Episode 10: Mother’s Day with My Amazing Mom

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I’m posting a day earlier than usual, but it’s just too fitting to miss out. I know you are all busy with your own Mother’s Day plans, but when you have a chance I promise you this episode is worth the listen! My mom shares her incredible story of how she entered her twenties. I already knew my mom was the strongest women I know, but after learning even more about her struggle I am more captivated and astonished. She had to escape a cult and run away to a new town with nothing but the clothes on her back. She begged for a job and a place to sleep, which gives me anxiety just thinking about. But SHE DID IT! She started a new life for herself with her faith in God that directed her paths and kept her safe when all the odds were against her. It amazes me all that she has gone through and raised us 6 kids with my dad in a loving and supportive home that I will cherish forever. I can only hope and pray I set that same example for my daughter and provide all the love and support I have had my entire life for her. Happy Mother’s Day, mom, you are truly an amazing and wonderful Mom, Mimi, and friend to us all. We love you!

Episode 9: New City, College, and Careers with Miranda VanVolkinburg

VanVolkinbugEntering her college days, Miranda knew she wanted to try something new. To find that independence, but still be able to drive home and visit family on the weekend. She found the right college and began her degree. Like many of us, majors changed, she met a boy, and the hunt for the right career was underway. After marrying at 21, she adjusted to the challenges of different career paths and now launched her own business. Listen to her story, as it’s one most of us have experienced or are experiencing now. We make a lot of big decisions in our 20’s and Miranda has learned and grown from each one.

Dating in Our Twenties

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Remember your first boyfriend? Not just the boy who chased you around the playground and your mom who constantly reminded you that he’s not your boyfriend, he’s just a friend of yours that happens to be a boy. Because what 8-year-old could have a real boyfriend, right?

No, I’m talking about your first real boyfriend, maybe it was high school, maybe it was college, regardless, close your eyes and soak in those memories for just a minute… the butterflies, the nerves you got when he first held your hand, or how your lips felt numb as you waited for him to first kiss you. Do you remember? All those feels and flutters mustered together could make us queasy all over again. Or not, depending on how who your first real relationship was with, maybe the bad outweighed the good, which is why you didn’t end up with him the first place. I’m just talking about the good times though, all those “firsts” of dating and being in a relationship. Those good memories that made it all worth it. When dating just to date was easy, it was fun, there wasn’t much stress or pressure on the relationship, because you were young. It was okay to take things slow and get to know one another.

Now let’s shift gears, dating in our 20’s. Sure in those first few years dating to date still works. You have a lot of figuring out to do with yourself and deciding your “type”. It all starts with what do you find attractive? Short guys or tall guys or do you like brunettes or blondes? Then you get a little deeper into their characteristics, they must like dogs, are they smart, are they funny, etc. Then we start taking things a step further like are they a Christian or Catholic, what are their beliefs, which way does their moral compass point, do they want to get married, are the open to having children? Scary how our concerns can change so quickly. We go from wanting to make sure they like butter on their popcorn to what if they only want one kid and I want three, can we compromise?

At what point does it all start to be “a little more serious” the relationships you are in are no long “puppy love” or “just seeing what you like” they are real. They have the potential to be lasting, like as in a marriage, kids, and growing old together. 20 seems too young to possibly be ready for that move, but some are! People like to say “when you know you know right?” I am here to tell you, I was not a “when you know you know” person. I was the opposite, I questioned everything. I had the cute puppy dog love high school relationship. Then I had the few in between flings of testing my taste, who am I, what do I want, what do I like. I could have done without a few of those flings, however, it brought me to my husband. And during our 4-year dating relationship I questioned so many parts of it before I came to the conclusion, please be mine forever. I was scared, I often thought I was too young to know. I married at 25 by the way, and start dating my husband at 21 (during those on again off again moments) it scared the pants off me that he could be the one. So I often ran away, did something to piss him off so he would run away. Doesn’t make much sense to fight “true love” right? But that was the immaturity in me. It took me longer than others to get to the point that I was ready for my ever after, but I got there. I am beyond blessed to have a man that stayed by my side during my 20 questions. I guess you could say he was more mature than me during this time because he knew he loved me and I was the one he wanted to be with. It amazes me that in our 20’s we can make these life-changing decisions like marriage. In just a few short years you can meet a guy in your 20’s and also marry him also in your 20’s. What a decade!

Episode 8: Infertility, Adoption, and the desire to be a Mom with Raquel Goossens

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Most of us grow up with the expectation and dream of meeting the love of our life, getting married, and becoming a parent. It’s supposed to be that easy right? Boom, boom, boom. Then life actually happens and it throws us curve balls. Sometimes the plans don’t happen in the order we want, or sometimes those big moments seem unattainable. For Raquel Goossens, one of her deepest desires was to become a mom. Something that should be so natural became one of the biggest struggles in her life. Listen as she shares her heart through the difficulties of facing infertility through failed attempts of IVF and entering what’s known as the long road of adoption. Together, with her husband, they put their trust and faith in God and grew a beautiful family. It was a period filled with heartache, but it brought them here… with another baby on the way! I hope her story encourages you to stay positive through the challenges and continue on.

The Endless Sleep Cycle

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Let’s talk about our sleep patterns and how they change over the course of our life. We start out as babies and our parents do everything in their power to get us to sleep; they rock us, walk with us, put us in the car and drive around, or last resort set us in a basket on top of the dryer to get us to calm down. Then as we enter the stage of going to bed without a problem, but getting up at 6am seems a reasonable time to get up with energy levels through the roof. Finally, we enter middle school/high school and getting up is a drag, literally, our parents, at least mine, had to drag me out of bed at times. I would set several alarms, but the fact was I knew my mom would come upstairs to my room and make sure I was up, so I took full advantage of my walking/live alarm and stayed in bed till the last possible second.

