Times I've Been THAT MOM

Here's the most perfect commercial of motherhood: 

And here are the times I have been THAT MOM: 

I admit, I've jumped to defend breast feeding too quickly before. But really, it's only because I loved it so much, personally. Not because I think it's the best thing for every mom or that it's easy.

I raced to register for the top toys, holders, slings, bottles and thing-a-ma-jigs when I was pregnant with R1. There wasn't a useless gadget left unturned. 

I struggled to bounce back from my C-section but acted as if nothing hurt. I bit my lip and acted like sitting down didn't feel like a semi truck was trying to rip through my lower abdomen. I needed people to think I was a strong mother earth life giver. I was ashamed that I had a c-section and didn't earn my female bragging rights by giving birth naturally. I automatically felt less worthy. 

I felt vindicated and better than others when both my kids were potty trained by their second birthdays, as if I was better than others. UGH. I can't believe I just admitted that. Shame on me. Who cares? 

But then there were other times when I was the OTHER MOM. The one that knew her toddler was being slightly ill behaved but found it so adorably cute, I didn't correct him right away. I let him sleep on my chest on the couch for the first 4 months because that was the only way we could both rest. 

I was the one who wore her maternity pants months and months after the baby because comfort was number one and I threw out my give-a-damn 30 sleepless nights ago. 

I was the other mom because by R2, my "What to Expect The First Year" gathered dust on a shelf and I didn't care if she was 3, 4, or 7 months before she tried baby food. She had a booster instead of an antique highchair, only one bib that didn't even get washed between meals and was nursed so publically, a mother orangutan at the zoo pointed at me and acted like we must be sisters. 

My two experiences at being a mom to a newborn could not have been more different. The first time, I was scared shitless and totally flabbergasted that I was actually given such an amazing responsibility. I was in too much shock to realize what I was doing. I remember quite vividly the yellow notepad that I wrote down the times R1 ate, thinking how in the world was I going to keep up with his feedings. I remember trying to pump breast milk in the bathroom stall between journalism classes at college, and pumping with one hand and the steering wheel in the other, driving back to my part time job. 

With R2, I remember how sweet and timeless those 6 weeks were during my maternity leave. It was July but the heat was comforting and warm. We slept on the couch together all day and watched The Nanny and Roseann all night. We had pink blankets, pink onesies and pink bows bigger than her head. I nursed her for as long she let me. I let her have her pacifier longer than she really wanted it. I laid on the couch and inhaled the scent of her hair while I should have been doing the laundry, the dishes, the dusting. 

So yes, I was THAT mom, and I was also the OTHER mom at times. But what I am most proud of is that I am RYDER AND REESE'S mom. And that's everything. 

He's 7 and she's 4 and I still have my moments. Every day. Times when we are all wearing mismatched socks and we have PopTarts for breakfast, afternoon snack and midnight snack. Times where his aced homework stays on my fridge for months and her scribbles are framed artwork. Times when their holiday treats are donuts shaped like Christmas trees from the gas station. 

Because that's how I love and that's how we make things work. 

Just like the moms in that commercial, we all mother in different ways but we all have a common goal: To have happy, healthy and safe children who will love us back a fraction as much as we love them because that would be enough to sustain us for a lifetime. 

That's just how we love, and it works. 

A List of Lists I Need to Make

People who deserve thank you notes from me 

Photos to print off instead of just having them online

Babysitters from my childhood I need to apologize for torturing

Educational/Enlightening television shows I need to watch instead of Real World Skeletons and Challenge Exes II 

Books I need to reread as an adult so I actually understand what's going on

Clothes I need to get rid of even though I swear I'll fit in again/get the stain out/turn into a scarf someday 

Pinterest recipes I can actually buy the ingredients for and really make them. 

How To Knit for Beginner Tips. I'm knit even kidding. I want to learn so bad. 

Reasons to be thankful. 

Work outs I might actually do using some canned goods and a dining room chair 

Reasons why NOT to go see 50 Shades in the theaters.

