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.



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!

Image result for Earth balance dairy and soy free butter


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.

Image result for Trader Joe's Tuscan Pane ingredients


Snacks – 

Pretzels with peanut butter



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 – 

Image result for Al Fresco chicken sausage

Image result for amy's cheeseless pizza

Image result for Alexia sweet potato puffs


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



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?”

The Mom Look (Part 2)

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


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!

The Mom Look (part 1)

Now let me start with this…  I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve let myself go.  😉  I clean up pretty well on the rare occasion that I need to (or when my husband is home from work, and  I don’t have to choose between shaving my legs or applying eye-liner).  But let’s face it, I’m thicker around the middle than I used to be (two C-sections in your thirties will do that to you, apparently), more practical in my wardrobe (every article of clothing has to pass the, “Can I lift a child and squat regularly in this?” test), and I’m more focused on keeping everyone alive than I am caring about eyebrows being on fleek (or whatever it is that the makeup gurus are obsessing about these days).  

This is just the phase I’m in right now…  Yes, it’s a precious and beautiful time of life; one that I’ll look back on and sigh about how quickly it passed!  But one that is also very fast-paced and focused solely on little ones.  I have an over-active three year old and a one year old who thinks she’s queen.  As much as it’s a blessing, it’s also a bit like having a front row seat on a runaway train.  They roll out of bed, racing to start the day, and look adorable; I’m more closely resembling a crazy person who hasn’t slept in years.

Some days when we go out, I’m fairly certain that it looks as though a homeless woman has kidnapped two baby Gap models.  I usually pop a hat onto my head and lower it over my face, trying to hide as much as possible.  Or I wear a “This is mom life” T-shirt as an explanation for my frazzled look-of-the-day.

Personally,  I think that moms – in all of our exhausted and frazzled glory – should be treated like royalty.

I’m talking like, “Oh, you’re a mom?  Why don’t you go ahead of me in this long line then?  In fact, let me pay for your coffee!”

WE should be the epitome of gorgeous and sexy, not those pristine models who can’t open a can of tuna for fear they might chip a fingernail.

Right??  Am I right here?!?  

I mean, it’s not like I don’t try to stay on top of the self-care bandwagon.  But my children seem pretty determined to harm themselves quite drastically multiple times a day, so – you know – the curling iron can wait.

And when I do decide to invest in nice beauty products, it can be a little traumatic for all involved.  Can we just be honest and admit that walking into Sephora to buy makeup when you’re a mom of little children can be a humbling experience?  It’s usually something that I avoid at all costs (mostly because my budget can’t afford the cost).  But every once in awhile, I get this sudden burst of inspiration and think that maybe a mystical lotion sold there will hide the circles under my eyes, plump the furrow lines between my brows, and make me magically appear 10 pounds lighter.

Because hey, a mom can dream.

The problem is that most times, I run there; because my husband has kindly suggested I take two hours of child-free time after a particularly LONG, hard day.  And by ‘run’, I mean ‘run’.  I don’t stop to pass Go and to collect $200.  I grab my keys and rush out the door before he realizes that he has agreed to be zoo keeper of two little crazy monkeys.  Stopping to change or to look myself over in the mirror is too risky, because that is five minutes of time during which he might change his mind.

As the words, “You’ve had a long day, I think you need some time to yourself-” are leaving his lips, I am gone.  By the time has felt the first tinge of fear due to the chaos surrounding him, I am on the highway and sipping an iced coffee from Dunkies.    (He loves me and supports me so much that I highly doubt he would ever change his mind.  But again, it’s a risk I’m just not willing to take).

So there I am, walking into Sephora looking like a woman who is living out of her car.  I know this, because Sephora (unlike my home) is full of mirrors.  And to be honest, even if these mirrors didn’t exist, I’d get a pretty accurate depiction of my appearance by taking in the reaction of the employees.

😂😂 very true. I was at my gas station in rollers on Friday embarrassing my son. It was fun 😊

One time (okay, it’s been more than once) I was so desperate to leave the house that I actually left for the mall without looking myself over once.  Because I was in survival mode.  And who, in survival mode, really cares about how pretty they look?  If your house is being engulfed by flames, you’re not going to stop to fix your concealer.  And if you’ve had a nonstop, insane child-rearing day followed by an amazing husband who lets you run away for a few hours, well, same difference.  You RUN!    (… to be continued)


You Know You’re a Mom If…

Which ones can you relate to the most???    And what’s YOUR “You know you’re a mom if…” moment?  

