Mini Baked Donuts – Recipe Review

We had another snowy day today…

My son once again woke up and happily declared it to be Christmas, and I had to bring him down a notch or two and patiently explain that we haven’t even quite reached Thanksgiving yet.

“But there’s snow outside,” he countered.

How can a mother argue with that?  It really is beginning to look a lot more like Christmas than my favorite autumn holiday.  (To be honest, it has been harder than normal this year to refrain from putting up our Christmas tree.  Normally we’re pretty stubborn about that and wait until after Thanksgiving, insisting on letting all the pumpkin and ‘thankfulness’ decor in our house get its fare share of the spotlight.  But with the unseasonably cold weather covering us in a blanket of white, I’m ready, my friends!  I’m ready to pull out all the white, cozy, twinkling lights!!).

“I know,” I said, agreeing with the case my almost four-year-old had presented.  “Christmas is coming, I promise!”

He crossed his arms, thought a bit, and then announced, “It’s a good day for donuts!”

I couldn’t let him down twice, could I?  (Let’s ignore the fact that donuts sounded really, really good to me as well).  But since the roads were a bit slick and this mama was enjoying a let’s-stay-in-our-jammies kind of day (which RARELY happens in this busy household), I decided to try my hand again at homemade, baked donuts.

I’ve baked them before, but I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of the last recipe I used.  So I decided to try the mini donuts recipe from the Granny Girl’s blog.  As you can see from their pic below, their donuts are basically the cutest things since cupcakes.  Seriously though.  I want to reach into my computer and sample each one.  But then again, they’re almost too pretty to eat!

(source)

The struggle is real!

I had to give myself a mini pep-talk that this afternoon was merely for testing the recipe and that the mini donuts were for pure taste-bud enjoyment.  Therefore, my donuts were NOT going to look like the pic above.  I didn’t have pretty sprinkles, flakes of coconut, or walnuts on hand…  (And I was cooking with a four year old.  ‘Nough said).

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It is VERY important, if you’re a mom, to give yourself these peptalks sometimes.  There will be plenty of time later on for pretty…  Right now, your focus is keeping salmonella from hosting a party in your toddler’s mouth and sweeping up the flour before someone wipes out on the kitchen floor.  (Did you realize that flour sprinkled on a kitchen floor is dangerously slippery?  It is.  Trust me.  Also trust me when I say that toddlers are drawn to egg-shells the way we moms are drawn to coffee.  It’s like the salmonella is calling to them).

So yeah, the sprinkles can sit this one out.

The recipe was really easy to whip together, and was – in my opinion – a winner.  The last recipe I’d used to make baked donuts was muffin-like in texture, which was disappointing.  These have more of a cake-like consistency, which I was looking for.  I also really like the slight hint of spice that the nutmeg and cinnamon add.

The one tip I learned was this…  Don’t over-fill your donut pan!  The first batch I cooked lost their holes, because they rose so much.  So they were more like muffin tops.  🙂  But I corrected that for the second batch, and those came out perfect.  (Obviously, my kiddos didn’t care either way and gobbled them all up, donut holes or not).

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I definitely hope to re-make these sometime soon (maybe for the holidays) and put in the effort to decorate them all pretty!  How adorable would a platter of these be for Christmas?!?  But for today, I kept some plain and then tossed the rest in granulated or powdered sugar.

These were perfect for little fingers and went down fast!  Thank you, Granny Girls, for such a delish baked donut recipe.  🙂

If you want to try this out yourself, check out the copy of their recipe HERE.

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Enough (part 2)

A few weeks ago, my kids and I were having a particularly rough, grocery shopping trip.  And to be completely fair, the chaos wasn’t all on them.  I’ve been a mom long enough to know that you don’t bring hungry, tired children into a store and then expect them to sit patiently and obediently as you complete your chores.  But it was a particularly busy day, and I had decided to risk the potential craziness by shopping a little too close to nap and lunch time.

(Never again…).

