life | parenting

How do you do it?

By on March 8, 2015

I often get this question a lot. “How do you do it?” 

I think people see three young children and assume it’s the hardest, most stressful life there ever was! I mean yes, having 3 under the age of 4 (and at one point 3 under 3) can be rough, especially when two of them are only 5 months apart. 
I often get comments like “Bless you!” or “You really have your hands full!” and of course the infamous “How do you do it?!”  I get it, we can look like a spectacle at times. 
So how do I do it? Well, it’s like anything in life, you just do because you have no choice. 
Every day we get up, try to follow a general routine and get through the day with as many laughs as we can. My house is rarely ever not cluttered with baby stuff and if I could fully finish laundry it would be a miracle. Half the time my kids are running around in only diapers and underwear because pulling pants up and down every time someone needs a diaper change gets old. Also if you have met Everly you will know this is no easy feat. The girl loves to scream and spin whenever she is changed. 
I also have a husband who wins in the Daddy category. Whenever someone asks how I do it he is my answer. Branden picks up so much of my slack. He is a cleaning machine, plays with the kids and keeps our house from falling apart all while working. He is a savior and I am lucky to call him mine. I think people assume the Moms do it all or maybe the Dads are only there for the fun parts but not in our family. Branden takes on so much and I am very grateful. I don’t think I tell him enough. 
So my house is a slight disaster and my kids are half dressed but at least they are happy the majority of the time. I may be going slightly nuts through out the day but they are pretty oblivious to it. We go through harder times and super easy times but overall we make it because we just do. We learn what works and what doesn’t and go with what does. 
People have asked for a Day in the Life post so I will try to get that done for you all! 
How do you make it work with your family? 

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advice | new mom | parenting | Pregnancy

5 Ways to Encourage a New Mom

By on September 22, 2014

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Being a first time Mom is filled with so many emotions. It’s joyous, incredible, tiring, terrifying and at times frustrating.  It can feel overwhelming in those first few weeks and months. When you don’t have children yourself it can often be confusing on what you should do. Should you leave Mom to have alone time with her new baby? Should you put it out there that you are there for her but leave it on her terms? Here are some of the things I know I appreciated from people and what I have noticed others have appreciated from me as I was able to be there for my friends when they became Moms for the first time. 
1. Don’t just ask if she needs help, be specific on what you will help her with. Most people will never ask for help because they don’t want to inconvenience anyone. Instead of “Call me if you need anything.” Say “I am bringing you guys dinner, what night is good for you?” or “You sleep and I will clean the kitchen, bathroom, floors, ect…” This is better than any baby present you could bring over. Trust me. 
2. Tell her she looks great for just having a baby. Having a baby changes your body and when you are sleep deprived and emotional with a squishy belly the last thing you might feel is stellar so hearing how good you are looking can be super nice to hear. And nothing is more beautiful than a new Mom holding her brand new baby.  
3. Give her a week or two than come by or bring her lunch. People are usually lining up to meet a newborn in the first week or two but after that people slowly stop coming by or checking up on you and it can feel lonely. Most  women are used to being around others while working or just being out in the world. When that newborn is here getting out of the house is can feel like you are packing for a weekend away. Offer to bring her lunch or some wine and a movie for a girls night in after a few weeks have passed. She may feel less tired, more bored and in need of real adult conversation.
4. Ask her how she’s really feeling. When you have a new baby it can feel overwhelming and not what you expect. Yes, you love this little ball of cuteness but you are also changing from being free to do whatever you want, whenever you want to being dependent on a little person who tells you when they need to eat and when you need to change them. They are demanding and new Moms can feel guilty talking about how they really feel. We all know they love their baby but sometimes you just want to say how much it sucks that you aren’t getting any sleep and your baby wants to be attached to your boobs 24/7. 
5. Be selfless. When you become a new Mom you all of a sudden have to become incredibly selfless and it takes a lot out of you. Your baby depends on you for everything and it can feel tiring always giving of yourself. Sometimes all a new Mom needs is someone to be that for them. Having a friend who is willing to give a little more of themselves at that time is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give. Trust me when you have a baby she will return the favor.

