Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Have a Little Faith in Me

"Have a little faith in me.."

It was a white dress, you in a black tux, our closest family and friends in attendance, my Dad at my side, my whole future standing at the end of the aisle, as the DJ softly played the classic song by John Hiatt that would unknowingly become the soundtrack of our lives.

"Have a little faith in me..."

It was two tiny little lines on a pregnancy test I was so sure was negative I almost forgot about it under the bathroom sink. It was tears and uncertainty and the fear of failing at the most important job I would ever have. It was your comfort and your reassurance that I could do this, that together we could do anything, your heroic strength in a moment I know you were just as scared as I was.

"Have a little faith in me..."

It was pain, the most earth shattering pain I had ever felt as the contractions tore through me, my whole body shaking as I braced for the next one to take hold. I looked into your deep blue eyes, told you I was scared, I couldn't do this, pleaded with you to help make it stop. It was you grabbing my hand, wiping my brow, cheering me to the finish line as our baby took her first breaths and her cries filled the room.

"Have a little faith in me.."

It was darkness and exhaustion and a crying, hungry baby in my arms as I sat, hunched over, trying to get her to latch on to provide us both with some much-needed comfort and relief. You were there, awake in the middle of the night even though there was nothing you could physically do to help her or I, rubbing my back and encouraging me to not give up, reminding me I could do this.

"Have a little faith in me.."

It was two more pregnancies in four short years, my mind unsure how much more my body could take, my heart unsure I could ever love another baby as much as I loved our first. It was the gentle, almost cathartic way you rocked our second daughter as she howled through the night with colic. It was the way your face beamed with pride as my body gave that final push to welcome our son into this world.

"Have a little faith in me.."

It was a want for something more, a need to step outside the role of only being Mom, the encouragement you offered when I told I wanted to chase my wildest dreams, to find my voice and my place in this world. It was your reassurance that I was good enough, that I could do anything I wanted.

"Have a little faith in me.."

It was all I was asking of you eight years ago when we said "I do"; your faith in me, in my ability as a wife and a mother and as a woman pursuing her dreams, has never wavered, never faltered. Your belief in me has helped guide me through the darkest nights and the calmest days.

On our anniversary, and every day, I want to say thank you, with every ounce of my being, because even though it was our love that made us parents, it was your faith in me that helped make me a Mother.

Friday, May 5, 2017

What Moms Really Want

Mother's Day is right around the corner and, if you're anything like me, you are half hoping to be treated like a princess for the day and half hoping your family doesn't go overboard because you are also cheap AF and in that weird zone where even if you had $100 to blow on yourself, you'd wander aimlessly around a few stores and end up buying your kids more shit they don't need because you have no clue what your personal style is or what you even like anymore and you really don't NEED anything (except when your buzzed and scrolling through Pinterest and you need every. single. thing.)

I think I speak for most Moms when I say all we really want for Mother's Day is to see a little thoughtful effort, to not step foot into our kitchens for one whole day, possibly a 5hr long nap, and a whole lot of love BUT if you want to do something special for us (Note: unless it's an item Mom has expressed extreme interest in NOTHING special comes from Meijer or Walmart ...we are there grocery shopping at least once a week, if we want it, we will buy it) here's a few ideas of things the Rockstar Mom in your life might actually enjoy:

A Nice Meal We Didn't Cook.
Plan it out. Don't ask us where we want to go. Anytime we can have a hot meal and don't have to get up from our seat at the table to get more ranch dressing, more juice, or cut up food into tiny pieces for little mouths, we are happy. Also, Mother's Day is the BUSIEST day of the year in the restaurant industry...if your kids are under the age of 5 and can't sit happily on an Ipad during an hour+ long wait for a table, ABORT MISSION. Offer to cook us our favorite meal at home or order take out.
***I worked in the service industry for 6+ years---your server is most likely a Mom herself whose spending her Mothers Day away from her kids, TIP HER WELL....and then add a little more.***

A Day Adventure.
Last year for Mother's Day, we took the kids for a bike ride at the park, packed a picnic lunch, and spent a few hours together outside before I ate my weight in ice cream so it was pretty much a perfect day. Again, plan it out. Please don't say "It's your day! What do you want to do?" because it makes us want to throat punch you....we are happy to go anywhere you pick that gets us out of the house and away from the laundry that's been side-eyeing us for the last 2 weeks. 
Also, Happy kids = no whining = happy Mom. 
(Write that down Dads.)