Anyway, we loudly rounded a corner into the baking and spice section, and our carriage lightly tapped the carriage of an elderly gentleman in front of us.

“Oh my goodness, I am SO sorry,” I apologized from the other side of my obnoxiously long, over-flowing shopping cart.

A smile popped onto his wrinkled face, and I instantly liked him.

He took in both hysterical children, paused a moment, then slowly cupped his hands around his mouth and whistled the perfect imitation of a bird.  The mouths of both of my children dropped, and they went silent.

B-Boy gasped, “Hey, how you do that?”

The man replied, “It’s my invisible bird.  He lives in my pocket.”

“I have one too,” Brady announced, cupping his hands over his mouth and blowing as hard as he could through it.  Princess K giggled loudly, which only encouraged him further.  We had gone from angry cries to the sound of laughter and wind.

I really, really liked this adorable, elderly gentleman…  like a lot.

With the kids occupied, the man looked up at me, smiled, and pointed at the spices, saying, “Do you know how to make stuffed shells?  It’s basil that I want?”

I nodded, “Yes, I’d say that basil would be good!  Are you doing some cooking?”

He nodded.  His eyes lowered a bit as he said, “My wife always cooked stuffed shells for my birthday every year.  She’s gone, and it’s just me now.  And I just want to eat them on my birthday and feel like she’s a little closer.”

For one brief moment, time stood still; and I felt as though my breath had been  knocked out of me.  I murmured that I was so sorry.  I helped him find the basil.

He blinked his eyes a few times and apologized, “I don’t want to bother you with my talking too much.

I assured him that I wasn’t bothered at all.  I love to talk!  I proceeded to help him find some of the ingredients he would need, as we kept pace for the majority of the shopping trip.  His infectious smile won over the children, and B-Boy proceeded to call him Grandpa (obviously having enough love in his heart to adopt another grandfather into his life).

Both kids giggled, and gave him high fives, and played peek-a-boo.  I invited him to church; and we chatted a lot about the weather, upcoming holidays, and just life in general.  We had gone from insanity to embracing the beauty of the moment faster than I could comprehend, and I just knew that we had been meant to bump into each other.

Before we parted ways, I told him, “Thank you for helping me with the kids today!”

He softly said, “Thank you for taking time to talk with me.  I haven’t had anyone to talk to in awhile.”

As we walked off, B-Boy gave one final wave as he happily called out, “Bye, Grandpa!”

I looked back to see the man’s wrinkled face beaming with the largest, happiest of smiles.

To be honest, I almost cried for most of the car ride home, because my heart was so broken for him.  But God put on my heart that He had sent me – a frazzled, busy mom – and my children to that elderly gentleman to help shine a beam of joy into his life.  To help him maybe feel a bit of purpose and love again.

Had I been shopping alone, in stylish boots and calm state-of-mind, I would have walked right by that lonely soul who needed a bit of kindness.  It was the chaos – the noise of two fidgety children being pushed in a runaway carriage – that brought us together.  That actually allowed him to help me in the moment, which opened the door to us helping him.

I was reminded that while mom life has maybe changed some of the ways that I can share God’s love with others, it hasn’t destroyed it.  God is powerful enough to use us in every single stage of life (even in the busy mom stage), through the good and the bad.  We just need to be willing to be used.

God doesn’t put us on a backburner and say, “Come back when you’re put together again, and then we’ll figure something out.”  He uses us in the midst of the messy craziness and sometimes even BECAUSE of it.

Because while we moms are so often struggling to find self worth and meaning amidst the daily routine, God sees us.  Loves us.  And USES us.  Not only for the families we hold so close but for the others that cross our paths.  And while we might not be hosting large fundraisers or volunteering for prestigious positions that address crowds, we can choose to show compassion and love for the individuals that God puts in our path.

That one person we reach at a time?  They’re worth it.

Our impact doesn’t have to be loud and grandiose to matter.  And while we moms might feel trivial and small at times, to God… we are enough.

