*clears cobwebs*


Oh, hello. You’re still here? Bless you.

The past few months have been tricky. Not particularly hard but very hard to put into words.

Vivi will most likely grow up to become either a serial killer or the next Ke$sha, regardless, there is a freezer full of glittery dead hobos in her future.

Addie? Well. Addie had a really rough August. She has started to show signs of chemical depression and anxiety and it hurts me more than I can even comprehend to know this may be a struggle she faces for the rest of her life.

Cody is hunky as ever with his big strong man hands and fear of bugs.

Me? I’m okay. I really am.

I’d like to be back here. I want to be back here.

This is the first step to doing just that.

Racing stuffs.

A special thanks to Walgreens for sponsoring this post.

I’m pretty relaxed about the gross things kids do. Sure! Eat that tomato that fell on the floor! Five second rule! Playing at the playground and you just licked the monkey bars? Gross, but you’ll live. Hey! LEAVE THE POTTY STOOL IN THE BATHROOM (WHY is this one so hard for toddlers?)

It’s not until I’m sick that I realize every living breathing human around me is leaving behind DNA, mucous, air, and germs everywhere they go. I begin to wonder “How did I get sick? Was it that dollar bill I found on the ground? Was it from hugging my friend that had ‘allergies’? HOW DO I KEEP ALL THESE PEOPLE IN MY HOUSE FROM GETTING SICK TOO?” It’s terrible. I go from not caring to OCD-hand-washing-ninja in under a minute.

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This post is sponsored by Similac.  I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own.

moosh and mozzi.

In the early haze of new motherhood I was overwhelmed with guilt over not being able to breastfeed. While the two mammary glands attached to my chest look promising, the truth is they are milk duds. For whatever reason mine simply don’t work despite every reasonable effort I made to become the sole food provider for both of my babies. I would plan feedings so I wouldn’t have to pull a bottle out in public. The shame I felt whenever I mixed formula in front of a breastfeeding mom was overwhelming. I always felt like I had to justify myself, tell everyone how hard I tried because I was absolutely sure everyone was judging me.

Turns out I’m the only one who really cared.

You want to know how often I worry about breastfeeding now?

Exactly never.

You want to know how much guilt I’ve felt over the last ten years for not being able to breastfeed?

Exactly none.

my baby and me.

The only time I even think about breastfeeding anymore is when Addie brings home a 100% on some test she didn’t even study for. Back in 2004 a few hard core lactivists made me believe that if I didn’t exclusively breastfeed Addie, her health and intelligence would be forever compromised. Yet every time Addie dazzles me yet again with her smarts and kindness I want to hold her up like Simba on Pride Rock and yell “LOOK! IT DIDN’T MATTER HOW I FED HER! SHE’S WONDERFUL!” to all the mothers struggling with their own decisions on how to best feed their babies.

Two weeks ago Vivi told me she hated me. Last week she found a tube of lipstick and finger-painted an entire wall bright pink. The last two mornings she has located a permanent marker and colored her entire body blue, as well as written her name on several walls. Someone needs to tell her if she’s going to commit such heinous acts she shouldn’t sign her name or leave evidence all over her own body. I have a hard time believing she’d be any less of a toad had her milk come from my body and not a can.

November 2014

Here’s what I’ve learned about kids — some days they will eat Brussels sprouts, quinoa, and kale without complaint. Other days the only nourishment you will be able to coerce into their little bodies consists of grape skins and a handful of marshmallows. Some days they will be obedient little angels and other days it’s as though hellfire is pouring forth from every pore of their being. Some days they will get along with their siblings from sunup to sundown while other days you will feel like a referee at a bare knuckled boxing match.

It’s not like you didn’t try.

You’re just working with what you’ve been given. We all are. As long as we’re all doing the best we can each day (and some days are better than others), nothing we deal with is a direct result of what we fed our babies on the day they were born or how we have loved them every day up until now.

Addie puts up with so much from this goon.

I accept you. Hopefully you can accept me and my wildly inappropriate toddler.

(P.S. Does anyone know how to get petroleum jelly out of a stuffed bunny?)

