Friendship, Parenthood, and Laughs

I hate the preconceived notion in which you’ll lose all of your friends after high school. It’s normal to expect the distance to put a strain on friendships, however, I firmly believe genuine friendships do not require daily, weekly, or even monthly conversation. At this stage in my life it would be absurd to expect me to be able to hold a daily conversation with anyone other than my husband, kids, the woman at the Italian bakery, or myself. With that being said, I am proudly still friends with 99% of the people I was friends with growing up.

Kayte is no exception. I will comment more in a bit on our friendship, but I’d like to give some background on Kayte, from my perspective. I always want to start out with stating she’s a wonderful mother but I’d like to interrupt that statement. While it’s 100% true, she’s not JUST a wonderful mother. She’s so much more than her titles. She’s a fantastic person with the biggest heart. She is so, so strong. Life has thrown her some curve balls and she and her wonderfully hilarious husband, Matt, have come out on top every time. She’s not afraid to be who she is. Having started her own Wedding Planning business, I full intent to hire her once Jude Law realizes he’s my future second husband (sorry, Shauny).

With all of that being said…I’ve decided to start an interview series of the people in my life who have inspired me in different ways. I’ve asked a series of questions in which Kayte answered. Very, very much in depth (kidding…kinda…). I’ve added some commentary throughout. Enjoy 🙂

Where did we first meet?

 The general answer is Elk Neck Elementary, but honestly, I have no idea about the specifics. I don’t know if mom-brain has officially taken over my memory or if it’s just been that long.

Okay, let’s show off my weird ability to remember the oddest things. The first time you and I spoke was when Ty brought me to your “group” at recess in 5th grade. After one of them asked “what is she doing here?” you told that person not to be mean and you welcomed me right in.

What has been the biggest challenge in your life so far?

My pregnancy with Jax – managing the depression (unsuccessfully so) and trying to make the right decision for our family regarding his health. It was absolutely brutal.

How did you know Matt was the one?

 I knew from the start that Matt was different. He wasn’t in the “popular crowd” and he wasn’t a jock, which are the only guys I’d encountered up to that point. Not that there’s anything wrong with those guys, but my mom has always said, “Nerds make the best husbands!” and it’s so true. Matt has never tried to be someone he’s not and it’s honestly refreshing. I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but it was pretty darn close. I can’t remember an exact moment or event where I knew he was the one; I’ve always just felt like he was it, and I was more than okay with that.

Amen, Emmy (Kayte’s wonderful mom). Nerds really do make the best husbands.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Back seat cookers. I have a tendency to cook things on High, always. I’m impatient, plus I often feel like the box says “Cook on Medium/High” just to cover their butts. Typically, things get a little smoky, but as long as it’s not burning, we’re good. Matt has a tendency to reach over my shoulder at the stove and turn the knob down. It grinds my gears. I once lost my shit over it and he hasn’t done it again. Lesson learned.

What about the world makes you happy?

Random acts of kindness. People accepting others. Moms who lift one another up. Honesty. Animals. Wawa Mac & Cheese.

Wawa mac with meatballs on top and Old Bay. Ughhh so hungry.

What about the world makes you sad?

Seeing children who are not taken care of or loved unconditionally.

What do you love most about yourself?

At this exact moment, I love that I am happy in my own skin. This has never been the case before and it may change, but right now, I am so at peace. I am absolutely overweight and I’m nowhere near what I should be, but, I’m so okay with it. Honestly, I struggle most with the fact that I feel like I SHOULD be concerned because of what society says. But I’m not. And that worries me. Oh hey, anxiety, my old friend. 

You’re exactly where you “should be” ❤

Who has influenced you the most?

I don’t know that I can answer with just one person. I feel like I’ve had so many people influence me in so many different ways and in different seasons of my life. It would be hard to pick just one. I know that’s a cop out answer, but I seriously can’t decide.

It’s alright. I know it’s me.

What has been the best decision you’ve made for you, not counting Matt or the kids?