Monthly Presents.
I love the idea of getting presents in the mail every month via a subscription service. Especially if its wine. Or snacks. Or chocolate. Or cheese (not sure this exists yet but if it doesn't, it needs too.) Or in my ultimate fantasy world, all 4 of those delivered on the same day. But seriously there is a box for everyone these days.

Handmade Anything.
Listen. My kid could smear their snot on a rock and if they come running up to me on Mother's Day with it hidden behind their back like they are holding a rock made outta solid gold, I'm gonna cherish that Snot Rock til the day I die. If your kids aren't in school yet and don't have crafty teachers to help them make adorable little unidentifiable crafts, Pinterest is your best friend.
{I once asked my kid what that thing she always draws on my head was. She replied 'that's what your hair looks like every day.' Valid.}

A Gift Certificate for Peace and Quiet.
Anything that gets us out of the house alone for a few hours that doesn't involve taking a grocery list along with us is a win. Massage. Pedicure. Manicure. A gift card to our favorite store. Yesyesyes. But here's the thing-- if you want us to actually use the gift card, there's no whining (I'm talking to you here Dads) when we want to use it and you're on kid duty for the afternoon.
{She gives zero shits about her house being destroyed while the kids are with Dad and she's getting that massage. Get it girl.}

Shiny Things.
We like them. We miss wearing them. We love getting them. We say we don't but that's a GD lie. These are gorgeous and bonus points if you are a Go Getter and order early enough to get it engraved with the kid's initials.
{I birthed them. You engrave their names on pretty things. Image via Etsy.}

Flowers That Don't Die
Personally, I'm not a fan of flower bouquets because they are expensive and if I want them to last longer than 3 days, I have to take care of them and I have a hard time remembering to bathe my kids most weeks so asking me to change the water in a vase is probably not going to happen. I would, however, love to get a pretty, low maintenance, outside flower that I can plant in my yard and enjoy all summer long when I'm spending hours doing nothing but following my toddler around outside as he walks in large circles and points at nothing.

{My flower bouquets about an hour after I get them. They take one look around my house and are like,
"F this. We're done."}

An Ego Boost.
Mother's Day is the perfect day to lay it on thick. Phrases like "You are the best Mom because you didn't yell when the toddler spilled nail polish on the carpet" or "I don't know how you do all that you do and still remain mostly sane" are always nice to hear. Or even, "You are the best, most perfect Mom to our kids and even though you don't shower every day or wear makeup anymore, I still think you are the most beautiful person to ever walk the planet" because being a good Mom and feeling like a good Mom are two totally separate things and, at the end of the day, reminding us{as you over pour us a glass of wine}that we are doing a pretty damn good job and are appreciated for all we do is all we really want anyway. 

**Follow me on FB (Whine Thirty) or by email (link above on the right) so you don't miss a word of my nonsense!**

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Life Hacks: The toddler edition

Every Mom to a child over the age of 1 can agree, toddlers are a rare breed of human. They have the amazing ability to say so much without uttering a single, cohesive word. They command every second of our attention due to their unpredictability and infatuation with light sockets and oven doors. They possess detective-like skills that capitalize on our every weakness and have the uncanny ability to find that marker that has been under your couch for 7 months or that package of wipes accidentally left within arms reach. They operate purely on emotion and hunger and drive us to the brink of insanity just before flashing a toothy smile that leaves us breathless and wanting to kiss their faces off. In short, they run the world and were just lucky to be on the sidelines handing out juice boxes.