 

Enough

Sometimes, I think that grocery shopping with a couple of caffeinated monkeys would be easier than attempting to do it with my own two children. I mean, we start off all cute and collected.  We’re this beautiful, put-together family, sporting our in-love-with-life smiles and natural curls.  As we’re passing the egg nog and  holiday flavored creamers, we’re a Hallmark commercial come to life.  Shoppers pause to tell me how adorable we all are, and the kids – as if on cue – hug each other affectionately.

That first five minutes of grocery shopping in the dairy aisle is quite beautiful, actually.

Then we hit aisle fifteen.

You can track us down easily by the trail of cracker crumbs we’ve left throughout the store.  Or simply follow my three year old’s screams.

By this point, we’ve brought the crazy.  Both kids are tired of sitting (which apparently is an affliction to children under the age of four, although – if you ask me – being pushed around a supermarket for an hour while being handed snacks sounds a bit like a vacation).  They’ve eaten their fill of crackers and are now demanding something a little more substantial.  Like jelly beans or lollipops.  They’re writhing their bodies in directions that no human was meant to twist into and emitting sounds that closely resemble the call of an injured moose.

Me?  I’m just trying to calmly hold it all together, before Crazed Mom comes out to play.  And while I’m trying my hardest to look composed, people can see it in my eyes.  At this point, if I told the biker dude in front of me to drop and give me twenty, he’d bark back, “Yes, Ma’am!”

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I really, really just need to survive this shopping trip.  Then I will have six glorious days before I have to face this particular crisis again; and I can – instead – focus on the other beautiful, yet challenging, moments that fill up the life of a mother.

Just another item checked off my to-do list!

As moms, it’s SO easy to feel that the things we do are small (even though they’re everything to our family).  Because let’s face it, grocery shopping with two children under four years old may feel a bit like trying to catch a tornado with a lasso.  And cleaning up after that tornado every single day – which always seems to pull out the same mess of pom poms, playdough, cheerios, lego’s, and poop – is just as daunting…. and seemingly minuscule.  But if we aren’t doing it, then whose feeding, clothing, and cleaning up after the ones we love the most?  (Let’s face it, contrary to popular belief, there are no magical nannies that float around during the day to take care of the little – and big things – that need to get done).

Keeping your house clean while kids are still living in it is next to impossible. These 13 hilarious parenting memes will help you realize you're not alone in trying to keep up with a cleaning schedule, and keep your house organized, too.

Without my touch, the day would look something a little different.  (And my husband assures me that he’s pretty sure he wouldn’t survive).  I am blessed – yes, BLESSED – to have the opportunity to be so present in my children’s lives, even if it is really hard some days.  To clean up those pom poms, and wipe that poop, and instruct when we’re swirling through a grocery store like a tumble-weed flying through a windstorm.

But a lot of days, while we’re enveloped by being the mom to little ones,  it’s tempting to feel that as though any difference we make is confined to the walls of our homes.  That God will once again use us once we have a little less crazy and a whole lot more classy in our lives.

But a few weeks ago, during a particularly rough shopping trip, I was reminded that God can use us in the midst of the crazy.  Because of the crazy….

(to be continued…)

 

 

Favorite Dairy and Soy Free Food Options!

I still remember the day my doctor called and advised me that my newborn had a milk intolerance and that – if I were to continue breastfeeding – I had to remove it from my diet.  It was Christmas Eve…  I’m not going to get into just how devastating that was for a hormonal, always-starving nursing mom.  But let’s just say, a few tears were shed.  For me, the holidays center so strongly around delicious family dishes that it was a huge blow!

I quickly learned that milk wasn’t the only culprit…  Soy also had a negative affect on my baby, causing him to be extremely uncomfortable and fussy.  So that had to go as well (which was actually even harder to give up than dairy had been).  Soy is in everything!

But little by little, I found some food options that were quite delicious!  And so when I had to give up dairy and soy AGAIN while breastfeeding my baby girl, I was basically a pro.  (Now I’m going to be honest here, most of the options aren’t as quite good as dairy).  🙂  But trust me on this one, after a few weeks, your taste buds will adjust and you won’t even notice the difference.  You’ll love the food you’re eating!

