Jessica Snyder: On Crohn’s & Motherhood

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Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Introduce yourself, name, spouse, children, what you do for a living, and how long you and your spouse have been together.
Jessica: My name is Jessica Snyder. I’ve been with my husband, John Snyder, for 12 years. We have been married for eight. We have two wild, crazy, adorable, and smart little boys. Mason is 5 and Dylan is 2. I have been a stay at home mom for 2 1/2 years.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Tell me your story about Crohn’s disease and the support you receive at home with your immediate family.

Jessica: My story starts in 2004 when I started having stomach issues. My mom took me to my PCP because every time I ate I was in extreme pain with vomiting and diarrhea. I lost a lot of weight due to the sudden illness. My PCP told my mom that I was a teenager and just worried about my figure; that I just had an eating disorder. My mom didn’t give up. She demanded that I get an appointment with a specialist and in 2005 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.

In the beginning it was tolerable, however, after I had Mason in 2010, My Crohn’s disease started getting worse. In July 2011, I got a stomach bug which turned into a Crohn’s flare, I became so malnourished that I almost lost my life. The doctors pumped me full of medication and it helped for awhile. I found out I was pregnant with Dylan in 2012 and my Crohn’s went crazy!

In February 2013, while pregnant with Dylan, I had an access in my intestines, which caused me to almost lose Dylan, but the doctors were able to get it under control with a high dose of steroids. Again my Crohn’s was tolerable, until January 1, 2015. I was in severe pain, went to the ER and found out that I had a complete blockage in my intestines. The doctors were able to remove 14 inches of my small intestines and 2 inches of my colon. That left me with an ileostomy bag for 4 months.

The ileostomy bag was removed in April of 2015 and since then my Crohn’s has been in remission. I still have days where I don’t feel the best, but overall I feel great! My husband and our families are always so supportive and helpful through everything. I’m not sure what I would do without my amazing support system.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: As a mom with Crohn’s disease, what does a typical day look like?

Jessica: I get up at 6:30 every morning to get Mason, our oldest son, to the bus stop, and pray that I can make it back before I have to go to the bathroom. Mornings are the worst for some reason because I come home, get Dylan up and make breakfast between bathroom breaks. After about 11am, my stomach straightens out and I’m good for the rest of the day.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Do you look at your life differently now than before you were diagnosed?

Jessica: I can’t really remember what life was like before Crohn’s. I was 16 when I started having symptoms.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Living with Crohn’s disease, what is the hardest part about marriage and parenting?

Jessica: The hardest part is that I don’t feel that I have the freedom I would if I didn’t have it. For the longest time, I was scared to go anywhere with the boys by myself. If I have to go to the bathroom, I have to go then! That means stopping somewhere, getting both boys out of the car and rushing in to the potty. And praying that the boys don’t throw fits and I can make it to the bathroom in time.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Has Crohn’s disease changed you? What have you learned since you’ve been diagnosed?

Jessica: Yes, Crohn’s has changed my life in so many ways. I learned to never take life for granted because in a split second you could be pooping in a bag through a hole in your stomach.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What would you like families who don’t live with a “silent disease” to know about Crohn’s and truly understand?

Jessica: Don’t get mad when people cancel plans because It’s completely out of their control.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How do you explain to your children, so they understand truly what you go through on a daily basis and is this a daily conversation in the home? How do your children view your “illness”?

Jessica:My boys are only 5 and 2 but they understand my Crohn’s. I never hide anything from them and they know mommy poops a lot and sometimes feels really bad.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What advice can you pass along to another mother/family who silently struggles with similar issues?

Jessica: You are not alone, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and your life isn’t over.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was the scariest moment, thus far, living with Crohn’s disease?

Jessica: In 2011,  I was admitted to the hospital for being dehydrated and malnourished. The doctor was at the foot of the bed, my mom on one side, and John on the other. The dr said that if I would have waited another 30 minutes to come to the hospital, I would have been dead. My potassium levels were so low that they were shocked that my heart was still beating. I remember my mom and John both breaking down. 😦

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How supportive is your spouse and what advice do you have for husbands/dads that you’d like to pass along?

Jessica: John is amazing and he has been by my side since day one. When I got the ileostomy bag, I wanted nothing to do with it. John watched the nurse and learned everything about it and how to care for it, and did everything for me until I was comfortable with it.

