Hello friends! Happy Kentucky Derby day! Happy Cinco de Mayo! Happy Graduation to soooo many people around the country who are walking today! Shoot, first weekend of May, there’s probably a ton of weddings too! Whoop! It’s a hoppin’ day!
But you know what the four of us DeSpains are doing today? Probably not much! The last three weekends we were either out of town or had company, and the next two weekends are going to be eventful as well (ALL good things lately, so grateful for the time with friends and fam!), but as for today, we’re laying low and recharging. HECK YES.
Meet Katie! She is so sweet. I always love emailing back and forth with these featured bloggers and getting to know them virtually. Is it just me or can you tell a lot about a person by their email etiquette? Judging by Katie’s alone, I think she’s pretty stellar; She’s kind, she’s prompt, she’s a great writer, and in general just a neat person. I hope you enjoy reading her feature as much as I did!
Q: Hi Katie! In three sentences or less, briefly introduce yourself.
A: Hi Erica, thanks for having me on here! Honestly, trying to describe myself is so difficult because I feel like I am slowly re-inventing myself after leaving my teaching job 4 years ago to be an army wife and stay at home mom. I love being outside, exploring new places and am trying to get back into biking and running like I used to pre-kids. This blog is a mishmash of frugal living, mom life, places we’ve visited, future races recaps, and anything else my heart desires!
Q: When did you start your blog, and what is the story behind your title?
A: I had a blog back in 2011 while I was teaching, but ended up deleting it shortly after we got married which I really regret. I missed blogging and having an outlet, so I finally started back up in May 2017, but it’s been very slow going with the move and additions to our family. I originally had planned on it being a fitness blog because I wanted to get back into running and training for marathons. The “keep up” referred to me getting back to my old running pace. BUT…twins (enough said), so it’s kind of a modge-podge as I try to “keep up” with all the changes of our army life as well as getting back to the athlete I was before I got married and had kids.
Q: I have to dive in and ask you about your twins! They’re newborns! How is it going adjusting to life with two brand new babes at the same time?
- Honestly, the adjustment has been a lot easier than I expected. I really struggled after Elizabeth was born and if I’m being honest, probably had a touch of post-partum depression. I was really anxious about having PPD this time around and giving Elizabeth all the attention and love she needs while also having newborns and not getting enough sleep. I think my husband was nervous too, but we did a lot of talking before hand about our expectations, triggers for me and what we could both do to alleviate stress, which helped a lot. Being a second-time mom has been my saving grace. I used to track EVERYTHING with Elizabeth, read waaay too many articles online, and stressed out about “not doing it right”. Knowing that I’ve kept her alive and healthy for two years gave me a lot more confidence to trust myself and not compare her milestones with others. With the boys I’m much more relaxed. They take naps at the park and basically adapt to Elizabeth’s schedule and we are all doing just fine with that!
Also, third trimester with twins is pretty miserable for everyone, so I was thrilled to have them out and I actually get more sleep now than I did while pregnant. I think the biggest challenge is trying to run errands with twins because everyone is so curious about them and wants to chat. I ran into the commissary the other day for milk and came out an hour later! I try to not let it bother me though because I know I would be the same way in their position.
Q: What is the hardest part about having newborns around while also trying to give your attention to your daughter? Also, tell us about her! ☺
A: Elizabeth is just the best! She just turned two last month and I am really loving this age (minus the scattered tantrums). She loves to laugh and sing and dance and brings us so much joy. It’s been so fun these past couple months to watch her vocabulary explode and to see her independence and the skills that she is developing every day. She is stubborn like me, so I can’t even get upset because I see so much of myself in her. I cried a lot during pregnancy because she has been my little side-kick and the thought of having to take time from her to give to the new babies hurt my heart. (I literally bookmarked the post you wrote a few years back about how you felt before Sadie joined the family and I read it pretty consistently to calm my nerves)
The hardest part has been the crying! When it was just Elizabeth, she didn’t cry much because I was always there to hold and comfort her. Now, I have three kids and only two arms so it seems like someone is always crying. At first I really struggled to hear a babe cry, but I know that if they are safe, fed, and clean then they are ok to cry for a little bit while I tend to the others. I remember a post you wrote about giving the attention to the older sibling because the baby won’t know they are coming in second, but the older child will. So, I’ve been making an effort to get Elizabeth involved with the boys and giving her lots of praise for being a great big sister. And when she needs my attention, I give it to her, even if it means I need to set the boys down. When I have to do bedtime alone, I actually have to leave the boys in the basinet downstairs and close the door to Elizabeth’s room because I know they’re crying but I also know I need to give her my undivided attention. It’s really hard for this mama-heart, but when you’re solo-parenting, it’s the only option.
