Introducing Rachel, of Rachel Likes to Ramble
I always have trouble answering questions about myself. I could talk about my family forever, but when it comes to talking about me, I have a hard time finding the right words. Our family is blended. I am mom of 2 wonderful kids with my first husband. My ex-husband and I remain friends to this day, and I feel like we gave our kids the best life, despite being divorced. I made a pact that we would never allow our differences to impact our children and I think, for the most part, that worked out well for us. Sarah is my oldest, and she just turned 23. I had her when I was 16, so most people assume we are sisters and not mother-daughter. I like that, but Sarah is very quick to correct them. Ha! James is my oldest son. He turned 20 this past summer. He’s currently living in Kentucky with my parents. I miss him terribly, but I’m happy that he is with my parents, because I know they were missing family pretty bad and having him there gives them a little bit of what they had when they lived in Maryland. Neely’s children are William and Clayton. William is 12 and Clayton is 10. They are typical boys. We have lots of baby-mama drama with their mom, Neely’s ex-wife. We’ve had full custody of them since July 2009 and I think even 2.5 years later we are still dealing with issues regarding the change in custody and their relationship with their mom. Daniel is our rambunctious 6-year-old and our oldest child together. It seemed like he would be our last, but Keelan surprised us this past July and our family is now 100% complete.
What is it like to have such a large family? How has having another baby and also being a grandmother shaped your family and changed your life?
I honestly don’t think our family is that large, compared to the other families I know. Having a larger than average family is not something I ever saw myself doing. I had always envisioned a small family with 2 kids, one boy and one girl. After having my second child, there was part of me that knew I wanted more. I never thought I’d end up with 2 more and a couple of bonus kids to boot, but I love every single minute of my life (well except for the lack of sleep)! Our life is never boring, that’s for sure! Having Gabrielle, my granddaughter, has been an absolute joy! I can tell you I get lots of “are you crazy?” comments and even more raised eyebrows when I explain that my granddaughter is older than my youngest child, but I don’t let that bother me. It happens and I’m fine with it.
What’s a good recipe of yours you can share with all of us?
One of my family’s favorite recipes is my chicken, cheese & rice casserole. It’s a huge hit with everyone, except for James, who has the most limited pallet of any kid I’ve ever met.
What are some of your favorite brands and where do you purchase those products?
I am not a big brand name person. I generally buy store brand to save the money. The only thing I do buy brand name is mayonnaise (must be Helman’s) and peanut butter (Jif). Also, I try to buy The Children’s Place jeans for Daniel and Clayton because they are so skinny and need the adjustable waist pants. If I can, I get them used and of course, we pass down from kid to kid, if possible.
We know moms don’t get many chances at all to relax. When do you get the chance, how do you like to relax?
A long, hot bath is my favorite thing to do at the end of the day. It’s not great for my dry skin, but I do it anyway. I also love to curl up with a good book after the kids are in bed at night. In terms of getting out of the house, getting my hair cut (and washed!) is my favorite relaxing thing to do.
Are there any sites or blogs you can recommend to other moms?
I love The Pioneer Woman blog and I also read Matt Logelin’s blog as often as I can. I have several online friends who blog for JustMommies.com. http://www.justmommies.com/blog/
What are your top 5 tips for moms?
Just 5? Ha! OK, in no particular order:
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
2. Trust yourself.
3. Sleep is overrated.
4. Moms are sometimes their own worst enemy. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Needing help doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mom!