To older moms and younger moms and moms who are in between...

Monday, May 1, 2017

I read recently that preschoolers ask an average of three hundred questions a day.

Well, I have two preschoolers. You do the math.

This one isn't talking yet, but really has no problem telling me what he wants. Or doesn't want.

But, really, how did parents do it before google came along? I mean, I already make up a quarter of the answers I give them already...

Which makes bring me to another thing.

I feel like almost weekly, I hear someone (usually at church) say something like, "I don't know how young moms do it today. I couldn't! The world is such a crazy place right now, it must be tough." There seems to be this yearning for a simpler and different time.

And every time I hear someone say that, I think two things:

1. Dear older mom-- you COULD have done it! You would have done it! You wouldn't have had any other choice! Why do you feel like you need to sell yourself short like that? You are way stronger than you think. You're a mom, anyway. That's already amazing.

|| On an unrelated, but sort of related note-- the other day I was at a birthday party with my son for his five-year-old classmate. The topic of superheroes came up, and one little boy raised and waved his hand wildly and declared, "My mom's Wonderwoman! She really is." I LOVED that. I thought, "Now  THERE'S a little boy who loves, values, respects, and looks up his mom. I bet he doesn't even remember all the times she screws up!" And, "I bet that mom loves herself. She knows she's not perfect, but knows she's wonder woman anyway." ||

2. Don't feel bad for us "young moms." Really, don't! It's an amazing time to be a mother! Let me tell you just a few reasons why!

- Technology. (Don't worry, I'm not going to go all Napoleon Dynamite here.) But, if you're like me, and live half a world away from family, you don't get the luxury of seeing family all the time. Because of the technology we have today, I can easily call my parents in Hong Kong, and my kids can sing them the latest song they heard or show them how they can read.

- Thanks to social media (which I knows gets a bad rap a LOT) it's so easy for mothers to connect to other mothers all over the world. We all walk different paths in life, but motherhood is something that can connect women in such a deep way. I don't know how often I've shared a knowing look, a hug, and a laugh with perfect strangers. Motherhood can be very lonely, isolating, and if it weren't for social media, I wouldn't have made so many of the amazing relationships I enjoy today. 

- Our kids are growing up being told they can be whatever they want to be. I can look at my daughter and tell her if she wants to open up an art store that is also a bakery, she can do that!

- Our sons are learning that its okay to have emotions. And to express those. And that they can paint their nails if they want to. And that they can dress up as firefighting princesses. And that they won't be shamed for crying. I know I wouldn't want to raise my sons any other way.

- Moms are getting help for mental health issues in ways that just weren't around a generation ago. Things like postpartum depression and anxiety aren't taboo to talk about anymore. I remember feeling like it was silly when the doctor asked me if I was having depressing feelings after Sof was born. I thought, "How could I? I just gave birth to the most amazing person on earth!" But, by the time that I was pregnant with Oscar, I understood so much more. I was so grateful that the doctos asked about my mental health at one of my early doctor appointments. I had told them about how I struggled with early prenatal depression, and it was something they would keep checking back with me on. 

So, listen. I get it. I am not blind to the news and what is going on in the world. I have my worries just like the next person. Do I choose to ignore them and keep my kids in their own little bubble? Absolutely not. That's not doing anyone any favors. So what do we do? We talk to our kids about what's happening in a way that they understand. We try to pick out the good in our days. We encourage them to love and to be brave. If we can start in our homes, my hope is we can "throw kindness around like confetti." Make that difference. 

Someday I will look back and think, "Those were the best days." And I have no intention of letting fear ruin that.

One Thing That Really Surprised Me About my Motherhood Journey

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Before Sof came along, I think I had all these ideas of what motherhood would be like. I imagined a lot of good times-- baby milestones, reading together, making messes in the kitchen, etc. But I knew there would be rough patches-- sleepless nights, sickness, potty training!

I could write on and on about all the things that have surprised me about motherhood, things that no amount of years and reading and talking to other moms could have prepared me for.


This morning I woke up to find Sof, my forever little early bird, sitting on the couch, with neat little stacks of folded laundry in front of her. Too tired to get to them last night, I had left a basket of just-washed clothes out in the living room, with plans to get to them this morning. When I walked out of the room, Sof looked up and said, "I noticed you forgot to fold these, so I wanted to do it for you!"

Chris jokes that one of my love languages is cleaning, so you can imagine just how loved I was feeling at that moment. I scooped her up in my arms, and a flood of memories and feelings immediately came to me.