Why Ambien is an over-thinker's best friend 

Reasons I love my cats so I will remember why not to scream at them after they climb my curtains. (I can't even lie: at first I accidentally typed kids instead of cats and almost left it because it still fit and was way funnier).

Things that I need to let go of because I will never ever be able to change. 

Things I don't want to ever let go so that I'll remember to appreciate them. 

Words I should quit saying so that my kids won't repeat them. 

Quotes that make me calm 

A list of things that I need to make a list of for this list. Just kidding. I can't even follow that enough to makes sense it. 

Do you have an endless to do list?  

Book Review: What Alice Forgot

It's only January, which means I have the entire year to name my favorite book of 2015 but whatever I read will have to be pretty amazing to beat this book: 

It's about a woman named Alice. She's a mother, wife and apparently a go-getter. At least, that's what people tell her. Because if you were to ask Alice about her life, she'd tell you she's 28, married to Nick and pregnant with their first baby. 

But then she wakes up on the floor of a gym, in the middle of a spin class.  Everyone around her is telling her quite a different story. She's not 28, she's 38, she has 3 children and she and Nick are in the middle of a heated divorce. 

Alice has fallen and hit her head and apparently lost every memory from the last 10 years. And now she has to find the answers to questions that are coming at her from every direction. How can she be a mother to 3 children she doesn't know?nWhy did her marriage fail? Why are she and her sister no longer close? 

I loved this book because there are all of these unanswered questions and it's so interesting to read how Alice feels about the person she has become in the last 10 years. She doesn't exactly love herself in this new life she doesn't recognize. She can't figure out why her and Nick are divorcing. She doesn't know anything about the man she has been supposedly dating. And why do her neighbors hate her? Why is her sister so sad? And since when does she love to work out? When did she become such a bitchy, bossy person? 

One by one she finds the answers, and eventually starts connecting all of the dots. The amount of perspective she gains from knowing the mistakes she makes and their impact on her life is something I wish dearly to have for myself. 

I just really loved this book. I love all of Liane Moriarty's novels so I wasn't surprised. There were alot of side stories, including Alice's sister and grandmother, which give other dimensions and details to the entire story that I really enjoyed. And it's funny. There are sad topics but it's still a light story so it's the perfect balance. 

My recommendation? Read it!  This completes #2 on my Book Challenge because I listened to the story via Audible! 

How to Beat the Sads

Want to know what I've learned this week? 

This week, I've learned that you can be jealous of people and still be happy for them.
I mean, can you really be mad at the 2 women in that photo, who are obviously the 2 happiest, most excited women in the world? 

That's my mom and sister, in sheer bliss, at a live taping of the Ellen show yesterday. They're also going to the Critic's Choice Awards in elegant black dresses and professional makeup. They went to the award's pre-party last night too. 

Again, like I said, I am happy for them. No sour grapes here, no sirree. 

Okay, cut the crap. I am totally jealous. Like, lip sneering jealous. But at the same, I couldn't be more excited for them. Next year, I'll get to go with my mom on her annual trip to the Critic's Choice Awards, thanks to her awesome movie review gig so  I can't say anything too mean about how jealous I am or she might skip me over and take my little sister instead. 

Did I also mentioned that Mariah Carrey dropped in a gave the entire audience tickets to her Vegas show and stays at Caesar's Palace? And they got to go backstage? And then they got surprised again because they got to stick around for another taping and out walked Jennifer Lopez? 

Nope, not jealous at all.

Moving on so I don't blow my own cover, I also learned this week what it takes to get over a little case of the sads. 

Before I get too far, I'll elaborate on the sads. The sads are kind of like those feelings you get once a month, but these don't shake off quite as easy. You know when you have a bad dream and whatever happened in that dream was so real and unnerving that the feeling it gave you sticks around all day?

I think that's what was going on this week. I had a dream about a baby. A little beautiful round baby that I knew in the dream was mine and CJ's. I was so happy in the dream and then remembered when I woke up, as I do every morning, that I can't have any more babies. My babies are 7 and 4 now...so why does dreaming of a baby make me feel so sad that I won't ever have one again in real life? Do I just want another one because of the happy feeling I had so vividly in my dream?  Is having another baby when CJ and I have 5 together really even that sensible?  This week I learned that I really do truly wish I could have another baby. A revelation that makes me have this major case of sadness I can't quite put my head around... 

