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Brotherly Love

A bond like no other.

Brotherly love at its finest. Sam and Noah hold onto each other for dear life as they try to compass their way through a cornfield maze .

All it takes is extending a hand and letting brother know it’s perfectly alright to grab on.

They might fight like dogs and cats, but at the end of the day their bond is tight… their love for each other is undeniable…

Oh how I pray they stay this close forever . Oh how I pray they always lend a helping hand to each other.

The bond is forever captured in this moment… the love they have for each other. to protect and guide in the right direction… but always together.. hand in hand

Don’t Knock a …….Momma!

There she sits. All alone. Or maybe with a baby on her lap… Her hair is pulled hurriedly into a messy ponytail and her face is pale with no makeup 💄Her clothes are baggy, oversized and most likely hand-me downs. She is not homeless or poor but often scarce with the time to fix herself up. Her clothes are often matching and unwrinkled but barely. The circles under eyes dictate sleepless nights.The why could be assumed but often is due to a child wanting to party at all hours of the night… Time doesn’t allow her to sleep on the job or skip when she feels like it. She must keep going—her babies depend on her. However she puts on a slight smile and throws herself together on a daily basis. Her attempt to fix her appearance for the worlds approval just doesn’t render the past importance. She knows there are other women who don’t know her or her story—sitting quietly judging her, feeling sorry for because her appearance doesn’t receive the attention felt deserved. Her nails haven’t been painted in months. The color on her hair is fading and her hair is long past due a style or merely a trim! But deep down she knows it’s all perfectly OK…. she’s proud of the momma she’s become… the wife she is… and the life she has worked hard to earn. She is no longer the single woman who could spend tons of time and money just on herself. Now she is a mom. A caregiver who must first access what her babies needs are first and foremost. Their appearance, well being, is what truly matters to her and is 100 💯 percent top priority . Peer approval is no longer her main focus. The love and care she puts into taking care of her babies is what matters to her most. So the next time you see this lady, this momma, (anyone of us this could be) don’t judge her. Don’t feel sorry for her. She doesn’t need your pity.. she needs your love. She needs your compassion. Hug her. Compliment her on her inner and outer beauty. Make her feel special. Make her feel loved. Tell her you are proud of all the sacrifices she makes and continues to make, whether she is a single or married momma. Don’t assume you know her story. Don’t assume you know her reasons behind lack of self care. Truth is she might not be just low on funds but alsoob excess time. Her priorities are different now and she is proud. It might take all her strength just to get her kids and herself dressed in the mornings… So … No don’t assume… Don’t judge….but just take the time to show her respect, kindness and encouragement 😍Unlock the beauty within by just extending nothing but a smile! Don’t be the kind of person who judges but the kind who looks for the jewel within 🥰🥰🥰So…just hug her, and tell her she’s beautiful even if she is looking like a hot mess. Be the kind of person you want others to be…always… 💯❤️

Rockin-(g) Momma through Age

‘Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. ” – Mark TwainWhat is it like to be an older mom?’ Sometimes questions like these will just stop you in your tracks and make you want to shout “How RUDE” (in your best Michelle tanner impersonation)…..But………Being a mom, a mom of twins, it never ceases to amaze me at people’s comments or questions.Almost 3 years into the position of ‘motherhood’ i am learning how to handle moments like these with positive stride……Being a mom is full of adventure. My age doesn’t stop me in my tracks. I just turned 43 in September and I feel more alive/younger than I did in my 20’s. Age is really just a number. Its the way you react to age that truly matters.I love birthdays. I always have and always will. To me, they are a time to celebrate life and the years God has blessed upon you. Not everyone is blessed with the number of years that were recognized by each birthday celebrated.I will never act my age, or be that ‘older’ mom to my boys. I will always just be their ‘momma–who loves them like any mother would, young or old.So this time around, I just smiled at the young lady who asked me this question and said “It rocks 🙂! Being an ‘old’ momma makes me wiser beyond my years.’ Rock those years proudly. Love your children to the fullest, through life experiences, no matter your age. “Age is a matter of feeling…not of years. “-George William CurtisYes, I might be sporting a walker when the boys are in college, but I will sport it loudly and proudly…….I was born to stand out and always have…….Motherhood for me is no different.I love being an older momma, I just love being a momma…….and I will be the best momma I can be no matter my age! 🙂Just some random thoughts for your Wednesday!