My advice to other husbands: Be there for your wives, help them, support them, even when they haven’t showered for a week and look horrible, and tell them how beautiful they are!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Do you have any support groups, circles, or anyone non family who assists in comforting the struggles you go through?

Jessica: Two years ago I started a support group for women struggling with Crohn’s Disease. It has been fabulous!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Finish this sentence: Crohn’s disease is:_______

Jessica:  A pain in the butt! ;).


If you would like more information about the support group Jessica has set up for Crohn’s Disease, please contact her via facebook by clicking on the link below:



Hello Little Black Bird


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Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What is the name of your business and who are your potential customers?

Hello Little Black Bird is my business, and what I consider my 5th child. We cater to everyone! Infant to adult. We offer a wide variety of tees, from the littlest all the way up to mom and dad! We also take custom orders!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Why did you choose (Your above answer) as your customers?

When starting Hello Little Black Bird, I never thought we’d get this big. I planned on it being centered in my small town, in mid-western Illinois. I loved making infant/toddler tees for my kids, but as I got more into Instagram and Facebook, I realized there was a real need for mom/dad/older brother/older sister tees as well. Making products for the older children, as well as moms and dads, has really brought me to the next level and I couldn’t be happier!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Are you a mom? If so, did this business have anything to do with initiating Hello Little Black Bird?

I am a proud mama! I have 4 children. Keigan, is my oldest. He’s 11 (11 1/2 if you ask him) Braxton is next, he’s 9. Then I have my one and only girl, we’re severely outnumbered, Layla. She’s 6 going on 16. My youngest is Maddox. He’ll be 2 in June. He’s definitely my wild child and is the reason Hello Little Black Bird came about. After having outfitted my older children from tiny little babes up until last June, I was bored with the choices I found in stores. I had seen some really cute shirts, but not what exactly what I was looking for. The next thing I knew, I was designing tees.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What do you expect to be the outcome of “Hello Little Black Bird”?

My hope is that Hello Little Black Bird will continue to grow. We are currently working on an expansion! In the coming months, we will start carrying handmade leggings, harems, bummies, rompers and t shirt rompers! Expect a big announcement in the next month! I see this as a fantastic step and really see Hello Little Black Bird becoming a “one stop shop” for everyone!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Where can I find information about “Hello Little Black Bird”?

You can find all of our amazing products on our website, as well as on Instagram: @hellolittleblackbird, Facebook: Hello Little Black Bird, Twitter @hlblackbird, and tumblr: hello little black bird.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Are there any promotions for your products through reading this blog?

We have a special promotion, just for the amazing readers of Moms, minivans, & messes! We are offering 15% off of your entire order when you use code “MMM15”

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Who is “Hello Little Black Bird”? (One mom, multiple moms, etc.)

Hello Little Black Bird is owned and operated by myself, Ashley. I also have an alternative shop, Famous Blackbird, that I run with my good friend and fellow shop small shop owner, Dana (owner of Bornfamous_Apparel)

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What sets your T shirts apart from other T shirts?

Hello Little Black Bird t shirts are all handmade for you and your little nugget. Each tee is special to me. I only use American Apparel blanks, and in my opinion, are the softest, coziest tees you can get. I can customize any tee with different color design, or different color shirt. As always, we do offer custom tees, so if you have an idea, just send us an email

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What does the future look like for Hello Little Black Bird?

Hello Little Black Birds future is very promising! We continue to grow daily, and with the addition of our hand sewn products, our opportunity to provide quality, unique products continues to grow.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How can your products be beneficial to my readers?

Hello Little Black Birds products help express any one’s personality! Whether it’s with one of our designed tees or a tee you design yourself, we love to help you standout!

Jess Because Photography

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Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What is the name of your business and who are your potential customers?

Jess Because Photography- specializing in family, child, and newborn photography

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Why did you choose (Your above answer) as your customers?

I chose the above customers as a target group because it started out as a hobby. My experience with friends and family has helped me grow and they have sent a lot of referrals my way.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Are you a mom? If so, did this business have anything to do with initiating your business?

I am a mom of 2, one boy Landon (5),and  one girl Lynnix (2).This business started because I was unable to obtain the hours I needed with my previous employer. Jess Because Photography allows me to continue to stay home with my children while working around other families scheduling needs.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What do you expect to be the outcome of your business?

I hope that my business will allow me to continue to stay home with my children. I love having the flexibility to stay home when needed or go out for sessions! I would also love to get insured and launch a website.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Where can I find information about your business?