Here are 7 tried and true life hacks that all toddlers have perfected and we adults secretly wish we could pull off:
Stop. Lock. Drop.
Manage to get your hands on a forbidden object like the tv remote or Mommy's cell phone? Stop dead in your tracks at the sound of your name. Stare Mommy dead in the eyes. Contemplate next move. Ignore her pleas to 'put it down please'. Drop forbidden object to the floor with a bang. Stare.

Do the wiggle.
Time to get shoes on or Mommy says it's pajama time? Wiggle. Wiggle so hard your Mommy's arms start to ache and she contemplates running away and taking up MMA fighting. Go limp in between wiggles. Toss head back and connect with Mommy's face for good measure.

Fake temporary paralysis. 
Hear a sense of urgency in Mommy's voice? Maybe it's time to get dressed or eat lunch or get to your older siblings to school drop off. Sit down. Stare at the floor. Ignore annoyed human as she calls your name repeatedly. Lay down and pretend your legs and ears are broken. 

Confronted with a well-meaning and overly enthusiastic strange human? Hide. Burrow your face so deep in Mommy's shoulder you might become permanently attached to her. Leave Mommy to awkwardly laugh at the strange human talking in a high pitched voice trying to get a smile out of you. You're above all that nonsense.

Mix it up.
Consistency is boring. Just because you've eaten strawberries every single day for the last 3 weeks does not mean you like them today. Keep things interesting and your parents guessing by refusing the things you loved yesterday and loving the things you hated a few days ago. There is power in having the final say; capitalize on it.

Master the Peaceful Pouty Protest.
Is it nap time, or even worse, bedtime? By now your energy levels are running low making this the perfect time to peacefully protest. Don't yell. Don't scream. Just stand quietly, pout your lips, puff out your cheeks, and refuse to acknowledge tall humans or make eye contact with them. By now you've figured out they've read all the books that told them you need to lay down on your own; make the most of it. Drag this moment out. Take a sudden interest in your hands. Maintain pouty face.

Relent; Just Enough.
Time to shut it down; even the strongest need their rest. Now is the time to indulge the tall humans in their incessant need to squeeze you and kiss you a thousand times before shutting off the light. Stare blankly into space as they gush over you and ramble on and on about how sweet and beautiful and perfect you are. Sit up for one final hug, lightly pat Mommy on the back, send her heart soaring and leave her thinking she's won the battle; you know tomorrow is a new day and you will ultimately win the war.

**Follow me on Facebook {Whine Thirty} or by email {link above on the right} so you don't miss a word of my nonsense!**

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Stage 5 Clinger

I've been sitting here for 15 minutes trying to come up with some witty way to open this blog post but I just don't have it in me today guys. I'm tired. I've got a million things to do. I've reached my threshold for being touched today and the days not even half over. And I have a toddler sitting next to me refusing to let go of my arm because he somehow knows I have those million things to do today and wants to make it as challenging as possible.

I've got a clinger. Stage 5. His name is Nolan and I birthed him but most days it feels like I never actually birthed him because hes so permanently attached to me all. freaking. day.

{"Hi. I'm Nolan. And I'm addicted to my Mom.}

A few months ago I shared with you all how absolutely amazing it was to go away for a bachelorette party weekend and how great I felt coming home. Truth be told, that weekend was so incredible and not just for me; the little guy had no choice but to find comfort in someone other than me (my husband) and when I got home, he was like a brand new kid. Happier. Less clingy. More social. Less whiny. Less everything toddler and more everything enjoyable big kid.

And now? Were basically back at square one. He whines if I leave the room. He hides behind me if strangers even look his way. He screams unrelentingly if I dare venture out of this house to go shopping or meet up with a friend for dinner.