Be a ‘Noah’

Cry. 😭Let the tears stream down your face. 😢😢Emotions shouldn’t be hidden. They shouldn’t be ignored.🤪🤩Just because someone doesn’t really ‘feel’ the emotion the way you do, doesn’t mean yours should be disregarded any less.Face it. We own our feelings. We own the way we express. It’s up to us to display our emotions in the best way possible.Granted, we don’t always have composure. Sometimes, hard lessons are learned by allowing our expressions to spew past control.The fact, though, is no one is given permission to tell you how to feel. They only own rights to ‘how they made you feel.’ You give them the ‘control’ when you allow them to tell you how to feel…..My favorite quote of all time is by Maya Angelou “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”I say this all to say it is OK to be you, it is OK to express. You feel like scowling.. you scowl… want to curl up in a ball… you do it! Express and move on… it’s ok to be true to you! Real is rare and honestly I would rather experience the raw and ugly than the fake and polished……..This photo of my son Noah actually made me stop and reflect on this topic. He wasn’t grinning in the photo like i asked. All I wanted was a big ‘cheese’ like Sam did for his photo.But not……my Noah. No he wanted to make a ‘mean’ little face and it was A-OK……He was tired of all his momma’s photos and he owned that right…he owned his expression……He didn’t fake a smile, or a cheese to make me happy. He allowed his own expressions to show the reality of his feelings 🙂This moment, this photo, will always have a special stamp to it because he is being himself………He didn’t put on the fake cheese for his momma…He just did his own thing, and it is OK!Be you, Be real, Be a ‘Noah’ and the world will find a jewel inside you. I promise! Just some random thoughts for your Tuesday!

62Christina Morris Lindsey, Leigh Goodwin Furline and 60 others20 CommentsLikeCommentShare

Wheeler Twins Take on Toddler Beds

A giggle here. A giggle there. A giggle everywhere.

Not really a sound of music to the ears, especially in the wee hours of the morning.

But rest assured, if you have twins, it’s most likely a sound to be heard.

Our twins have always enjoyed ‘chattering’ or playing together before bedtime.

Usually, we would hear them laughing or jabbering thousands of words once we shut their bedroom door.

Often, it would be anywhere from half an hour or more before the noise would subside.  Honestly, I love listening to them chatter when they wake up or their laughs engulfing the silence in the house.

Well, most of the time.  Rest assured, though, when they decide to stay up and play past 2:30 a.m. in the morning: the admiration for their bonding time isn’t as fond.

Just recently, we transitioned to toddler beds. Of course, we had hopes of waiting longer.

Noa Lavene, our adventurous one, didn’t share our high-hopes for staying in the crib  (a.k.a baby jailhouse). He started jumping and climbing out several weeks ago.

After much discussion, we knew it was time to take the plunge and turn the cribs into toddler beds……….

The adventure we journeyed into was never imagined. We just didn’t want them to get hurt jumping out of their cribs.

Now, we worrying about them scurrying throughout the house while we are sleeping.

Baby gates seem to be keeping them from escaping but the other night neither one of them wanted to go to sleep. They woke up at midnight and decided to turn their room into a jungle gym.

Of course, this tired momma wakes up at the sound of a pin dropping and couldn’t go back to sleep until they finally gave it up. While I was anticipating their ‘give-up’ time, my husband was soundly sleeping. The sound of noise just doesn’t bother him like it does me.

Thankfully, though, the boys were so tired on Tuesday night they zonked out around 7 p.m. and slept all night long. I even had to wake the sleepy heads up for daycare.

Every day in their toddler beds is a new adventure. Currently, I am working on trying to find the time to turn their nursery into a cute toddler room for them.

More on that to come later.

I would love to hear from you. What kind of transition did you have in the process from cribs to toddler beds?

Share your stories please!

