Who on earth is writing all of this?
Hi, I'm Maile pronounced My-lee, and please don't say "like Cyrus". My mom grew up in Hawaii, where my name is actually super common. My last name is Dutch, as my husband is half Dutch. But then I'm actually half German and half Mexican and he's half Mexican and half Dutch but we're paler than should be possible and our son is Black. This has led to some seriously hilarious looks and conversations in public places.
In addition to being a full-time mom, I'm also a full-time employee of my church (and please don't blame them for anything you see here). Prior to that I worked across industries as varied as a railroad, veterinary medicine, nonprofits for special needs and marine biology, and background investigations and research. I love that my current job allows me to combine my love for organization and Excel spreadsheets along with the occasional design project.
And yeah, our house definitely has a lot of dog hair in it. Some cat hair too. We're big time animal people - as a couple got up to four dogs and four cats with a few temps here and there. When I was a teenager, my family got up to 18 cats and two dogs (we also had ducks, a turkey, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, snakes, lizards, and assorted wildlife we were rehabilitating, and no, not on a farm but in a rented home in the suburbs). We're suckers for strays and all of our pets have been/are rescues. Since downsizing to a tiny apartment we "only" have four total - Olive and Mason (dogs), and Chloe and Echo (cats).
How we built our family (aka: infertility is not fun)
Rocky and I met in 1999 and got married in 2002. One of the many reasons he is awesome is that while we were still dating, he didn't even flinch when I told him that I had severe Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which meant that having kids would be really tough, if not impossible for me. We went through several years of assorted fertility treatments in an attempt to get pregnant anyway, but nothing worked. We agreed that if nothing happened by the time I hit 35, we would focus full time on adoption.
I have a strong family history of ovarian cancer, and am beyond lucky to have some great doctors who monitored me closely for any signs of trouble. The day after we attended an orientation with our county foster care system, six months after I'd hit my 35th birthday, an ultrasound revealed a mass near one of my ovaries, and at least one other near my uterus. Within a week I was in surgery for a full hysterectomy and oophorectomy. Thank God, there was no cancer.
While this was tough (understatement of the year), God clearly had bigger plans for our family all along. In September of 2016, Jonathan came home to us as an eight-month-old ball of personality with a Mr. T hairdo and giant, gorgeous eyes. His adoption was final in March of 2017, and now he's stuck with us forever. This ridiculously handsome little dude is our life and our miracle. We're hoping to expand our family over time and have more kids soon.
Dog hair? Really?
The name is basically what happened after a night of insomnia-fueled browsing of lifestyle blogs with clever and alliterative titles like Kids & Cupcakes or or something to that effect, with photos of genetically-gifted moms with amazing hair, gorgeously lit playrooms with organic, free-range toys, and children in matching outfits with nary a stain in sight. Those blogs are beautiful and inspiring, but just seemed so disconnected from the realities of a chubby girl with... interesting hair and a life featuring, well, more stains and dirty diapers and vacuuming of pet hair than cute outfits and high heels.
I wrote a rambling 3am post on Facebook explaining that if I ever had a lifestyle blog, it would probably be called something like Diapers & Dog Hair, and have special features on how to get cat vomit off of pillowcases and posts like Advanced Negotiating with Toddlers: Using Goldfish Crackers as Currency. And amazingly, people said they would totally read that.
So here we are. Depending on your opinions of the site, My best friend and husband can be thanked or blamed for this, as they both pushed me to pursue it. Oh, and the day after I decided to actually do this, one of the dogs totally ralphed across our pillows, just to spite me for the cat reference.