Monday, December 26, 2016

New in 2017 - The Time Has Come!

The time has come,
the world should know.
Our "little" family
has decided to grow! 
July is the time
the baby is due.
Everyone has asked
will it be pink or will it be blue? 
We don't really care,
and it sounds cliche,
but we just want everything
to go smooth and okay. 
Yes, it was planned.
There was no 'oops' to be had.
We love big families,
and being mom and dad. 
No, there will be no more.
The factory will be done.
Five little faces is what we want,
they make our hearts overrun. 
Yes, we might be crazy,
and that we can accept.
But this our circus,
and we have become quite adept. 
So we will take your well wishes,
and your words of joy!
We are ecstatic for this chapter,
and the new one we will get to enjoy! 

We had a lifestyle photo session with Tori Bruno Photography and that's when I told Jason that he was going to be a father of five! These photos make me laugh hysterically! I was expecting a "wow" reaction, and instead I got a "Oh, ok. Cool!" But I love these so much!

Also, this whole pregnancy thing has me exhausted and nauseous; and that's why my blog has been slacking! Please forgive me!

Be sure you are following me over on Instagram so you don't miss any of the craziness that this pregnancy is sure to offer!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I Blame My Parent's Divorce: Holiday Edition

Divorce is ugly. It's the ending of what was suppose to be a lifelong commitment. Some kids have to experience divorce as a young child where all decisions are made for them. Others experience it as a teenager or adult and are able to voice their feelings and opinions. I unfortunately fell into the first category. 

I've said it before, I'm thankful my parents decided to divorce. They were a hot mess together and are much better apart. I was five when they divorced. I am one of those 'survivor' types of personalities. I fight through the tough times and appear to everyone to "adapt well." to changes. 

Truth is, being subjected to my parent's divorce as a young child has had a long lasting impression on me. It causes me to do things instinctively without even realizing why. It wasn't until I was recently defending my choices that I had a self-realization. 

I'm a holiday traditions psycho.

It's true.

When I was little I would be shuffled from one gathering to the next. I'd spend an hour, MAYBE two at one house before rushing off to the next. A typical Thanksgiving or Christmas would have me traveling from 4-6 different family events, PLUS doing something with my mom and then my dad.

There would be arguments about who got me for what and what time. Dirty looks got shot across cold parking lots when the other party was late for the transfer of the merchandise (me).

I was always jealous of my friends who would talk about the fun they had during the holidays. The games they played and how everyone was at their house. I only knew drive, say hi, eat, then repeat.

As I got older, I still felt that I had to hold to those commitments. I had to make every part of my family happy with my presence.

Jason and I started dating and that only intensified our duty to run around like chickens with our heads cut off. We would have to miss a few places, only because there was so much overlap, but we worked it into a rotation. It was hectic, but doable.

Then kids came into play. Layne was 5 days old when he attended his first Thanksgiving. It was horrible. We had a 3 year old, 1 year old and a newborn. We were functioning on zero sleep. We didn't enjoy a moment of the gathering as we were trying to wrangle our children from tearing the house down. I don't even think I ate a meal.

That was the final straw.

I was done.

We don't go anywhere for the holidays now. We've adopted the motto, "If you want to see us, come to us."

It sounds selfish, I know. For the last two years I've used the kids as an excuse. We didn't want to take a little baby out in the cold or Dayton got too worked up in a new environment with lots of people. Both of the reasons were valid. But the realization I've had is:

I never got to just hang out and enjoy everything that the holidays had to offer or have set family traditions, and I don't want that for my kids. I want them to look back on the holidays with joy and happiness, not chaotic interstate travels.
So I'm sorry we aren't coming over for the holidays, and that we missed seeing you. Maybe we can get together at another time, but the holidays are for my kids and our little family. We are building memories and maintaining traditions. I hope you can understand the importance of this for us.

And to the families that run around like crazy people during the holidays, if it doesn't sit well in your stomach, stop. You can't make everyone happy all the time. You have to do what is best for you and your family, not everyone else. And if that means that you order take-out on Christmas Eve and kids go to bed at the regular bed time, that's fine!

I hope you all had a joyous Thanksgiving and are celebrating Christmas in a few weeks in the best way you know how to! Make those memories!

Photo by Tori Bruno Photography
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

No Worries, He Weaned Before Kindergarten

A funny thing happens when you are a breastfeeding mother. Once your child gets out of the newborn stage people that have no stake in raising your child feel the need to ask questions or give their opinion.

"How much longer are you planning on nursing?"
"He has teeth now. Clearly you need to be done breastfeeding!"
"If he can ask for it (or sign), then he's too old."

My response to all of these types of comments throughout Jayce and I's nursing relationship was that it wasn't anyone else's business. We were doing what was right for us and what worked. I was the one that dealt with the broken nights of sleep for over a year, unknowingly flashed people my breasts while trying to feed a ravenous baby and put up with the looks and judgement.

Luckily for me I had a husband who was extremely supportive and family that knew better than to question my mothering decisions.