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Ace | Ashlyn | everly | life | parenting

10 Annoying Things my Kids do

By on September 17, 2014

Disclaimer: If you are a Mom than you know the struggle is real. Our kids will at some point do something to annoy us or just drive us nuts. I think it’s natures way of proving we have patience. And if you can’t read these with a hint of sarcasm move along. We don’t need any serious people here. 
1. Pull your hair, scratch, bite and pinch you.  Ashlyn is the queen of this. It’s not that she intentionally is trying to hurt me but when she pulls up on me she loves to pinch me or when she is trying to prevent herself from falling her nails find my skin and remove a little. She also uses my shoulder as a teething toy at times. And the hair pulling, I can’t!
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2. Not smiling in pictures. Or not looking at the camera or moving from where I sat you. Seriously, I just want one picture where you are looking at the camera and smiling. Just one, if you have multiple children in the picture this is even more of a nightmare and you will get blurred faces of at least 2 of them. They will also find a way to push the other one over, make someone cry (probably me) or hurt each other. 
3.Not sleeping through the night. Ok, I know not all babies sleep through the night or it takes them a really, really long time to get to that point but when you go from sleeping through the night to waking up every couple of hours to, ya know, just hang out with me, it’s not cool. Not cool at all, Everly!
4. Being cute when I want to sleep.  These are one of those moments where you are dead tired because of the prior and decides smiling and “talking” to you is way more fun at 5 a.m. I mean seriously, stop being so cute and GTFTS
5. Scream at me when I walk away from you. Look sometimes I have to go to the bathroom, change your sister’s diaper or make you a bottle. Crying and whining when I move 2 feet from you is not going to change that. I promise I will be right back as you have seen the other 9873 times you did this.
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6. When you have 3 kids this happens at the most obnoxious times. Mommy is cooking dinner, lets all cry and see who can be the loudest. We are waiting to check out at the store, perfect time to show how we are all in sync and whine because we are over being here. Can Mommy join in? 
7. Learning a new skill and keeping yourself awake. This is oh so fun. You learned to sit up or crawl? 1 a.m. is the perfect time to practice. How about pulling up to a standing position? 4 a.m. is perfect timing for that. And make sure to scream when you can’t figure out how to get down, Moms love that shit!
8. Not nap. Seriously, you are supposed to rock at napping. It’s like part of your skill set from birth when you sleep all day and party all night. Now you want to switch things up? Well, not you Everly but Ashlyn you rock sleeping at night but naps you refuse? Come on girl, get it together! 
9. Spit food. I get it, blowing raspberries is the cool new thing and awesome until you spit food in my face. Ok, I see you don’t think it’s a problem by that smile on your face (which would really come in handy when I try to take a picture) but now I’m gross and you’re still cute and this is why I look like I’ve been run over by the end of the day. 
10. Eat stuff you aren’t supposed to.  This is what I imagine runs through your head…See that board book over there? It definitely needs a bite taken out of it. Oh, my brother got a new toy? Definitely finding a way to eat that. Mommy’s phone tastes amazing! Her all time favorite? Wipes (new ones of course)! 
No, just no!
Ok, I am done, cue Mommy guilt. I’m pretty sure I am going to have to follow this up by 100 awesome things my kids do to redeem myself. 

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advice | life | parenting

10 Things I Want My Children to Know

By on September 10, 2014

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As a parent to three little children I always think of things I want to teach them.
I envision their future of having amazing friends, a great love and beautiful children. I know there will be heartache, broken hearts, pain and disappointment but I hope that with all those things they learn that there is so much we can learn from life.
My parents were really good about teaching me that there is disappointment in life or your friends will hurt you and make mistakes but there is also an even bigger part of life that is rewarding and amazing.
So here are my top 10 things I want my children to know.

1. You are beautiful inside and out. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are less than them.

2. If someone puts you down and tries to belittle you that is emotional abuse, it’s not okay. 

3. If you get a bad feeling about someone it’s ok to walk away or run as fast as you can. You don’t always have to be polite if you are uncomfortable (thank you Christel for teaching me this).

4. You don’t owe anyone anything. Never let someone manipulate you into doing something for them. 

5. Be happy with yourself first, no one will ever be able to make you happy unless you are happy with yourself first.

6. Be ok being alone. Learn to be comfortable with having time to yourself, cherish it.

7. Don’t ever give up. You might fall at times but if you keep going you will get accomplish that goal!

8. I will love you forever. No matter what you do in life I will always love you. You will never truly know this love until you have your own children and I know you will think at times I am too hard on you but it will always be out of love. 

9. Know what you want. People respect those who know what they want out of life. 

10. Say what you mean and mean what you say. This is so important. If you want people to respect you than do this. People will appreciate you being consistent and dependable and if you always do as you say than people will know they can count on you.
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life | parenting

Surviving a Restaurant with 3 under 3!

By on July 14, 2014

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When you having three children going out to eat can be a somewhat terrifying mission.  We are officially out numbered and two of those children are babies making their need for us all consuming at times. 