What does it take to get over those sads? I haven't figured it out yet, but lunch with a good friend, and surprising Reese at preschool for a little mommy-daughter time have certainly helped, as well as quiet nights at home with this: 

The best thing I can do when I have the sads is to keep busy. 
I went to the gym during the day. DURING THE DAY. 
I spent an hour filling out and doodling in my new Erin Condren Life Planner 

I made amazing dinners, including chicken baked in brown sugar and Italian seasoning with roasted parmesan zucchini and broccoli that was deee-lish.

I stuck hardcore to my Advocare 24 day Challenge. I can honestly attest to the fact that there is something special in that Spark drink. For real. I haven't had a fountain diet dr. pepper or coffee in almost 2 weeks. And it feels astonishingly good. 

I'm reading alot, watching TV, searching for the perfect rug online...all little tasks designed to keep me distracted from those dang sads. 

Everyone has them and they always pass but I just wanted to put it out there that I get them and I know lots of others do too.

What are your go-to ways to get rid of them? 

Show Us Your Books: What I've Read This Month (So Far)

We're about half way through the month already, how did that happen? In the flurry of getting back in to the groove of things after the holidays, I've managed to get some pretty awesome reading done. That may go down the drain the rest of the month however, because I've just discovered The Affair on Showtime. Guys. It's Pacey, all grown up. On a beach. Yeah, I know you can totally understand if I don't get jack done the rest of the month until I binge watch it all. 

But anyhooters, here is a look at the books I've read this month, plus what I plan to start for the next two topics on my Book Challenge List. 

The Smart One by Jennifer Close 

I listened to this on audiobook and I really enjoyed it. 
It's about the Coffee Family- Wheezy and Will and their 3 grown children, Claire, Martha and Max.. Wheezy worries herself into a fit about every little thing, especially when it comes to her kids. The kids are all grown but each one has their own problems and they've all lost their way. A broken engagement, an unexpected pregnancy and one child who is so neurotic she can barely function...their troubles implode and Wheezy finds all of her children back under her roof for the first time in years. Suddenly she's playing the mom role again and it's so interesting to read about how they adjust. Somehow, they manage to rekindle their family. It was a great book to listen to. The scenes  were short but entertaining and each character told their own side of the story so the change of tones and scenery kept it interesting. But honestly, I have to admit that if I was reading it, I might of gotten a little bored, only because the writer only skimmed the surface of the emotional situations. I feel like I needed the author to take it just a little bit further. 4 Stars. 

Note: This books completes the first book on my Book Challenge List!

The other books I've read this month was: 

This book is getting so much buzz on top 10 lists that I couldn't not read it. And I can see why. Now talk about an author who goes there. It's 1922 and you'd think it was about life after the War and that'd it be a bit boring because it's just about Frances, a self-proclaimed spinster who lives with her old mother. Her father died and, unbeknownst to them, had squandered the family money. So Francis is left to take on boarders, or, paying guests, as she and her mother like to all them, because that is less embarrassing than taking boarders.  And then Francis becomes a bit obsessed with her guests, Mr. and Mrs. Barber. They're gypsy like, almost, which is kind of dreamy when you think about it being the early 20s. I think of  Daisy's friend in Gatsby when I picture Mrs. Barber. When Francis and Lillian (as she comes to know her) become friends ,we finally start to learn a little more about Frances and what you discover will surprise you. I give this book a 4, only because it's a very hot and cold read. It's either terribly methodical, lots of scrubbing the scullery or preparing lamb for dinner and the other endless house chores that poor Frances has to do. But then the next minute, another story starts to unfold that's awfully intriguing. Read it and enjoying imagining that people were actually this racy back in the day. I guess they didn't called it the "Roaring 20s" for nothing. 