Now, sleeping in our twenties… we start this journey where we have full freedom over our schedules. We are fully responsible adults to make our own decisions and our parents aren’t waking us up or helping us get to work or our college classes on time. For some, your living on your own in your early twenties and your parents can’t even keep tabs on you to know if you made it to class or work on time. You are solely on your own and it’s your choice how you want to handle your sleep schedule and your priorities. That freedom is something we sought after for years while in high school and under our parents’ roof with their rules. Entering college, where there were no “tardies” or detention slips given was amazing. If I didn’t feel like going to class that day, that was exactly what I did, I stayed in bed till I felt like getting up. Sure, there were times it hurt me and other times I was able to recap with a classmate what I missed and got everything I needed, which made choosing sleep over making it class all the more worth it. Then there was the fact that I had control over my college classes and I made sure to never schedule a class earlier than 9am. I know I am not a morning person, so I wasn’t about to force myself to get up early and have to think if I didn’t absolutely have to.

Then there were weekends, gosh, those weekends filled with friends, late night hangouts, meet-ups with that boy, or going to the bars and staying out till the last call. During this time in our lives, we may not have the energy to get up for class or sit through even a three hour night class, but when it came to fun, I could run a full night of fun till 3-4am on a two hour night of sleep if I wanted too, because it was always worth the memories made.

8-9 o’clock in the evening was usually an average time to begin making plans for the night. I would finally start getting ready and make my way to a friend’s house or first stop for the night to begin the pre-gaming around 10pm. We’d make our way downtown with friends to begin the night of fun, no one would hit the dance floor till after 11pm. The night was still so young! Finally, well past midnight, the last call would be made and we’d be at the third or fourth stop for the night and make our way out of the bar, laughing hysterically and downing our worries in vodka and lack of sleep. Before making it home, there was often the side call from some boy that would cause my drive home to be pushed in a different direction, generally a random park. Seems so dangerous to think about now, but when you are in the moment and that guy you can’t stop thinking about wants to meet up, you take it, no questions asked. Well, now I think I would have asked questions.

Staying up with the guy of your dreams, talking and maybe even making out and the naughty things your mom always told you was never wise to do after midnight. Not till hours pass do you realize it is time to get home and you are now sneaking in at 4-5 am with a full day planned tomorrow, but you don’t even mind, because the night was well worth it? You go to bed dreaming of the guy you can’t wait to see again and reliving every moment with him, his hands, his eyes, and those sweet words you shared with each other. At the moment you were high on not just the cranberry vodka, but the memories made with friends and the boy. Sigh…. Sweet dreams, twentyish.

It’s amazing how we could function the next day at a reasonable hour say 8am at work after being up till 5 because again you are still soaking in those sweet, sweet memories made from the night/early morning before. Not to say I didn’t drag at work once noon hit, but I kept my mind in the right place repeating how worth it was to stay up with “him” and not go to bed for an additional 4 hours of sleep that would most definitely come in need at about 2pm.

Not to mention, in my early twenties you could afford the nights to stay up as late as you wanted knowing you didn’t have any kids to wake you up in the middle of the night, a house to clean, or chores to do, because work was really the only other responsibility and when it was a day off we used that time to sleep. And I don’t mean like till 9 or 10, I mean we slept like we were in comas till about 1 in the afternoon! Imagine all the things I could have crossed off my to-do list by that time if I had just gotten up even two hours earlier. But no, half the time I’d sleep in and then lay in bed for about an hour after being up to just recall the night, my life and where it stood, and critique everything about it, was I happy? Did I like where it was heading? Should I be doing more? All the while still waking up and dosing in and out of sleep.

Let’s fast forward now, I just turned 28. I have a daughter who one and sleeps good some nights and others I am up at 1am, 5am, and then fully up and out of bed by 8am on a Saturday. My sleep is dictated by not only my work schedule but by this little bundle of joy that ‘stands’ 2 feet tall. Don’t get me wrong, there are mornings that she gets up at 5-6am and I’ll get up to get her bottle and as she starts to fall back into a deep sleep instead of putting her in o her crib, I sneak her into bed with me between my husband and I. I just can’t help to soak in those extra cuddles while I can, because I know soon enough she won’t want mammas arms suffocating her. If I can stay in bed till 9 on a Saturday it truly is a miracle, but I don’t think twice about getting up anymore. I look back on those days of sleeping in till whatever time I wanted and do I miss them? You bet, there are days I definitely miss them and there are days I look back and wished I used my single life sleeping patterns in different ways because of all that free time I had that I don’t have now, but God has blessed me with more now than my heart could ever imagine. You couldn’t take from me what I have now back for the world. I wouldn’t change a thing. That’s just what life does to us, we start out young and I wouldn’t say immature or irresponsible. Some things maybe I would categorize it as, but it’s the growth we have in ourselves it’s the circumstances and moments we go through to get us to where we are now.

So if you are 20-21, girl sleep, you’ll need it, your life is changing and you are growing yourself and making some sweet sweet late night memories. And as for the girl who is a first-time momma or momma to multiple kiddos, then Girl you sleep too when you can! It doesn’t matter what stage we are in, the truth is, we women are amazing and we can run on a lack of sleep whether it’s a boy were crushing on that kept us up, a friend who encourages us to stay out and enjoy the moment, or a sweet baby whose cries are still precious, it’s all apart of our life and in the moments. All I can say is our sleep patterns will change as our life does too… catch the z’s while we can. Sweet dreams, twentyish…