1.   Your house exists in three stages – messy, messier, and oh-my-gosh-we-live-in-a-pigsty.

2.   The messy version of your house starts to feel clean, because it’s only messy.  There are two much worse levels…

3.  You have an evacuation plan in place in case an unannounced visitor pulls into your driveway during the oh-my-gosh-we-live-in-a-pigsty stage.

4.  You can lift a 25 lb toddler while carrying 50 pounds of groceries, talking on the phone, and clipping a three-year-old’s toe-nails.

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5.  You know better than to lick your hand if there is a brown smear on it.  Although it may look like chocolate; if you’re a mom, there is a very high probability that it is not an edible confection.  (A movie that shows a mom licking her hands in order to decipher whether or not a brown smear is poop or chocolate was obviously written by a man).

6.  You’re really good at picking things up with your feet, because your hands are never free.

7.  You wear leopard print, not because it makes you look fierce; but because the pattern hides milk stains, chocolate stains, poop stains, spitup stains, and ketchup stains.  Leopard print is the ultimate stain hider.  You therefore like leopard print.

8.  Nothing puts fear in your heart quite like the color ‘white’.

9.  Forget heels, polish, lip gloss, and jewelry.  Your epitome of THE perfect night is now a hot bath, bubbles, flickering candlelight, and a bowl of peanut m&m’s.

10.   If you don’t have time for the hot bath, bubbles, or flickering candlelight, then the peanut m&m’s will do.

11.  If you don’t have peanut m&m’s, you’ll totally take five minutes of being locked in the bathroom – alone – for 300 seconds of refreshing quiet.  (Turning on the fan is a must, so that you can’t hear the children screaming “MOMMY!” despite the fact that they are with their daddy).

12.  Coffee is your best friend. (Anyone who brings you coffee is basically your soulmate).

13.  You forget to buy hamburger buns while grocery shopping, so you use it as an excuse to run to your happy place:  Target.

14.  You are proud of yourself for leaving Target with only one item!   I am woman; hear me roar!  Problem is, you accidentally bought milk instead of the hamburger buns.

15.  You’ve washed the same load of laundry three times, because you keep forgetting to put it into the dryer.

16.  You have a secret stash of taboo foods (hello, chocolate) hidden behind the broccoli and another nestled beneath the frozen veggie burgers.

17.  “We don’t turn on the blender until we’ve put the cover on first!” is something you say now.

18.  You know, first-hand, just how much of a mess can be created when a blender is turned on without the cover.

19.  You run out the door so quickly that sometimes you freeze in the middle of the supermarket and look down, just to make sure you’re wearing pants.


20.  There is so much love in your heart for little humans that you think you might explode.

Mom Brain

This is a repost from a previous blog post I’d written.  🙂
There’s so much discussion about how pregnancy changes a woman’s body, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the following reality that is:  Mom Brain.  It’s REAL, my friends.  Very real!  And it’s as if those adorable, dimpled fingers reached into my mind before exiting my womb and scrambled my intelligence into a jumbled mess. 

Now I can’t even talk correctly.

Mom Brain Strikes Again

Last night, I was trying to talk to Mr. Nate about yogurt parfaits. Yogurt! And instead, my conversation went something along the lines of, “I should buy some granola for your… your ugh… ugh… the ugh… it’s creamy… the ugh… oh man, what’s it called!?! It’s white…”

And my poor husband is shouting out answers like, “Icecream! Milk… Lotion!”

Seriously, our marriage has become a reality game show.  Who knew that having a simple conversation could be so difficult!

Oh, and don’t get me started on numbers. Someone just mentions the word “math”, and I drop into the fetal position.  Please, PLEASE, don’t ask me to add or subtract numbers anything bigger than would be appropriate for a first grader.  I’m a mom…  My brain is on an extended vacation.  

I seriously can’t remember anything.  If I don’t park in the same spot at the grocery store each week, game over!  I’m that woman pretending to chat on her phone while walking up and down the parking lot, trying to find her missing car.

(Wait, you haven’t done that before?  Oh the fun that you’re missing)!  

All the time. I’m pretty sure I’m going to die of Alzheimer’s someday.

Don’t worry, I fully utilize the panic button on my key fob if necessary as well.  In fact, I know that other moms use theirs to find lost cars as well (let’s be honest, ladies), so we might as well rename the fob’s function.  Forget “panic button” or “car alarm button” and call it what it is…  It’s a “mom lost the car” button.  In fact, instead of beeping obnoxiously, the car should respond by calling out, “Here I am, Gorgeous!”