Next up, I'm going to tackle #2 on my Book Challenge by reading something written by a male author. I am not sexist by any means but for some reason, I am just more drawn to female authors. Sometimes I think male authors can't sell me on  writing female characters because there is just no way they can fully understand or articulate how the female mind works and a lot of the time, you can tell that in the way they write. So I am challenging myself to give a guy a chance. I'll be reading Funny Girl by Nick Horny

It's the 1960s and it's humorous, light, and a little bit mysterious, so I really don't see what could go wrong! 

I took a detour from the book challenge to start reading The Girl on the Train because it is getting a lot of buzz as well and after reading the sample, I was HOOKED. 

Thanks so much to Steph @ Life According to Steph for this awesome book link up and letting me join in on the fun: 

Have you picked your book challenge for the month? Tell me about it! 

642 Ways Writing Saves My Soul

As a writer, I oftentimes find myself yearning to write, I just don't know about what. 

That's why I love lazy Saturdays. When the kids are gone, the house is too quiet, the day is too boring. That's why reading and writing are so important to me because it fills the gap. I constantly have to stay busy so that boredom and missing my kids doesn't rest on my chest all day. 

642 Things to Write About has saved many an empty Saturday.

Because I love it so much, I wanted to share what my answers have been to some of the prompts, just for fun. This book has so many random prompts that your imagination really takes off when you write. Sometimes I get creative, sometimes I take trips down memory lane and other times  I just ramble. Emotions range, sometimes I write happy and sometimes I surprise myself and purge sad feelings I didn't even know I felt, but still recognize once I read them out loud. 

Write a story based on the title of your favorite song:

(My favorite song is "She Will Be Loved" and I wrote this while thinking about my teenage self, who had terrible self esteem.)

She used to get up early every morning and brush her hair, 100 times on each side, staring at her blue eyes in the mirror, only to wish they were bluer. 
She wanted shinier hair, skinnier legs and eyebrows that were different than the  prominent ones she hated in the mirror. She saw these things and thought "No matter what, I just hope someday, someone will love me despite these things. Someday, I will be loved." 

And then...years later, she stared at that same girl, now a woman, in the eyes and finally sees herself as he sees her. Blue eyes, shiny hair, eyebrows, he says, that are perfectly fitting for her many expressions. And she's no longer worried. There is no longer a question whether or not she will be loved. She is loved. By him, and finally, by herself. 

The first time you were caught in a lie

I was maybe four years old. I had a brand new Polly Pocket. I was playing with it outside on the front steps and for some reason I took Polly's little head and scraped it against the concrete until her blonde hair paint had scratched away. Later when my mom asked what happened to Polly, I told her that my sister had stepped on it. My sister's account of the story didn't match my own and somehow, in her infinite mother-knowledge, she knew I was lying. She took that Polly and put her on the mantle, were Polly stared down at me with accusatory glares each time I walked by. 

Write a poem about a tomato 

A juicy reminder of a simpler time
Hot summer sun, dirt under my fingernails
Grandma hands me a rip jewel from her own garden
And with a sprinkle of salt, I turn it into a quick, disappearing snack.

Write a press release announcing one of the biggest moment in your life. 

KEARNEY, NE- A 16 year old female was hospitalized on Thursday after doctors were unable to find reasoning for her excessive bleeding. 

The doctor on the case reported that the patient arrived at the Kearney Clinic Thursday complaining of multiple nose bleeds and excessive bruising. Nurses performed a bleed-time test and were unable to stop the young female from bleeding. 

The doctors told the female's mother that a hospital stay was required for further testing. After discovering the female's blood platelet count to be as low as 11,000, the doctor shared his fear that she may have leukemia. 

According to the CDC, the average person has upwards of 150,000-300,000 platelets. 

"The doctor told us he was surprised my daughter was even conscious with that low of a platelet count." said the girl's mother.

After a lengthy hospital stay and multiple tests, the doctors were able to rule out leukemia.

They later diagnosed her with an autoimmune disorder called Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). At press time, she was hospitalized but in stable condition. 


The great thing about 642 is that sometimes I need to write. I don't necessarily have anything to write about but it just bubbles up in my chest and I just know that I need to write something. It's therapeutic and relaxing. Sometimes I write about random memories or vegetables but whatever the topic, it means a lot to me to create words that are my own. 