Something happened when Jayce was about 14 months old. He went from nursing like a newborn every 2 hours to only nursing 3-4 times a day. Then it became less and less. He stopped nursing to go to bed and then stopped for nap. The next thing I knew it had been 48 hours since he had nursed.

Once we hit that two day mark I was sure he was done for good. Then he asked for "more milk please" or rather signed for it, and I gave in. I figured that if he was asking for it then he still needed me.

Our new routine became every couple days. My engorged breasts deflated like someone poked a balloon with a needle and let all the air run out, as my body adjusted to what he needed from me, which was very little sustenance and just more comfort.

A few weeks ago I realized we had gone an entire week without him asking to nurse. At that point I decided we were done completely. I had really nothing left to give and I was fine with the fact that our 17 month journey was over, he seemed fine with it too.

Now he gets to participate in some fun things I wouldn't let him do before, like overnight trips to grandma's house on the ranch, which he loves!

Our little cowboy!
We didn't have a timeline as to how long our breastfeeding journey would last. We didn't follow other people's rules and expectations. We did our own thing!

This was our last nursing session, at 5:30am. It's grainy as hell, but I had a feeling this would be our last moment in our journey. I look tired, and he looks annoyed with the camera!
I will never judge a nursing mom for how long she chooses to nurse her baby or toddler again. I was 'taboo' for going past 12 months, and received all sorts of judgement for that. But to anyone that was concerned, no worries, he weaned before kindergarten!

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sorry to Burst Your Bubble; It DOESN'T Get Easier!

There was that moment when the baby wasn't sleeping at the night or when the toddler was melting down on the floor of the grocery store and some well intentioned person said, "It'll get easier!"

That little quote has been my internal mantra for nearly the last 3 1/2 years while raising my 4 boys under the age of 7.

Sleepless night; it'll get easier.

Piles of laundry; it'll get easier.

Dinner all over the floor; it'll get easier.

Toddler meltdown; it'll get easier.

I'm sorry to burst every one's bubble...


It doesn't!

I'm not a "pro parent" by any means, but parenting doesn't get easier. In recent weeks I've realized that it just evolves. One hard things morphs into another hard thing!

Sleepless Nights
Newborns are honestly SO much work! And I was convinced once I got everyone sleeping through the night I'd be guaranteed blissful uninterrupted hours at night! NOPE! Once I got the baby sleeping at night we started to have the toddler waking up to pee; which actually is just him telling me that he pissed the bed.
*knock knock*
"What's wrong buddy?"
"Oh I just peed. I'll go sleep in the dry spot."
---clearly waking me wasn't necessary, but no worries. It'll only take me 49 minutes to go back to sleep---*eye roll*

The Baby Won't Self-Entertain
As much as I loved itty bitty baby snuggles, there were moments that I would've liked to lay him down without fussing; cooking dinner, peeing, or keeping my other kids from killing each other. Now I realize that the whole "self-entertain" idea is dumb and I would've never wished this upon myself. Self-entertaining is; playing in the toilet water that someone forgot to flush, flipping the light switch like we are at a rave, or taking off every stitch of clothing only to pee on the floor while playing in the stream. Clearly this entertains him, but not me in the slightest!

Meal Times
I looked forward to the days when we would be done with "baby food." It would be SO much easier because everyone would be eating the same thing, etc. etc.
Oh but now, in order to avoid a scene out of Saving Private Ryan, we have to be sure that everyone has the same number of things (I'm regretting teaching them to count), nothing is accidentally ripped/torn, food doesn't touch, sauces are available and there are enough extras that everyone can have some...even though they will be "full" immediately after it is placed on their plate.

Toddler Meltdowns
Yes, my kids still have meltdowns. I've realized though that they are changing. Now, when kids learn how to express their emotions, they like to "use their words." And holy hell can they use those effectively! "Mom! It makes me VERY angry you took my toy away. I was just trying to brush his hair with the (toy) hammer. Maybe you should go take a timeout for taking my toy! It's not nice to take toys!"
Maybe you should stop being an asshole to your brother, just a thought.

With every child and every diaper change I've always wished, hoped and prayed for everyone to learn to shit in the potty. I now take that all back! I think life would be easier if we were all still in diapers. I mean today I cleaned the bathrooms for the week. It still smelled like fucking glorious bleach when I heard, "Uhhh mom I peed all over the floor. I got to busy and it just came out in front of the toilet."
---17 minutes after cleaning it up---
"Mommy (different child), I didn't make it in the water. I painted the wall with pee though."
---an hour later, bleach smell is still present---
"Mom I pooped, please wipe my butt. (child is bent over) Mom, there's poop on the bottom of the toilet!"
For fucks sake children! This is why we can't have nice things or have people come over to our house. No matter how much I clean, it still smells like a porta potty!

This parenting gig is tough as hell, but you've got this! I'm going to clean the fecal matter off of a toilet again!