I’ll take any compliment that I can get!  And basically any help that I can get too…

I at least used to have my little boy fooled into thinking that I had everything under control, because – let’s face it – little boys think that their moms know absolutely everything.  But now that he’s the mature age of three, he knows better.  Just the other night, I was trying to give him and his screaming sister a bath.  (Baby screaming just adds to mom confusion, I find).  I consoled Princess K, saying, “It’s okay, Baby.  Mama will bring you upstairs to get a bottle in a minute if you can just calm down.”

“Mama,” B-Boy corrected, shaking his head.  “We already upstairs!”

Thanks for pointing out the obvious, my child.

His new favorite thing to say is “Mama, you silly!” when mommy brain strikes, and I do something ridiculous  And trust me, ridiculous follows me around these days like a shadow, so it’s a good thing that I can laugh at myself.

I blame it on Pinterest for having me sleep deprived. #Funny #Quote

Case in point…

I had a meeting recently with someone of social status. Let’s just say that I wanted to make a really good impression. I’m talking trading out my typical attire of boot-cut jeans and flannel for black slacks, heels, pretty blouse, and a cardigan that was the perfect balance of feminine and business. I was the image of confidence when I stepped into the woman’s office.

*I am woman, hear me roar*

(Why is it that everytime I use that line, I’m leading into a really embarrassing story?).

Anyway, the meeting went really well, and I drove home in high spirits. Once back at my house, I eagerly ran through the meeting with my husband, telling him all the details. Then I froze. I had been just bending down to pull off my cute heels, when I felt a piece of fabric just peeking out at the bottom of my pant hemline.

So you know how sometimes, after washing and drying clothes, a drier sheet gets stuck to an item; and you find it later when you’re unfolding a towel or trying on a pair of pants?

Well, apparently, this can happen with underwear.

And – after doing laundry – a piece of my underwear had apparently been stuck in my pant leg and worked its way down to my ankles.  That is where it – thank you, Jesus – caught on my shoes and only ever-so-slightly ducked below my pant’s hemline.

You guys, I went through an interview and walked out of an office with underwear dangling out of the bottom of my pant leg.

THIS! This is why a mom NEEDS to look in the mirror before heading out the door. Or why she should actually look at her clothes when she’s putting them on…instead of blindly throwing things on her body while she’s also trying to watch a little boy and a baby. THIS is what happens when a woman is subjected to mom brain.

You know how they say that one’s life can flash before their eyes? This happened to me in that moment… Except I imagined – in a split second – all of the ways I would have reacted to underwear dropping out of my pants during an important meeting with a businesswoman that I wanted to impress.

Like maybe I would have just stopped, dropped, and rolled on top of it.  (Embarrassing… but still less embarrassing than scattering intimate clothing onto an office floor). Or I’d freeze in place, stepping on top of it and pretending to receive a very important phone-call that would conveniently keep me standing there until the woman had to leave for a drink of water…  Or I could have dramatically shouted, “What’s that?!”  And when the interviewer was turned, I could have quickly kicked the underwear into a nearby potted plant.



All these ideas rushed through my mind as I was standing there in my kitchen and holding a piece of underwear that I had just pulled out of my pant leg. Because had this happened, it would have gone down as the most embarrassing moment of my life.  And trust me, my list of embarrassing moments is pretty long and juicy.

I could write a book!  Or at least a ridiculously long blog post…

Mom brain.  It’s terrifying.  It’s hilarious.  It’s real.

And so far, it isn’t getting any better.  Oh thank goodness my kids are cute!  🙂  They make every single one of these moments worth it!!!

The Postpartum Life Party

You did it! After nine months of swollen ankles, ridiculous food aversions and cravings, excited planning, nursery decorating, uncomfortable waddling, leg cramps, sleeping with a man-sized pillow that your husband was strangely jealous of, and happily comparing your growing stomach to fruits and vegetables, you delivered a precious, healthy baby.

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Along the way, there were ups and downs.  Laughter.  Anticipation.  Tears of joy and sadness.  And tears without really any particular reason, because pregnancy hormones have absolutely no mercy.  (I literally burst into tears one afternoon just because I saw a little squirrel that looked particularly sad and hungry).

But after it’s all said and done – no matter how difficult the pregnancy journey was – you would do it all over again.  Nothing can prepare you for the love you feel when meeting your precious, squishy baby for the first time.  (Sigh, is there anything more precious than a squishy newborn)?  It was ALL worth it!