 Hands down, the best decision I’ve ever made for myself is leaving school. My entire life, I always did what was “right” and expected of me, but during grad school, I had a come to Jesus moment, so to speak. I was burnt out, exhausted, at the peak of my anxiety and depression, and so unhappy. I had never taken a moment to really evaluate what I wanted out of life, so I set out to do that. In doing so, I found out that I was in the wrong profession. I found wedding planning, which I fell IN LOVE with, and since then, have made so many wonderful, healthy decisions for myself, including staying at home with my children, which couldn’t have happened if I was still in my old mental state.  Second to this decision is the decision I made to break up with one of my friends. She was toxic and gave me more anxiety than I needed. Don’t worry, Al. It wasn’t you.

OH, I know.

Have you achieved what you wanted to so far in life?

Yes and no. If you asked me even six years ago what my plans were, being a stay at home mom would’ve not been included. I was in school to be a doctor. This was never on my radar. That being said, I am so incredibly happy where I am, which I consider to be a huge achievement. I still have plans. I’m working to get my wedding planning company really moving and I’d love to be able to home school my kids, so I’ve got a lot of work left to do in this life, but I’m ready for it.

Can you describe your very first feeling when you met Rosie?

Oh gosh. How to put into words your feelings when you meet your heart and soul? Rosie was a vaginal birth, but they suspected she swallowed meconium so she had to be whisked off to be checked immediately. Add to that the fact that she didn’t cry and it was a good 20 minutes before I first held her. As soon as she was out, I started sobbing – partly from the excitement, but partly from shock, I’ll be honest. I remember my mom calling my dad to say, “She’s here!” and I got on the phone and sobbed some version of, “She’s absolutely perfect!” By the time Ro was handed to me, I’d calmed down. The moment I laid eyes on her and held her in my arms for the very first time, I felt so at peace. I was just so incredibly content and everything felt right. Our family came in and were all very surprised at my composure, which I credit to the fact that I finally felt whole.

What is one thing about Rosie’s first year that you will always remember?

 Her adorable dance moves. And THOSE ROLLS.

Seriously the best baby rolls I’ve ever seen. and the CHEEKS.

Can you describe your process of emotions in your pregnancy/birth/first year with Jax?

This is going to sound crazy, but the minute I saw “positive” on that pregnancy stick, I knew something was wrong. I had literally no reason to believe that something was different or off course, but I just knew. It was a very weird feeling. I didn’t want to get excited, but I coughed my fear up to nerves. I know it may seem like an afterthought, like hindsight is 20/20, but I’m telling you, it was the moment I confirmed the pregnancy. Some people don’t know that while most CDH cases are determined at the 20 week ultrasound (which ours was), it was the 12 week ultrasound that started it all for us. I won’t go into too much detail, but from 12 weeks on, we were undergoing genetic testing, blood work, and an amnio to determine if Jax had any life threatening trisomies, which were suspected based on measurements at that first ultrasound. In a way, Matt and I were prepared to lose our baby from 12 weeks on. The depression and sadness that set in was unreal. We were so incredibly irritable with everyone, including each other. We felt selfish for feeling sad knowing we had a perfect baby girl already. We were angry and terrified and quite frankly, confused. What had we done wrong?

When I was 19 weeks pregnant, we finally got the results back from our testing (after 2 delays and having to test new cultures). We found out Jax had no trisomies and that he was a boy!! We were SO thrilled. Beyond happy. I remember laying on our guest room bed beaming, asking the geneticist to confirm the good news she’d just shared. Not even a week later, we went in for our 20 week anatomy scan, which is when we found out about Jax’s CDH. I’m not sure what was worse – having that week of joy and relief, only to be punched in the gut, or if it would’ve been easier to have found out all at once and spare us the moment of joy.

After we met with CHOP and Jax’s soon-to-be team, we were terrified; how could we get excited about welcoming our baby boy into the world without knowing for sure he’d survive? The odds were absolutely, 100% stacked against Jax from the get-go; only 50% of babies survive this condition, less so with a right CDH like in Jax’s case. In the end, Matt and I decided we’d rather know our baby boy for 30 seconds than live a life wondering “what if”. I know it sounds silly, but in my mind, I felt like if I didn’t believe he’d be a fighter, he’d somehow get that message through me while he was in the womb, and then give up on himself (that sounds even crazier when I type it out) so I refused to have anything but hope. I read countless success stories and refused to look at anything else.