Growing up, I believed my mom was invincible. She always had the best clothes, the best hair, the best lipstick, an answer for everything, and was the prettiest mom anyone had ever had. As I grew into my teenage years however, I was convinced I had the most strict, most hands-off mom of every single one of my friends. While their moms would bring them forgotten lunches or pick them up from school if it was raining — my mom was working full time to support herself, my sister, and me. If I wanted to go to a friend’s house, I walked there and found my own way home. If I wanted to take dance lessons, I learned the bus route. If I forgot my lunch? I went hungry. If I didn’t do my homework? It was my own fault.

The Old Days

When I see all these reports of moms being arrested or charged with neglect for letting their kids go out into the world unattended, I think back to the way my mom raised me (she would have gone to jail FOR SURE.) But guess what? I’m fine. And you know what else? Public transit doesn’t scare me. I’m okay traveling by myself. If I don’t know how to do something I figure it out. Plop me down in the middle of nowhere with a map and I could find my way home. Even though my mom never had warm cookies waiting for me when I got home — she raised me to be self-reliant.

Now that I’m a mom with a school-aged child I realize that perhaps her end goal wasn’t to raise us to be self-reliant human beings (although I’m certain that factored into things.) I have to believe a lot of the parenting she did was simply single parent survival. She couldn’t risk her job to bring me a forgotten permission slip. She didn’t have several hours a day to drive my sister and me around to various houses, classes, and lessons. I don’t doubt that she could have run herself ragged trying to keep all of our loose ends in check as well as her own, but she didn’t. She knew her own sanity was just as important as her children’s happiness. That’s something many modern day mothers seem to have forgotten, to take care of themselves first.

I still go back and forth with a little anger, jealousy, and resentment that she wasn’t June Cleaver. But knowing myself the way I do now, I would have turned out terribly had she not thrown us from the nest with complete faith we could fly (or at least figure it out on the way down.) My relationship with my mom is not one of flowery and scripted sentiment, it is one of deep appreciation for what she did with what she was given. Just as I had no idea how to navigate being a teenager, she was never handed a manual on how to parent one. It was both our first and last time being in those roles and we crashed and burned, hard and often.

Eastern Caribbean Instagram Cruise, July 2013

I already have moments when I know the best thing to do for my girls is shove from the proverbial nest and let them fly. It’s hard, but I know it will be worth it. My sister and I are good. I do however try to work a plate of warm cookies in here and there, but when I look back at the way my mom raised me — it’s not a bad way to raise good humans.

rock on.

And that’s really all we can do as parents — take what our parents did, brush off the ugly parts and hopefully recycle them for the greater good in our own children.

Several years ago I realized my mom and I are in a place where we can be friends. I don’t rely on her for anything, while she is still young and spry enough to enjoy life on her own. Perhaps someday the roles will be reversed, and I will find myself in the caregiver role — but for now my mom can be my friend. Something we know as parents we cannot do through certain life stages (and I assure you, my mom never tried to be my friend. Protector, provider, parent? Yes. Friend? Absolutely not.) I am able to continually learn from her, and hopefully she is able to relish in her grandchildren and the knowledge that my sister and I are happy.

So mom? You are one of my longest relationships, but one of my newest friendships. The love I have for you is deep and inexplicable. Even on the days I want to scream and yell that I turned out just like you, I want to thank you for giving me something so real to model myself around as a mother. I only get one biological mom, and I’m pretty glad you’re mine.

Most of the time. ;)



A special thanks to Hallmark for sponsoring this post. This Mother’s day how will you put your heart to paper and tell the mothers in your life how you truly feel about them? Write it down, say it all, even if it’s not all poetry and roses — because you never know when they’ll be gone.

Hey! Remember memes? They used to be all the rage when I started blogging eight years ago.

This one was on Facebook, and today, I’m feeling slightly nostalgic.

A – Are you single?

Not in the least, very happily coupled, thank you.

B – Birthday?

April 28, 1982

C – Crush?

Currently John Stamos for this Instagram photo.

D – Drink you last had?

Tropical Red Bull. It isn’t the necessarily the concept of Red Bull that I love, it’s the flavor. And the little can. It’s quite possibly my most favorite indulgence.

E – Easiest person to talk to?

Cody. I was wearing a shirt with penguins on it last night and he commented “If  your boobs were smaller, your nipple would give that penguin a boner.” I broke it to him that if it were 10 years ago and my boobs were still where they used to be, I could have accomplished the same feat.

