Guilt-Free Parenting

I never read parenting magazines. Do you know why? Because I found myself reading them and thinking “I wish I had the time to make that recipe” or “I wish I could remember to get stuff at the store so I could make that craft with my kids” or “why can’t I take the advice of other moms and teach my kids how to behave by modeling good behavior instead of losing my temper?” When you obsess over this way of thinking, you will easily convince yourself that you’re not good enough, when in all actuality, you’re just normal.

When I read articles on titled “How to Win Over Stubborn Children” or “Raising An Adventurous Eater: How to get your child to try new foods (and like ‘em!),” I cringe. So what if my child doesn’t like a certain food? Isn’t it a good thing if my child is stubborn and strong willed and doesn’t let others bring her down? While I’m all for helpful parenting tips and strategies, I’m against leading parents to believe there is a magic way to mold your child into someone YOU want them to be. There’s no 5-step process to raising a perfect child; it’s messy! Raising a child takes patience, love and the ability to see past the flaws you think your child has. He or she will never be perfect in the way you think they should be. They will have temper tantrums in the grocery store when they don’t get their way, they will embarrass you when you’re out to dinner, they will make you feel as though you did something terribly wrong when trying to do your best raising them.

I’m here to tell you not to believe these things. It’s ok to get frustrated and overwhelmed, to sometimes even yell. Don’t beat yourself up to the point of not being able to see the good things each day offers. People always say to enjoy every minute of having young children because they grow so fast, but I’m telling you – you don’t have to love every minute of parenting – it’s not natural. It goes against our lifestyle as adults. When you go to bed every night, even after the most frustrating day, think of 3 things your child did that day that made you smile. It can be as simple as a hug. Focus your energy on that rather than what you think were “missed chances.”

Germ Central

For the past 3 weeks our house has been germ central. Someone has been sick the whole time, except me. It has made things very stressful to say the least.
Erin gave us all a scare as a baby by having a febrile seizure from her fever. She also had one 2 weeks ago. When she was a baby, it scared the life out of me. I had no idea what was going on. I honest to God thought she was dying in my arms. I remember clear as day thinking, “in a couple seconds I will be holding my child in my arms and she won’t be alive.” I remember thinking that I would have only spent 8 months with my daughter. It was the most raw, terrifying feeling I have ever had my whole life. Seeing it last week was easier in the sense that I knew what was going on, but it still pained me to see Erin like that and once again managed to scare me and make me cry. It is by far the worst thing I’ve ever had to watch in my life.
Anyways, I guess my point is that while I’m so cranky and impatient with everyone being sick and a lack of routine, I need to remember that things could be worse. Way worse. I hope someone reading this can take a step back, too, and realize that things could actually be worse…


The past two days have been gorgeous here! Sunny and 60 degrees; feels like spring. There is something about spring that is so refreshing. It’s the smell of something different in the air. It’s the warm sun on your face warming your whole body up in a way that fall and winter can’t. It’s breaking out the summer wines and beers. It’s that great feeling of knowing that the air is changing and a new season is beginning. And I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s here.


Raw Truth

It’s been a long time since I’ve written and a lot has changed. First and foremost, I have become a cranky, no fun, yelling, stomping, pouting baby. But let me caveat – we are moving. And it has turned me into a monster! I really hope that I am not the only one who has turned into such an awful human being during this stressful time, but if I am…well, just lie and tell me I’m not!

It seems like I make some progress with packing and cleaning up and organizing and then I turn around and there’s a mess! Additionally, at the end of the night, it always looks like nothing was even done. And don’t even get me started on the kids’ messes…how we are supposed to “show” our house in pristine condition with two children is beyond me.