I'm sure there are a zillion different things that evolve but never actually get "easier." Leave me a comment and tell me what has changed for you and share this with a friend! Give someone else a smile at my misery!

Self-entertaining gone array....

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

The 3 Stages of Mama Bear Warnings

When a mother has a child she not only gains a new little person to love, but she also grows a second self; a Mama Bear. 

Mama Bear is there to protect that little human from everything in the world that might hurt it in any way.

No one can ever actually see this self, but there are times when she makes her presence known. I'm sure you've seen one before, I know mine has made it's appearance more than once.

There was the one time I walked into daycare and saw my baby laying in the crib screaming with tears running down his cheeks. 
Or when someone fed my baby something that was known to give him a bad diaper rash. 
And that time I watched my son fall on the playground and eat rocks while staff members just chatted among themselves.

But I reined her in, put her on a leash and told her to have a glass of wine and chill out.

I try to keep her tucked away in that deep dark cave tethered to the wall. And she tries to poke her nose out every once in awhile; but she quickly gets reprimanded and put back in her place!

But Mama Bear can only hold back for so long before that rope gives way and she comes flying out of that cave with rage in her eyes.

Mama Bear can be a bitch when the situation calls for it. I like to think that she has three stages of protection!

A Claw Rub to the Shoulder 
She's being nice. She's hoping this firm shoulder rub during an informal meeting will help you to check yourself. She's giving you the benefit of the doubt, and constantly checks for understanding. She's hoping that this subtle approach will sink in.

Claw Slapped 
Metaphorically speaking; Mama Bear just slapped the shit out of you hoping to knock some damn sense into you. You've somehow done something that truly impacted her baby. You are at fault. You can think she's crazy, but really she's defending her family. She's giving you a stern warning. Back off. Get it together. 

Mauling Mama 
It's on like donkey kong! Full blown outrage at this point. She got a taste of blood, her teeth sunk in and she's going to tear you limb for limb. She's going for the jugular. Watch out. At this point you are probably regretting all of the shitty choices you've made up to this point. But that little person she was created to help to thrive and survive is her priority; not your feelings.

There are a whole host of reasons that a mother's alter ego can break out of hibernation; child care issues, school problems, health concerns, etc. But one thing is true, as mothers we are designed to have this side of us for a reason. We are to protect our kids, in whatever way that means. That gut feeling that tells you that Mama Bear needs to break out is there for a reason!

To anyone on the receiving end of this, steer clear. There is no winning when you've in some way hurt someone's child. You can apologize, and should, but do not for a moment think that Mama Bear will forget this moment. That crazy bitch remembers everything, and she'll recall it for you if you need her to!

Oh and if you want to keep up to date on my own personal Mama Bear saga, be sure to stay up to date over on my Instagram! As much as I wish for dull days.....this upcoming week should be interesting!

These are Kayden and I's "don't mess with us" faces!
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Parenting Survival Toolbox

I feel like I'm sorta cheating on my audience by keeping a few secrets from you, like all of my favorite things!!! No worries people, no one is paying me a dime to tell you this---actually I wish someone would pay me! With that being said, I'm sharing these secrets without any other motive!

Are you ready to hear how I survive being in a house with 4 boys 6 and under?!

Compression Socks
No, I am not 80. Yes, my blood is a flowin'! I discovered compression socks when I was 19 and had to wear them for a surgery. I stuck them in a drawer, never to look back! Then when I got pregnant with Layne I became a "sweller," and pretty much have been ever since. A potato chip makes me puffy! Cue the compression socks! They are like yoga pants for my calves, ankles and feet. If you haven't tried them, you are missing out! I just Amazon Primed {yes, I made that a verb} a six pack of awesomeness!

Yes, yes I do!
Kidloland (iOS or Android)
PEOPLE! Run and download this glorious app on whatever device you allow your kids be on! We are strictly a "PBS content" type of family, so I was skeptical about the content of this. Well it totally impressed me!

It has nursery rhymes, stories that can be read to them or read independently, phonics, interactive educational games, and literally SO much more! It keeps my 2 year old occupied on those morning (ok, every morning) when he is up before I've managed to guzzle my first cup of coffee! Oh and my 4 year old that hates "working" at home, LOVES the phonics section of it! This is completely mom approved!

Spin Again
We got this from a relative for Jayce's first birthday and it honestly is the best toy we've ever owned. Every single one of my kids play with it and they will even, *gasp* play together nicely with it. If you are looking for one of those elusive gifts for a little one, throw your money at this! You won't regret it, I promise! ......also if the recipients have hardwood floors, it'll provide another gift! Lots and lots of sounds!
Fat Brain Toys Spin Again Toy Baby
Photo credit to Fat Brain Toys
Dry Shampoo
I didn't know what dry shampoo was until I was a mom, and then I saw on all of these mom groups people raving about it! I set out on a search for this magical spray that would be made up of unicorn sprinkles and fairy dust and allow me to look like I didn't just spray my hair down with vegetable oil and then throw baby powder in it!

