question… I don’t know either. It’s all done in the process of bettering OUR life, how our children see us, and how we view ourselves. The last one may seem inconsequential, but you always have to remember “In case of emergency, First put on your Mask!” A simple warning that doesn’t always make sense when you hear it. Too many times we’re busy trying to help others and while doing such we let ourselves fall apart, both physically and mentally!

 YOU cannot always be the focus, it’s just not feasible with all these kids and activities. The thing is that you have to make the time though! Tired is a process of life though, the thing is what do you do with your exhaustion? You have options, let the tired take hold or drive on and push through it. The thing about it is that with doing that you can burn out too, and they can be rough! Mentally, Physically, and especially emotionally.

 It doesn’t matter the Man, there is always a breaking point. You can put every tic mark in the tough guy checklist, Vietnam Father… check, 1 of 5 kids… check, Boy Scout… check, U.S. Marine… check, Hunter… check, Mechanic… check, Jiu Jitsu… check, Striking… check, and finally emotional! You can be all the MANS Man that you want, but you’re going to eventually have to crack the emotional wall down.  I have myself a best friend who is here to listen though, Katherine has become my emotional piggy bank.

(As I write this Callen, our 5th is sick and passed out. I skipped Gi class to come home and take care of house stuff and kid things because; Katie isn’t feeling so well either.)


It’s important to have someone to be able to share information with, someone who can help you break things down and make sense of it all, before it breaks you down. The challenge is balancing when to hold on to everything and when to let it out. It’s different for everyone, no single stream easy answer.  It all comes down to you, your grasp on things, and those people who are available to you in your life.

 After everything being said, the key take-away is that it is okay to have emotions. It’s acceptable to not always be ok. What’s not acceptable is to have people who depend on you and for you to allow controllable stress to destroy you and affect them. Be strong and let it out. If your tired, rest. You’re no good to the ones you love if you’re a physical and emotional mess.

I asked Thomas to write a blog from his point of view on how he does everything day to day with our busy lives. Truth be told he has way more energy than me and it comes in handy! I appreciate him sharing his perspective and I look forward to hearing more!

Puffy Eye Attack

This mama is tired…a lot. I was not born blessed with extra energy whether I have one kid or 6. Taking care of a baby certainly doesn’t make me any less so and it tends to show under my eyes. They get dark and certainly puffy. I get the questions are you okay? Are you sick? No, just tired.

Last night we were at the baseball fields late with all the kids.

It was fun but needless to say we were all dragging this morning before school. I figured it was the perfect time to try out these under-eye patches.

I should say, I am not great at being girlie. I am feminine but terribly bad at upkeep and paying attention to detail so I don’t know a lot about different products. I tend to go by the packaging and a prayer. Sometimes I get lucky. I think I have tried patches under the eyes once or twice before and have zero idea what kind they are. So when I was at Target I saw this brand Soap and Glory and it looked cute and bright and thought “sure why not.”

A little bit about the product it is Soap and Glory brand from Target like I said. It is called Puffy Eye Attack Super-Hydrating Under-Eye brightening Hydrogel Patches. Sounds intense I know but I need it. It has cucumber fruit juice extract and something called “puffease technology.” The package was around five bucks and included one pair. I left them on for thirty minutes as the package said to do.

Left side before, right side after. Pardon the messy hair and my apologies to the carpool line at the kids’ school for what they are exposed to daily.

First thing I will say is they stay on really well. The ones I tried before I feel like they were falling off and I had to keep messing with them but these I was able to clean the house with them on securely. Second they made my skin itch just a little but did not burn and these kinds of things and face masks always do. My skin is very sensitive so kudos to that. As far as difference, I don’t know visually I don’t see much maybe it takes a little bit after taking them off for the juices to soak into skin but that seems slight as of now. I do feel it a lot though. My eyes feel less heavy and refreshed and it ain’t a bad feeling at all.

Are there any under eye products that are killer out there I need to know about? I would definitely use this one again and look forward to trying some other products from this brand!

She without a title….

I wasn’t planning this post at all but I wanted to fit it in before I have to go get the kiddos from school so lucky you right?

First things first me and Thomas are not married (pause for gasps). I know alert the church elders it is true. That is another post but we are committed and very much in love, cohabitating and the parents to our little round-headed love child but no not married.

Anyway, I receive two texts from him this morning first one asking if I can make it to a kindergarten graduation ceremony at his son’s school today at one and second saying never mind, his mom and grandma are going to go.

So I thought of his little face (also round) and how excited he would be to see me and baby there so I figured I would still go. I rush around to get out of the house by 12:40, grab the car seat and head out to be the good (Insert title here) I am.

I should have probably known to just stay home then because things started to get rocky. Thomas had last parked the vehicle I was taking in backward so to get to the door I have to walk in what is basically the hoover dam of our yard. One little piece of concrete surrounded by water and mud because oh yea it’s raining. I am carrying baby backpack, baby in car seat and water and ended up dropping water and forcibly having to put down car seat on the hoover dam then trying to figure out out to then open this door with car seat in way and honestly I don’t remember what I figured out. I blacked out and woke up driving (not really) but I did drive to the school.

