So, I have some autoplay video ad pop up every once in awhile and I’m not entirely sure where it’s coming from. Sorry about that, I’d fix it but then nothing would come up because when I go in my backend things get messy. (See also: Backend jokes will never cease to be funny.)

I was told tonight I need to “Get Help.” in order to “spare my daughter the vicious cycle I am in.” Which is, um, raising her? I guess? You see, I wrote an article about why I put ‘no gifts please’ on Addie’s birthday invitations. I was still kind of in the throes of pneumonia so everything I wrote during that time was kind of grumpy and pessemistic, maybe even a slight bit snarky? (True story, my editor had to have me to make an article a little more ‘perky’ because I sounded like the harbinger of doom in the written word. Oops.) Anyway, when I wrote it I told Facebook I *knew* I was going to get a good solid reaming on it, because Babble. But facebook , oh Facebook, being comprised of people who know me and consider me a friend said nice supportive things like “I think it’s great! You’ll be fine!” Then the random Internet commenters HAD! THEIR! DAY! *pitchforks! RAAAR!*

There were supportive comments , but the mean ones were really mean. What bothers me is the people who have no problem calling me a name from behind a screen are probably also raising people — and kids learn a lot from their parents behavior. Three years ago I would have begged everyone who disagreed with me to “Give me a chance! I THINK YOU’D LIKE ME!” but now? Clearly those people don’t know me, at all. Despite the fact I feel terribly inadequate as a parent — I’m doing okay. My kid is well adjusted and if she ends up using drugs and making bad life choices because I asked that her friends come to her birthday party simply to enjoy hanging out and not stress about bringing gifts? Then so be it, I’ll take those therapy bills when they come.

Please, if you disagree with me TOTALLY FINE, but I don’t think you need to call me names or tell me I’m denying my child her childhood simply because she doesn’t need more stuff and most families these days don’t need to be spending more money on other peoples’ kids. I took Addie to see Frozen on Friday and she clapped like a seal and kept her hands clasped right underneath her chin the entire time, which is exactly what I do when I see something I love. We traipsed through a magical forest yesterday and cut down the most perfect Christmas tree ever then danced around like fools to hipster Christmas music as we decorated the tree and put some form of snowman on every flat surface in the house.

She is not being denied the magic of childhood, but you’d never know that if you based your assumptions of me off of the 100 comments from people who do not like me much at all because of one thing. Up until the ‘vicious cycle’ comment my favorite one said “You sure do write about you a lot in your post.” Which would be funny if it was sarcastic, but *whispers* I don’t think it was.

I have wild and vivid fantasies of filling our loft with @lovesac. I've loved them since they first creeped on the scene in Utah when I was a kid.

Oh kid, when you read this someday I hope it is deep within your bones how much I love being your mom and how proud I am of you for being exactly who you are and constantly blowing me away with your ever-developing personality that teems with kindness and empathy. I mean, this parenting gig is no joke, but if I can take even one smidge of credit for how spectacular you are? Then I really did do something right.

(So I just read through this again, and I still sound pneumonia grumpy. I just wanted to say something like “I LIKE ME ENOUGH TO NOT BE BOTHERED BY MEAN STRANGERS!”  “Don’t let one (or 100) stranger’s opinions of you ruin who you know yourself to be!” and “If you disagree with someone either keep quiet or be civil about it, is that too much to ask society?” But clearly you already know all of that because you’re here and you’re all really nice people. I have the emails to prove it. So sorry about that, I have a feeling the pneumogrumps with fade once this fractured rib heals, because OW.)


  1. Hey I said no presents at my daughters birthday party too. I didn’t realize that was controversial. People just love to complain.

  2. I seem to be the first commentor. Wow, that never happens. Sorry, tangent. From all that I have read about your kids and the way that you and your lovely husband are raising YOUR kids, I would say that you have nothing to worry about. You have been able to take them places to see things that other people only dream about, your are able to spend the quality cuddle time other people are jealous of, and you show a love for each other that everyone should have. I believe that they have the greatest gifts they could ever have, you and Cody as parents. You are real, you are fierce about your beliefs, and you are gentle in all the good ways. Haters gonna hate. Trolls gonna troll. The important people will love you, and the internet has nothing to do with it.
    Keep it lovely!!

  3. Wow, they look so neglected. Those poor poor children. Do these trolls not watch late night television? Every other commercial shows real neglected children. Good for you and good for your daughters for standing up to the trolls.