Ok, so I know nobody wants to read a whining, complaining, negative post so lets turn this around (besides, I think I’ve gotten it out of my system by now!) I have decided to take a step back when I start feeling like this – which really is almost every night right now, so I should probably take a step back every other night or I won’t get a thing done. And by “take a step back,” I mean – have a glass of wine (on a Friday night OR a Tuesday night), watch some trash TV (like the Bachelor), do your nails, listen to music, cry or laugh hysterically at your favorite movie. Whatever helps you to calm down and get your head on straight, DO IT. Because let me be honest here, if you don’t do this? Well, you’re going to become one heck of a horrible person super fast. Trust me on that one…


Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl – Copycat

I’m always looking for healthy recipes that everyone in my family will eat. I was craving Chipotle one day and decided to try and find a similar recipe to satisfy my cravings. And I found one! It’s from a blog titled It’s a very neat blog. Not only was the recipe delicious, but the writers actually break out the cost savings to make (in particular) this recipe at home vs. buying it for your family at the restaurant. I encourage others to try it if you want something different and pretty healthy to eat. Or, if you want to be unhealthy, top on the cheese and sour cream!

Corn Salsa

Toppings (homemade guacamole, chicken marinated overnight then cooked on the grill, corn salsa, tomato salsa)

Finished product (in addition to the toppings: cilantro and lime rice, and black beans)


Be sure to check out the recipe! It’s worth the effort and makes quite a bit. I think it would have been a bit easier if I had cut up some of the ingredients (and made the corn/tomato salsa) the night before. Enjoy!


The other day I went to visit some elderly people from my home town that played a huge role in the first 10 years of my life, and even some time after. My memories of my home town have always been fond. We moved when I was 10, so my memories are almost like picture perfect fairy tales. I wasn’t old enough to remember or understand any of the bad things. We grew up next to a church in a parsonage. My sister and I were so close with the people in the church, that it felt as if we had a huge family. I hadn’t been back there for almost 2 years.

As I was driving on the highway to get there, I thought to myself “How silly of me to still consider a place I only lived for 10 years my home?” I thought I was somewhat stupid for always feeling sad when I’ve visited in the past, missing all of the good times in my past. But there were just too many memories – swinging on the tire swing in the field behind our house, playing kick the can around the church parking lot, sledding in the graveyard during snow storms, swimming in my best friend’s gigantic pool, playing in the river behind her house, amazing talent shows put on by my father and other eccentric people at my elementary school. As I drove down the back roads to my hometown all of this just came flooding back. I couldn’t help but be in that state again – just basking in the awesomeness of my childhood. Feeling like still, after 14 years, I still belonged there. Knowing where everything was and remembering exactly as it was so long ago. Of course so much has changed since then, and if I were to move back it probably wouldn’t be as I remembered it.

I used to get jealous of people who have lived in the same town all their life – like my husband. But now, after visiting as a 24 year old woman, I think I’m the lucky one. I don’t know if anyone else can say that their hometown and childhood was nothing but sunshine and roses for them. So I’m just going to continue thinking of it like that!

Psst! Want a clear head?

I am in complete and total bliss right now. Want to know why? It’s simple and free. I was able to clean and de-clutter yesterday. Generally, I just tidy, dust, and clean every week and that’s about as far as it goes. I’m not usually much of de-clutterer (word?) but I always have “spots” that drive me crazy in my house. So I started this daunting task by making a mental list of the places that drive me nuts. Some examples are:

  • End of kitchen counter (envelopes, pens, headphones, etc.)
  • Messy drawers that could be useful if they were clean
  • Nightstand with miscellaneous items on it
  • Dresser covered with jewelry, lotions, makeup (you name it!)
  • Will and Erin’s dressers – Will had stuffed animals on his dresser from when he was a baby that he never really had an attachment to. Erin had hair bows and socks and other various items strewn about
  • Putting plastic containers into storage of kids’ and Bill’s clothing that no longer fits

So, I was able to conquer all of these things and more. I cleaned up little things that didn’t have a “home” and gave them one. Let me tell you – my life feels completely in order just from doing these things. Every room in my house is clean right now, and nothing is out of place. It is seriously the best high in the world!

Start the Spring season off right by cleaning and de-cluttering. It only took me about 5 hours to really make a dent. (If you don’t have kids, or have kids that can occupy themselves, it will probably only take you 2 hours ;-) ) I never knew that doing so little could make such a big difference. Once you come to the realization that you can conquer just some of the cluttered spots in your house, you’ll be able to do it all!

What kind of person are you?

What does it mean to be a genuine person? What does it mean to be an opinionated person? What does it mean to be a kind person? What does it mean to be a tell-it-like-it-is person?