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Are there any promotions for your products through reading this blog?

Absolutely! I will offer $15 off any session booked when mentioning the blog!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Who is Jessie Morris, the photographer?

Why am I having such a hard time answering this question? I am married, I have 2 children and I’m a photographer. I started doing photography about 4 years ago. I thought it would be a great way to be a stay at home mom as well as have some sort of income for my family. I love meeting new people and capturing special moments in their lives!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What sets your product apart from similar products like yours?

My work is set apart from others because it isn’t over processed or washed out. My focus is on catching the moment and not Photoshopping it but keeping it real.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What does the future look like for Your photography business?

I hope to achieve more business, set up a website and get licensed.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How can your products be beneficial to my readers?

What mom doesn’t love having pictures done?! ☺

The White Family: On Loss & Love

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Could you please give us information on your family (# of children, spouse, and how long you’ve been together)
White Family: My husband and I married in May of 2013, on his 22nd birthday. I always tell him that I was his greatest birthday gift! We currently have a 20 month old son and have two babies up in Heaven, but I like to say we’re a family of four, and counting.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes:Tell me about your angel child.
White Family: My second child was born September 21st, 2015, way before his (I like to think that the baby was a boy) due date of March 14th. I was 14 weeks pregnant when I found out that my baby had died at about 9 weeks. Labor was painful and hard, but I got my all natural birth with him. I lost my third child in December 2015 at just about 5 weeks, which was considered a chemical pregnancy (aka very early miscarriage).
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What got you through this difficult phase in your life?
White Family: Both losses were hard and at the time I didn’t think I would get through them. After getting pregnant after the first loss and then losing that child too, I remember telling my mom that I couldn’t go through this again… but alas, it happened and I did get through it. Prayer was a huge part of my coping, and I truly wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for God carrying me every step, every day. Also writing (I have a blog) about my experiences helped me sort through my thoughts and helped with my mourning.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Advice you could offer to moms to get through the unimaginable?
White Family: Advice is hard to give when it comes to losing a child because every situation is so different. Before my losses, I couldn’t have said the right things to a mother who had lost a child, but now I can because we’re all sisters of loss. We all loved our babies and we all lost them. The most important thing I think to do is to give yourself time to grieve. Cry and yell and speak of your feelings. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel. I can’t say that you’ll ever get over it, because you most likely won’t, but you will get through it. You will always remember your babies, but the pain will lessen as time goes by. You’ll find the silver linings and the light in the darkness. It’s going to be okay.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes:How important was it that family surrounded you? 
White Family: Honestly, I’d have to say that my son was the family member who helped me get through this. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so after losing my second child, I couldn’t just crawl up in a ball and cry my eyes out every day. I had to raise the child that I already had. And I remember every day I would cry, my son would climb in my lap and hug me. He was barely one and a half at the time!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Is there any advice you can offer on what NOT to say to an angel mom?
White Family: Oh there’s so many things NOT to say to a mother who has lost a child! But just to name a few: Never compare baby size. Whether the mommy was 6 weeks pregnant or 36 weeks pregnant when she lost her baby, she still lost a baby. So don’t say stuff like “But it was so small,” or “It wasn’t really a baby yet.” Also never, ever imply that the mother did anything wrong by asking questions like “So how did it happen?” or “What did you do wrong?” Trust me, all angel moms feel some sort of guilt, even if they did absolutely nothing wrong and had textbook pregnancies. Another question never to ask is “When are you going to have another one?” There’s a lot of fear and worry when it comes to having another baby after a loss. Some are ready to jump back on the baby train while others want to wait awhile. Either way, it’s a decision made by the couple only. 
Moms, Minivans, & Messes:Could you give me details on what your baby would be like now if they were still here with us?
White Family: I would be 37 weeks pregnant with my first angel baby if he were still with us. We’d be packing hospital bags and washing baby clothes in preparation for the baby’s arrival. I would have only about three more weeks until I could meet another beautiful face that my husband and I created together.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Do you have any support groups that you attend for angel moms?
White Family: I actually do not have any support groups that I attend, but I do have a couple close friends that understand the pain of losing a child, which helps a lot. There always the people I go to if I have a question or just need to talk about my angel babies/future babies.

The Laughon Family: Twins

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Moms, Minivans, & Messes had the opportunity to interview a mom with twins! Interview below, Enjoy!


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How do you handle the pressure to be super mom?