  4. Jerk-nuggets. 😉

    <3 you

  5. Ugh, the trolls are horrid. And who ever decided that commercialism and stuff equals happiness? Stoopid.

  6. We did the same thing for myh sons birthday back in May. I only had one person ask why we stated “no gifts please.” I think they took it as we are above everyone’s petty gifts when in reality I just wanted the kids to come and have a good time. Times are rough and I hate to see people spend money on gifts when my kids have plenty of things half of it sits around unplayed with. I’m surprised people took such offense to this really.

  7. You’re great, your girls are awesome and you should ignore everything negative out there. Hang in there.

  8. I don’t need to give you a chance, I already like you. Stay away from the comments on YouTube and any mom blog community. People can be mean. But some can be awesome. Like you. And those kiddos you’re raising.

  9. I think you are amazing and I great mom. Period. You are raising your children how you choose and you are doing a great job. Trolls are trolls and will slip in their own troll boogies some day. Love you much. Miss you much.

  10. Someone once sent me an animated gif of “haters gonna hate.” If I knew where I saved it, I would send it to you. I know you know this, but some people tear others down in order to feel better about themselves. I’ve been to quite a few no present parties. I always appreciate when a parent does that.
    You are fantastic, never forget that.

  11. Do you know why I like reading your blog and following you on FB and Instagram? (swear I am not a stalker). I like you because you are REAL, parenting is no joke and there are many days where I feel like I am failing at it on many levels. Then one of my kids will say something amazing and I have to back off on bashing myself. Please keep being you, there are enough of us that like the real you to overshadow the naysayers!

  12. I read something the other day that REALLY helped me. “Don’t take things personally. What other people say about you is their reality, not yours.”

    And thank you for the presents thing. My niece and nephew are so unbelievably spoiled (I’m talking fancy, expensive birthdays with more adults than kids and more presents than these kids will ever play with). I have to check with my BIL on each and every gift b/c I got tired of buying them something they already had 3 of. Even one Christmas, we checked, and STILL, when my nephew opened it, he handed it back to us saying, “I already have this.” True story. That same year, we were assured our niece wanted Three Musketeers Barbie. So that’s what we got her. What does she say when she opens it? “Another stinking Barbie?!? Yea kid, you will never get another Barbie from me.

  13. I’m totally on your side. I agreed to have the big first birthday party for my daughter only if we said “no gifts” on the invitation.
    some listened, some didn’t. and when they didn’t, the gifts were set aside and out of sight. But I tell you– there won’t be another big birthday party for any more of my kids!

  14. We said ‘no presents please’ for my son’s upcoming party. My almost 8 year old son was fine with it. It did help that we’d just been reading the Little House books, which have small, humble Christmases and no birthday presents at the one party mentioned. If those kids turned out ok I guess mine will too. You are doing a wonderful job raising healthy kids in a difficult world.

  15. What people say on the internet while hiding behind their screens does not define you, but it does define them. You are amazing and I’m sure your kids would agree with me. I don’t know what it is about parenting that makes us constantly second guess ourselves, but the proof is in the pudding. Your girls are precious so you must be doing something right.

  16. We hit the same issue with my nephew’s birthday, he has 4 adults who do everything for him, he didn’t need more stuff. We considered having him donate them to his classroom (so he’d still get to use them but not keep it), no gifts at all, etc… In the end my dad came up with doing a gift exchange, so everyone, including my nephew, brought a gift and everyone left with one.

    No gifts is great, getting gifts is great, it’s just what is best for your family. But the gift exchange seemed like a cool compromise and he enjoyed seeing everyone else get a gift…also, no goody bags that way.

  17. If you had said that you were throwing a party and people would bring presents. There would have been haters, too. Society judges parenting, it’s a thing. In fact, just last week my sister told my mom & I were doing it wrong. My mom’s kids: 39 & 34 happy, healthy, successful adults. My kids: 14 & 10 healthy, smart, big hearts. Her kids: 7, 5, & 2. Also, happy, healthy, and smart. So…doing it wrong? or different? Tread lightly, society. We’re all doing what we can.

  18. It makes me sad that people are so quick to judge everyone and everything these days. People need to find better use of their time then going on a rampage about the choices you and your family are making. I hope Addie loves her first party!

  19. I’m sorry you have the pnemonogrumps and also that people are frankly kind of assholes. I’m glad that despite the grumps and the awful people that you still know what a wonderful mom you are (and truly you are). Look, I would never put “no gifts” on an invitation, but I don’t remotely begrudge you for doing so on your kid’s invitations. And I like throwing birthday parties, so I do. But neither of my kids have birthday’s that close to Christmas. And in a few more years we just might have enough stuff that I will need to put “no gifts” on the invitation or take donations for a storage unit for all the stuff! We’re just not there yet.