F – Favorite song?

When I was pregnant with Vivi I listened to ‘Human’ by The Killers constantly. I’ll always be a sucker for Frank Sinatra, especially ‘The Way You Look Tonight’. There’s this song called ‘Blue Skies’ by Noah And The Whale that is a really good reminder that sadness isn’t permanent.

G – Good at?

Taking pictures of people, baking chocolate chip cookies, making laundry smell good, being a wife, making my kids laugh.

H – Hair color?

red and purple hair

I – In love with?

Cats, warmth, sunshine, boatcation, beaches, fall leaves, spring flowers, fresh baked anything, naps, good books, making out with Cody, warm socks, freshly made beds, sniffing freshly washed children, laughing, nice people.

J – Jealous of?

Long mermaid hair. I knew I had to cut mine last year, and besides, after two pregnancies and hormone treatments I don’t have a whole lot left anyway. Cutting my hair was a hard reset for my hair and while I still have good hair days, I miss my longer hair. Also, when my hair was long people often guessed I was in my mid-twenties. Now that it is shorter I get mid-thirties and I have even had a few people say forty. I’m 32.

K – Known as?

Mom, Mommy, Momma, Red, Babycakes, Doodlebug, Sissy, Baby, HEY YOU.

L  – Longest relationship?

As of today, 14 years 4 months and 4 days.

M – Middle name?

Beth. As far as I know my name has no significant meaning to either of my parents. However my dad did say there was a nasty nurse named Beth that was stationed with him and my mom over in Germany. Or something like that.

N – Number?

If I have to pick single digit, 8. Double, 28. Triple, 428.

O – One wish?

For everyone living in my house to be perfectly healthy until we simply die of old age.

P – Person last texted?

The mom of Addie’s little friend who lives down the street. A playdate was negotiated after homework and chores are completed. (UPDATE: Addie’s little friend was grounded before she even left her house. Better luck tomorrow!)

Q – Question always asked?

What is a moosh? (Answer: It was Addie’s nickname until she was about 5. We live in Indianapolis. Moosh In Indy.)

T – Time you woke up?

8:20 am which was actually 7:20 am because no one actually enjoys springing forward.

U – Underwear color?


V – Violent moment?

Playing one of those knock-down-the-clown games at an arcade, I found I was much more efficient at knocking them down when I pictured them as Internet trolls.

W – Worst fear?

Very deep water and trypophobia (go ahead and do a Google image search on that.)

X – Ex you never stopped loving?

I actually had a dream the other night that I was snorkeling with every single one of my ex-boyfriends and Cody. They were all proclaiming their love for me and apologizing for getting married. I still chose Cody. I also chose not to go snorkeling because it was in very deep water (see previous answer.)

Y – Your last hug?

Vivi. She hugs a lot. When she’s not screaming at me, or kicking things.

Z – Zodiac sign?

Taurus. So is Vivi. Bullheaded is an understatement for both of us.

Vivi is currently my cat and i am the old woman who takes care of her.  ???????????? This stop drop and selfie brought to you by @sherry_lane and I now pass it to Paris with @piperkay and @designhermomma. Because Paris.

Now! Answer one (or more!) of these about yourself below.

I really like the favorite song and worst fear questions if you need a little poke.

(tmi ahead…you’ve been warned (dad.))

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about my vagina and all of her related accessories, attachments, and ailments. You see, I have had trouble down yonder since I was 18: abnormal paps, several colposcopies, two LEEPs, countless vaginal ultrasounds, a hysterosalpingogram, a D&C, a laparoscopy, endometriosis, and PCOS in addition to serving as an escape hatch for two babies.

Really my entire reproductive system should just be given menopause off. Like, “Okay ladies! You’ve done enough, go ahead and sit menopause out.”

The one thing I had never had to deal with, despite all the various things that have been shoved up there in the name of medical sciences, was a yeast infection. When you make it into your thirties without one you begin to think you’re immune to them, clearly it’s because you eat so much yogurt and believe in personal hygiene.

Then you go on a cruise to Mexico with your husband for a week without your kids and you end up with your very first yeast infection on the first day.

Only you don’t know what’s going on down there.

All you know is it feels as though your bits have been lit on fire — if that fire were made out of sandpaper, gravel, and bitter revenge.

