Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In Defense of a Simple Life

I've always wanted a simple life.
Maybe it stems from my childhood, having two middle class parents who worked hard, every single day, to provide me with everything I ever needed but refused to appease my every want and whine or maybe its just the way I'm programmed, a perpetual optimist who always looks for the good, the positive, in every situation.
I've never been into material things; brand new clothes, having the best car in the high school parking lot, the newest technology...none of it has ever mattered to me.
I've always wanted simple.
And I've always felt like there was something wrong with that.
Why don't I want to hustle and grind and make a million dollars a year? Why aren't I willing to sacrifice my time and energy now so I can enjoy the finer things in life later? Why don't I dream of a 4000 sq foot house with a gourmet kitchen and a theater room and an inground pool?
I used to think I had to be settling...that I had shoved those grandiose dreams down so I wouldnt be disappointed if I never get them in this lifetime. But thats not true.
I am not settling.
I am content.
I have a husband who loves me and our kids with everything he has. I have three breathtakingly beautiful, healthy, happy kids. I have family that supports me and loves me unconditionally. I have a 1500sq foot house that feels like a home...complete with crumbs and toys and dirty laundry piles. I have a job that challenges me and gives me a voice in this big, loud world. I have friends who, over the last 15+ years, have become my family.
I have a simple life...full of simple, ordinary things. A life some people would quickly overlook because of its mediocrity. A life that doesnt revolve around expensive vacations and fancy toys and flashy jewelry. A life not consumed with 'making more...doing more...being more'. A life that doesnt focus on 'what could be' or 'what might of been' but instead focuses on the here, the now, the beauty of what is right in front of me. A life not lived out loud but one that revels in the quiet, beautiful moments that happen when we slow down.
A life so full of happiness and laughter and love that it sometimes feels like a dream.
Because it is.
It's a simple, ordinary life.
And it's everything Ive ever wanted. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Camping Hair Dont Care

Before we had kids, I always imagined we'd be one of those families that vacationed together in exotic places and posed with Mickey Mouse in Disneyworld every year. My kids would be perfectly behaved, be seasoned plane passengers by age 2, and my husband and I would spend our evenings taking in sunsets from around the world. Andddd then I actually had kids and realized that A) vacationing with kids is not a all and B) Disneyworld for a family of 5 costs more than I spend on groceries for an entire year.
So, in a effort to find a happy medium between sipping cocktails on the beaches of Maui as my kids entertain themselves for hours in the white sand and considering a family vacation a trip to a local hotel to hit up the indoor pool for a few hours, we bought a camper and decided to hit the road.
And guys. It's been worth every single penny. Camping is the shit (our camper has AC so I can say that).
Here are my top 10 favorite things about camping:

1) Its cheap. Like cheapppp. As in we can stay at a campground for 5 days for around $150....for the whole trip. 

2) I'm force get my shit together before we leave. I cannot stand coming home to a messy gives me anxiety. So I scrub, declutter, wash, dust, and vacuum my entire house before we go which sucks at the time but nothing motivates me more than the idea of coming home to a stank house.  

3) The beaches. We're from the great Mitten State and camping has allowed us to visit some pretty amazing beaches and there aint no beach like a #westside beach.

4) There is no WiFi. None. Zero. And we refuse to get our kids tablets that use data so we all get a few days 'unplugged' and its honestly refreshing to not hear Daniel Tiger singing about potties and sharing for a few days. 

5) The fresh air. Honestly, I love that our kids are practically forced to spend 95% of their time outside because they spend entirely too much time on the couch (whining about boredom) all summer long. In my mind, camping cancels out all the screen time they get in between our trips. Balance.

6) Meal time is a breeze. Camping is all about simplicity and nothing is more simple than hotdogs and hamburgers thrown on a grill. Chips as a side? Yuppp. Juice boxes and paper plates? Sign me up. 

7) There is no agenda. I love chill vacations where we do what we want when we want. Hit up a local Farmers Market or festival in the morning? Yup. Beach time whenever we are ready? Uh huh. Family naptime at 2pm? Lets do it. Adult beverage at 4pm? Yes please. I'm not driving anywhere. 

8) Speaking of naps. Ya wanna know who naps or has a solid hour of downtime every day we are camping? My exhausted, bike riding, beach going kids that's who. 
(Nap. So. Hard.)
9) The community. People who camp are the friendliest bunch of people Ive ever met. They wave. They strike up conversation. They have perma smiles plastered to their faces because camping = no work= smiles for everyone.

