I Worry About Breastfeeding ALL THE TIME (no I don’t.)

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?)

Read more…


Thanksgiving 2004.

day one.


One Year. Hated Cupcakes.

the moosh.

Barbie the Island Princess and her little cake too.

four year old wish.

my five year old. on her birthday.

six candles

7th Birthday

Friday - Disney Cruise

Addie's 9th Birthday Party


10th Birthday-1

Ten is a real kick in the face.

Happy birthday my love.

Spiders, cake, and princesses sum up your current existence perfectly.

Read more…

On Not Giving Up Santa Just Yet

When I told Cody my plans on breaking it to Addie that Santa isn’t real, he grew three inches taller and said “Don’t you dare.”

It turned into quite the discussion with valid arguments on both sides. In the end he made me promise I wouldn’t tell her the truth and if she did have questions I was to send her to him.

With a heavy sigh of defeat, I agreed.

After reading the few comments on the post about breaking the news to Addie and thinking about Cody’s side of the discussion — I was wrong. I still very much want her to believe in Santa, but (maybe you can understand this) I don’t want her to get made fun of. Maybe she has figured it out but won’t say anything because she too wants to hold on to her belief. Vivi on the other hand is all revved up about Jesus’ birthday, Christmas, and Santa. Trying to keep her enthusiasm under control has only been manageable because I have my precious little Addie who makes sure her little sister understands everything there is to know about how we do Christmas.

Cody said this may be the only year we get where they both truly believe.

He also said it’s one of the few remaining parts of childhood she has left.

One of the comments from my last post was from Jill, “…I genuinely hope that he never tells me that he doesn’t believe and that I’m still wrapping presents from Santa when he’s twenty-seven years old. I know…this is my issue and not his, but it’s the one place I just don’t want to see him grow up.”

That’s EXACTLY how I feel, but I figured if someone had to break the news to her it should be me, right?

Addie turns ten in less than two weeks and it’s such an overwhelming transition for everyone. Double digits. I’m more than halfway done raising her to legal adulthood. It’s gone by so fast, when I think I was only 19 when I got married my brain shuts down. She’s still so little in so many ways: she loves to snuggle, she still loves to play with toys, play pretend and play dress-up. But she’s so big, her feet are two sizes smaller than mine, she’s on a 9th grade reading level and is doing 6th grade math. She asks grown-up questions and is capable of telling jokes and puns that are actually funny.  The other day she when she was reunited with Vivi after school she took to caring for and playing with Vivi the way I used to watch grown-up girls play with her when she was a baby.

When I started this blog 8 years ago vs. today:



Read more…

Benefits Of Giving Up The Santa Gig

This is a sponsored post. I received compensation from Visa/Gymboree to buy my products and use its Visa Checkout online payment service, but all thoughts reflected here are my own.

Hey Kid,

I have good news and bad news about Christmas this year. The bad news is that at some point between today and Christmas I will tell you that Santa isn’t exactly the guy you thought he was. I’ve seen you become more skeptical as years have gone by and it’s been an awful lot of work to keep up the Santa gig on our end, so this year it ends — and knowing you, you’re going to like playing Santa for your little sister even more than you ever liked the idea of a jolly old guy in a red suit stuffing himself down our chimney. Take comfort knowing your gifts will make it here, Santa or no Santa.

November 2014
[Read more…]

Read more…

929 words

1. We call Addie 'Addie Paddy Puddin' Pie' which gets shortened to Paddy then lengthened to Paddy Wagon.   2. Vivi may be the best photo bomber in the universe, as she silently walked right in front of Addie and did this as I took the picture, then silent
You know that “picture paints a thousand words” cliche?

I tried finding a thousand words about a picture when I was in Jr. High as part of some school assignment and you know what? It’s hard as hell to come up with a thousand words about a picture.

But this one, (well, that one ^ up there ^) I may not have a thousand words about it, but I do have an awful lot of feelings about it. I may even have a few hundred words about it.

I took this on Saturday at a pizza place Urban Spoon told us about in Brandenburg, Kentucky. We spent the morning at Squire Boone Cave where Addie and Cody ziplined and Vivi managed to trip over every single rock on the ground. I took it because we call Addie Paddy Wagon and have for a really long time. Cody started singing “Addie Paddy Puddin’ Pie” to her years ago and as nicknames go, Addie Paddy Puddin’ Pie turned into just Paddy then into Paddy Wagon. I still call her Paddy most of the time, I sometimes wonder if people actually think I named my child Patty and if they judge me for it. (Not that I care, because I don’t. People name their kids much stupider things than Patty.) Anyway, that’s why I took the picture, because she’s our Paddy Wagon and there was a paddy wagon. (It’s also why she’s pointing to the sign and to herself.)