Well I'm on a strictly Target like budget and have no room for "fancy" brands. Search no more, Batiste Dry Shampoo for the win! I found it at Target for six bucks and haven't looked back! You can get it in different scents and colors, AND it actually comes out of the can DRY! Who would've guessed! Every other dry shampoo I've tried came out wet, which made no sense to me!

Yoyoboko Chore Chart
I always set out with good intentions of following through with chore charts and rewards, and I always fail! It just becomes such a pain to keep track! THEN I found this beauty of a chart! It's magnetic, is available for two or four kids, and has a boatload of pre-printed chore options. Plus you are able to customize it easily.

Now I was going to use this for the boys to get rewards for helping out, being independent and going above and beyond (which it can still do that). But after some recent events in our house (if you follow me on Instagram you are aware of these), I realized my kids need to learn how to be humans and not savage beasts again. Yoyoboko Chore Chart to save my sanity, the week! The kids are working to earn back their toys that the evil trash bag took from them! So far, so good!

I know a lot of bloggers out there are trying to push projects, because they get a cut of it, and that is awesome! Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for you; that's not me! I'm not making a dime from divulging all of my secrets to you! I literally am just trying to help a parent out! So go and get on with your compression socks wearing, app downloading, toy buying, dry shampoo spraying, chore chart self! And maybe some wine drinking, I always think that helps!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

On the Days I Wonder "What If"

Everyone does it. It's normal. Something happens or your mind is too quiet or too loud and you think, what if?

I tend to think this when we have really good days and on really tough days.

What if we hadn't struggled with infertility?
What if we hadn't gone into foster care?
What if I hadn't answered the phone and said yes when we got the call for the boys?
What if they had gone back to their biological parents?
What if we hadn't had a miscarriage after Layne?
What if we decided to not try again?

And all of those "what ifs" bring tears to my eyes. There was pain and fear behind every single one of those. There was also the unknown of what was to come or what could've been.

For the first time ever {and I feel terrible admitting this} I recently enjoyed my entire family all at the same time doing the same activity, and it put all of those "what ifs" out the window.

We took the boys to the pumpkin patch, it's our yearly tradition, and we played and snacked and laughed and ran and then played some more. Everyone was smiling and everyone was having fun, even me!

Because happy jumps don't focus!
Or joyful slide rides!
Typically I'm forced into mothering the whole crew; diaper changes, snacks, disciplining, etc. And although all of that happened, it was not a "job" for the first time in my parenting career. The kids were *gasp* EASY! It never happens but it made our day magical! I rode the big slide with the middles, Jason and I chased all four of the boys around in a giant foam ball room, and then I jumped on the bouncing pillows with them.

Dad assisted on the obstacle course!
It warmed my heart beyond belief that we were all together and present in the moment. I now realize  that all of the headaches, struggles and heartaches we have gone through was to bring us to this point. Those big blind leaps of faith we had to take early on put us on this path that we are on now, and it is right where we are suppose to be.

So to anyone struggling with making tough life decisions, follow your gut and take the leap! You are sure to land on your own path that was meant just for you!

And as for me as a blogger, things are going to be changing up a bit! I taking a step into something new and praying I don't fail! Be on the look out soon for some fun stuff, I might even be able to help you Christmas shop for the women in your life!

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Monday, October 3, 2016

To The Mom On the Day Your Kid Loses Their Sh*t in Public

Hey mom over there at the grocery store whose kid is screaming while throwing groceries out of out of your cart! Oh and the mom whose child is screaming, "Don't beat me," while they run from you in the parking lot. Let's not forget that mom of the kid that just sat down in the crosswalk screaming they can no longer walk. I see you, because I've been you....more than once!

Please note the lady smiling in the background, she gets the struggle!
But I have to tell you something, it's ok! I know you are sweating. Inside you are screaming every curse word under the sun and you might even contemplate leaving them there screaming their heads off in hopes that some nice old lady will take them for a few hours and feed them something other than hot dogs and chicken nuggets.

In reality though, every person around you that has had or been around a child before knows that this happens. Your irrational, probably overtired, maybe hangry offspring is acting like kids do some days. No one cares. And no worries, the grumpy old man, that has never been around kids before and is stuck back in 1949, who IS judging you and giving you the side eye, I'm sure my kid will kick him in the shins when we walk by!

I say this because this could be me or any other mom any day of the week, including maybe tomorrow.

My "day" of all days was the other day at the zoo. My four year old ran from me more times than I could count. He wouldn't listen to a word I said. When I peeled him off the playground set and took him to the bathroom, he screamed to every person we past, "Please don't spank me! I'll go to time out instead!" An innocent mom got a dirt clot thrown at her, and an elderly woman got hit with a stick.

Then there was the moment that my almost three year old disappeared only for me to find him on the zoo's train tracks waving to the train that had just departed. I about died!

We went home, survived till bed time, and then restarted from scratch the next day.

Being a parent is a tough, thankless job most days, and some days you cry because you are so stressed! But stop worrying about what everyone that sees your crazy is thinking. If I saw you, I'd buy you a coffee, give you a hug and smack your ass, because you've got this girl!

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Chronicles of a Reluctant Hippie

I've preached and preached and preached about how I'm anti-crunchy, anti-hippie and pro everything that's suppose to be bad for you. I mean did you ever read I'm Not Crunchy....Just Cheap & Lazy and I Hate "All Natural" Parenting.....let me eye roll myself! Now I still stand by what I said before, because I wasn't then who I am now. I wasn't the mom I am now.

But something happened on Saturday, and I'm embarrassed! I hit that pinnacle of crunchy, hippie mom-ness that ushers in SO many different things!


If you follow me on Instagram you saw this on my story (and if you don't, get with the program and follow that shit)!!! But for those of you that missed it, I'll explain.

I'm THE hairiest person on the planet! I mean I feel like it was pre-wax days, I'd be some sort of side show freak! I was doing my weekly maintenance on the brows when I got wax in my eyebrow. I panicked! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?! Well I broke out a jar of coconut oil and it took the wax off. But I didn't stop there. I rubbed it all over my damn face. It felt freaking amazing! A few hours later I FaceTimed my mom while I was make-up free, and she said, "Wow you look great!" Guys, it was that freaking coconut oil!

So here I stand. Holding up my hippie flag, and wondering if I get like a hemp necklace as some sort of covert signal to all of the hippie moms of the world that I am on their team now?

This wasn't done overnight though. Reaching this level of hippie-ness has taken some time.

It started with breastfeeding Jayce. And surprisingly it worked, unlike my first attempt with Layne. And here I stand now an "extended breastfeeding" mom! Let me pick my jaw up off the ground now, because I can't believe I just admitted that! He's 16 months now and will wean by the time he goes to college I'm sure!

Babywearing has been a thing for me for a long time out of necessity, but I became obsessed with it with Jayce. Miraculously he learned to walk though (at 10 months old), despite many people that were worried he'd be delayed because I held my baby too much. eye roll, eye roll, eye roll

Then I started cloth diapering. HOLY SHIT! Literally! But that seems to work for us and saves us money like mad!

Essential oils made their way into our house and got rubbed all over everyone and diffused in everything.

And now here I stand with coconut oil on my face! 

Hippie moms, you fucking rock! I've given you a hard time for a long time....and still sometimes do, but you've got it going on! You are doing what works for you and your family! Bravo to you for going against the grain to do what is best in your eyes!

Maybe I'll make it past the hemp necklace level and onto the dreadlocks level..... Just searching for an all-natural deodorant, a kombucha recipe I can brew at home and how I can fashion my backyard into a free-range chicken coop with goats roaming for milk.

(Please don't take offense to this. I love you all! I'm really making fun of my own hypocritical ass!)

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Friday, September 9, 2016

The Day My Husband Broke My Heart

Being a mom is really hard, add staying home with all the crazies, even harder! But this week I realized that being a dad who works hard, is equally, if not even more difficult.

It was Tuesday morning, he was headed out the door for the second week out of the last three. Typically he leaves before the boys get up, but he had to stop back by the house before leaving. The kids were up when he came inside. He explained how he had to go out of town for work again.

The baby was crying, so daddy picked him up. He laid his head on daddy's shoulder and was gripping onto his shirt.

Another little person was crying and begging him not to leave again.

I hugged and kissed my husband good-bye for the week and said, "I love you. Be safe and we'll see you on Friday!" And then he was gone, but he seemed bothered by something. I assumed it was me.

I texted him a short while later and apologized that I was a little crabby and acting frazzled. He quickly responded assuring me that it was hard for him to leave because of the way the kids were clinging onto him.

My heart broke.

I sit here and whine and complain about running errands, rarely getting a break, kids being off the walls and all of the daily things I have to get done to keep the house up and running. All the while I ignored how he felt. He leaves me here to care for our babies; to make sure the fort is held down while he earns a living that allows us to keep our life running the way it does.

He missed the first day of preschool. He missed swim lessons this week. He missed being on the front line of our first trip to the doctor with a broken bone. He didn't want to, but he had to.

I now understand what that look I saw in his face when he left on Tuesday was. He was father who was sad. It wasn't the look of a man, or my husband, but that of a father who wanted to do nothing more than sit there and hold his babies forever and never leave.

Now the countdown of the week is over and he's back! The saying, "distance makes the heart grow fonder," is true!

When the door opened screeches for daddy rang through our halls. Hugs and kisses were given like mad and demands for Lego building started.

My heart nearly burst! So much love!

I'm sorry for every resenting all the time I spend with our kids. I'm sorry that I get annoyed that you get to leave. I'm blessed. In an ideal situation both parents would be able to make every event, see every milestone, experience every tough parenting moment and give bedtime kisses every night. That isn't our case, but I'm still in love with life and the man I've chose to walk through this journey with.