If I am any of these types listed above, am I that type of person all the time? Do we, meaning society, give someone a “title,” just one, that sticks with them? Can someone be kind and tell it like it is?

I have found myself wondering about who I am lately, and what category of person I fit into. If I am a genuine person (which I do consider myself as such), do I tell people what I think when the better part of me says I shouldn’t, for fear of coming across as rude or argumentative? If I am fed up with someone who I disagree with most of the time, do I stop being a good listener and state my belief, if opposite of them? Am I a fake good listener if I don’t tell someone my honest opinion? If I am usually a kind person, but get irritated with people who are not, do I need to become someone that tells it like it is in order to be genuine? Or does that just make me like them? Am I dishonoring my genuine “title” by not doing those things? What is the balance? Where is the line…is it black? Is it grey?

The Greatest Feeling of Exhaustion

EASTER, Easter, easter. Just the word has begun to exhaust me. On Saturday, the thought of Easter was so happy and spring-like. I thought of flowers, sun, kids laughing and playing, a beautiful church service. Now, on Monday night, the very word “Easter” sends shivers up my spine. I look at myself in the mirror with bags under my eyes, hair that is not so good looking, and clothes that are hideous and I think – “I don’t even have the energy to pick up the bathmat.”

BUT with all that said…we really did have a great Easter and a great Monday – Will and I went to the White House Easter Egg Roll!! (Courtesy of my mother-in-law). We had a blast and Will was such a trooper. We were dropped off near the White House around 2:30 and didn’t get home until about 7:30. He never whined or complained once about waiting in line for 2 hours or for being hungry, thirsty, having to walk, etc. We did things such as: dance to music, dye an Easter egg, listen to a story, do an obstacle course, see characters, learn about bees, eat fresh apples, and get Will’s face painted. It was so cool to be on the lawn of the White House! It was astounding to me. I couldn’t stop staring at it and thinking of all the life changing decisions that have been made there. Or of all the events that have been discussed within those walls. Or of all the many presidents that have lived there. It stopped me in my tracks, to say the least.

Now back to Easter weekend – we spent a good portion of the weekend gardening and cleaning, which always makes for happiness (and aching body parts). We had no plans for after church on Sunday, so we decided to have a cook out at our house and invite our families. I know that usually people cook ham or something gourmet on these types of holidays, but I opted for hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. And it turned out to be wonderful. Of course, we visited Bill’s grandfather for dinner, also.

Maybe I have already said this once, but I’m going to say it again. The best, most rewarding feeling of exhaustion a person can ever have is after days like these…when you are so tired you feel like you can’t even move. Where you stand up to get your kids juice during dinner and feel dizzy like you’re going to fall over from exhaustion. Mommies – can you relate? I can’t be the only one who gets this feeling. But in spite of it sounding so awful, it’s actually a rewarding feeling because you know that you did things to better your family, make your kids happy, and give your day your all! And when you get to lay down and go to sleep that night, you know that you have nothing left to give for a good reason, and that everyone is happily asleep in their beds. This is why I love that feeling.

Anyways, enjoy pictures from our weekend – minus the White House. I will upload those whenever I figure out how to size them correctly (need I even say “and have the energy to?”)

Inside the Mind of a 5 Year Old

Sometimes I get so fed up that all my son wants to do is play with me. And by playing, I mean he wants to boss me around ;) . Usually I can think of so many other things I’d rather be doing – like cleaning up the house, doing the dishes, (shopping online <;– how did that get in there??), or just sitting after a long day. My father-in-law said something one day that put this struggle into perspective for me. He said something along the lines of, “If you don’t play with him or talk to him about things that are going on his life, he’s completely alone. He has no one to talk to, no one to play with, and no one to relate to.” All I could do was just sit and think “wow.” He’s so right!

Another friend of mine mentioned the fact that she has to force her child to spend time with her. It really got me thinking – when will Will start thinking it’s not cool to hang out with me? When will he stop talking to me and telling me silly, sometimes ridiculous stories?

Obviously I can’t pay attention to Will ALL the time, but I think twice now before I blow him off or give him the “bare minimum.”