So here are some of my favorite choices!  🙂    (P.S.  Just make sure you still read labels as companies are always changing their list of ingredients).


 

Dairy Options – 

So Delicious makes a delicious creamer, so I was always stocked with this for my coffee.

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For my cereal, I originally tried coconut milk, but I honestly gagged at the thicker texture and the flavor too.  I just wasn’t a fan.  And I have a husband with a severe nut allergy, so I don’t buy almond milk (not to mention the fact that nuts bothered baby girl’s stomach in the beginning).

So for my cereal, I used rice milk.  It is the texture of water, and the flavor takes a bit of getting used to.  😉  But I bought the vanilla flavor, and – after a few weeks – I forgot that it was a bit strange at first.  It’s an option worth trying if you’re stuck!  The plain flavor was also great for mashed potatoes and baking…

Rice Dream Organic Rice Drink Enriched Original, 64.0 FL OZ

I do like chocolate coconut milk though.

So Delicious Dairy Free Chocolate Coconut Milk Beverage, 32 oz  (Pack of 12)



 

Mayonnaise –   Just Mayo makes THE best vegan mayonnaise, in my opinion.  It’s so good that even the hubby and toddler would eat it without any complaints.

I also love the garlic and chipotle flavors!  The garlic mayo is awesome for making chicken salad sandwiches.  And the chipotle mayo is absolutely delicious to create a chicken, bacon, and avocado sandwich.

(I believe Amazon sells them even if your grocery store doesn’t).   🙂

079161 00


 

Dressing – Watch out for salad dressings, many which do have cheese (dairy) or soy in them!  Litehouse Thousand Island Dressing uses canola oil instead of soybean like most dressings, so it’s soy free.  AND there’s no dairy!  So it was my go-to dressing, as its delicious.


 

Enjoy Life – I am a huge fan of Enjoy Life foods, because I have a huge chocolate addiction.  Ha, ha.

Their baking chocolate is a staple at my house, but I also love their candy bars too.  Soooooo good!  AND they’re always dairy, nut, and soy free.


 


 

Sweets –   (Because a nursing mom needs her sweets!)

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If you’re allowed to eat soy, Ben and Jerry’s makes a delicious dairy-free icecream now (and Breyers just jumped on the bandwagon too).


 

Butter –   Earth Balance butter has a delicious soy AND dairy free option.  It’s great for everything from buttering toast, to frying eggs, to baking.  I highly recommend it!

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Bread – Honestly, I use my bread machine ALL the time, and it has saved me so many times.  I use this recipe (and I substitute rice milk for the powdered milk and vegan butter for the butter).  It’s chewy, crusty, and delicious!

I also love Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane bread for a sandwich or toast option.

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Snacks – 

Pretzels with peanut butter

 

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Coconut yogurt takes awhile to get used to; but until your taste buds are accustomed to the new flavor, it does make for delicious smoothies.  I also love it topped with granola!

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These fig and raspberry bars are soooooooo GOOD!

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Boom Chicka Pop - Whole Grain Snack Idea

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Quick Dinner Items – 

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Favorite Recipes and Substitutions – 

  •   You can use crushed wheat thins in place of bread crumbs when making meat loaf or meatballs.  (Most bread crumbs contain dairy and soy).
  • If you’re craving a homemade chicken pot pie, you can use this recipe from Pilsbury.  Just substitute vegan butter and coconut creamer for the milk.  Top it off with homemade biscuits made with crisco and coconut creamer.  It’s SO good that no one will know it’s dairy free!
  • Place chicken drumsticks in the crockpot and smother with BBQ sauce.  Cook on High for 3 hours, and you’ll have easy-peasy BBQ chicken.  This is great for BBQ chicken sandwiches, BBQ chicken salads, or BBQ chicken to be served with potatoes and veggies.
  • Taco’s served in butter lettuce.  Lettuce wraps are soooo delicious… and naturally dairy and soy free, of course.  🙂
  • Top burgers with guacamole.  It’s a great replacement for cheese!   I’ve yet to find a dairy and soy free hamburger bun option though, so I used bread for my burgers and called it a burger melt.