10) The adult time. This is major guys. We camp with friends who all have young kids and, after we psych each other up ('Okay guys. Hands in the middle...Bedtime on 3!!') and get our exhausted, dirty kids to bed, we get to sit around the fire, pour a cocktail, and relax. We travel with baby moniters so we can be sure no one is trying to pull a Great Escape and try not to get yelled at by 20 yr old DNR rangers to 'quiet down!' too many times. Adult time is everything.

There's a cocktail in the woods waiting for you Mommas. Pack some snacks, grab your kids, and chase your dreams.  

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!**

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Something More

When I started this little bliggidy blog 5 weeks ago, I had no idea where it was going to take me or if it would amount to anything more than just a tiny corner of the internet where a handful of people would visit to read my nonsense and laugh with me {or at me} as I recalled some of my favorite parenting fails and rambled on and whined about my hatred of snow days and piles of laundry and turning 30 this year.

Somehow though, its become something bigger than I could have ever imagined and as of this week, I am excited to announce that I'm officially a Contributing Writer for Disney's parenting website Babble.

Once upon a time, I had big dreams; dreams of leaving my footprint on this world and making millions and being uber successful in a corner office with a view and buying my wine at a swanky specialty store instead of RiteAid. Those dreams evaporated the day I found out I was pregnant and I did the math on how much my corner office would have to pay a college graduate with zero job experience just to break even on childcare costs.

Because that's what we do as Moms right? We sacrifice and we tell ourselves these tiny humans are more important than ourselves and we convince ourselves, day after day, that if they are happy that's all that matters. We grow them and nurture them and teach them and comfort them because being a Mom is the most important job, the most rewarding job, the only job that truly matters right? Yea well I'm calling bullshit guys. 

Over the last few weeks I've felt something I haven't felt in a really really long time--pride. I've created something, done something, for myself and by myself. My success is my own, not contingent on anyone but me. I have deadlines and contracts and spreadsheets to fill out and complete and submit. My inbox is filled with emails from people that aren't my kids teachers and Redbox reminding me its Friday and I haven't rented a movie in 3 days. I've had to put kids to bed and come downstairs to finish editing and emailing when it was quiet so I could focus and think straight without being distracted every 30 seconds.

And it all feels pretty freaking amazing.

I wouldn't change anything about the last 6 years of my life. They've been the best and hardest years of my life and I was lucky to be able to stay home with my kids and be there for them every single day. But it wasn't enough for me. It wasn't all I wanted to be. I'm telling you all what I wish someone would have told me years ago: its okay to want more. Its okay to have dreams and ideas and passions outside of your kids lives. Its okay to want more out of life than only being a Mom. Its okay to not know exactly what your 'more' is because its different for everyone and it takes time to find your way. And its okay to put yourself first every once in a while, to explore your dreams and take the steps to make it happen.

I cant say where this little dream will take me, how far I will go or for how long but, for the first time in a long time, the possibilities of what I can do seem endless. Being a mother is an honor and a blessing and so incredible....but so is the moment you receive an email that you just landed your dream job that allows you to still be a full time Mom AND be something more.

So cheers to you Mommas that are chasing after your dreams, cheers to the Mommas who are still trying to figure it out, cheers to the Mommas whose 'more' is staying home and being the best Mom you can possibly be, and screw it, cheers to me...I think I've earned it.

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

I'm not winning this week. I'm whining.

Do you ever have those weeks where, as a Mom, you feel like you are just killing it? Those weeks where everyone is relatively happy and well behaved, you manage to clean your house from top to bottom without a toddler grabbing the toilet bowl brush and attempting to brush his hair with it, the laundry is all washed, dried, and PUT AWAY and you actually remembered to buy every essential ingredient for your dinners and execute them without flaw while getting showered with praise by your 4 year old as she proclaims it to be 'the best dinner ever!'? 

This has not been one of those weeks.

On a scale from 1 to 'My Kids Are Looking Into Legally Emancipating Themselves', this week has been a solid 7. The weather blows. Everyone is getting sick. The kids are getting cabin fever from being cooped up inside for the last 4 months. I've had a load of laundry in the dryer since Tuesday afternoon. Dinner last night was BLTs with a side of potato chips {Kettle cooked not fried so save your judgement}. We have family coming in for the weekend and I'm praying my motivation to clean the house arrives before they do. Oh, and Tuesday morning I was attempting to whine and complain to a fellow Mommy friend about the newest school fundraiser and I accidentally sent the texts TO MY KIDS TEACHER.