Q: You’ve been open on your blog about your miscarriages. Do you write much content on your blog surrounding this topic? If so, what motivates you to do so?
A: I hope to write more about my miscarriages because I hate that it’s kept so hush-hush and has such a stigma about it. When we lost our first in September 2014, most of my college girlfriends were pregnant or had just had babies and inside I felt like such a failure that my body couldn’t carry a baby. It’s so easy to look at a woman with children and think “she has no idea what I’m going through”, but I want other women to know that they’re not alone and that there is hope and joy in their future.
I’ve also become aware in the past year how fortunate we were to have Army insurance through all these miscarriages because we never received a bill for any of my ER visits or my trips to the fertility clinic at Fort Bragg. It would have added so much insult to injury to be recovering emotionally from that trauma and then receive a big hospital bill. In the future, I would love to find a way to raise money and awareness so that couples that have already gone through the tragedy of miscarriage do not also have to face an expensive ER/hospital bill.
Q: I know you’re involved with Norwex! How did you get involved with them, and what do you love so much about the company?
A: YES! I could talk about Norwex all day; I just love the products. I used Norwex very half-heartedly for several years, but after Elizabeth was born, I really started to think about all the chemicals she was exposed to from my cleaning. I wanted to feel confident that even if she licked the kitchen surfaces (which she did/does), she wouldn’t be ingesting anything that could hurt her. I’m also part hippie and super frugal and hated spending money every month to contribute to the landfills with paper toweling and bottles of cleaning products. Plus, it’s such a huge time saver for me – I never have to run out to buy cleaning products because I just toss them in the wash when they’re dirty.
Q: If someone would like to search around on your site and place an order, how do they go about doing that?
A: My Norwex website is www.katielew.norwex.biz which has a lot more information about Norwex and a way to order directly or to contact me with questions!
Q: I read that your family will be moving soon. Where are you headed, and what is the hardest part about leaving your current location?
A: We are waiting on the Army’s approval and official orders, but my husband was accepted into a graduate program at MIT in Boston! I have never lived in a big city so I’m both excited and apprehensive about this move. Fort Leonard Wood is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but it makes for a great community. In our year here, we have already made so many wonderful friends, and I am so sad to have to say goodbye to them.
Q: What advice would you give to brand new moms who are in the thick of it with finding their groove with a newborn?
A: Get out of the house! Even if it takes you 45 minutes to get ready because baby had a blowout, even if you haven’t showered and are in leggings with no makeup. I took Elizabeth to a ladies’ Bunco night when she was only five days old and was so glad I did! As an infant she was held by a lot of people and I think it’s the reason that she never went through the “only mom can hold me” phase. As new moms we can come up with so many excuses to just stay inside, but I think that is more detrimental to our emotional well being. When Elizabeth was a newborn, I made it a point to leave the house every day, even if it was just a quick walk around the block. I try to do this with the boys too. It’s so good for my sanity to leave the house, get fresh air, and have face-to-face social interactions. Plus, when people see a mom with a newborn, they usually have nothing but encouragement for her. It has been so good for my self-esteem when people comment on how I “don’t look like I just had babies” or say “good for you getting out of the house”. Literally makes me feel like SuperMom which helps me get even more accomplished.
Q: Where should new readers start on your site?
Q: Where can we connect with you on social media?
And just for fun…
- Scroll Instagram or watch Instagram Stories? Definitely both. IG is my guilty pleasure.
- Cake or ice cream? I don’t like frosting, so ice cream all the way.
- Pedicure or massage? I’ve been getting massages since high school and they are my favorite way to relax.
- Dangly earrings or studs? Studs – there are too many grabby hands for me to wear dangly earrings!
Thanks so much, Katie!
Is this your first time to Whimsical September? Welcome!
Hello! I’m Erica, the blogger behind Whimsical September. I created the “The Saturday Sit-Down” series in January 2017 as a way to give back to the blogging community and link readers with new bloggers whom they may share similar interests with. Click here to discover more bloggers that have been featured on “The Saturday Sit-Down”. I promise you – there’s some GREAT ones!
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo