Noobie Box Review

Time for another baby box review! The next baby box I tried after the Babylist baby box was the Noobie Box. These can be found at https://www.noobiebox.com. They do have other box options including subscription boxes – I chose to only get the free pregnancy edition Noobie Box, which cost $6.95 shipping. I truly enjoyed this box and feel that the shipping cost was worth it for new moms (or dads!). I’ll include some pictures of everything I received!

I love the samples that came in this box! The MAM bottle and paci is my absolute favorite. The Aquaphor tube and the Purell spray will be GREAT for baby’s diaper bag, and the little Cuties box of five diapers will absolutely be used! Overall, I’d say the Noobie Box is well worth the shipping cost. If you get one, let me know how your items compare!

Why Stepparent Love is a Different Kind of Love: A Letter to my Stepdaughter

When my husband and I found out we were expecting, he had one main fear – that I wouldn’t love his then six-year-old (my stepdaughter) as if she was my own. I wouldn’t love her “the same” as I loved my son.

And he was right, I wouldn’t.

To him, this meant that I would love her less. That there would be an enormous disconnect between siblings and that I would treat them differently. But what he didn’t understand, what one cannot possibly understand until they are raising another woman’s daughter alongside their own flesh and blood, is that stepparent love is not a lesser love. Stepparent love is a different love.

And so, my dear stepdaughter, I’ll try to explain it to you in a way that you may one day read and understand.

When we first became a family, you already had six years of life behind you. I didn’t witness your first steps, I didn’t feed you your first solids, or give you your first bath. I didn’t cry when you were born, and I didn’t get to hug your daddy and admire what a beautiful little baby you were in the hospital room after having you cut from my body during an emergency c-section.

But more importantly, you weren’t raised to tell me you love me. You weren’t raised to respect me as your parent, or to treat me as a mother, or to hug me goodnight, or to miss me when I wasn’t there, just as I didn’t get my first practice tucking you in until you were six-years-old. And while these may be reasons my love for you is different than the love I have for your brother, they are the very things that make our relationship even more special.

You CHOSE to love me. You picked me, and I picked you. When you tell me you love me, you mean it. Because you don’t have to love me. When I tell you I love you, it’s not because I saw you take your first breath or feel you kick and grow within me for nine months. My love for you was not instilled in me. It’s because I’ve gotten to know you, because we’ve shared nearly three years of life together growing as a family, and I truly love you and the person that you are.

Without you, your daddy wouldn’t be the man I love and married. You changed him, long before I ever came along. Long before your brother was even a sparkle in our eyes. Watching him raise you has been an honor and a blessing, and is undoubtedly part of the reason I fell in love with him.

Without you, your brother wouldn’t squeal with happiness every afternoon when it’s time for school to let out. I’d know nothing about Five Nights at Freddy’s, or Minecraft, or how to unconditionally love another woman’s child. My son wouldn’t have a funny, witty, creative and helpful big sister to learn from and admire.

Without you, our family wouldn’t be a family.

And so, my dear stepdaughter, my love for you may be different, but it’s no less of a love. I may never be your mother, but I will ALWAYS be your stepmother, and that’s a pretty important role to fill. I will continue to watch you grow and thrive, to support you in your every endeavor, to cheer you on in any sport or hobby you wish to pursue, and to be there for you any and every time you need me. I will tuck you in at night, I will bring you one more sip of water when you can’t sleep, I will brush the tangles out of your hair when you need help, and I will hold you when you need a little extra love. You are special, and you are mine…and I would choose you over and over again.

Copyright Rae of Light Photography Works

Date Night

As I clean the macaroni and cheese off the floor, my shorts, and my toddler for the 12th time in as many days, all I can think about is a date night. I dream of dressing up in my fanciest outfit, heading to the nicest restaurant in town with no screaming children in tow and spending one-on-one quality time with my husband. I picture us holding hands across the table, staring romantically into each other’s eyes, kindling our love, and talking about things other than my son’s latest poop size and my stepdaughter’s swim lessons. It’s probably the most common recurring fantasy I have since I joined the ranks of the best (mediocre?) in motherhood a mere two years ago.

Planning a date night has proven to be much more difficult than Cosmopolitan made me believe as a naive teenager, mentally planning and preparing for my future with the man of my dreams. Work schedules, kid schedules, childcare issues and sheer exhaustion have rendered date nights a thing of the past. But still, I dream.

Is this what parenthood is?

When do we get time off?

Typically, we go a few months casually mentioning date nights yet never planning them. My off time is spent taking care of the kids while my husband works, and our nights consist of helping with homework assignments and giving baby baths. My desire and need for time off grows by the day but I try to contain it, knowing that the logistics of planning a date night and acquiring childcare is a near impossibility. I envy the coworkers who get to have meals with my husband at work, child-free and undivided. At some point in the whirling chaos of our lives, several months, toddler tantrums, fights with the eight-year-old over technology time and spaghetti dinners later, we both realize it’s a necessity.

“Let’s have a date night Friday,” Josh will say, and I’ll breathe a sigh of relief. We’ll contact family and friends and find anyone available to babysit our chaos and subsequently beg them to relieve us, even if just for a few hours.

When Date Night finally comes, I’ll search my closet frantically for date appropriate attire. I’ll realize nothing fits anymore since having my son (18 months ago) and vow to clean out my closet and stop dreaming that I will one day wear a size 6 again. I’ll resort to dressing up in my fanciest mom jeans and least ravioli-stained top, and we’ll head out to the nicest budget-friendly restaurant we can think of with no screaming children in tow. I’ll spend one-on-one, quality time with my husband. We’ll hold hands across the table, romantically stare into each other’s eyes, and realize that it doesn’t matter what we talk about, because we are in it together, no matter where we are. We’ll pay the check, and get home just before nine so that we can still kiss the kids goodnight and tuck them in. We’ll lay down and finish the Netflix movie we started the night before, while drifting off to sleep.

A perfect date night.

And the cycle begins again.