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Ashlyn’s outfit: Southern Tots, Headband: Similar
Ace’s Shirt: The Printed Palette, Shorts: U.S. Polo

Branden and I have only taken the kids out to eat with family, never just us and them. We attempted it on Father’s day but with the wait we said screw it and went to lunch later with my family. We all took turns holding a baby or entertaining Ace. It worked out but the thought of doing that alone made me feel more than overwhelmed. 
This morning, though, I said “let’s go to Crackle Barrel!”
Bran has been wanting to go ever since Father’s day so I figured since it wasn’t Sunday it wouldn’t be too busy. We got there and it was only a 15 minute wait. Score!

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Everly’s Romper: Southern Tots
Headband: Similar

We got in, Everly had her bottle and passed out and we were set. Ashlyn loves feeding herself so we got biscuits to start and she chomped on those. Ace was overall really well behaved with only some minor reprimands. 
I seriously felt like we were finally coming out of that crazy fog of constant crying and whining for attention. Sure, it’s not always constant but when you go out and they all need your attention that is exactly how it feels. 
I will say I knew it would be hard having 3 children under the age of 3 but I think you can never quite get it till you are there. I knew the first 3 months after Everly came it was going to be somewhat of a nightmare and if we could just get through that we would be ok and I definitely see that happening. Everly though had a lot more issues than Ace and Ashlyn as a newborn so that made it even more difficult but now she is a happy little baby and Ashlyn is such a sweet girl that they just make life so much more incredible. Ace is the cutest big brother to them too.
I think we are finally getting this parenting of three down! 

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infographic | parenting

Single Mom? You Mean Super Mom!

By on July 6, 2013
As a Mom I know it can be very difficult to get everything done in one day. I fortunately have my husband to help me with our son and things around the house to make my job a little easier.
I have so much respect for single Mothers out there because their jobs as Mothers isn’t always an easy one. They do the “job” of two parents and that takes strength and grace.
Here is an awesome info graphic giving us a real look into how much goes into the daily life of a single Mom.
Marathon Mom

Source: Careteen

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guest posting | parenting

Guest Post: Parents Say the Darndest Things!

By on December 17, 2012

There’s some things you expect to tell your kids:  Be nice, don’t hit, use your inside voice.  But there are other things that you find yourself saying as a parent that you never dreamed would come out of your mouth.

The list below are 30 things my friends and I never expected to say to our kids…but we did.

Don’t lick your brother.
Don’t pet the spiders.  They bite.
Don’t hang off the bunk bed by your feet!
Don’t hide apple cores under your mattress!
Don’t pee in the lego box…EVER!
We don’t kiss the computer screen–even if there are cute puppies on it.
We don’t lick spilled milk off the floor!
We don’t eat electricity.
We don’t chew on sandpaper.
No, we can’t have cake for dinner.
No, you can’t ride the dogs.
No, you may not go on the roof!
No, you can’t slide down the fire tower railing!
No, we can’t swing from the balcony
No, you can’t hang a rope off the ceiling fan and swing from it.
Get off the refrigerator!
No feet on the toilet!
Food in the trash stays in the trash! 
Yes, that does make a circle…but don’t bite me again.
Take my bra off your head…that’s not a toy.
The toilet plunger is not a gun.  Put it back.
The kitchen knives are not pirate swords!
Lollypops are not for sharing.
My shirt is not a kleenex!
Toy planes can’t really fly.  If you throw them off the balcony, they break.
I’m sorry, I can’t kiss the boo-boo on your tongue.  Maybe a hug will do?
If you climb up the walls, you get to clean the footprints off.
You have to stop digging there–you’re exposing the foundation of our house.
Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato need to go back in the fridge now.
What do you mean you have gone to school all week without underwear!?

So, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to say to your children?

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Ace | Embracing | life | parenting | Toddlerhood

Parenting a Toddler: Struggling with Boundaries & Discipline

By on December 11, 2012

As parents I think we all struggle with different things our child is going through and how to go about handling them.

Some of my struggles having been Ace’s hitting, which I have talked about before and now I am struggling with setting limits.

The reason I say I struggle is because I want him to explore in order to learn. I want him to make mistakes and learn from them. I want him to understand it’s ok to have fun and enjoy what the world has to offer. So where does the struggling come in? Well, I think part of me thinks maybe I need to set some limits when it comes to doing certain things but then a bigger part of me says a 16 month old isn’t going to understand some of those limits. Certain ones, yes, he does understand and we set them and work on them but others I go back and forth on if I should start setting them now or allow him to explore and figure things out. I don’t just let him go off on his own but I do watch him and see what he is going to do. I do not believe in being a helicopter parent and stressing about every little thing your child touches or helping them every step of the way. Ace is very smart and I love watching him learn and figure things out. He has always been the type of person to examine things and try to see how it works. It is part of his personality and I don’t want to stomp on that or somehow punish that part of him.