 

Roasted Veggies and Sausage

Paleo Chop & Drop Roasted Veggies & Sausage Recipe

Baked Pork Chops

Snobby Joes (a vegetarian take on Sloppy Joes.  I served on toasted bread, since I couldn’t do hamburger buns).

 

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast: 5 Ways - Vegan + Gluten-Free #healthy #avocado #recipes

 

Pumpkin Ginger Cookies

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Well, these were a few of my faves.  If you have any questions or want any specific suggestions, let me know; and I’d be happy to help if I can!  🙂

If you’re on a dairy and soy free diet, what is your favorite food item that I missed on my list?  

The B-Boy Life (1)

A few of my favorite, quirky comments from my too-smart-for-his-own-good (and oftentimes hilarious) three year old…  🙂

***

Me: “Wow, this coffee is strong!”
B-Boy: “Silly, Mama. Coffee no have muscles!”

***

B-Boy: “I want to watch cartoon.”
Me: “Okay, which one?”
B-Boy: “The dirty movie.”
Me: “The what?!?”
B-Boy: “The dirty movie.”
Me: “I’m… Ugh… I don’t know… Which one?”
B-Boy: “The dirty movie, Mama! The boy gets dirty…”
Me: “You mean Charlie Brown?”
B-Boy, looking at me as though I’m crazy because that’s obviously what he’s been saying all along. “Yeah, mama.”
Note to self… Warn my mom about this before she babysits and is asked to put on the dirty movie.

***

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B-Boy, during a commercial featuring a rocket ship: “I go to space?”
Me: “Sure, one day when you’re older. If you work hard!”
B-Boy, nodding happily: “Okay!”
Me: “So you want to be an astronaut?”
B-Boy: “No, be a alien!”

***

One of my cats vomited, and B-Boy – of course – was the first to find it.
B-Boy: “Mama, I going to touch it with my foot.”
Me: “Ugh, no, that’s gross! We don’t touch that.”
B-Boy, shaking his head dramatically in agreement: “It’s poisonous!”
Me: “Well, no, but it’s really gross…”
B-Boy: “It’s poison ivy!”
Me: “Noooo… But you’re right, we don’t want to touch that either…” (Thank you, Curious George).
B-Boy: “It’d make my toe fall off!”
Me: “It’s really just gross, B-Boy.”
B-Boy looks at me in confusion as though that’s not a good enough reason to not stick his foot in cat vomit.

***

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B-Boy was playing with the plastic dinosaurs at the library and was holding one of the vegetarian ones with the long neck. (Still can’t think of its name).
Me: “Ooh, that’s my favorite one! Hmmm, I can’t think of what it’s called though. All I can think of right now is ‘tyrannosaurus’.”
Lady who happened to overhear: “Oh, yeah, that’s a… Hmmm, I can’t think of it either! All I can think of is ‘Triceratops’.”
Me: “B-Boy, what do you think its name is?”
B-Boy: “Fred.”

***

Cashier: Goes on…and on… and ON about the Poconos (because she’s planning her honeymoon to the Poconos. And can’t wait to go to the Poconos. And it’s so pretty in the Poconos.
B-Boy, loudly (per usual): “Mama, why she pick her nose?”
Poconos… Pick her nose…  Yep, I see the confusion there.

***

Me: “Would you like gravy on your potatoes?”
B-Boy: “No thanks. Gravy makes me sneeze.”

***

Nate: “Where`s the Peter Pan DVD?”
Me: “It`s too late to watch it tonight so let`s put something else on.”
B-Boy: “What movie?”
Nate: “Peter Pan.”
Me: “But not tonight.”
B-Boy,whining: “But I want to watch Peed Her Pants!!!”
Peter Pan… Peed Her Pants… I guess I understand the confusion.