Madrid on firephoto credit Montecruz Photo

I have NEVER been so consumed with the thought of my vagina.


Cody volunteered to take a look, since he’s more familiar with that part of me and the look on his face said “THERE IS A SQUID COMING OUT OF YOUR VAGINA AND IT HAS THE HEAD OF AN ANTEATER.”


I went to the ship’s doctor and mumbled out “I probably have yeast infection and I need it fixed, preferably yesterday.”

The nurse slipped a three day regimen of suppositories in a barf bag, charged me $20 and sent me on my way.

Here’s what I learned about a yeast infection — it doesn’t matter how flawless your makeup is, how good of a hair day you’re having, how great your skin is, or that your dress fits you like a glove — your vagina has basically gone rotten and it overshadows EVERYTHING.

Firephoto credit Matthias Ripp

Our week long escape to sunshine and warmth without our kids was a total bust in the intimate relations department. Cody was very noble from the start “I didn’t come on this vacation to spend countless hours naked with you, I just wanted to hang out with you.”

I however had spent the last several months looking forward to countless naked hours with just him. No LEGOs on the floor, no cats watching, no knocks at crucial personal moments. THERE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SO MUCH SEX. (Let’s talk about this another time, but when you finally let yourself truly love and be loved by your husband? EVERYTHING gets better.)

By Thursday I was grumpy from frustration, not only were there no naked hours, I wanted to scratch off my own crotch, bury it in sand, then rub it on asphalt.

We still had a marvelous time. I read eight books, we thawed our bones in the sunshine, and made some new friends.

By the time we got home things had calmed down dramatically down there and I scheduled a follow up appointment with my doctor just to make sure there really weren’t anteater-headed squid, and to have my annual lady exam that I had been avoiding for 4 years. (Some people fear the dentist, I fear pap smears.) She declared me free and clear of squid, anteaters, yeast, and other issues THEN she informed me protocol had recently changed and now I only need to get a pap every three years. NO PAP UNTIL 2018 PARTY PEOPLE!!

But the yeast came back, the very next week. Oh, the yeast came back WELL I THOUGHT IT WAS GONE.

This is basically the yeast that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend.

I called my doctor and she informed me that sometimes those three-day treatments can just be a bandage over a bigger problem and she prescribed me a pill to hopefully eradicate the funk in my junk once and for all. So not only did I get my first yeast infection at 32 while on vacation, I GOT THE MOTHER OF ALL UNBEATABLE YEAST INFECTIONS.

I’ve had a lot of miserable stuff go on down there, and this has been the second worst (just short of that time Addie popped out of the birth canal so fast she tore me open in two different directions.)

I’ve taken my pill, and I already feel as though I could conquer the world in loose fitting pants made from natural fibers, and breathable 100% cotton underpants.

More than one crunchy friend told me to “Slap some yogurt on that thing ASAP.”  Literally, yogurt. On my bits. I swear if it happens again I’ll try it. But I’m going with modern pharmaceuticals this time and keeping my yogurt for granola, thanks.

We also need to rebrand yeast infection and pap smear immediately. Both of them are SO TERRIBLY NAMED.  Let’s not be so literal, science. Around these parts we have the ‘Seventh Circle of Squid Fire’ the ‘Lady Bit Pip’.

Feel free to incorporate them into your own vernacular.

The Spin #2
photo credit Vaidotas Mišeikis

Give me your yeastie beastie stories. I can’t believe some people deal with these on a regular basis and for their entire lives. NOPE. ALL OF YOUR VAGINAS GET TO CALL IN SICK FOR MENOPAUSE.

About one year ago, I stopped going to church.

There’s a million reasons why, and if I were to give you the reasons you would either nod your head in agreement or you would give me the standard church answers every Mormon learns within the first year or two of membership.

That is perhaps my greatest issue with the LDS church, it has become more about the culture and stereotypes rather than the doctrine.

Charleston - Kiawah, South Carolina

I do not have any real problem with the LDS church, in fact I have the utmost respect and gratitude for it coming into my life when it did. I needed a strict set of rules and guidelines to live my life by when Cody came into my life over 14 years ago and being a Mormon made me who I am today. I learned more about people, acceptance, open-mindedness, Christianity, guilt, revenge, kindness, and empathy from being involved in church and the LDS community than I would have learned anywhere else — however it was never easy for me. I very much played a part, the part I figured I was supposed to play, and I played it well.