Yes, this was one of those good moments I had dreamt of. I've been so blessed that she and I have shared so many of these together.

But, though our relationship has always been solidly firm, it has been a roller coaster of ups and downs.

I'm going to be super honest and vulnerable here, and I hope what I say next doesn't get misconstrued. Because really and truly, I have loved her every second of her life. I loved her since the moment we started praying for her.

But here it thing that has really surprised me about my motherhood journey is that while I always always always have loved her, I've had lots of moments that I just plain didn't like her.

Gosh, that sounds awful doesn't it?

It's true though. Especially during her third year, there were so many days where I woke up already praying for bedtime. She has such a big personality with SO many emotions, and all those emotions are also big. This can be such an amazing thing because it means that she loves so hard, laughs with her whole heart, but also has big fears and big anxieties. And I haven't always known how to help her through those. (We are now in the process of learning how to help her with those fears and anxieties, and she's learning how to face them herself.) I'd start off by being patient, but I'd end up feeling like I needed to just walk away. Even at a year and half, someone at church once remarked that she acted like she "...had the whole world on her shoulders."

And how would these feelings manifest themselves? Tantrums, slammed doors, disobedience, whining (and whining and whining), and rudeness. I constantly have to remind myself that she's only five, even though she's always seemed much much older.

While the slammed doors haven't stopped (nor do I imagine they will anytime soon) I've found the moments of "I just don't feel like I like you right now" have lessened. I wish I could tell you the answer as to why, but this isn't a "tips on how to deal with a hard child" post. This is a "I'm telling you that I'm not a perfect mother and have my struggles" post.

The only thing I can say for certain does help, though, is hanging on to those bright moments. Make that hug last a little longer. Check on them after they've gone to sleep and breathe them in. Close your eyes, and make that good memory of them stick so that when the going gets tough, you have plenty of "THIS is why I love AND like them" memories.

Hang on to those bright moments.

8 Things You Couldn't Pay Me to Do

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ever see someone do something, and you're like, "Ummmmmm, there's no way you could pay me a bajillion dollars to do that!"

Of course you have.

I don't know what made me start thinking about it, but during this last week, I've been keeping a mental note of what I'd put on the list. I was originally planning on making this a list of TEN things, but I ended up taking way way too long talking about #8. You'll soon see why.

1. Drive a semi truck cross-country. I don't even like driving. Heck, I wouldn't even want to back that thing out of the driveway. I can already imagine the headlines popping up across the news: "Stay-at-Home-Mom Runs Over Hundreds of Innocent Cows."Or, "Thousands of Road Trippers Cancel Trips Till Semi-Truck-Mom Week Ends." It would be so very bad.

2. Go back to high school. You know those 80's John Hughes films that always have a rocky, wrong side of the tracks start beginning, but somehow the jock up ends up with the nerd and the girl shows up to prom in a killer handmade dress? I mean, maybe if I had had a Duckie then I'd consid--no. I'll stop. But you know want to know the silver lining? I ended up way better off than my sixteen-year-old self could ever imagine. My taste in music, however, still has managed to go unchanged.

3. Give Donald Trump a loving embrace.

4. Sing the National Anthem at a major sporting event. I wouldn't even sing it at a MINOR sporting event. I can feel my hands clamming up just thinking about it!

5. Sleep in a room full of mice and vermin and basically anything that scurries. I'm certain my heart would stop and I would die.

6. Give up desserts for the rest of my life. Okay, so I would mayyyyybe consider giving them up, but it would have to be a whole lot of money. Chris and I gave up sweets for Lent, and I've come super close to wanting to set myself on fire half a dozen times because of it.

7. Watch any of the Freddy Kreuger movies. I watched parts of the movies when I was wayyyyy too young (my uncle was watching with his friends and for some stupid reason I thought it would be a good idea to watch) and I had nightmares every night for YEARS. Pretty sure if I write much more about I will be having nightmares tonight.

8. Drink a glass of milk. So, I probably would do it for $100, but I'd most certainly be crying the whole entire time. I hate milk. And I do not say that lightly because as Sof will always remind us, "We do not say HATE!" But I hate it so much. If it touches me, I have to wash my hands right away because I am so worried that it will soak into my pores and go right into my bloodstream and kill me. You know the saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk?" Well, the person who came up with it clearly has never ever met me. Quick anecdote for you: my freshman year of college, I was sitting with a table of friends at dinner in the good ol' BYU Cannon Center. They knew I hated milk, but they had NO IDEA how much. One of my friends decided it would be funny to toss his pork chop into our other friend's bowl of cereal. I took one look at it and I felt the tears pouring out of my eyes. I ran out of there so fast. Crying. I don't think I'll ever, ever, forget that. Ever seen "Inside Out?" Yeah, that incident made its way into my core memories.