In my defense, it was early. I hadn't had enough coffee and my Mommy friend and my kids teachers' names both start with the letter 'K' and were right next to each other in my recent texts. But let me tell you, there's nothing that gets your adrenaline pumping harder and your hands sweating more than realizing you just sent a text to your kids teacher that reads 'Is it just me being a Psycho Mom or is this Candy Gram fundraiser super shitty? Reminds me of Mean Girls.'

Listen. I have never claimed to be a rational person. When shit hits the fan, my mind spirals faster than my hands on a wine bottle opener on a Friday night. Naturally, I started googling the other elementary schools in our area that accepted immediate transfer students and debating on actually doing my hair because, lets be honest, I never do and maybe it could suffice as a disguise during school pick up to hide my face and my shame. I immediately texted her teacher {for a third time, on a Tuesday morning before 8am} to apologize and begged for forgiveness and passing grades for my kindergartner that were a reflection of her work and not a reflection of her psychotic mother.

Thankfully, her teacher responded to me with the understanding and compassion that only a kindergarten teacher of 27 kids can possess without being heavily medicated and I quickly rescinded the offer I put in on a house in a neighboring school district.

The bonus to sufficiently embarrassing the hell out of yourself on a Tuesday morning before 8am is that you theoretically have all week to redeem yourself and turn things around. However, that load of laundry is still in my dryer, I have zero ideas for dinner tonight, my bathrooms look like a someone was trying to finger paint with blue toothpaste on the counters and all 3 of my kids were crying before breakfast this morning.

Screw winning this week. I'm embracing the w{h}ine.

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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I Wish I Had Resting Bitch Face

Have you ever seen those people who walk around in public and just look eternally pissed off at the world, angry to be where ever they are, and so unapproachable you kind of want to flash them a smile just to mess with them but you don't out of fear you might be the scapegoat for all their pent up animosity?

I am not one of those people.

Apparently, I have been gifted {cursed} with a face that unconsciously invites random strangers to approach me and say wildly inappropriate things to me without thinking twice. Granted, the majority of my admirers are over the age of 70 and male so there is some level of inappropriateness that I find extremely amusing and almost welcome, but most of the time, these encounters have left me wishing I could get a small case of RBF {Resting Bitch Face} and cruise through life striking fear into the souls of anyone who thinks twice about approach me. Here's a few of my all time favorite random encounters:

Awkward Encounter #1-- Picture me, 9 months pregnant, waddling around Meijer and silently cursing whoever owns Meijer for not gifting my store {and me} the blessing that is curbside service when I am approached by an innocent looking elderly gentleman in the cereal aisle.

Elderly gentleman- 'You are very pregnant! How far along are you? When is the baby coming?!'
Me- 'Yes I am. Hes due in 2 weeks but I'm praying God has mercy on me and he comes tomorrow.'
Elderly gentleman- 'Oh you wont make it 2 weeks! That baby is coming soon! You are carrying very low.'
Me- {Awkward laugh} Well lets hope so.
Elderly Gentleman- Well good luck to you! Babies are such a blessing. He is definitely coming early. I can tell. I delivered my son 50 years ago in the back of our car so if you get to the produce section and he starts coming just holler for me and I will come deliver him for you.'
Me-- 'Thank you. That's very comforting. I will yell for you if I start giving birth near the bananas.
Elderly Gentleman Who Just Offered To Deliver My Baby In The Produce Section- 'I'll keep my ears peeled just in case! Take care and good luck! Enjoy that baby!'

Awkward Encounter #2-
Me, again at Meijer because well, I'm a Mom of 3 and don't get out much, standing in line and silently cursing whoever owns Meijer and thinks its a good idea to only have 2 cashiers working when the store is busy as hell but grateful they have free wi-fi so I can scroll Facebook while I wait for three hours.

Lady behind me in line- 'Excuse me Miss?'
Me- 'Yes?'
Lady- 'Would you mind watching my cart? They never put the diet Mt Dew up here and I need my diet Mt Dew.'
Me- 'Ummm sure. No problem. The lines not moving.'
Lady- *walks away leaving her entire cart including her purse in my care as she walks to the other side of the store to find her diet Mt Dew*
Lady Whose Lucky I'm Not a Convicted Felon and or Thief- 'Thanks. I hate how they don't put these in every aisle anymore. I need my fix! *pops top on unpaid for diet Mt Dew and starts chugging*
Me- 'No problem! Don't worry I didn't have enough time to go through your purse. Haha!'
Lady Who Didn't Get My Joke- 'Yea. Okay. Good. Thanks.' *Side-eyes me like I'm the strange one in this scenario*

Awkward Encounter #3:
Standing outside my kids preschool classroom waiting for the door to open as a snowstorm reeks havoc outside.