***

B-Boy: “Is that a cloud?”
Me: “Kind of… It`s called fog.”
B-Boy: “It`s like we`re driving through a runny nose!”

***

While grocery shopping, B-Boy noticed an older woman with a bandage on her face. Like a typical three year old, he thought it appropriate to ask her about it.
B-Boy: “You got a boo boo?”
Elderly woman: “Yes, just a little one. It’ll be better soon.”
B-Boy: “Did you run with scissors?”

When a Piece of Your Heart is in Heaven

In January 2016, I suffered a miscarriage; and in August of that year, I wrote the post below.  I’m reposting it here on this blog site, because I know that this is a hurt that so many women experience.  And I hope that it lets them know that they are not alone.  


 

AUGUST 2016

I’ve written this blog post many times, only to hit the delete button and erase it all.  I think that I just need to write it.  One time…

Honest…  Real…  Messy.

This time, it’s not about finding the humor or sharing what I’ve learned.  It’s just about being honest and open, letting you see a piece of my heart that was broken earlier this year.  Because time heals, but there are some hurtful moments that shape us forever.  They change the very structure of who we are, because now we’ll see the world through changed eyes.

I don’t want to forget.  I also don’t want to pretend it didn’t happen.  But I am ready to move on and embrace the healing that comes with time.

So here goes…

I had a miscarriage earlier this year.  I had found out  that I was pregnant on Christmas morning, and it was the best Christmas gift that my husband and I could have been given.  We had really wanted this new addition to our family and  to find out – on Christmas Day –  felt like a special present just for us.

Like most Type A people, I had my entire pregnancy mapped out by New Year’s.  I’d signed up for the pregnancy apps again, searched for maternity clothes bargains, and found every excuse possible to wander through the baby section of stores.  (Everything looked so tiny and filled me with excitement over bringing another newborn home).

Nate and I imagined our son playing with his brother or sister.  We talked about how we’d have two little ones the following Christmas.  I mapped out my teaching schedule and began to organize so that the transition to having a toddler and a newborn would be as smooth as we humanly could make it.

When the bleeding started, I tried to brush it off.  I’d spotted a little bit during my first pregnancy, so I told myself that this is all it was.  It was just how my body reacted to pregnancy…  My doctor, on the other hand, took it more seriously and scheduled an ultrasound.  The verdict was that the heartbeat was a bit more faint than they would have liked, but maybe I wasn’t as far along as we all thought.

At that point, all I could do was wait.  Every single day was one day closer to the second trimester and an added level of security.  I kept telling myself that I just needed to get through the first trimester and everything would be fine.  This was just going to be one of those health scares that one laughs about once it turns out to be nothing.

But if I’m to be honest, I knew all along that something was wrong.  I had almost known from the very beginning.  Something inside of me just kept warning me that things weren’t right.  Every day I prayed and prayed and prayed for this little life inside of me that I so badly wanted to meet, but – at the same time – I just prepared myself for what might happen.  Although it was light, the bleeding wasn’t stopping.  And that terrified me.

Hearing this song by Hillary Scott (which was written after her own personal miscarriage) so greatly reflects my feelings during that time.  The way I pleaded and trusted God, knowing that I couldn’t control anything.  Just completely trusting that God would bring me and my husband through what was about to happen.

 

I woke up one morning, late January, and the bleeding was heavy.  I knew.  I called the doctor’s office and calmly told the nurse that I was miscarrying.  Then I hung up the phone and cried.

I’d naively told myself that because I was so early on in the pregnancy, that a miscarriage wouldn’t hurt.  But I’d had an ultrasound.  I’d heard a heartbeat.  I’d planned, and prayed, and fallen in love.

The physical side of the miscarriage was much harder than I had anticipated, and – to only complicate things –  my doctor was on vacation when it happened.  No one told me what to expect, because no one seemed to know who I was supposed to be talking to.  I fell through the cracks, so to speak, and my chart never seemed to be listed with the appropriate information.  So every time I was asked to go back for an appointment, bloodwork, or an ultrasound, the receptionist or nurse greeting me would happily ask, “So are we here to see how much baby has grown today?” or “are we confirming a pregnancy today?”