Beyond the Paddy part, those shoes she’s wearing are the only pair that really truly fit her right now. Somewhere over a two week span in the summer the kid’s feet grew TWO FULL SIZES meaning her feet are real close to being the same size as mine which is weird because didn’t she just come out of me? And the t-shirt, we got it from Kohl’s last year and it was easily the best mom-override I have ever enacted. (She didn’t want it because she didn’t get it and I said “I DON’T CARE I GET IT AND IT’S FUNNY AND YOU’RE GOING TO WEAR IT.” It’s now one of her favorite shirts and people comment on it all the time.) Those legs? Still not sure where she got those stems from because both Cody and I are far more trunk than stem in the leg department — always have been.

Now let’s talk about this restaurant. The food was amazing and we learned if  starved our kids for an afternoon they could eat a teenage boy under the table. It was called Jailhouse Pizza and it was built in an old jailhouse where Jesse James once did time. Before we went in we saw two confederate flags which will always be weird for us and just outside the restrooms there was a framed hangman’s noose on the wall, we suddenly wondered what we had gotten into.The women’s cells were on the lower level (and yes, you could eat in them) while the mens’ cells were upstairs (you could also eat in those as well.) Our waitress said something about the floor but with Vivi being Vivi nobody really heard what she said. As we were leaving I showed Cody a hole in the floor they had covered over with plexiglass that we had missed before. Addie ran upstairs to dance on the glass floor above our heads and that’s when we realized we were standing right below a trap door where hangings used to take place and our kid was dancing where people had died.

While the noose on the wall in front of us made more sense, we were all a little unsettled by the realization.

Now back to the photo and the other person in the photo. You know her as Vivi, we know her as Buddy, Vivi-inator, Vivienne Jean Baby, Veevster, Veever Believer Bear, the Vivster, Tiny Dancer, Medium Sized Dancer, babydoll, the little one, the Vivmonster and the loud one. She was wandering around minding her own business but when she saw me raise my camera to take this picture of Addie she walked right in front of her and struck this pose for no other reason than to be kind of weird, funny and obnoxious in a way only Vivi can truly pull off. Her shoes once belonged to Addie and every toddler should have a pair of Keens. The cowgirl suit also belonged to Addie (a gift from my grandma) but Addie never actually wore it. Vivi found it in the dress-ups the day before our trip and never let it leave her body except to sleep, and even then we had to coax her out of it. In the morning she woke up, put her Sheriff Callie suit over her pajamas and only then would she agree to eating breakfast and having her morning pee. There was a hat too, but the hat was holding her acorn collection in the car.

These two little girls fight like crazy, and I mean like literal crazy. Addie gets all pre-teen passive aggressive, eye-rolly and foot stompy while Vivi gets all toddler-hulk-scream-rage at Addie. The two fighting styles don’t match at all and it usually ends with Cody and me screaming “JUST LOVE EACH OTHER” because trying to reason with both of them at the same time is like trying to reason with a cat who is dead set on eating a pissed off wasp — everyone loses. But they still love each other for a few minutes each day and those few minutes are magical.

bus stop vivi

Read more…

hurting and healing.

One of the things that has been hardest for me over the past several months is feeling as though I am broken because while I am fiercely loyal to my girls and have an intense unconditional love for them, I don’t have an inspirational quote type of feeling towards motherhood in general.

You know the ones, the ones that get people with and without kids fighting about kids and motherhood and what really is the most noble and important job in the universe? Those types of quotes.  (I tried to find one to illustrate my point but I started to gag too hard. Sorry about that.)

I also feel a very strong sense of obligation to teach them right from wrong, proper manners, good citizenship, character, patience, humor, empathy and all those other things that will really matter as the real world begins beating down on them. I do not however feel obligated to entertain them every moment of the day or involve them in absolutely everything I do. I am a better mom when I get away from them regularly. Cody and I are better parents when we consciously take time to get away from them and all their loud demands and moodiness. I may not always like my role as a mom, but damn if I’m not going to try my hardest to put good people out into the world.

Addie has been bringing home year-end test results from her time spent in third grade. The kid is brilliant. I’m crazy proud of her but at the same time I expect nothing less of her, I know what she’s capable of and I know I’ve spent the last nine years parenting her in a way that she can rely on herself to succeed, which is exactly what she’s doing.

I resented my mom for a long time, I wanted a mom to be there when I got home, a mom to bring me my lunch when I forgot it, a mom to bail me out when things got too hard. Now that I’m grown I wouldn’t have wanted to be raised any other way, and if I have to wait 21 years to hear Addie say she’s thankful that I taught her self reliance from the beginning, so be it.

Cody compared what we’re going through right now to a boxing match, we’re both so high off the adrenaline of surviving the past month that we’re unaware of just how hard we’ve both been hit. As the high wears off, the fear and the pain have started to seep in and we both know that the real work is going to have to begin sooner than later. Wounds that have just stopped throbbing are going to have to be yanked apart and reset so they can hopefully heal properly.

Neither of us are really looking forward to it.

One of them almost talks with her hands more than her mouth. Almost.

I hope you think twice when you see the seemingly perfect lives of others, including my own. While what comes through in a photo or phrase may seem idyllic — the person behind the lens may be barely holding on to the pieces of her own heart.