  21. Pneumonia…uggh! So sorry you had to endure that. Sierra had that her first week of high school as a freshman and it was bad. She’s the only child who’s ever had it. Thank goodness!

    Now…I just read your babble post, and I’m sorry for all the haters. It’s so sad that you had to endure reading those comments. But I know you get them a lot regarding certain posts, but look at you Casey…you’re still here writing about what you love. You’re purging your thoughts and ideas of life, and the do’s and don’ts, the what not to do, and what to do.

    I personally agree about the whole gift issue. In all honesty I didn’t write “no gifts” on Sierra’s graduation invite. That wasn’t on my mind as I was printing them out. I guess i figured if anyone wants to give her something so be it. I did have a basket for cards though, and she got a lot of those. It was nice. Since Lexie & Chelsea have the same birthday we usually take them to the city and watch a broadway show. Lexie is a bookworm, science geek, has friends but having birthdays in January is freezing cold. I also think the fact that we’ve moved so much when Sierra & Lexie were little wasn’t enough time for them to actually have close friends. So they have never had a birthday party!! Just Sierra’s graduation. Sad maybe, but it didn’t bother them. Didn’t bother me either because i can live in a place for one year, make friends, move away, and feel as if I was friends with them for five years!

    Crazy life I’ve been living!

    Anyway…don’t let it get to you. Endure to the end & keep writing. You’re doing a great job with the girls. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

    Love you!

  22. No matter how ‘tough’ you are, it’s always going to sting when people say pointlessly nasty things about you! Haters. You should come up to West Lafayette for a field trip!! I will take you to the tastiest doughnuts and the GIANT Christmas tree at Purdue. Yes?

  23. Christine says:

    I am on your team as far as the gifts go. Thing is… If you had been “in lieu of gifts please bring a coat that we can pass on to the needy” people would have cheered you on. I don’t understand how that is more right than just saying thanks but no thanks to gifts. People are weird. Feel better! And as I always say to moms… You’re a good mom.

  24. We always collect for some charity instead of gifts. Too. Much. Stuff.

    It’s about spending time doing something fun with your friends, not about the gifts. Great lesson to teach.

  25. I love you Casey.

  26. Haters gonna hate. They can suck it. And you can tell them I said that.

  27. Where would we be without all the people who know so much more about us than we do ourselves? Thank God for all the geniuses of the interwebs! Surely we would just curl up an die without them. 😉

  28. i swear some people are not happy unless they are bitching about something.

    you keep doing what you’re doing, it’s obvious in the smiles of your girls that you are doing an awesome job.

  29. I like the no gifts idea. Especially since I just dropped two green garbage bags of toys off at a our local thrift. Good for you!
    Also, where did you get the awesome picture on your mantle? The “Hello. Also, I love you”
    I kinda want one!

  30. I’ve been reading your blog for a while bit I’ve never commented before. I really an article of yours that was on Yahoo Shine and thus on Yahoo’s front page that day. I instantly recognized Vivi’s picture so I read the article. The article was about what you do or don’t do when you go out in public with your toddler. Being that I have a 2 year old, I totally related. The comments, however, were really awful! I could not believe the things people would say! There were so many comments that weren’t even about the article, but were there only to be hateful. I don’t know why people think it is okay to do that! Hang in there and maybe just don’t read the comments at all if it’s not on your own blog.

  31. Oh, Piffle!!!! There are those who are just gonna be trolls! You and Cody are doing an amazing job! Hugs!

  32. I don’t follow you on Babble because, well Babble. However I do follow your blog and have done so for 4 yrs. I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoy it. I think you are raising your girls to be great young people and you are an inspiration to me as I raise mine. Don’t let the voices of others dictate what you do, let the actions of those wonderful girls speak for you.

  33. I’m so with you on this. Simple is WONDERFUL. No gifts means she can invite as many kids as she likes and there is less pressure on everyone. Lots of people are under financial strain during the holidays as it is. I had a friend once that I knew was struggling and we had invited both her boys to my sons birthday. When I told her not to bring gifts she sighed with relief and thanked me. Parties are for fun not for gifts. I love that you’re doing a spectacular cake– enjoy!
    People say such weird stuff. They’re living in some alter existence if you ask me.

  34. You know, my daughter is now 14 and we are really, really struggling to have her be grateful and appreciative for what she has. She seems to have this air of entitlement about her that makes her a little bit unpleasant for me to be around. I wish that I had done what you are doing so that my kid would turn out to be more like your kid. 🙁


  1. […] 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 […]