Grandfather of kids classmate: 'Its getting nasty out there.'
Me: 'Yea I know. My husband works in Auburn Hills..I hope his drive home doesn't take forever.'
Grandfather: 'I used to work down that way too. 75 is horrible in these conditions. I wont even drive it anymore.'
Me: 'Yea there's a lot of traffic during rush hour. It usually takes him 45 minutes but tonight it will definitely be over an hour.'
Grandfather: 'I wont drive it anymore. Years ago, it was snowing like this and I started fishtailing and I bumped into a car. I tried to stop but I kept sliding so I just kept going. They were okay though.'
Me: 'Oh well that's good.......'
{Uncomfortable silence}
Grandfather: 'Don't tell anyone.'
Me: 'I wont.'

                          {The Queen of RBF}

In all honesty, my non-Resting Bitch Face keeps things interesting and I've come to appreciate the fact that there is always a possibility I might run into some more absolute nonsense that breaks up the monotony that sometimes {always} is my life. And to all my pregnant Momma's and Momma's to be: if you ever go into labor in Meijer near the bananas, call me first. I know a guy. 

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

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Mommy-cation

I finally flew the coop this weekend. One of my very best friends is getting married in a few weeks and as a bridesmaid, I was ecstatic to participate in the bachelorette party weekend in Traverse City. We stayed in an adorable, fully stocked house and our only plans were wine tasting, wine tasting, dancing, and more wine tasting. Seriously. The type of weekend dreams are made of.

In between sips of wine and hilarious conversation, I was asked a few times if it was hard to for me to pack my stuff and leave my kids for a weekend.

Short answer? Nopeity.Nope.Nope.Nope.

Long answer? I had not yet left the little guy anywhere over night. Not because I hadn't wanted too {someone take him....pleaseeee} but because hes a total Momma's boy who was attached to me, literally and figuratively, nursing until he was almost a year old and standing at the door and crying when I leave to go get groceries {wine}.  He is now 16 months old so including his incubation period in my uterus, I had not been alone in over 2 years. 2 years since I had been alone longer than a few hours spent at the grocery store or out to dinner with girlfriends. 
Two. Freaking. Years.

And let me tell you Mommas, it was an amazing, unforgettable weekend that I didn't even realize how badly I needed. I drank hot coffee. I laughed so hard I cried. I spent time with girls who knew me before I became a Mom and met some amazing ladies who got to know me as more than just a Mom. I got to get ready without mentally planning out what outfit to put each kid in while trying not to give someone a third-degree burn as they all pile into my tiny ass bathroom to watch me straighten my hair {seriously whyyyy?!} I got dressed up to go to a dinner that didn't involve cutting up chicken tenders and asking for more ranch dressing and playing tic-tac-toe and worrying if our food would arrive before someone had a breakdown. I danced to music that wasn't Taylor Swift and surprised myself by remembering all the lyrics to accurately white girl rap Nelly's 'EI' to the bachelorette {buy me enough wine and for $5, I'll do it for you too.} I sat and had actual conversation with adults without being interrupted a million times or having to put my phone on mute to threaten someone with a timeout if they don't knockthatshitoffrightnow. I got to breathe. I got to sit in silence. I got to think. And when the fun was over and it was time to pack up and go, I could not wait to get home to my kids and my amazing husband {whose the real MVP for taking care of our kids all weekend so I could go} because I actually got a chance to miss them.

(Less whine. More wine.) 

Listen Mommas. There is no award for being the Most Tired, the Most Stressed, the Most Busy, or the Most Likely To Lose Her Shit {if there was I would've gotten that one by now.} Take the vacation. Go on the Girls Weekend. Plan the weekend or evening getaway with your husband or partner. If the opportunity arises for you to get out for a day or a night or an hour, run, don't walk your amazing ass out the door. Screw the Mommy guilt that tries to bubble up in your brain as you pull out of the driveway; your kids will be fine, you will all survive, and everyone will be better for it.

And just know that if your kids are anything like mine, they will run to greet you when you get home, smother you in hugs and kisses, word vomit all the things they did while you were away in under 3 minutes, and be back to whining, arguing and driving you nuts within an hour, giving you all the more reason to start planning and fantasizing about your next great escape.

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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

WTF do you do all day?

I know a lot of people have thought it and {hopefully} yo momma raised you right so you've never said it aloud but since I'm feeling generous, I'm going to give you an inside peek into WTF it is Stay at Home Moms do all day. Or at least this SAHM...I wont speak for all of them because the last thing you should ever do is assume anything about sleep deprived, coffee fueled women who deal with toddlers all day {trust me on this one}.