To all of the moms barely holding life at home together while your spouse is away, you've got this! May the naps be long and your wine glass full!

To all of the hardworking parents who miss more things than they'd like to, it's ok! Don't beat yourself up, make the moments you are there count for all it's worth! They love you regardless!

To my love (if you've read all the way to the end of this), I love you more and more every day! You are the best daddy I could ever wish for our babies to have! Now only if you'd let me have 12 more!!!

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Why We Are "Those" Neighbors

You know how every neighborhood has "those" neighbors. Nobody really says anything about it, well, because then they might know that everyone that surrounds them is constantly judging them. Let me take this moment to raise my hand and admit, we are "those" neighbors. I'm kind of embarrassed by it on one hand, but I'm throwing the middle finger up with the other!

We are terrible groundskeepers.
Some people live in their yard. They slave away mowing, weed eating and using their fancy edger. They get down on their hands and knees to pull weeds and meticulously groom their flower beds. Well, we are not those people.

We mow when it's gotten to the point that the children notice it (usually because it's sprouting seeds), but I like to think of it just being frugal and saving money on grass seed; like organic and shit! (Environmental win over here!) And our favorite weed eater is SUPER fancy, we call it Round-Up. The brown lines around everything clearly are an accent color to the green, right?

Our neighborhood though is the one in which everyone mows between one and six times a week. The family across the street pretty much only takes a quarter inch off each time. I peer through our jungle grass at him and wave, while I'm mentally cursing him out for making our yard look that much longer!

We aren't very neighborly.
Yes we say hello when we see others out and about. And we will help them out if they need something. But I'm not living up to the small town neighborhood dream. We know the first and last name of two of our neighbors (thank goodness one of them have it their front yard, or I'd forget it). I couldn't pick out who lives in the rest of the homes around us if I tried. We've never had a backyard BBQ with anyone. I mean, all of that neighborly stuff you see on TV all of the time, has yet to happen with us.

Our children have no boundaries.
We live in a small town, so our children think that everyone is their friend. But one of our neighbors (who I have never seen outside) is a couple in their mid-90s. We were playing outside one day when our two year old thought he should chase a bird into their yard....and then walk into their front door like he owned the place. He's never met them. I jerked him out before he had a chance to destroy something, shouted "Hello, it's just your neighbor," and quickly left while scolding him about not going into other people's homes.

And our other neighbor, whose house we walk by every day. My son has peed on their sidewalk/yard more times then I would like to admit. It's usually because he won't go before we have to leave for school, and then twenty feet down the sidewalk, it hits him. I won't even begin on the number of times I've had a completely naked child running around outside.

Volume level is constantly on 100.
There is a lot of noise that comes from our house. The kids will scream when we are outside like they are on fire, but it is really because I told them to not play with a steel shovel. And I'm pretty sure our neighbors know our kids' names due to the amount of times I scream them in a 15 minute time frame.

And that nice time of year where you can have your windows open and let the breeze run through the house, yeah, that's a struggle. Everyone  in the neighborhood will know when someone went poop, or who hit who! They also might hear a deranged mother threatening to take away everything that is in the house if the kids don't get it together!

We stretch our property line.
We bought a new camper this summer, a 35 foot 5 inches beauty! Our driveway (that we poured completely new to the street with our own money) is 36 feet. So yes, the tongue of the trailer goes pretty much to the street, but we own that shit, so it's ours to use. We didn't think much of it, no one has said anything, and in a town where they like to send angry letters (*cough* not that I've ever gotten one), we haven't received anything.

Then I was talking to a mom when picking up from school this week. We shared pleasantries about the summer and I mentioned the camper. I was quickly cut-off and asked, "Ohhhhh so you're the house who has the big ass camper that goes past the sidewalk?!" Umm yep, that would be us. I smiled and walked away, clearly we aren't going to be besties.

Our projects always take way too long.
Our deck in the backyard took a year and a half to finish. So until it was done, our backyard resembled a run down lumber yard.

We put siding on our house (isn't home ownership a dream) last spring, it was suppose to take a week, ours took 3. Our contractor had different reasons as to why it took so long, my only real concern is that the workers worked 10-12 hours, never left, but never asked to use the restroom? I'm only going to assume the worse at that point.

Then there was that new driveway I talked about that we got. Well we live on one of the main drags to the schools in town. Our cement got poured from 8-9am on like a Thursday. The cement truck had the entire road blocked during "rush hour commute." Judging by the amount of peel-outs I heard that morning, I doubt anyone was pleased with us.
Because it was totally normal for me to sit in my car and capture them pouring it....I guess!?

I've just realized we aren't meant to have neighbors. We need to be on a secluded compound where our crazies can run wild, but until that day happens, I guess we will just continue to be "those" neighbors.