I never felt like I fit in at church or within any church groups. I went because I was supposed to, rarely because I wanted to. While I loved learning and the comfort that came from church meetings, I always felt out of place. I much preferred going to the temple, it was far more personal — rather than a giant judgement show of who was the most holy. Never feeling as though I belonged for over a decade was incredibly difficult. While the teachings of the LDS church have always been fairly easy for me to understand, the culture is one I may never fully comprehend.

I’m not saying I’ll never go back or that I don’t believe in anything anymore.

One of the greatest testimonies I gained for myself was the knowledge that God knows me. Individually. And He likes me. He likes me just as much as He likes anyone else and even if I’m not “all in” at the moment He still loves me. That’s the thing about the LDS religion, you cannot be a passive Mormon. You’re either all in or you’re out. There is no ‘Mormon Light’ nor is there such a thing as a part-time Mormon which makes things incredibly difficult for outliers like myself. I have known there is a God from the moment I first hit my knees to pray at 18 years old, the rest of the details are just a little fuzzy right now.

What I’ve come to realize is I’m not alone in stepping away from church, there seems to be a mass-exodus of people my age leaving the LDS faith and it all seems to be for different reasons. Almost anyone within church will say it is a sign of the sinful times ahead and I’m sure someone will bring it up the eternal consequences of my current choices with me soon enough. My reasoning in “coming out” is to say to the others who are struggling with this same issue that you are not alone, and this is really hard.

Many of the people who have taken a step back were raised in the LDS faith and it is all they have ever really known.

From the outside nothing has really changed aside from a few more free hours on Sundays each week. I’m still me. I’m happy (I daresay I’m even happier), I’m healthy, I’m doing really well. I’m still a nice person and I still pray. I keep waiting for something terrible to happen as retribution, and maybe it will someday, but terrible things happened when I went to church, surely terrible things will happen when I don’t go to church.

The guilt is the hardest part. Being able to automatically guilt myself with a response to every justification I make in regards to my decision to stop attending. I would hope it’s a universal religion thing, not just a Mormon church thing, and I’ll never know because I’ve never left a church before. This article has been one of the most interesting I’ve read in regards to the health effects of being involved (and leaving) organized religion.

I don’t know what’s next, I don’t know what will happen, but I know I’m not alone and know I feel better getting this out there.

So that's how it's going to be, Wednesday. Challenge accepted. ????

When Vivi isn’t meowing at me (her preferred form of communication over the last several months) she has squeaked out a few Vivi-isms.

“My favorite shape is a heart. Daddy’s favorite shape is a square, LIKE HIS HEAD.”



Try. Just try to pick one thing about this photo. (Taken last weekend by @justshireen) #PartyHardVivi


“My nickname is Sticks, you can call me Sticks.”


“Dad? Why do you have lady legs?”



This won't be the last time, either.


*Playing in her room, stands up, walks over to the cat, squats in his face and farts on him*


“Santa puts his hat on and hos, hos, hos, errywhere!”


“I’m going to go play with bodies (Barbies), in the body (Barbie) house.”



batman and rainbow dash


*Upon replacing her beloved fruit snacks with dried fruit nuggets*
“Vivi, do you want one of your new fruit snacks?”
“No, I’d rather have tomatoes.”


*Getting ready to leave for Click Retreat*
“Why can’t I go on your boatcation?”
“Because this boatcation is only for grownups.”
“But you got to go on my boatcation. I let dad come too.”


“Vivi! When’s your birthday?”
“May the fourth be with you.”


*Cody catches Wink in a game of tag*
“Vivi! I caught a cat! What should we do with it?!”


*Vivi coming out of the bathroom*
“Everything go okay in there, Vivi?”
*Holds up her hand and uses it as a puppet*
Hand puppet: “NAILED IT.”


"SHHH! I'M DOING MY NERDS!" (Translation: Vivi is calming her nerves.) ????????

“SHHH! I’M DOING MY NERDS!” (Translation: “I’m calming my nerves.”)


Vivi: “We don’t go to outer space anymore.”
Cody: “Why not?”
Vivi: “Because we don’t have any helmets.”