Read more…

plastic surgery, perfection and please don’t let me screw this up.

I had my eyes checked today, they have continued to improve over the last several years. Three years ago my prescription continued to hold strong at -5.00 (twice legally blind! whee!) Last year I demoted (promoted?) to a -4.75. Today? -4.25! My eyesight is basically the only thing that has improved since turning 30.


But I don’t remember EVER requiring this much upkeep in my early 20’s. If I actually kept up on everything I think I’m supposed to be keeping up with I wouldn’t get anything else done.

You know how sometimes you wake up really late and you stumble into the bathroom to see if you grew any new blemishes or wrinkles overnight and a cat jumps on your back? No? Just me? Weird.

I read a terrible beauty magazine while waiting today and realized there is basically a surgery or cosmetic fix for every part of my body, and based on the magazine I’m supposed to already be on my second or third round of Botox and as my jowls are beginning to sag, it’s time to look into non-invasive procedures as I am the best candidate for such treatments.

Have you ever bought a refurbished something? A phone, a hard drive, a computer or camera? They always seem to come with some sort of sticker that says “Lovingly refurbished by the fine folks at Apple” or something like that? What if once someone crossed the boundary into cosmetic procedures there was some sort of sticker or bracelet that declared “Lovingly refurbished by Dr. Zoots?” Not so we could judge them or the work they had done, but so we could feel a little less terrible about our stock model bodies and maybe learn about what we’d like to have done ourselves? Maybe?

I wish I could say with absolute certainty that I love my body, because most days I do — but sometimes it betrays me. Genetics have landed me a pretty sweet set of undereye bags and cellulite worthy of a dozen cottage cheese jokes. I grow chin hairs, nipple hairs, neck hairs and there’s even a few dark ones that pop out on my cheeks. I’ve never had, nor will I ever have thighs that don’t touch or knees that aren’t extra padded.

Have you seen the ‘Tootsie’ interview with Dustin Hoffman about when  he realized he didn’t make a very pretty girl and no matter what had been done to him, nothing would have made him what he considered to be attractive? I had this big moment after watching that for the first time where I realized I never have been, nor will I ever be considered a whole host of what are considered desirable female attributes by society — and with body parts spreading out and heading a little further South each year I’m never going to be.

And that’s okay.

I’m not terrible. I have really good eyelashes, really good hair, a pretty good neck, amazing (all natural) boobs and petite little wrists.

I’ve started telling my daughters I’m beautiful” is one of the best things I’ve ever read on the Internet. It changed the way I look at myself and the way I talk about myself. I remember growing up thinking my mom was the most beautiful woman in the world, and I wanted to be just like her. With every derogatory thing she said about herself, she would shatter my realistic idea of ideal, which meant I had to find a new ideal — and guess what? The ideal I found in magazines and on TV was one I would never, ever be able to achieve without growing 6 inches, spending my life in a tanning bed and having several eating disorders.

With more and more people commenting that Addie looks just like a tiny me, I have to be even more mindful about how I carry myself in front of my daughters. I don’t ever want her to believe that my thighs, eye bags and soft belly are not ideal — because my thighs, eye bags and soft belly are closer to reality than anything she’ll ever see in the media — and they work just fine.

Walt Disney World Marathon

Last week I told her that there’s a very good chance that she’ll grow up to look just like me. (I was secretly terrified of what her reaction would be.)

Her reaction? “YAY! You’re the prettiest mommy in the whole world!”


I’m doing something right.

(Please, don’t let me screw it up.)


Read more…

good birthday? nine.

I knew Addie wasn’t a birthday party girl, even Addie knew she wasn’t a birthday party girl.

But we tried a birthday party anyway, and to make sure I did something wrong in the entire birthday process I requested no gifts on her birthday invitations.

Curious how it turned out?

She didn’t enjoy opening her birthday presents at all.

Addie's 9th Birthday

Addie's 9th Birthday Party

She didn’t like any of her gifts.

Addie's 9th Birthday
Addie's 9th Birthday

Her cake was pretty lame.

Addie's 9th Birthday
Addie's 9th Birthday
Addie's 9th Birthday Party

Took my chance on a new local bakery for Addie's cake. I'm so happy I did.

No one showed up to her birthday party and no one had any fun at all.**

Addie's 9th Birthday
Addie's 9th Birthday
Addie's 9th Birthday

Here I was afraid I’d never, ever be able to outdo her 8th birthday and before going to bed she had the nerve (THE NERVE!) to say “Mom? This was the best birthday ever, thank you.”


Halfway to being able to kick her out of the house. Halfway to how old I was when I got engaged. NINE.

(**so here’s the funny part, she thought she had too many friends at her birthday party and got really overwhelmed about halfway through and needed to take a little breather. My darling sweet introvert, we both knew a big party wasn’t really her thing but she wanted to give it a try. After we dropped her last friend off say said “Mom? So, let’s never do a birthday party again okay?“)

((In case you can’t see the photos on this post, or understand sarcasm in the written word — she really did love every bit of her birthday.))




Read more…