I'm exhausted. And over it. And I feel guilty for saying that because we all know in a few years I will be whining about how sad I am he doesn't need me anymore but its my blog and I will whine right now about this stage if I want too.

And I know its just a stage. I knowwww. I went through it with both my older girls and I know he will outgrow it. But right now, it feels suffocating and hard and overwhelming and I'm wondering {secretly plotting} another weekend away that I can present to my husband as a 'cure' for this problem.

Were going out this weekend; its my best friends 30th birthday and even a Stage 5 clinger cant stop me from being there to celebrate her. I'm worried for my mother in law whose the real MVP for graciously offering to come watch our kids so we can get out for a few hours. But I know he'll be fine. He might pass out on the rug near the door after he exhausts himself screaming for an hours, my older two will probably complain about how he cried all night, my mother in law might need earplugs and alllllll the wine but it needs to happen.
Its like ripping a band aid off right? At least that's what I'm telling myself as I prepare for the inevitable moment when we walk out the door and his screams fill my ears as I jump into the car. The guilt guys. 3 kids in 6 years and that shit never goes away. I wish I could tell you that you somehow disappears with time but it doesn't. People have told me the guilt means you're a good parent because the shitty ones don't feel it....which makes sense I suppose but does little to elevate it.

So I guess here's to being a good Mom....who needs a break and isn't afraid to admit it.

**Follow me on FB {Whine Thirty} or by email {link above on the right} so you don't miss a word of my nonsense!**

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Conversations with a Psycho Mom

There is nothing that makes me laugh {and cringe} harder than looking back at the first time Mom I was 6 years ago.

{Me. 6 years ago. Back when I still attempted to do my hair.} 

Maybe its a rite of passage, like wearing foundation two shades too dark in middle school or that time you thought it would be a good idea to really test the limits of how much your liver can handle only to end up face down in a puddle of your own vomit 2 hours later, that all Moms must go through in order to find their parenting style and figure out what techniques work and which ones don't or maybe its just an evolutionary process we go through as we get older and wiser and start to understand how much the little shit just really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

If I could go back in time and sit that stressed out, overly cautious, paranoid, and often times completely neurotic version of myself down for a glass {or bottle} of wine and a dose of reality, here are the 7 things Id tell her to chill the hell out about:

Just feed the baby and stop stressing. Seriously. You are a basket case and Im worried about you. If she cries, feed her. If shes sick, feed her. If you just fed her and shes crying, feed her. Stop reading and researching and driving yourself crazy about how much shes getting and if you are producing enough. Quit pressuring yourself to make breastfeeding work until whatever ridiculous date you have set in your head; buy some formula in case you need a break one night. 

Bumps and Bruises:
I know, I know. You broke down last night. You stressed yourself out of breastfeeding and laid the baby on the couch to go make a bottle only to hear a loud thump and wail 30 seconds later when her head connected with the floor. Shes fine. Stop googling 'signs of brain damage in newborns'. 6 years from now shes going to break her arm on the monkey bars and her little brother will barrel roll head first down 14 stairs. Their squishy heads and lack of long term memory were made for this, I promise.

The Outfit of the Day:
Remember that outfit you just had to buy for her when she was still in your belly because it made your heart melt with cuteness and there was no price tag too large for your perfect princess? Its at the bottom of a landfill now because she pooped straight up her back and no amount of OxiClean was removing that stain. Stop paying full price for clothes she will outgrow in a month.  Resale shops and clearance racks are where you belong now. Embrace it and enjoy your extra cash.

Capturing the Moment:
Put the camera down. You do not need 843 pictures of your perfect baby laying on a play mat staring into space. Shes going to do way cuter and far more interesting things in the future. Live in the moment instead of capturing it; get down on that mat and enjoy her, smell her, just stare at her tiny face and beautiful features. Commit the moment to memory instead of thinking of cute ways to caption it on Facebook.