If he wants to go over and play in dirt to feel the texture and see what it is all about than I am all for it. If he wants to paint and make a mess (outside is best for this) than who am I do tell him to not rub paint on his belly or get it in his hair? Granted I don’t want him painting on things he should but I feel like he has years to be told not to get dirty and to color inside the lines so why not let him get a little messy?

I do try to set some boundaries of course. I get very upset (by upset I mean I feel bad that he has hurt his friend but do not get upset with him) when he smacks a friend in the face and we show him how to be gentle or tell him to be nice. We are working on not throwing our sippy and our next big thing is not throwing food by giving him real life consquences like taking the food away until he can stop throwing it but I am not just going to go around tell him no or don’t do that because honestly, he likes to get a reaction but doesn’t like his food being taken away.

It is a learning process but it is one that I think we are doing pretty well at. We are fortunate to have a child who rarely ever whines, who loves to play, learn, explore and be friendly to people. These are qualities I just love about him. He is so outgoing and independent as well as charismatic. He is by no means a spoiled child and I love that as well. He does test us at times and has his moments like any child but I think overall we are truly lucky. Knowing this helps me when I start to think maybe I should do this instead of that or maybe I am doing this wrong or should I be more stern? Should I be doing this or that? In the end I hope he will be a polite, happy, sweet, loving person and I think we are on the right track but man, who knew parenting could be so tough sometimes.

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Ace | Embracing | parenting

Learning to Embrace Toddlerhood

By on October 1, 2012

As a mother of a very independent, outgoing and loud toddler I have learned a thing or two in the short time I have been a mother to this toddling little disaster. 
First of all no matter how well behaved your toddler is they will always throw a fit at the least convenient time. This is when you want to crawl under a rock and hide till they stop because in that moment you feel like your child is going to explode from being so pissed off. What have I learned from this? Well, first of all, when your toddler is throwing a tantrum, the last thing that is going to make your toddler calm down is yelling at or spanking them. I mean, if you are pissed off at someone, is them reacting to you in anger going to make you cool down? No. 

The start of crocodile tears!

The tears stopped the second he realized I was going to take a picture. He is already a ham!

Now I am not saying I am perfect and always handle these situations with the perfect amount of grace and control but I do try. Distractions are also my friend in these situations. Usually Ace will get upset and if we move him along to something more interesting he stops whining. If that doesn’t work sometimes just letting the tantrum run its course is all that needs to be done. That isn’t always the easiest thing to handle if you are stressed and in a hurry but I am telling you, these kids can smell fear, and will act on it! 

Playing with his friend before he later bit her 🙁

Biting, hitting, pinching, pushing and pulling hair seems to also be one of the many “joys” of toddlerhood. Ace has done some of these to some of his little friends and I can tell you every time I felt like the worlds worse mother. I know Ace isn’t a “bad” or mean child. He is quite the opposite. He is easy going and friendly but he is still trying to figure out how to get what he wants, what is and isn’t going to hurt his friend and sometimes does things because he wants to see what will happen. He has had these things done to him as well and of course I understand that this isn’t some defective toddler harming my child and the parents aren’t going around teaching them its ok to act like this. It is a fact of life, some or most toddlers are going to have a time in their life when they do something to hurt their friend and to put it simply, it sucks.

He wouldn’t let go of this Frog!

What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine! This is something I watch on a daily basis with Ace and his little friends. They all want the same toy at the same time. If someone else has it, too bad, someone is taking it from the other one. Toddlers think they own everything. Heck, I was at the doctors and I was giving Ace some yogurt melts and a little girl came up to me and tried to grab them from me. She probably has them at her house and just assumed they belong to her. Her father apologized but seriously? My kid would have done the same thing, I am sure of it.

Care free and happy!

I am not saying all of Toddlerhood is scary. In fact I love this age. My son is hysterical, lovable and still thinks I am pretty awesome. He even has his own signature booty dance. To be honest he is free entertainment when we go to parties. He loves to make others laugh. Its just a skill he already has leaving us to believe we are in big trouble when he starts school. Class clown, anyone? He loves his friends, is carefree and has a true zest for life. No matter how many times I want to pull my hair out or scream there are 100 more times I want to just hang out with my little guy because to me, he really is the most amazing person on this planet.
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Deals | gift ideas | parenting

Parenting Magazine $4.99 1 year subscription!

By on July 23, 2012
Right now Amazon has Parenting (1-year auto-renewal) on sale for 4.99 for a year subscription!! I have this magazine and it is my go to guide. I love it. Makes a great gift for a new Mom as well.
They also have Parenting School Years (1-year auto-renewal), which I had no idea about but it is also on sale for $4.99 a year. Go check them out now before this deal is gone!!
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