Laughon Family: I wouldn’t consider myself supermom by any means! I just do the best I can and if we have a bad day we just start over the next day. I try to stay very organized and think one step ahead. I am fortunate to have a husband that wants to be involved with the kids and helps out when he gets home so I can take a 15 minute break or sometimes longer depending on how my day was. We also get the kids in bed by 8 every night, even weekends if we are able so we have some down time before bed.


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What are some tips/tricks you would share with a new mom pregnant with twins?

Laughon Family: Scheduling is key! We had Anna and Owen on a strict eating schedule as newborns. We always fed them both at the same time. If we didn’t it would be almost impossible to know when which baby ate last and we would be feeding babies all the time! I did however prefer whoever was feeding them to feed each one separately and hold them while feeding as opposed to propping bottles and having them in bouncy seats or swings. I felt like they needed that individual attention, something I have always tried to give them. Also we would keep a log of ounces drank, dirty diapers, etc. It’s easy to forget which baby did what after sleep deprivation kicks in. It was nice too because at doctor’s appointments I was always asked how much each one was drinking. If people offer to help let them! Being a first time mom I thought I could handle it by myself. I learned really quickly that I couldn’t! And last, there will be good days but also a lot of bad days, especially at first. One day sticks out in my mind the most. Anna and Owen were probably about 6 months old. My mother in law was watching them that day in Lynchburg while I went to work. My husband worked in Lynchburg so he was taking them to meet her. I got a call from her while I was on my way to work asking me where their milk was for the day. I immediately broke down and started crying. I had left their milk in the refrigerator at our house. I felt like a horrible mother and a failure. Looking back now it wasn’t that big of a deal. My mother in law went and got bottles and formula and they were fed but at the time it was a disaster. So I guess my best advice would be to not be so hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned. No mother is perfect.


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Which myth about twins, or raising twins, do you feel is most challenging or would you like to challenge?

Laughon Family:  I got asked a lot of questions when they were babies. My favorite was “are they identical”. I also got asked if they had their own language and the answer is no. Another myth that my kids proved wrong is that the older twin is the leader and the younger twin is the follower. It is the complete opposite with mine. I have also heard over and over that they should be separated in school as soon as possible. My two are still in the same class. Not so much because they have to be together but because it is easier for me. They each have their own group of friends and I have had teachers say they wouldn’t even know they were twins if I hadn’t told them. They are both doing well in school. I think it really depends on the children. I haven’t made up my mind yet about separating them next school year.


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What is your biggest concern about having twins?

Laughon Family:  My concerns are always changing. When I was pregnant I was concerned about premature births and having a high risk pregnancy. As newborns I was concerned about making sure they were eating enough. As toddlers I was concerned about my daughter doing all the talking and my son not talking, which is common in twins. My concern now is that my daughter is excelling in school and my son is a little slower. They are always comparing their self to the other one. I don’t want my son to feel like he is failing because his sister is a better reader. I am trying to teach them that they each have strengths and weaknesses. As they are getting older the dreaded “sleepovers” are coming. I haven’t figured out how I am going to handle my daughter having her best friend sleepover who is also my son’s girl friend. I would have to say my biggest overall concern is making sure they both feel equally loved. I have always tried to treat them as individuals and not “twins”. We don’t even use the word “twins” in our house. We always call them by name.


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What are some differences you’ve seen with your twins?

Laughon Family:  They are complete opposites! My daughter is very outgoing. She loves to talk and is very social. My son is shy and quiet and is very tender hearted. Height and weight wise they have always been pretty close to the same until recently. My son has gotten taller and heavier.


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Family Information-names, ages, spouse, etc.

Laughon Family:  My husband Chad and I met in high school in Moneta, Virginia. I was 14 and he was 17. We got married almost 10 years ago. We dated for 6 years before marrying. We decided to start a family after being married about a year and a half. We didn’t realize it would be so difficult. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Basically it is where I don’t have normal cycles. My doctor suggested we start fertility treatment right away. After 3 failed attempts and a lot of heartache I finally got pregnant. Sadly that pregnancy ended up being ectopic. As soon as we were able to try again we ended up pregnant again and this time we got very pregnant! My pregnancy went smoothly. My only complication was gestational diabetes. Anna and Owen were born April 3, 2009. Owen is 11 minutes older than Anna. No cesarean needed. They are fraternal twins. I have been asked so many times if they are identical! Boy/girl twins cannot be identical. They were 6 weeks early and spent 3 weeks in the NICU. The hardest thing I have ever had to do was leave my babies at the hospital. Owen had under developed lungs and was on a ventilator. Anna had trouble feeding. Premature babies don’t have the natural eat/suck/breath function. They have to be fed sitting straight up and have breaks to breath. They are currently in 1st grade (in the same class) and are 6 years old. 3 ½ years later we had our youngest son Isaac, no fertility drugs needed. He is our Halloween baby. He is 3 years old now.