The first 48 hours with Jax were mind-numbing. We felt very out-of-body, like this was happening to someone else. It took me about that long to really cry for our boy, as he lay there, comatose, a machine doing the work of his lungs and heart. But as the days went on and Jax got stronger, we flourished. I was with him every single day he was in the NICU and every time I’d leave him I’d say, “No surprises, little boy”. I still tell him that a year later. That’s the thing about CDH. It’s a fickle, sneaky bitch. Problems can arise at any time and a simple cold can be life threatening. But in this first year of life, if there is anything Jax has proven, it’s that he is a damn survivor. He has and continues to beat the odds and he proves everyone wrong ALL THE TIME. Watching him succeed has been so humbling, so inspiring, and has encouraged me to have faith in a tiny little human.

I actually remember that week between you guys not knowing and knowing. It seemed everyone was so relieved and then you dropped off the radar for a bit (obviously, understandably so) and we knew something was wrong.

Now that I’ve made you rehash your emotions (sorry about that) can I make it worse and ask you to remember your most embarrassing moment in your entire life?

I actually had to consult Matt on this one because I don’t get embarrassed easily. But, he quickly reminded me of the Chipotle incident, which will likely remain the most embarrassing moment of my entire life. When we lived in Baltimore, we loved a good trip to Chipotle (who doesn’t?!). We were finishing up our order and I offered to get the drinks (first mistake). I filled two large cups and Matt and I started to walk out, he with the food, I with the drinks. I distinctly remember I was wearing an orange, super thin, silky dress and sandals that had seen better days (second mistake). When I got to the exit, the rubber welcome mat was sticking up and those sandals caught the edge and I. WENT. DOWN.  The drinks I was holding went EVERYWHERE, including all over my very thin, cling-to-your-body-when-wet, dress. My head hit the glass door, making an audible sound so everyone turned to look (in case someone missed the scream coming from me). I was mortified. To make matters worse, a woman came over to help me clean up and said, “Wow. If that would’ve happened to me I would be SO EMBARRASSED!!!” Um, thanks? Chipotle gave us replacement drinks and admitted that the mat was supposed to be adhered to the floor. Maybe I should sue.

Okay, I’m cackling. Out loud. Also I’m jealous you only have one embarrassing moment which required Matt to remind you of. I can list three from this week. At least you make a mean Moscow Mule…

What is the absolute best part of being a mom?

Being a mom is, hands down, my most favorite thing ever. It’s fucking exhausting and there are more days than not where I question my parenting, but I love it so much. The best part is probably being IT for these tiny humans – their source of comfort, the one they trust most, their happy place. I also LOVE watching my kids learn. It truly amazes me to see these little creatures we created grow and change and adapt. It’s fascinating.

Do you like Matt more now that you are parents? (I totally like Shaun more now than I did before)

This is such a great question. If I’m being completely honest, I love Matt more now that he’s a dad than I ever thought possible. We’ve always had that ooey-gooey, honeymoon stage kind of love, but since seeing him become a father, I’ve fallen more in love with him in a deep, true connection kind of way. Do I like him more now that we’re parents? That’s tough. I obviously like him haha, but we argue more now. I have much less patience for his quirks (all of it’s spent on the children haha). Our kids come first, as opposed to each other, which is a huge change for us. My therapist calls these first years of parenthood the “burn out years” and its 100% true. Add to that that we have a medically complex kid and two under two and we’re bound to be at each other’s throats more often. So, to answer your question, I think our relationship is more complex and complicated now, but not just in a bad way. It’s also filled with so much more laughter and joy and the feeling of experiencing something completely foreign together. It’s different, but good different.

What emotion do you experience the most?