Are you one of "those" neighbors? Or do you have one of "those" neighbors? Leave me a comment below! I'd love to hear that we aren't the only horrible people out there!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Domesticated Daddy is a Sexy Daddy

Some husbands like to complain that once they put a ring on it or get in a long term committed relationship the sex dies off. Well with marriage and/or long term commitment, a lot of things happen. We usually have kids, work stupid hours, and still try to maintain a household.
Let me paraphrase (because I have a poor memory) Mila Kunis’ character Amy in her Bad Moms movie, “If you took care of anyone else BUT yourself, you would get SOOO many blowies! I’d give you so many it would explode!”
It’s SO true! We don’t need an additional child you has had thirty-ish years to perfect their tantrums and being waited on skills. As a wife and mother, we are pulled in a million different directions. Doctor appointments, dishes, baths, laundry, grocery shopping, school activities, date nights, planned family outings; the list could go on for miles! Snuggling up next to our sweet spouse at the end of the longest day ever (which is every day) and putting our lady bits on a platter while being sure he is well “taken care of” is really the last thing on our mind.
But you know what is hot, like makes me lick my lips, put on that lingerie I bought and never took the tags off of…….seeing my husband be all types of domesticated without asking.
In my head I’m saying this all as Ryan Gosling….
“Hey baby, I got dinner and dishes taken care of.”
“Mama, I got bath and bedtime tonight, go take the longest shower of your life.”
“Hey I got off work early and washed, dried and put away all of the laundry so you didn’t have to stress it tonight.”
“Give me your grocery list. I’ll go grab them for you and I’ll bring you home a coffee!”
And for that over the top moment, that I think would give me the biggest lady boner in the world!
“I’m taking all the kids out for the day. I’ve already packed the car, and we’ll see you at dinner time. I’m bringing home pizza. Baby you go relax or walk around Target by yourself. I got this!”
I think the hottest thing a man can say is that they “got it,” and not follow everything they try to do with 12,000 questions. Where are the wipes? Which milk does he take? What do they need to go with their lunch? What shirt goes with the black shorts? Where are the shoes? When will you be home?

Men of the world, handle it.

We love you and we love you (in that blowie type of way) even more when you take care of others instead of yourself first, because as moms, we do that all damn day. It’s nice to have a break every once in a while. Your actions will be greatly rewarded!
For the men reading this that already are professionals at this, I applaud you! May your wives praise you in all the right ways!
Hubby "handling it," yes please!

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Adoption Defines Your Past, Not Your Present

First Birthday!
Your birthday is just around the corner, it's the fourth birthday we've celebrated with you. It doesn't seem like that monumental of a year, but it really is for you.

Something has been happening recently, you are changing. You have morphed from an unaware toddler to a curious, wondering child. We gave you your origination story when you were three, because like all superheroes, you came from somewhere different than where you are now. But it was short and simple. We didn't give you any real details or explanations, because you didn't ask for them. You didn't ask original questions that your mind wondered about or follow every answer we gave you with an additional question.

Now, now things are different.

We talk about your adoption a lot, and buddy I love that this isn't a secret you are going to stumble upon when you are 15 and rifling through our paperwork out of curiosity.

Adoption Day!
I love that you sort of have an idea about your birth mom, although I don't think you fully grasp it yet. I know you wonder about her, and ask where she sleeps; I wish I had answers for you. I can tell you that she loved you, but had her own struggles.

And your birth dad we don't talk about much, well because I'm not ready for the "where babies come from" question. He's a great guy though, but he wasn't ready to be a daddy when you were little, and he thought that we would be great parents to you. I like to believe he was right!

I chuckle when you ask questions about how daddy and I did took care of you when you were a baby. Those are the easy questions! I promise that we will always answer your questions honestly though, no matter how difficult they may be.

This is the face I see when I think of you as a baby!
But honey, I want this to be clear to you, your adoption defines your past, not your present. You didn't grow in my belly like your little brothers, and I don't have newborn pictures of you. But no other mommy is going to come and take you away to their house, I know that is something you are often afraid of in your dreams. You are ours forever and ever!

I do have a fear though, a really scary fear. I fear that when you get older and go through that "hate your parents" phase, you'll say we aren't your real parents. I cringe thinking of it. I know that it is a ways off, but with all of the changes in your questions lately, I worry it's sooner than later.

We are your mommy and daddy though. Your brothers are your brothers. Blood doesn't make family, love does, and baby we love you more than you could ever know. Remember that sweet boy. You are the smartest, funniest, and most delightful boy we could've ever been blessed with!

We are so thankful to celebrate this birthday with you, and the many more to come! We love you!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

To My Child On The Day You F#@% Up

Hey Kid!

I'm writing this to you while you are still cute and somewhat innocent. You still love your dad and me and the sun and moon revolve around hugs, kisses, and tickle fights with us. I love that you still think we are the coolest people in the world and you want to spend all of your time within a half inch of us. You even beg us to watch you pee and insist on us looking at your poop.

No empty laps are allowed in this house.
Layne, you begged me to watch you poop and cried when I wouldn't hold your hand.
(You can thank Kayden for ripping off the toilet paper holder the first time, and your handy work for the second time)
I know this will all fade soon and things will change. You'll want to go out at night and hang out with your friends more than us. Love interests will take over your thoughts and I'm sure that grabbing pizza as a family will result in eye-rolling and death looks. 