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: When did sleeping become successful?

Laughon Family:  They both slept through the night at exactly 3 months. However, it was a good year before I would say sleeping became successful. Having twins in the same room one always woke up the other one. My daughter was the light sleeper. She always woke my son up. I always say the 1st year of their life was a blur. Most days I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I was still working full time then and was exhausted.


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How did you and your husband adjust to having twins?

Laughon Family: 

It was hard! We were both exhausted all the time and we fought constantly because we were both so tired. We went from a family of 2 to a family of 4 overnight. We had to learn to make time for each other which is nearly impossible with two babies.


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What would you say is the greatest strength with having twins?

Laughon Family:  The best thing is seeing the relationship that they have. They do argue and are very competitive but when they don’t think you are watching they are so sweet to each other. Its little things like when they are the only two in the living room watching TV and instead of sitting on separate couches they sit right beside each other. If one of them goes to the doctor or dentist without the other they always ask to take their brother/sister a prize or sticker.


Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What would you like everyone to know about having twins?

Laughon Family: Having twins is hard! But it is also something so special about seeing the bond that they have. I feel blessed to have been given this experience.



The Home Loving Wife

The Home Loving Wife
Photo Credit: Amber Burke with Mamaratzzi Photography
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Describe your family(# of children, how long you have been married, etc.)
The Home Loving Wife: My husband, Andrew, and I have been married nearly 7 years and we have 4 beautiful daughters – Julianna Claire (5), Sophia Nicole (4), Chloe Audrina (2) and Isabel Rosalee (1). We make our home and raise our family on the East Coast, in Charlotte, NC. We are a fun, crazy family that loves princess movies (well, us girls anyway!) trips to the beach, snuggles on the couch and pizza night!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What do you miss most about life prior to children?
The Home Loving Wife: I miss the free time – those moments where I didn’t have to be anywhere, doing anything and I had complete discretion over how I spent that time without having to consider anyone else’s needs. Also, being able to have a bit more freedom with my husband – to run out for sushi if we didn’t feel like cooking or run to the grocery store for a few things without having to cart our whole entourage along with us haha!!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What will you do different with your kids than your parents did with you?
The Home Loving Wife: My biggest hope is that my kids grow up with a deeply-rooted sense of gratitude and generosity (something that wasn’t cultivated in my home growing up) as well as an understanding of how to take personal responsibility for their choices and the consequences of those choices. I want my kids to be empowered to make good choices on their own instead of learning to simply follow rules. And I am very intentional about being 100% honest and open with my children (in an age-appropriate manner) when they ask questions – I want them to know the real answers to things and how the world really works so they aren’t surprised by anything later on. And I want them to trust me!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was the deciding factor to becoming a permanent Stay at Home Mom?
The Home Loving Wife: My husband and I were both raised in households where our mothers were primarily stay-at-home mamas, so we both grew up envisioning that being the case when we had our own families. This was something we discussed before even getting married – we wanted me to be able to stay home and homeschool our children whenever that time came. When I became pregnant with our first daughter, I stopped working halfway through the pregnancy and haven’t been back to work since – though I have pursued other avenues to earn income from home since then. The biggest thing for me was that I wanted to be as present as possible in all the aspects of my children’s development. I nannied for a few years before having children, and while I think every family’s needs and circumstances are very different, I knew I didn’t want to have someone else primarily caring for or raising my kids. I knew at the end of the day I’d rather them have more of ME in their lives as opposed to us living more comfortably financially.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How well do you think you handle being a parent?
The Home Loving Wife: I think that on most days I rock this whole mom thing out. I mean, nobody has died in the last 6 years, so that is a serious win!! But in all seriousness, there are SO many aspects to motherhood that are really intense and I lose it way more often than I’d like to admit to. And what’s interesting, is that in a lot of ways I feel like the longer I’m a parent, the less I have black and white answers figured out. I’ve learned that in order to be able to have patience, be calm and kind and handle the chaos of motherhood with dignity I have to do a good job of taking care of myself. When I don’t, everything gets thrown off and I’m no longer in control of my reactions and behavior.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was your first motherhood panic?