Your Post Baby Body:
It is what it is girlfriend. Your body is going to experience and grow two more babies and by the time your done, nothing is going to be where its supposed to be. 6 years from now your husband is still going to be attracted to you, possibly even more so after all you two will go through, so stop trying to hide under sweatshirts and pajama pants and stepping on the scale every other day to see if a miracle happened over night; it didn't and that's okay.

They are everywhere and the day is coming when you will turn around and see your precious baby with a mouthful of dog food. Stop hibernating all winter in order to avoid the lady coughing in front of you at the grocery store. You may have avoided constant ear aches and unrelenting colds for the last 6 years but eventually shes going to go to kindergarten, come home from her first day of school and puke all over your floor. Get used to it.

Playing the Comparison Game.
Its hard I know. Everyday is a new challenge that presents another thing you feel like your failing at and there are so many moms that make it look so damn easy. Its not easy. For anyone. Its hard and messy and exhausting and some days are so long you will be praying for bedtime by 2pm. You are doing fine. There will be days you mess up so hard you cant stand yourself; let it go. Stop forcing yourself to enjoy every moment; you wont, no one does. Slow down and quit trying to coax her into meeting milestones; babies don't care about timelines and she will talk, crawl and walk when shes ready, not when you are. Just breathe. That precious little baby your holding grows up to be an amazing, intelligent, kind, creative, and loving little 6 year old; not in spite of you but because of you.

Friday, February 24, 2017

I don't want more babies; I want more time

'Oh my God, its a boy! Honey, its a boy!!' I exclaimed loudly as my husband and I sat across from each other at a diner, hands shaking as we pulled out the ultrasound pictures revealing the sex of our third baby the technician had carefully sealed in a white envelope. The smile on my husband's face, the pride and excitement he felt radiating across the table, his eyes filling with tears, 'I thought for sure it was another girl', he whispered.

'A little boy; Momma's little boy', I thought to myself, as I sat quietly beaming in my living room, my hands caressing my ever growing stomach in small circles. Our excitement was palpable; after two baby girls in 3 years, we were suddenly walking a path into unfamiliar territory. Our brains rapidly started shifting gears; it was time to sell the baby girl clothes in boxes in the basement, time to paint over the light purple room with butterflies on the wall, time to buy clothes from the little boys section I had admired from afar, afraid to get to close should my dream of shopping there never come true.

A few months later, with a closet full of little boy clothes and a grey and navy nursery complete, we brought home our perfect little man and I knew, deep in my heart, that this was the last baby we would ever bring home from the hospital. The labor pains I felt days prior were the last contractions my body would produce as it prepared to bring another life into this world, the emptiness I felt in my stomach after nine months of being filled with a growing baby was now permanent, the sweet, powerful harmony I heard as my son cried out and took his first breaths was the last that would fill my ears.

It took a few months before I felt strong enough to say the words aloud, still fearful I might regret them as soon as they left my lips, but I knew it was a conversation that needed to be had. From the moment we opened that white envelope, I had known our family was complete, that this chapter of our lives was coming to a close but saying the words, starting the conversation, took a strength I had to dig deep in my heart to find.

What I finally realized is that I don't want more babies; what I want more than anything is more time with the babies I already have. I don't want to become a Mom again; I want to be transported back to the moment I first became a Mom and held my beautiful baby girl in my arms for the first time. I have no desire to comfort another crying baby in the middle of the night; I want to go back in time to the nights my middle child screamed with colic, hold her tight and rock her calmly through the night instead of feeling frustrated and annoyed and desperate for sleep. I don't need to hear another toddler say his or her first words but I would give anything to spend another day just sitting and listening to my two year old babble, in the sweetest voice I've ever heard, as she made sense of the world around her. I don't want to nurse another baby; I want to go back to the last time I nursed my baby boy and savor the moment, hold him a little closer, breathe in his sweet scent, and enjoy every last second of our year long nursing journey.