 Because anxiety is not an emotion, rather a response to a felt emotion, I suppose I’ll have to say fear (which causes the anxiety). Man, that makes me sound so womp-womp. But if I really sit down and evaluate my feelings, I’m anxious more often than not, and fear of the unknown and situations I can’t control dominate my brain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy. I’m sad. I’m excited, and curious, and content. I feel SO many other things than fear, but I don’t have the perfect answer to my anxiety yet, so fear is my unwelcome house guest, for now.


Would you rather cuddle 100 puppies or three baby sloths?

Ohhh, this is a tough one. While I’m not as big a sloth fan as you (and by that I mean that I think they’re adorable, but my obsession level is less), I wonder if 100 puppies would be more overwhelming than cute?! Like, would I be able to give them all equal attention and love? Probably not, which would likely result in sad puppies, which is not okay. So I think I’ll go with three baby sloths. I can give them all plenty of attention and love them how they should be loved. 

Good answer.

What would be your last meal on death row? (The punishment is for answering the last question in this interview inaccurately)

 Dang, comin’ at me with the REAL tough questions here!! This is so difficult. My instinct is to say crabs, but what if I’m to-be executed in a winter month? Crabs are not in season in January. I can’t have sub-par crabs for my LAST meal. And what if I’m on death row in Florida? Do they really think I’m going to accept GULF crabs?!?! The answer is no. Unless I was being executed in Maryland during peak crabbing season, crabs would not be a good idea. So let’s pretend I’m being executed in January in Florida. In that case, my last meal would be a perfectly cooked filet mignon, with loaded mashed potatoes on the side. No vegetable because fuck that noise. And a side Caesar salad from Chopt (a salad joint in New York that makes the BEST salads, oh mah gawd). Oh and endless amounts of Pepsi with the good ice to wash it all down. Okay, now I’m salivating.

Such a Marylander answer. I love it.

Is there any food you refuse to ever try?

Hm, well, I am a pretty picky eater. I don’t like my foods to touch (separated paper plates are, hands down, one of the best inventions ever) and I am big about textures and things that look weird. That being said, Matt forces me to try almost everything. He’s such a dad in that way (you don’t know until you try it!!) so I’ve tried a lot more than I normally would have in my life thanks to him (including escargot and creamed chipped beef – VOM).  I’m going to say no, cautiously. Don’t think this means you can bring cooked cockroach to our next girls day, though, Al. I’m watchin’ you.

Creamed chipped beef is one of the reasons I’m only 95% gluten free. I will suffer through some stomach cramps for that shit. You are cray.

What is something you’ve considered doing that you’ve never done?


Tell me something you adore about each of your children.

Rosie – I absolutely adore how excited she gets over simple things. Pure childhood joy. I also love how incredibly smart she – not just because I want a bright kid, but because it makes for some seriously funny and interesting interactions and conversations.

Jax – I cannot get enough of Jax’s need to “be like the big kids”. Whenever Rosie does something, he tries SO hard to be just like her. He’s a peanut, so this isn’t always possible, but his determination pulls at my heart strings. I also love how snuggly he is. Rosie was a snuggly kid, but usually only at nap and bedtime. Jax will snuggle whenever, where ever.

Nsync or BSB?

Okay, don’t unfriend me, but as a kid, you would’ve caught me singing into a hairbrush, perfecting dance moves in front of my mirror to BSB. I can’t help itttttt! But as an adult, I much prefer N’Sync, especially given that they have a baller ass Christmas CD and I love Christmas.

My best friend Amber very conveniently did not tell me before she was my Maid of Honor that she is a BSB fan. I’m still required to love her. But I’ll always side eye her a bit.

This concludes our first interview for the blog. Thank you, Kayte, so so much for rehashing those emotions for us.

Next up is my childhood bff, Marie!


One thought on “Friendship, Parenthood, and Laughs

  1. I loved every minute of reading this. Absolutely interesting questions and Kayte, I learned so much more about you. You have the biggest heart in the world. You are the best mother in the world and I admire your wisdom and patience with the children. Thank you so much for letting me be a person in the lives of our children and for letting me continue to learn from you via these interviews. Keep them coming.And your interviewer is awsome. Love and Peace, Meem or GiGi


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