The Home Loving Wife: The first time my oldest daughter slept through the night in her own room when she was just 8 weeks old. I remember waking after a long, blissful night of sleep in a panic because I realized I hadn’t woken up with the baby at all and thought I hadn’t turned my monitor on! I rushed to her room thinking I’d find her dead or comatose from crying all night – and instead I found her still soundly asleep in her bed!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: When do you find time for yourself?
The Home Loving Wife: I’ve learned that it really doesn’t work to wait and hope you “find” time for yourself as a mom – you have to be really intentional about creating time for yourself. What tends to work the best for me is to plan out my week in advance and schedule in blocks of time throughout my day and week where I will accomplish things that fuel my mind, body or soul. And being in open communication with my husband about when I need his help to make sure I have that time is essential. I like to wake up at least an hour before I get my kids up so that I have the opportunity to “fill my own cup” before pouring myself out on my kids behalf all day. Also, I pepper self care things through my day, often including the kids, such as eating good meals/snacks, exercising or taking a 15 minute quiet break to read.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How do you picture your kids in ten years time?
The Home Loving Wife: Wow, well….my children will be 15, 14, 12 and 11….which is NUTS to even think about haha!! I picture them all being each other’s best friends. I picture them all thriving in their lives, excelling at what they do and living in their passions. I picture them positively impacting others lives by living lives of love, grace, gratitude and generosity. And I picture having SO much fun with them – traveling, getting our hair and nails done, talking about life and having dance parties in our pajamas in the living room!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What is the hardest part about being a mom?
The Home Loving Wife: In this season of having several very young children, the biggest challenge is feeling sucked dry mentally, emotionally and physically. I am a BIG introvert, so having people around me, talking to me, touching me and needing me all day, every day is EXHAUSTING. By nature I prefer lots of quiet and solitude – which is the opposite of my life right now haha!! This is why I’ve found it to be SO essential to MAKE as much time as possible throughout my day to intentionally recharge myself.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How does your spouse help you around the home?
The Home Loving Wife: My spouse is the most incredible human being in the world. He is an unbelievably helpful, loving, caring and supportive partner. There is virtually NOTHING that he wouldn’t do if I asked him (although I am generally the poopy diaper changer, except in case of emergency or necessity haha!!) He is gone from about 7am-6:30pm during the week, but in the evenings he’s great about taking over for me if I’ve had a long day and need a break, and on the weekends he is all hands on deck to help accomplish whatever I’d like to. He’s great about helping with household chores if I ask, taking charge of the kids so I can have some time to myself and he is the BEST at caring for and loving ME.
For more information please visit The Home Loving Wife at:
I would like to thank the Van Kirk family for taking time out of their busy schedule for this interview!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes

“Phill” Our Home: The Phillips Family


PICTURE CREDIT: Tyler Phillips Photography

I had the opportunity to interview a mom who is in the adoption field. Please see their interview below!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Family

Phillips Family: Our bio kids are Paislee (6) and Sutter (5). Our adopted sons name is Bekker (3) we got him from birth and our foster daughters we will refer to as K (5.5) and M (2.5)

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Why choose adoption/foster?

Phillips Family: We always felt a pull to orphan care of all sorts so we knew adoption would be in our future. Foster care was the big surprise. We, along with everyone, had too many fears in regards to fostering. If you had asked us 4 years ago if we would ever considered it our answer would have been from a place of fear, ‘no that would be too hard’ But It is no secret that there is a HUGE need, but not just a need for homes in general but for GOOD homes. We started seeing that there are few people who are foster parens for the right reasons and often ended up damaging these kids more and that broke us. we knew we could offer them love and safety in their shattering storm, and even though we were afraid of the ‘what ifs’ we became more afraid of what would happen to these children if we didn’t step out. We were able to set aside our selfishness and put ourselves in the shoes of these kid. They are paying the price for someone else’s mistakes and the least we could do is try and provide a place of refuge.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How did you know you were ready?

Phillips Family: we WERENT. (you could read my last blog post to learn more But we knew without a doubt that children needed homes, love and HOPE, whether or not we were in a place financially or emotionally was out of the question. We realized anything else would be with selfish mindset and out of fear and we didn’t want either living in our hearts. So we jumped in, though we were far from ready. living in fear isn’t living after all 

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What does the phrase ‘i wasn’t expected, i was selected’ mean…

Phillips Family: lol no idea. 