There is one thing I know for sure, you will fuck up at some point.

It might be something big and life changing, or something that won't matter a few years down the road, but seems like the end of the world at the moment. One thing we know for sure; it will happen eventually. I want you to know a few things for when this does happen. 

Tell us first.
Finding out through the grapevine doesn't sit well with us. We want to hear it from the horse's mouth. Take responsibility, suck it up and tell us. 

We will yell.
Your dad and I love you more than anything else, we truly do. We are also very passionate people, in that slash your tires then buy you new ones type of way. So just be prepared. Your dad will say one too many cuss words, and I will lecture your ear off. But we can't yell forever, and we will eventually calm down. Just give it a minute, or ten.

There will be consequences.
Everything has a consequence. No, we will not run to your teacher and defend your case when you mess up, they are right and you are wrong. No, we won't try to "fix" everything around you so that you don't feel pain/loss/disappointment. These are all things that you will always have to deal with in life, better get used to it.

The world will keep turning. 
You might feel like nothing can fix it, and everything is ruined. Guess what though? The morning after, the sun will come up, and every morning after that. You might have to fight through some challenges, but every day will be new again.

We live in a world right now where parents are trying to bubble wrap the world around their kids. Everything is about warm fuzzies, participation trophies and being sure no one's feelings are hurt. Sorry buddy, you drew the old school straw for parents.

We won't try to be the perfect parents that make sure you your fuck ups don't really effect you, and instead pass the blame to someone else. We won't sugar coat life for you. There will be hard work, tears, and sweat; accept it and move on. 

But we will love you, be your support and your shoulder to cry on. We will try to provide you with the life skills in order to turn every stupid mistake you make into a learning opportunity.

And as I write this with you next to me, I just want to remind you. You just told your father and me that we are "the best!" Remember that in 10 years while you are stomping upstairs and living in a bedroom that has lost its door because you slammed it one too many times. 



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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Finding Our NEW Normal

Check out my newest post on The Huffington Post here. I'd love for you to comment/share/post it on a billboard, whatever your heart inclines you to do!

Finding Our NEW Normal

Something is happening in our family that hasn’t occurred in the entire 10 years that Jason and I have been together. I’m excited about it. He’s excited, but apprehensive, and the boys can’t fully wrap their heads around it. Jason will only be working one job!

Here’s some background. He’s worked his current full-time job our entire relationship and then helped his dad with a side business up until 4 years ago when he became a partner. Two years ago he bought his dad out and we’ve been running it like a full-time part-time job ever since. He’d work 40-60 hours at his main job and then another 20+ on the side.

We never saw him. He missed weekend wake-ups, nightly dinners, bath time and hearing all of the boys’ goofy stories. Weekend trips were just the kids and I because he had to work. He’d go days sometimes without seeing the boys and only seeing me for an hour or so before I fell asleep. He was tired all of the time and testy.

I got to the point where I became resentful. We didn’t NEED the money from the side business, my husband was just a workaholic, and that drive was causing him to miss so much. So after a long, hard and stressful week a couple months ago, he put an end date on the calendar.  His side business would be done.

As of today, it is. There are a few loose ends to tie up, but overall, we are done! I couldn’t be happier! The boys are adjusting, they keep asking on the weekends, “Why are you here daddy?” It makes me smile, but breaks my heart that that was all they’ve ever known.

There is a struggle though that I didn’t foresee. A recovering workaholic…’s a thing! We are having to make adjustments, and it’s hard. He needs projects and lists; something to keep his hands busy once he’s off for the day. On the weekends he can’t just hang out and relax, he goes crazy! Fishing is something he’s always enjoyed, and he’s finally gotten back into it. We run a lot of errands as a family, go to the farmer’s market, and took him to his first splash pad experience!

Photo credit: Tori Bruno Photography
He’s getting more time with the boys than ever before! I laugh when he gets frustrated by some of the things the boys do, but that don’t faze me, because to me it’s normal. There is the whining over what’s for dinner, the fighting over who goes potty first or the crying for mommy for every bump they get.

Layne learning man skills!
As many things that he finds  irritating, there are moments I’ve witnessed that warm my heart and am so happy to see! There are the endless amount of stories being read aloud while I cook dinner, living room wrestling matches, daddy/son fishing outings, and extra weekend naptime kisses.

Photo credit: Eric Francis Photography
Photo credit: Eric Francis Photography
Photo credit: Eric Francis Photography

Sunday will be six years we’ve been married, and we are celebrating it with a family camping trip. The man I married in 2010 is not the man I sleep next to at night in 2016. He’s more selfless, caring and gentle than ever before. Our marriage is growing as we learn to be around each other more. It seems crazy, but it’s like we are starting a new book in our life, not just a chapter. I look forward to see where this sequel leads! 

Photo credit: Tori Bruno Photography
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