The Bye-Bye Twins of Walmart

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Instead of just the people of Walmart, there should be a segment called ‘The bye-bye’ twins of Walmart.
Samuel and Noah would definitely fit the protocol.
Every time we visit Wally World as a family, a daily visit it seems like more than ever, the twins catch the eyes of, well, everyone.
The word that seems to always spew from both their mouths is “Bye-Bye” and they eagerly wave as they are being wheeled in a buggy around the store.
It truly doesn’t matter who you are, a familiar face or a stranger. The twins will just swat gently at the air, smile big, and say, “bye-bye.”
Sometimes you might even catch an uh-oh in there when one of the twins accidentally drops a toy into mommy or daddy’s buggy, without us noticing until it’s time to pay.
Or when they lose one of their shoes somewhere in the store, prompting their parentals to make another trek around the facility just to find out where there shoe might have been thrown.

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Most often we find the shoes, but not until we put about 1,000 more steps on our fitbits in the quest.
As you can guess, the twins don’t meet a stranger either. Honestly, sometimes we seriously feel like celebrities.
Just recently, I heard an employee say to another customer, as we passed by her checkout lane, ‘There goes the Walmart twins; they have been coming here since they were itty-bitty.”
Makes this momma’s heart swell with pride to know her precious babies are so well loved and known in a small town.
Also makes me realize we spend a little too much time in Wally World, especially at the one near our house, off of Olive Street…….when strangers, just clerks in the store, know your babies by their wave and name.
“There goes the Bye-Bye twins” ……only bye-bye until they see you again, the very next day.
Do you have a funny story about outings with your kiddos you would like to share? I would love to hear them! Just email me at sassywriter38@gmail.com

Terrible 2’s X 2 = Double the Love

Editor’s Note: [Published article with Cullman Today right before Samuel and Noah’s 2nd birthda]

In less than a month, my twins will turn 2. Two-years have flown by fast. The last couple of years have been the fastest and the slowest years of my life. To be most honest, it has been a blur!
A ‘blur’ of amazing, exhausting, messy and magical all rolled together into two beautiful babies, miracles, who just blessed our lives just 2 short years ago.

When I think about how lucky I am that get to be Samuel and Noah’s mom, my heart swells!
As most of you already know, their arrival was anything but boring and normal. Mundane would never be the word to describe their birthdate. Samuel and Noah showed up to the party 10 weeks early and fought through a 2 month stay in the Huntsville Hospital NICU before they were able to grace their presence at our home.

These beautiful baby boys have taught me so much since their arrival on May 2, 2018.

I won’t sugarcoat it and say that it has been easy. (It hasn’t). I won’t say that I enjoyed every minute (I didn’t). I won’t lie and tell you that I am not tired all the time because I am. Certainly, as well, I won’t say that we went many places at the beginning because we didn’t.

But I will say that it has been the absolute best years of my life. My heart has overflowed with love and there are so many times when I feel like I can conquer the world. And to all those people in Walmart,(before the Coronavirus pandemic, since we don’t dare venture out with them now) or all the other places we go, who feel the need to stop and comment “Better you than me…” I agree….I am so very glad it’s me who gets to be the one that Samuel and Noah Wheeler get to call momma! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wake up in the morning and run to their crib just to kiss them on the forehead and Thank God for allowing me the honor of being their momma.

There was a time in my life I never thought I would have this chance and now that I do, I am so very thankful and appreciative of every moment.

So here are some of the things that my twins Sam and Noah have taught me after year one!

1. Even though they are the exact same age and are parented the exact same way—my boys have very unique personalities and it’s so rewarding to watch these develop! If you are around my Samuel you noticed how laid back and calm he is. This is NOT the case with Noah He is more high strung and dramatic like his momma, he always wants his presence known.
2. Some stores offer ‘twin’ discounts… just ask! It doesn’t hurt to ask, because assuming will just get you nowhere.

3. They learn to share early on (not necessarily a bad thing!) They share my attention, they share germs, they share blankets & bottles (not always on purpose), they share a stroller and of course they share a birthday…
4. There is nothing I dread more than cutting baby fingernails & toenails. Probably why I have only done it once and let daddy do it because he is so much more braver than me in that aspect.
So when I manage to cut all 40 at once I feel like I have completely mastered an art!