So we have a suburban for obvious reasons, and it is very large. I am not good at parking large vehicles so I park in the schools tight parking lot, barely make pulling out the car seat slide through the cars just as the rain starts to pour.

Make it into school, get my id i’m waiting in line at the table they have to help get parents in I’m guessing I get up to desk and tell them who I’m there for. Teacher looks at list, (oh yea there was a list) I knew I wasn’t on said list but I waited hopeful. She looks nervous and gets the principal who comes over not knowing what to do.

Guess who had to go to the principal’s office. Me. Standing there awkwardly telling her it was ok as she apologized not knowing what to do. I glance down at the paper they give me….this is not a ceremony this is a lunch. Little man is currently at lunch with his mom and grandma. If I fight this battle to get in I will be sitting at their table and heightening the awkward to level ridiculous.

I gracefully let the principal know that I did not realize what this event was and it would probably be best if I just went home.

So I got back in my tightly parked car, got baby in and headed off where he proceeded to screammmmmmm his head off the entire way. I finally get home frazzled because of all the screaming get out put baby backpack on, grab car seat and proceed to drop brand new phone on wet concrete.

To conclude, I don’t have any cute, happy ways to wrap this story up. I tried I did not succeed and I will continue to try to be there for my kids.

Even if it gets me sent to the principal’s office.

Losing the Dreaded Baby Weight

A couple of things I need to point out. All the pictures here of the workout were taken at the lovely Smash Studios my wonderful home gym.

My cute workout attire is from Fabletics and I am not in any form or fashion a doctor or equipped to give medical advice so please consult with a real life one first especially pre and postpartum.

This is a very popular topic among women (even those who don’t want to admit it.) I am one of those women as much as I’d hate to admit it’s important to me.

During my pregnancy I had the insecurities that come with it. Especially being 35 where they classify you as a geriatric pregnancy, seriously I’m not making that up. Anyway I wondered what the heck my body would end up looking like after. Would I gain a ton of weight? Would I have a ton of stretch marks? Would I be attractive to my partner anymore? Would I be able to do all the things I worked so hard for years to be able to do before? There was constant self doubt running through my brain and I couldn’t seem to stop it.

As someone who tries to empower women and help them be strong I should probably figure out why I didn’t have a better hold on that but that is for another time. I am happy to say I am in a really good place now and I would like to tell you how I did it.

This is me as of today. Weight is at pre baby and I am not even six weeks out and was there within three weeks out. Please know that this is not par for the course for me. With my other two it took closer to a year on average with a lot of hard work.

One of the biggest differences between the two was how I lived when I was pregnant. Seriously if you take nothing else from this please remember that. My first two pregnancies I was out of shape, not nearly active enough and ate whatever and I mean whatever I want. Yes, it’s fun to take advantage of this time and say you are “eating for two” but trust me you will have to pay the piper at some point. There are exceptions to the rule just like anything else and the women who can eat what they want and stay fit and trim but I am nowhere near that so I have to be very conscious of my actions.

I didn’t do anything crazy. I was very active before I got pregnant so I tried to stay on the course as much as I could. By the time I was 5-6 months my ability to do 75% of the aerial stuff I had done before was gone so I substituted it for stuff I could do. I will lay out a workout that worked for me during and getting back into exercise after pregnancy.

You may be curious about diet too. I obviously did not diet during pregnancy however I did do a couple of things.

  1. I didn’t use it as an excuse to “eat for two” by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, since I had been so active before I ate at about the same rate to make up in the lowering of the activity level and that seemed to work great.
  2. I stayed away from sweets, not because I don’t love them but because I had killer and I mean killer heartburn so I didn’t really have a choice. Sweets made me miserable so it made it easy to say no. Hopefully that is not the case for you but just make sure you are aware of how much you eat and try not to overdo it.
  3. I tried to make healthy choices. Very simple but very important. The healthier options usually keep you fuller longer and help with your energy levels so choose them!

There you have it. Common sense stuff but a lot of people forget to do them myself included.

I have to point out, I really really really think that my specific aerial lifestyle is a big part of me losing the weight so quickly. What we do is a lot of bodyweight stuff that takes a lot of strength so my body just works well. Even when I have had to make changes to my lifestyle it stays working that way because of aerial fitness. Trust me if it’s something you have thought about doing you won’t regret it.

This workout, as I said before is very similar to what I would do during my pregnancy to nine months and what I am doing now after starting at six weeks postpartum.

  1. Dynamic warm-ups. I just love these. If jumping is too much for you do versions of these standing.
Butt Kicks 30 seconds to one minute
High Knees 30 seconds to 1 minute

Next do some static stretching. Our gym focuses and requires a lot of flexibility work so I am always doing these and wanted to include them.