I remember thinking, on the days that were so long and so hard and when I felt I had failed in every single way imaginable, 'they are young, they wont remember this day.' But what I failed to realize was that just as quickly as they forgot the mundane, boring days watching me do laundry and scrub bathrooms, the memories of those ordinary, quiet, beautiful moments of cuddling a baby and a toddler and reading endless stories to them on the couch would begin to fade from my memory as well.

The realization that our family is complete is so bittersweet. Holding my nieces and nephews as newborn babies will forever leave my arms aching and my heart flip flopping as I breathe in their sweet newborn smell and caress their soft cheeks. Attending my close friends' baby showers will always remind me of the excitement and joy I once felt counting down the days until my due dates as I anticipated the unknown. Watching a small toddler stumble around the park on shaky, uncoordinated legs will continue to take my breath away as I remember the first time my babies walked into my outstretched arms.

Babies have the power to heal, to give your life purpose, to force you to grow up, to transform you into a better version of yourself, and to create joy like you've never felt before....but I know, with every cell in my body, that another baby would only leave me wanting the one thing I can never get back---more time.

**Follow me on FB {Whine Thirty} and by email {link above on the right} to be sure you don't miss a word of my nonsense!**

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Life Unfiltered

Someone please tell me that I'm not the only one who, after one {too many} glasses of wine on a Friday night, finds themselves sucked into the world of Instagram and ends up obsessively clicking catchy hashtags and fantasizing about farm house sinks and ship lap and natural light streaming through windows onto perfectly stained and restored hardwood floors only to be violently snapped back to reality with one glance around my living room that, after 7 years, still has bare walls and no window treatments. All it takes is a few hours spent with Chip and Jojo on a Saturday morning to make me seriously consider either moving to Waco, TX and camping out in one of Jojo's silos until she agrees to let me on the show just to get rid of me or lighting a match and setting my house ablaze in a effort to wipe the slate clean and start this whole house thing over.

Truthfully, I wish I could be one of those people whose homes are so warm and inviting and so perfectly decorated that I felt comfortable inviting complete strangers into my world via the internet but I have 3 kids, a dog whose newest hobby is lifting a leg on my {finally} matching rugs, and a husband so trying to maintain that level of perfection would require heavy medication and more wine than my new found income could support.

In the spirit of transparency and because I'm certain {praying} there are other people whose homes make them feel as inadequate as mine does, here is an unfiltered look at my house hyped up on Insta-Crack and the reality of whats really happening behind those gorgeous curated photos we all drool over.

Instagram shot:
'Our recent basement remodel has me obsessing over clean lines and stylish ways to organize all the educational toys and learning resources my kids use everyday!' 

Real Life:
The educational toys are buried in there somewhere. 

Instagram Shot:
'Feeling so blessed as I stop and smell these fresh cut flowers after a busy morning throwing together a super simple, organic, gluten free, breakfast quiche my kids couldn't stop eating!' 

Real Life:
Why is there always a jar of peanut butter open on my counter.

Instagram Shot:
'Gallery walls are such a fun way to display family portraits! I threw this together with pieces I had just laying around my house and made the wooden arrows real fast out of my great grandmothers baby bassinet!' 

Real Life:
A trampoline, invisible window treatments, and Christmas decor that I was supposed to take down 2 months ago make this space feel both lived in and completely neglected. 

Real life is messy and cluttered and imperfect guys. Lets embrace it and stop comparing ourselves, our kids, and our homes to the mythical creatures on social media that make it look so damn easy and make us feel so damn inadequate with a single snapshot of their lives. I may not have ship lap covered walls, an open floor concept, or barn wood beams but our house is loud, full of love and I promise I always have wine...if that's not inviting, I don't know what is. 

**Follow me on FB {Whine Thirty} and by email {link above on the right} to make sure you don't miss a word of my nonsense!**

Scary Mommy