5. Together my one year old babies now weigh 50 pounds. Who needs a gym with barbells when you’re lifting babies all day?!

6. People will always ask you if your twins are identical especially when you have both boys…but mine are fraternal as of now. We haven’t decided to have the test yet to do it. . (People ask me this ALL the time.)

7. Twins are (almost) always a surprise. Even if you battled through infertility or if they run in your family, I think we can all agree that there is still an element of surprise the first time you see two beating hearts on the u/s! (People ask me this, too.)
8. Perfect strangers will look at your twins (when you feel like you have things all together) and say ‘good luck…’ and others (when you are feeling like a hot mess) will say ‘ohhhh I always wanted twins!’ (Just smile at them.)

9. There will be tears and more crying… the cold hard truth is that you can’t always console two babies at once and your heart will hurt when you are comforting one and the other starts to cry. (Just remember that on the flip side, at other times this also means more smiles & more baby giggles – and nothing beats that!)

10. They have their own language, play together and can sometimes be entertained just by throwing their blankets and stuffed animals out of the crib; for hours.

11. On the other hand there are NO breaks… someone always needs something. But they bring so much love to the table! You never leave the day empty.

12. Your days may be a blur and I won’t tell you to enjoy every minute. But do savor the smiles, the cuteness, the giggles & the snuggles and find joy in the journey. Your hands will always be busy, but your heart will always be full. And from what I’ve heard it just keeps getting better and better with each year!
13. Being a part of a Multiples moms group is a must. I have learned that joining HAMOM (the Huntsville Multiples Mom group) has been a saving grace for me at times. These women are not only a wonderful support group but friends to cherish for a lifetime. I wouldn’t have made it through the first year without them.

My advice to you, if you are reading this, is to always give your friends with multiples a little grace during that first year. The second year is easier, but it is also a lot more active than you will ever imagine.
It is probably extra difficult for the ‘momma friend’ to leave her house. She may not respond to your calls, texts, or emails right away no matter how desperately she wants to talk to you.
If she is anything like me, her emotions are on high and she could burst into tears at one slight snippy comment or situation…Know that this is quite possibly the most challenging and demanding year of her life; whether or not she had to go back to work full time or not. If you live nearby, offer to watch her kids for a morning so she can leave the house or take her a meal. If she works, offer to come by and spend some time with her after work. If you are a long distance friend, remind her that it WILL get easier. Chances are she knows she blessed, but in that particular moment, she just might be faltering and struggling in every aspect.

Honestly, these two years have been tough. I won’t lie. However, with each milestone and each smile, my husband Cody Wheeler and I have seen our hearts grow. We never knew we could love this much and that our lives could grow tremendously in just one year.
I have had moments of weakness and tears where I honestly felt spreads thing and defeated. I have cried tears people might not realize and beat myself up over things that have been said.
However, I have learned to chill a little bit more and soak up every second with my beautiful boys.
The fact is these moments are fleeting and the big picture is amazing. When I look back at my life 5 years ago compared to now, I see how it went from being bleak and full of darkness, to sunshine and happiness: all because of three special boys who entered my life: My husband and our twins.
I am so thankful for the blessings in my life and full hands that God gave me to give me an even fuller heart.
When I see Noah and Samuel fighting over their new food truck or hear them giggling/playing in the nursery when they are supposed to be taking a nap; my heart swells with pride. I live for those laughs daily. I live for their uh-ohs, their temper tantrums, and their kisses on my cheeks. I live for them waking me up in the morning just because they are screeching and laughing at each other. I just live for those boys.
All I can say now is that I thank God every day for making me a momma of twins. I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. People often ask me how I do it, and I have to give credit where credit is due: I have an amazing support system and an amazing husband. He helps me in every possible way.
He changes diapers, cleans the house, and goes above and beyond to help me tackle every challenge or obstacle we are faced with on a daily basis.
I couldn’t do this journey without him nor would I want too. We are blessed with amazing families who have stepped in and helped us as well.
Challenges are always there, especially right now as I am learning to work at home during the Coronavirus with the boys at my feet, but the love that we have found in the presence of these two little angels is astounding.
Life before Sam and Noah is nothing compared to Life now as we know it: A life that is well worth living with twins!

