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Heather's Parenting Journal

~ Meet Heather!

FamilyMy name is Heather Totten. I am 33 years old and a stay at home mom of 4 children. My oldest child, Alexander is 6 ½, Maria is 3 ½, Sydney is 2, and Isabella is 7 weeks. My husband's name is Brian and he is a 34-year-old Regional Operations Manager for Overnite Transportation now called USP Freight. We have been happily married for 9 ½ years. Brian is my best friend and I could never go through these life experiences with anyone else.

I was born in small town Ohio as an only child to an engineer and a teacher. My mom stayed home with me and went back to work part time teaching when I was older. I began riding horses at the young age of 5 and began competitions at age 8. Horse back riding was a huge part of my childhood through my teens. I put almost everything on hold in order to ride and compete. When I grew up I knew wanted to marry, but never put much thought into having a family, let alone a large family. That seemed to come later in life.

I met my husband the beginning of my sophomore year at Wright State University. We dated a year, were engaged 3 years, and then we married in 1996. Our marriage has been great. People have asked us our secret, but there really is none. We just both try hard to work on our marriage daily and keep each other close. That formula has seemed to work well for us so far because we are definitely more in love today then the day we married.

Big brother AlexAfter 2 years of marriage, we became pregnant with Alexander on our 2nd anniversary. He was born May 16, 1999 in Columbus, Ohio and has been running ever since. He is a wonderful big brother. He is the big brother I wanted and could never have since I was a first born and only child. He has been super excited every time we told him the news that he was going to be a big brother once again. And as for how he does with 3 little sisters . . . he's wonderful. He told me he is a good big brother to sisters. He is right. When he grows up he said he wants to be a daddy and have lots of kids.

I was not always a stay at home mom. I worked up until Alex was 2 ½ year old. But, around the time Alex was born, my husband's career began to grow. In the transportation business, if you want promoted you need to be able to move. We said we'd move, but little did we know we'd end up moving 5 times in 5 years for his career. This included selling and buying 4 houses in very short time frames. We lived in Columbus (Ohio), Boardman (Ohio), Manassas (Virginia), Dayton (Ohio), and finally to our new home in a new state. To be fair to our family and especially myself, I decided to stay home. So we moved and sold our house once again after 8 months of living and working in Boardman to Manassas, Virginia. It was there I became a first time stay at home mom, 500 miles from all my friends and family. It was a shock and a big change in the beginning, but I don't regret even a minute of it now. It is definitely the hardest, but most rewarding job I've ever had.

MariaAs I settled into my new career at home, we were expecting our second child, Maria. Maria was born in Virginia on July 6, 2002. She is the wonderful little girl I always wanted. She is quiet, calm, friendly and as girlie as she can be. She is Alex's best friend and nothing can come between the two of them. For a special Valentine's party at pre-school last year, Alex was allowed to invite one guest. He immediately asked the teacher if he could take Maria, but she told him it had to be an adult. Even the age difference doesn't seem to hinder their relationship. Whenever Alex or Maria are away from each other, they always think of one another. They will want to do something special or buy a treat for one another. Maria will play 'Harry Potter' dress up with Alex and Alex will patiently read Care Bear stories and sit through Care Bear movies with Maria. Of course they are siblings after all, and it is not all like the Hallmark commercials, but more often than not they get along very well.

SydneyAfter 13 months in Manassas, my husband's career would again spark. It took us from Manassas and this time brought us near family and friends. With sheer excitement to be living near home, we were blessed with a surprise. I was pregnant again! We had talked about having 3 or 4 children, but were beginning to settle in with the fact we had 2 happy, healthy children. Our little Sydney was born January 23, 2004 and I think she came out smiling. She is a ball of energy and a bundle of joy in our hearts. She fits in perfectly with Alex and Maria. She is the compliment of the two. I see a lot of Alex with her outgoing energy and bubbly personality, but she will take the time to play house, dolls, and puzzles like Maria. Alex and Maria both take turns playing with her and helping her grow and learn.

IsabellaThis story is not complete without Isabella and of course to be consistent with all the other pregnancies, we would move again. My husband's job transferred him once again. Sydney's birth opened our eyes to a larger family. Watching the interaction of the three kids made us realize parenthood was such a blessing and a wonderful experience to be a part of. The three children get along so well and have their own social hierarchy. I enjoy daily watching them play and learn from each other. So, we decided to get pregnant once again. Then on February 7, 2006 we welcomed Isabella to the family. Isabella is a great baby. She is the typical fourth child, who waits pretty patiently and is rather laid back. All the kids love her dearly and she enjoys their entertainment.

So, that brings you to date. Like I said, we did end up moving away from family once again, but we have finally settled down and now for quite a while. Brian has reached a point in his career that moving will slow down, if not stop completely. For the first time in all our moves we feel at home again. We have ventured to find friends, a social life, joined a church we all enjoy very much, Alex is in Kindergarten, and my favorite cousin lives within walking distance with her two daughters.

Hope you enjoy my journey with me as I experience the joys of parenthood (times 4).

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