I've been running this {shit}show for the last 6 years and I've gotten my fair share of curious/judgmental/nosy questions along the way so let's just clear up a few of my personal favorites real quick--

'Don't you get bored?!' Ummm duh. 

'What are you going to do when the kids are all in school?!' I'm not 100% sure what direction my life will be in next Thursday let alone in five years from now. 

'3 kids under 6?! You must have your hands full.' Yes I do but I always make sure one hand is empty by 7pm so I can put a beer in it {priorities}.

'I could never stay home all day like that. I'd go crazy.' Ya know what would make me crazy? Working a 40hr a week job and still only being able to afford the $8 bottle of wine at Rite Aid after I pay for daycare for 3 kids, that's what.
(Me. Hiding from my kids and your unwanted judgement.)

So here's the breakdown for all you nosy ass people out there who are still reading this {Kidding. Please keep reading. The next part took forever to write. Love you.} 

6:45am: Open eyes. Brush. Wash.
7am: Wake up kids. Pray middle child doesn't take a swing at me.
7:15-8:30am: 1st cup of coffee. Feed kids. Make lunch for kindergartner. Hunt for quarters to send with kindergartner for whatever fundraiser is going on this week. Pick out outfits. Listen to middle child cry that she cant wear a dress. Get everyone washed and brushed and out the door.
8:35am: Drop off kindergartner
9:00am: Drop off preschooler
9:15-10am: Laundry. Clean up kitchen after breakfast. Whisper chat with BFF while Nolan naps. Drink 2nd cup of coffee.
10am: Play with the lil guy. Attempt to fold laundry while lil guy throws clean clothes around the room. Reheat coffee. Get smacked in face with PopTart box.
10:05am: Tell Nolan no Poptarts.
10:06am: Give in and give screaming kid Pop Tart.
10:07am: Watch kid take one bite of PopTart and give the rest to the dog. Die a little inside.
10:15-11:15am: Pay bills/play/read/clean.
11:30am: Pick up preschooler.
11:45am: Lunch time. Reheat coffee. Naptime. Send preschooler upstairs to do whatever she does besides nap. Reheat coffee.
Noon: Clean up kitchen from lunch. Tiptoe around living room picking up toys while Nolan naps.
12:30pm: Shovel food in my face and try not to breathe too hard as I enjoy the silence. Give up on reheated garbage coffee.
1pm: Finish laundry/scrub something I just scrubbed two days ago.
1:15pm: Nolan wakes up. Read books. Play. Get hit in head with NutriGrain bars.
2pm: Preschooler descends from upstairs.
2:15pm: Chill time. Cartoons. More snacks. Recheck dinner recipe to figure out what essential ingredient I forgot to buy.
3pm: Pick up house before kindergartner gets home.
3:30pm: Leave to get kindergartner.
3:35pm: Stand in pick up line and try not to be awkward when adults talk to me.
4pm: Home with kindergartner.
4:10pm: Some type of annoying craft activity that takes 25min to set up and is over in 10min.
5pm: Start making dinner. Kids disappear to the basement because they know better.
6:15pm: Dinner.
6:45pm: Faceplant into couch. Get immediately swarmed by all three kids who don't give good backrubs. Debate leaving kitchen dirty until morning.
7pm: Clean up kitchen for the 42nd time. Family time. W{h}ine time. Binge watch 'Shameless' when kids disappear with Ipads.
9pm: Head upstairs. Brush. Wash. Tuck kids in. Squeeze their faces because they are so adorable and Ilovethemsomuchithurts.
9:10pm: Tell kids to lay down its bedtime. 
9:20pm: Yell at kids to go to bed because if I come in there they will be sorry. 
9:30pm: Debate going downstairs for 'me' time. Never do. 
9:33pm: Pass out. 

So there ya have it. And listen, Working Moms, Single Moms, Moms whose Husbands travel a lot etc you guys are my heroes...please don't take this as a 'My day is so much harder than yours' diatribe because at the end of the day, were all just Moms trying not to raise asshole children while staring at a clock waiting for our version of Whine Thirty. If you do more than me in a day, you are superhuman. If you do less and your kids are happy, tell me all your secrets. If you're silently judging me for giving my kids PopTarts, don't bother because the dog eats 85% of them anyways. If your surprised by what you read because you thought I had my shit together and my life was magical, I apologize for ever giving you that impression. And finally {and most importantly}, if you read that and felt exhausted and pity me, turn it into something tangible and send me free wine and cheese. 

**To be sure you dont miss a word of my nonsense, follow me by email {link above on the right}, or on FB {Whine Thirty}**

Scary Mommy