It happened five times.  Every single time, I’d look at the woman calmly and say, “I’m here to see if I’ve finished miscarrying.”

The cramping was intensely painful.  I was weak from the heavy loss of blood and freaked out that maybe I was losing too much.  Should I go to the emergency room?  Was this normal?  Again, no one was telling me what to expect, and – in the moment – I felt too dazed to ask for answers.  In the end, the process took about two weeks, and it wore on me both physically and emotionally.

The emotional side of the miscarriage hit me a million times harder than I could have believed.  It didn’t matter that I was still in the early stages.  My child had been stolen from me.  I truly believe that I have a baby in heaven waiting for me and that one day, I will hold it, and he or she will know just how much their mama misses them.  But I so wish that I could have held them here on earth.  That I could have told them to their sweet face just how much I loved them.  That I could have watched them grow up.

I never understood the pain that comes with miscarriage until I personally faced it.  I’ve had so many friends go through it, and I tried to be empathetic, but I just didn’t know.  But now I do…  And now I know that it rips your heart out and carries a small piece of it to heaven.  And I know that there is no such thing as moving on completely, because you will always remember and always love the baby you lost.

I love the saying about how our babies are the only ones who know what our heartbeat sounds like from the inside.  And even though my baby was very small, one day he or she will find me in heaven and know me by my heartbeat.  And they’ll know that I loved them even though we were never given the chance to meet.

Society almost frowns on talking about miscarriage, and it’s something that so many of us face in private and alone.  So I write this to reach out to any other woman going through a miscarriage right now.  You’re not alone.  I know your pain.  I promise it gets easier and that you’ll be able to move on.  But you’ll never forget.  And sometimes, little things will happen that remind you of the loss that will always be a part of you.  But you will heal.

I see you.  And so many other women do too.  And although we so desperately wanted to meet our babies, we trust that our Father in heaven (the only one who could love them more than us) is holding them close until we can do so ourselves.  That fills me with hope… joy… and peace.

xoxo  -Nicole

 

The Mom Look (Part 2)

(Click HERE for Part 1 if you missed it…)    🙂

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I caught sight of myself in one of the over-sized, Sephora mirrors and thought, “Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize I looked that bad…”

Frizzy curls gone wild.  Ketchup stain on my left shoulder.  A splatter of blue paint on my right cheek.  Rushed attempt at foundation streaked across my forehead that had since been melted off.  Mascara smeared.  Baggy t-shirt that had seen better days.

30+ Mom Memes That'll Make You Laugh Through Your Endless Exhaustion

I was basically sporting a look that screamed “I just don’t care right now”, “I haven’t slept in three years, ” AND “help me”.

A Sephora employee whose makeup was so perfect it looked porcelain walked up to me but stopped before she got too close, because the ‘mom look’ is apparently contagious.

I smile and say, “Hi!  I’m just hoping to find a lotion that helps me out, because mom life…”

She waits for me to say more.  I’m confused, because I thought that already explained it all.

She says, “What do you want it to do?”

I pause a moment and then reply, “Everything?”

I laugh (a little too hysterically), because I think I’m being clever.  And I’m really tired and over-caffeinated.  She’s looking me up and down a bit in horror, and I realize that I am walking birth control.  I am the epitome of what young women say will never happen to them.

And I feel that slight sting for a moment…  The memory of days-gone-by when I had time to paint my nails.  Straighten my hair.  Dress up in an outfit that was classy and current.  Free moments to giggle with friends over a coffee or run out to a restaurant with my hubby.

Life has changed… drastically.  And I’m going to be honest, that’s really hard some days.  It’s especially hard on the days when the environment almost requires a level of primping that I just don’t have time for. I mean, when I’m out walking through a nearby campground with the kids, I fit right in!  Those camping moms who haven’t showered, or did their hair, or packed makeup?  Those are my peeps!  They’re confidently celebrating rustic and natural, and – gosh – I fit right in!