What I quickly realized, however, was that the birth of a child doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your pregnancy journey.  There is that one final chapter:  the fourth trimester that absolutely no one warns you about.  Because there is a postpartum journey as well, and it’s almost just as fun.

And by fun, I mean that it too includes all the ups.  And downs.  And laughter.  And tears.

Except this time around, you don’t get to wear cute T-shirts with whimsical sayings.  Because your Tshirt would have to say things like “Retired watermelon smuggler.” Or “I grew my tribe, and I’m still recovering.”    Or “What bump”?  Even “It took me nine months to grow this belly, and I like icecream too much to lose it any faster than that.  So don’t judge me.”

 Yeahhhh, that last one is kind of wordy.  Maybe I’ll save it for the postpartum greeting card line.

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But seriously, there are weeks of physical recovery and adjusting to changes in your body.  And then once you finally start to feel like yourself again physically, your hormones decide to throw a wild party all over again and your hair starts to fall out.  Postpartum hair loss is pretty much a kick-me-when-I’m-down situation and adds insult to injury.  But on the flip side, it does take your mind off of other great side affects of postpartum life.

Like constipation.

I was definitely not warned about post-partum constipation.  And it’s no joke (especially if you’re recovering from a C-section surgery).  Seriously, if you’re going to have a planned C-section, still take the Lamaze class; because you’ll need the focused breathing to survive your first poop.  One of my friends had actually bought me stool softener (and other survival items) as a gift before I went into the hospital; and I had laughed, thinking it was a gag gift.  After my C-section, her present was the best mommy gift in my house.

“Dear friend, thank you for the stool softener.  I think it may have saved my life.”

Before B-Boy was born, I hadn’t realized that the postpartum stage is just as much an experience as pregnancy can be; but I was more prepared for it this time during the birth of Princess K.  There is so much going on during the recovery, never mind the fact that you aren’t getting any sleep.  It can be so easy to feel overwhelmed, inadequate, unqualified, exhausted, and alone.  Even despite the joy and the beauty of bringing home a new baby, there are so many tough emotions swirling around as well.

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For me, the first two weeks after having my babies were probably the most beautiful weeks of my entire life.  I had a ton of help, and so I could focus on my newborn.  Those days of bonding, snuggling, and just resting my lips on the peach fuzz of their little heads were priceless.  My heart ran over with so much love that sometimes I just felt as though it might explode.

But as life began to fall back into normalcy (and the hormones and physical demands of recovery remained), it was pretty tough.  That first year after baby can be really hard sometimes.  You’re trying to ‘bounce back’ and to fall back into the pattern of how things once were (despite the fact that absolutely everything has changed).  Now you’re running on little sleep, following the schedule of a little human, and carrying around a diaper bag the size of Santa’s sack.

Arriving on time is a thing of the past.  Your new favorite color for clothing is that which most closely resembles spit-up.  Poop explosions haunt you in your dreams.

Everything is new, and you’re certain that – despite all the books you’ve read – you’re not qualified to care for this beautiful baby.  Google is your new best friend…  Is my baby eating too much or too little?  Is it normal for a baby to have that much gas?  Should they be sitting up by now?  And, “Google, how many hours of sleep does a mom actually need in order to live?”

As women, we so often overlook this part of the journey.  We don’t really talk about it much with each other, and the medical support completely goes away.  It’s very common for women to feel alone.  Ridiculously exhausted.  And less than human.

In reality, all we really need is support.  Someone to talk it over with.  Encouragement.  Assurance that everything we’re experiencing is normal and that it really will get better one day.  It will get easier.

One day, we’ll actually sleep through the night.  And not have leaky breasts.  And we’ll maybe even go to the store without looking like an extra from The Walking Dead.  

God created us women to be oh-so-strong.  But we’re definitely stronger together when we encourage those coming after us.  When we remind them that although the days do oftentimes feel long, the years are so fast.  And when we take the time to be the support new moms need, whether it’s folding laundry, dropping off a meal, babysitting siblings, or even dropping off a coffee.  (Can we all admit that coffee solves a multitude of hurt)?

Like pregnancy – the postpartum experience can be tough at times.  But it helps knowing that – also like pregnancy – it’s worth it.  And there will be a light at the end of the tunnel!

But until then, if you know a mom who’s currently living the postpartum life, definitely keep her in your prayers.  Tell her that she’s doing amazing.  Ask her if she needs any help around the house.  And please, just send her coffee!   🙂

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