What do you do when you just need to write? 

My 12-Month Book Challenge

I am so excited to share this idea with you! 
As I was writing this post about making promises to myself, I knew I had to organize my thoughts and plans NOW in order to keep those promises and that's where this book challenge idea came from! 

Here's the deal- this is in no way a gotta-do-it-all challenge. There's no commitment required. I only ask that if you DO read anything inspired by one of the prompts, you hightail your beautiful butt back here to tell me all about it! 

I wrote this with the idea that each month, you can pick one of the topics to help you choose a book to read that month. I will be reading way more than 1 book a month (that's the plan anyway) but this will ensure that I won't have to think too hard about which to pick for at least one of them. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy. 

For January, I picked No.1 -An Audiobook- because I always listen to them anyway on my drive to work I'm listening to The Smart One by Jennifer Close. My library doesn't have a huge selection so I take what I can get. I am actually enjoying this one. It's a great family drama about a mother and her 3 children who are grown but have all made mistakes and are now coming back home and she looks up one day to find them all at the breakfast table as if the last 15 years never happened. It's very easy to relate to and I love reading about mother/sister relationships. 

Another way to stay on top of the books you read this year is to take the Goodreads Challenge. 

I've pledged 40 books this year. That's a lot. Maybe I've been too ambitious but maybe not. I originally said 50 and then I realized I have two kids, a full time job, a husband, 2 cats and a very unorganized way of doing things so I got real. Forty it is. 

Which of the 12 book ideas are you going to go with first? 

No Resolutions Just Promises

So I am not going to bore you with a long list of resolutions I swear I am going to keep in the New Year. I've never really even made a resolution, let alone actually follow up with one. For about the past 4 years, I've always started going back to the gym around this time of year. Sometimes it sticks for a few months, most times it doesn't.

And last year, I swore I was going to be better at blogging, but I did a terrible job at nurturing my little corner of the web and it makes me the most sad.

I just feel like saying "my resolutions are..." is the biggest set up for failure. If I have no expectations, I will have no disappointments. I know, I know, it's a total cop out.

So I am just going to say that I want to keep promises to myself  this year. That's not as serious as a resolution, I feel like. I can handle promises.

I promise myself to listen to more Podcasts. Serial. Dear Sugar. Risk.  And whatever else you tell me to listen to.

I promise to blog more. Share more book recommendations. Share more random thoughts. Not because I think people want to read what I write, but because I just hope someone will read something and say "hey, ME TOO!" and then BAM- best friends.

I promise to not screw up the 24 Advocare Challenge that I am about to start. My best girlfriend from high school has inspired me and I took the plunge and will start Monday. (and yes, that means I will eat the last fast food meal for a very long time this weekend- diets ALWAYS start on Mondays). If I can dream it, I can do it. #spacejam

I promise myself not to finish my kids' plates. Do you do that? I do that. I take the bite they leave behind. I have no idea why, I am not even hungry. It's a vicious habit I promise to break.

I promise to play more with the kids. Less Netflix, more make believe.

I promise to read more books (50 in fact!)  And by read them, I mean actually FINISH them. I have had a terrible problem with starting books and getting bored. I need to stick with them! Just because the main character's love interest's name bugs the crap out of me - Hugh, George, Randy. UGH. I will not give up. I want to read something of everything - fiction, nonfiction, historical fiction, memoirs, thrillers. You name it, I'll read it. 

So more reading, blogging and less food. I can do that right?

Other things I promise:
Stay more organized with work and home life schedules
Bite my tongue when I feel like I am about to yell at my kids or husband.
Don't repeat gossip
Stay on top of laundry
To not be ashamed at my love of Snapchating pictures of my cats. They're adorable. Can't stop, won't stop
Never get my hair dyed for free. (still recovering from the Ombre-assacre)
Get more manicures
Drink more water
Call my grandma (back) more (love you Gma)
More time playing Legos and less time picking them up
More time playing restaurant with fake food
More painted rainbows and glittery crafts.

What promises are you making for 2015?