But when it’s date night with the hubby and I didn’t have a free moment to do my hair and makeup…  Or when we’re attending a wedding, and I have to wear the more practical, I’ll-be-chasing-after-children dress…  Or even when I’m out with a girlfriend, and I have to throw on a hat to cover my crazy hair.  In those moments, I fully realize that I am so engrossed in mom life right now that I have – like it or not – embodied the mom look.

But unlike the rustic, outdoorsy hikers and campers who are respected for their back-to-nature vibes, we moms are often seen as…. sad.  Frumpy.  Without any real accomplishment.  And it’s kind of like kicking a mom when she’s already down.

We aren’t flashy enough, pretty enough, accomplished enough, or whatever-else-it-is-that-we’re-supposed-to-be-doing enough.  Most of us don’t bring home money (or enough money).  We don’t drive fancy cars.  We don’t have board meetings while wearing smart suits and sipping over-priced lattes.

We just aren’t cool enough.

And I get it; nothing that I do is glamorous.  At all.  But what I do DOES matter to the children that I am raising.  And although it’s usually not riveting, exciting work, it is THE most important work.  That lego tower that I just helped my son build?  It might not be designs for a Boston skyscraper that will one day house hundreds of people.  But it did impact one life.  And I truly believe that just as God fearfully and wonderfully created each and every one of us, a moms impact on one life is an impact that can make this world a better place.

It matters.

One life at a time, we’re changing things for the better.  Because although a grain of sand may seem small and insignificant, when multiplied by thousands, it becomes the coastline which stretches as far as the eye can see.  And we moms, we’re responsible for our grains of sand, which will – in turn – become an army of love and compassion.

One day I’ll have time to paint my nails again… To do my hair.  To look myself over in the mirror and make sure that everything fits ‘just so’.  But while those moments of free time will one day come back, I will never get back these busy – yet precious – moments of molding my children’s lives.   My ‘job’ right now is to inspire them. Encourage them.  Let them know that they are beautiful creations of God and that they can do absolutely anything.  Right now, my mornings are filled with chubby feet dancing down hallways and bowls of cheerios scattered across the kitchen floor.  Skinned knees that need kissing, bad dreams that require hugs, temper tantrums that need guidance, and faith that needs building.

Those moments won’t ever come back.  I won’t ever again have this chance to pour into their lives.

This is where I find my purpose and fulfillment.  My determination to keep going, even though I might not look put together and perfect on the outside.  This world may never recognize – as trophies – the lines on a woman’s face, her gray hairs, the stretch marks, the often less-than-glamorous wardrobe she wears for the personal sacrifice that she willingly gives every single day.  But I know that my trophy is in heaven and in the lives of my children.

Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for moms taking care of themselves, because we need to be filled in order to continuously fill our families.  We do need personal time.  We need pampering.  We need to feel human.  (I totally ended up leaving Sephora with some over-priced night cream that I’m hoping will do at least one of the five things it promises to accomplish).   😉

Do Not Attempt This At Home! ;)☕

And I love shopping just as much as the next woman and am already planning a bit of fall season retail therapy for next month…  😉  BUT I refuse to believe that this phase of life – the phase that oftentimes requires me to look a bit exhausted and thrown together – is less than.

Our children are worth it.  Everything else in this world is just stuff…  It’s glittery, shiny, eye-catching stuff that will only tear, rust, and fade away.  Magazines, movies, and even people will try to claim that money, fame, eye shadow, and the perfect pair of shoes is the key to success and happiness.  It’s how they try to measure someone’s worth.

But I know that my life possesses a beauty that can’t be bottled or sold on shelves.  Because I’m a mom.  And my babies are worth more than anything money could buy.  So on the busy days that it’s required of me, I’m going to hold my head up high and wear my mom look proudly!   🙂

No matter how old they get!