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How would a child you’ve fostered/adopted describe you?

Phillips Family: Oh man, no idea 🙂 i would hope that they would see the huge amount love, dedication and sacrifice. That we opened our doors, hearts and arms even in the most inconvenient times. That there wasn’t an ounce of ‘self’ in us and that they would all walk away with seeing the importance of putting others first. But on the more everyday side, i would hope that they would remember the FUN and PEACE that filled our home, even in the moments of pure and utter chaos 🙂

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What are your strengths and weaknesses when working with children?

Phillips Family: For me my strengths of working with others peoples kids is different then my own. I lose my cool a lot faster for my own unfortunately. but I try to always show unconditional love, even in the midst of stressful situations. That my kids never doubt my support and always know their self worth. and that at the end of the day, no matter how much they have messed up, they can always come to me and talk about it. My weaknesses would be that when I get super overwhelmed i have moment of freak out, sometimes just in my head, sometimes out loud, and occasionally at a child. As much as i hate that, it is good because it gives me the opportunity to ask them for forgiveness and to show them that we all mess up and that even mommy is not perfect. We are always able to end on a good note and i even have asked them to hold me accountable if it ever happens again.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Three words to describe our family and why?

Phillips Family: I had a friend answer this who has known us for years.. felt strange answering it myself. 

Ok so it’s quite hard to narrow down to just three words to described Tyler and Courtnay but I will try 😉 
faithful-this word is the first one that came to mind for me… First and foremost they are both faithful in their relationships… God, eachother, family and friendships. In everything they do they look to God for guidance and direction and do all that they do in faithfulness to the Lord and his plans for them. They are faithful to their kiddos… In all they do they make sure to weigh all options and see how it will effect their family while still trusting in God to guide them. Their friendships show faithfulness in now no matter the distance or business of life Tyler and c take time to be faithful in their loyalty to friends in making time for each one individually even if just a quick text check in or a 5 plus hour drive to celebrate big moments! 
Driven- in everything they do as a couple and family their are driven to do it well and complete! No matter how many obstacles are put into their way… Where most people would give up they keep going and trust the end result. They are driven to keep gods plan for them in motion and do what it takes to complete even when times get really really hard.
Loving- they love on people and each other like no one I know! They both come from amazing and loving families and have kept those values and morals strong in their own family structure. They take time to make amazing memories and love on their kiddos through everyday play and vacations. But they also take time to check out and get sitters to love each other and date one another in their crazy fun busy season of kids… They put each other first and it shows in their teamwork abilities they strive on! Their love is the reason already so many little wonderful children have been given a new hope at life and a new chance to succeed. I’ve never met two more amazing faithful driven loving people as I have found in the Phillips.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was the process of adoption like?

Phillips Family: durationsclasses, home study – The process for both is pretty long as expected. You have to basic intro classes, finger printing, more classes, interviews, more classes and home study. They all take time, but if you see it as an opportunity to learn and grow then the time isn’t so bad. the classes are very eye opening and the home study is in depth which is intimidating to some people, but they just want to know exactly who it is that is walking into this arena. its a long but needed step. 

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How did your family react to the idea?

Phillips Family: Our family was all for the adoption of a small child, because there is little risk. But when we started down the foster care road fear set in for everyone. My parents, as well as close friends, were worried about what foster care could expose our own children to. They were worried that we weren’t necessarily putting our kids first. But once we explained that the idea of teaching our children what it looked like to be the hands and feet of Jesus at such a young age was so important, and that to us, that WAS putting our family first, they understood. Also, we could all live in the land of the ‘what ifs’ but that doesn’t get anyone very far. We had to trust that in saying YES to this calling, the the Lord would in turn protect my children. 

 Mom, Minivans, & Messes: What are your future plans for adopting/fostering?

Phillips Family: We hear stories of people who have foster like 98 kids in their lifetime and that I’m always AMAZED at. We would love to be able to extend love to that many children. But at the same time have a desire to adopt again. We have no idea what our future holds, all we know is that it most certainly includes orphan care and are so excited about that! There is far too much hurt in the world to not have open arms.
I would like to thank the Phillips family for allowing me to interview their beautiful family.

Follow them on Instagram: PHILLOURHOME