Photos and article by: Kelly Jo Wheeler

Food Allergies…in the House!

Food Allergy Parents: Are you there?!
Written by: Kelly Jo Wheeler

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Sometimes you are forced to sign up for a specific club, a club you would rather not belong or having a long lasting membership.

Parenthood, though, it forces you to branch out and step into segments of life never sought or imagined. For years, I have watched one of my closest friends struggle with food allergies of her own before dealing with the daily struggles of being a food allergy mom.

I would constantly ignore the ‘issues’ and just say ‘Thank goodness’ it isn’t me. I am glad I don’t have to constantly read labels and be extremely careful at restaurants—asking management to tell what kind of oil everything is cooked in. ‘Who has time for all that,’ I would say quietly to myself.
Let’s just say ‘God was ready to teach me a lesson.’

Don’t ever, I repeat, don’t ever say “it won’t happen to me.”
Just never, ever, say that……… especially if you aren’t a parent yet or just because you have never been impacted by something. Life has a funny way of just showing you WHO IS THE BOSS! How do I know? Well, just a couple of weeks ago, we found out that my 2 year old twin boys, Samuel and Noah, have severe food allergies. Samuel is severely allergic to beef, peanuts, tree-nuts, and egg. Noah is allergic to fish, peanuts, tree-nuts and egg.

We have suspected for months allergies were the cause of the boys severe skin issues. Mostly, our suspicions came after several mild reactions to certain food products. So, when we traveled down to Homewood to see an allergist, we were thankful to finally get some answers and solutions.

We just never dreamed in a million years the challenges weighing down our journey. My husband said he would never forget the look on my face when the nurse brought in the EpiPen and started our training session. My heart sunk. The minute we were told food allergies, I realized that our challenges of being a parent were going to take on an even steeper ride. “We have to use an EpiPen,” I kept repeating to the nurse, who was extremely calm and kind. The word just caused a shiver of fear to run up and down my spine.
With a gentle reassurance, she told me that she hoped we would never have too but with the severity of their peanut allergies, the chances were greater than some. In that moment, I realized how difficult some of the simplest tasks were going to become overnight. For example, grocery shopping has always been one of my favorite activities. Now, I must admit, I dread it. You can’t just grab something off the shelf and walk away with it, not giving it a second glance.
Everything you put in your basket could mean a ‘life or death’ situation for your child or in my case ‘children.’

Education, patience, and slowing down are the key. An important lesson my husband and I have learned thus far is that food allergies are in everything. You have to check the labels on anything you plan to buy, whether it is sunblock, toothpaste, or any other item that could contain the allergen.

Another challenge that can also rear its ugly head is making other people understand as well if they eat or just touch something with the allergen in it, they have to wash their hands immediately before touching one of the boys. It’s baffling when they break out and you have no idea what caused it; but then realize it could have been a case of cross contamination.

If someone doesn’t deal with food allergies on a daily basis, it is common NOT to know the right steps to take in the process. Honestly, until the boys were diagnosed with severe food allergies, I didn’t have a clue.
This journey, we didn’t want to sign up for, but were given, has shown us that we have to always stop, read, and pay close attention to everything we buy.

Lazy just doesn’t cut it, in any aspect of the journey. You can’t just decide you aren’t to read a label because the time isn’t there and rushing around is the key to getting everything done on your to-do-list. No, you have to stop, think and process every label because a mistake, which will happen to us all, could be a matter of life or death.

As I write this, I can’t help but wonder of all the other parents here in Cullman who are maybe dealing with food allergies. I have joined several groups online to find support in this ongoing process because I know I am not the only momma going through this.

I do want to say I am extremely thankful, though, we had found answers to the boys extreme Eczema problems and was amazed at the significant improvement their skin showed in what seemed like just over night.

Do you suffer from a severe allergy, food or otherwise? If so, I would love to hear from you and any advice you might have for dealing with this process.

Please feel free to email me at sassywriter38@gmail.com and share your journey with me! I would love to hear from you because I feel like we are all in this ‘club’ together.

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