I’m not going to specify on stretching. Just do what you are comfortable doing and do enough so that you are warm and avoid pulling any muscles.

Next is the actual workout. I want you to run through it twice and that is it! Nothing too crazy or complicated here! Just do it with awareness, use your breath, hold exercises to make them work better and always use good form!

Squats. I am a weirdo and actually love them. I am not going to go deep into squats here because there is a loooot to them. When I went to school for pt we spent a lot of time just on squats and lunges so I am going to trust you have good form or someone who can help you.
I prefer higher reps for lower body stuff so start with 15 and go up from there as you get more comfortable.

Lunges. Very similar to squats in that they care complicated at first but great lower body workout and start with 15 on each leg.
Kick backs. 15 each leg. Squeeze glutes whole time. Chest up shoulders back and keep your balance, these are great for your glutes!
Shoulder rolls. Make circles with your arms. 30 seconds forward then 30 seconds reverse.
Hanging shrugs. Find anything that you can comfortably hang from and keep butt in abs tight, body straight and shrug your shoulders! Start with 8-10 of these. These are a little advanced so you can also do these by simply holding dumbbells and shrugging!
Rows. They can be done many different ways at many different angles. I am pictured doing them with dumbbells at just a slight angle. Start with 10-12 of these.
Bicep curls, 10-12 each arm. Please try not to swing when doing these.
Last but not least, shoulder presses. Start with elbow at 90 degree angle then straighten arm. 10 on each side.

There you have it. A good little workout to keep you fit then get you started without the intimidation. You’ll notice I didn’t put core or “ab” exercises in there. This is because you are using these in other exercises. When you are able to do so squeeze them throughout to keep them active and I feel that is plenty.

What do you think? Please comment any feedback or questions you have. I hope it helps, please let me know if it does and enjoy those babies you worked hard for! They’re worth it.

How We Blended our Families. 4 Tips to remember when blending yours.

So how did we blend our two families together? Was it tough or seamless? Do the kids get along? Do they like you? Do you like them? These are some of the questions I hear a lot about our family. I will tell you this, I have made a lot of mistakes in the process, a lot. I try really really hard to learn from them and do better next time. This post is going to go into some of the things i’ve learned so far from the many mistakes I have made.

This smiling kid is me, young and having no idea how much my life was going to be changing really soon. Starting around the age of five my family of four children started a journey into foster care. My family took children in and we’d take care of them until they were able to go back home or a forever adoptive family was found for them. We ended up adopting a few as well along the way. I do believe this prepared me for loving children as my own who are not biologically so. I think back on it and my past siblings a lot and it has helped me be a more empathetic and loving mom to my children now. I took this role extremely seriously from the very beginning and I try really hard to anticipate their needs and meet them when I am able.

Here is a list of things to remember when blending families:

  1. All the children’s needs are different.

Now this can be daunting I know. One child’s ever changing needs can be time consuming however if you have decided to take on this role in their life and you want to do it in the best way this is important. For example, maybe the older ones need advice on friendships and different things encountered as an older child while a younger one needs to know you are willing to help them reach a high cabinet. The older one is needing you not to judge them and be an ear for them while the younger needs to know that you will be available and patient. Again, these are ever changing but in order for me to do my best I just pay attention, listen, take cues, whatever I can to meet these needs. I am in know way licensed for child psychology I am just going off of positive feedback and what seems to work for us.

2. Important moments are planned when we are all together.

I have found to avoid jealousy and other negative feelings the more that are included the better. We do our best to make sure all are with us for the birthday parties or fun events. This can take a lot of shuffling but it is so worth it. The kids bond and they see us as parents excited and happy!

3. Spending time with them seperately.

Equally as important is that, like in any other family with more than one child we find the time to spend solo time with our kiddos. Having six sometimes that means I get time with just the girls or boys or just his bio or my bio but we find the times and do what we can. His three need assurance from me that they are a priority and I will be available and present for them and mine need to be reminded that they still are. Some more than others. My eight year old tends to need more of that special time and I try to do what I can to tell him how much I love him. Even if it’s a little time alone in the morning or in bed while tucking them in it all counts.

4. Give the kids time to find their place and allow them to be uncomfortable.

A great example of this was when we first moved in my eight year old was not used to having sisters around at all. He seemed to be overwhelmed by them and how social they were. I found it kind of humorous but also thought it was a great learning experience for him. I told myself it will help him be a better husband someday to have a better understanding of girls and I truly hope that it will. I learned so much as a child from having different foster siblings and understand that concept well. I try to allow them to be uncomfortable instead of swooping in and learn their place in each of these relationships. They each have blossomed so much in the last year and have these cute friendships with each other.

As I said before I have zero background in any kind of psychology or counseling with children. I am just a caring parent who tries to pay attention and these are the things I have found work for US. It is worth the time, patience and understanding because we are influencing these future adults and we want them to succeed and feel secure. I will continue to make mistakes and I hope I am conscious enough to learn from those too.

What works for you? What doesn’t work? I would love to hear!!