So, if you were hoping to throw some money my way to do any of the aforementioned things feel free to just keep it in you wallet cuz I just ain't doin' it.

What about you? What's on your list?

A time when I didn't have a good answer.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

You know those moments in parenthood where you look back and think, "Pretty sure my kid was the one teaching something here." Today I had one of those moments, and for some reason, I can't seem to shake it off.

But, maybe that's the point. Maybe it needs to stick with me and make me feel a little bit uncomfortable so I can learn the lesson.

Here's what happened...

The kids and I were in the car, out to get some bagels. I had just gotten a piece of good news, and I was excitedly chatting about it with my brother on the phone. (Don't worry, it was on speaker!) As usual, whenever the kids hear or see me talking to someone, they immediately have, like, a thousand things they just HAVE to tell me, and it has to be RIGHT NOW.

So, I'm on the phone, and I keep giving my kids half-answers, while trying to finish telling my brother the details about my news. I pull up to a red light, and I'm the first one in my lane. As I wait at the light, I hear Sof say, "Who's that man, mama?" I ignore her because I didn't really know who she was talking about, and again, I was on a call. But, then again, she asks, "Mama, who is that? Why's he standing there?"

I look over and see who's she talking about.

"He's homeless, baby."

- "What does that mean?"

"It means that he doesn't have a home."

- "So, you mean he has to sleep on the sidewalks or on the streets?"

"Maybe. There are special places where homeless people can go to and get help. Sometimes they can sleep there."

- (pauses) "What did his sign say?"

"I don't know, sweetheart, I didn't see. But, maybe he was looking for a job, or asking for money."

- "Why didn't you give him any money?"

I sit there, not saying anything.

- Again she asks, "Why didn't you give him any money, mama? Is it because you don't have any monies?"

This is where I got stuck. Why didn't I give him any money? Was it because I didn't have any? Well, that wasn't true. I knew I had a few singles in my backpack sitting right next to me.

The truth was I simply didn't have a good answer. I had a couple of answers running in my head that weren't very good; maybe he'd use the money to buy something that wasn't good for him. Maybe I was feeling extra nervous because the driver side window sticks when I roll it down. I'm sure I could have come up with a dozen not-very-good reasons.

So, after she asked me a third time, I simply said, "I don't know."

That was all I could muster up. I didn't want lie and say I didn't have anything for him. That would have been SO easy to do, but I couldn't do that to myself or to her.

- "So you couldn't help him?"

And that's when I knew I had to show Sof that even mommies need to be humbled.

"No, Sof. I could've helped him, but I didn't. I should have done better. Thanks for reminding me to be better."

- "It's okay, mama. Next time we can help."


It hit me hard that Sof still only sees people in the very best way. She doesn't judge, doesn't care about people's pasts, and doesn't understand why we don't always make the right decisions. I mean, that's exactly what we try to teach her, right? To mourn with those who mourn, visit the sick, and help the poor? How can I teach her about giving away the shirts off our backs, if I'm not willing to take a second and pull out some spare change.

Anyway, I learned a really important lesson today. And I think it was good for her to see that.

***Sof's darling shirt and skirt c/o Lucy & Leo.

Cake Smash

Monday, March 27, 2017

He came.

He saw.

And he conquered that cake.

Happiest of birthdays, Oscar boy. I have a feeling your cake days are far from over, darling boy.

And her heart grew three sizes that day. Oscar's birth story.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I've been meaning to write this for a long time.

Almost three hundred and sixty-five days to be exact.

I kept putting it off and putting it off because it didn't feel like the "right" time. When is the right time to sit down and try to put into words one of the best days of your life? When, with that joy also comes the hard, punch-you-in-the-gut reminder that time is both a thief and a gift, and you're constantly trying to grab a hold of it as it swiftly sifts through your fingers?

But, with Oscar's first birthday finally approaching, I knew it was time, and that I was ready. Or, at least, I am forcing myself to be ready.

So, here you go....the story of when Oscar was born.


It all started the morning of March 21, 2016. It was a Monday, and I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for that morning. I was a four days short of being 40 weeks pregnant, and at that stage where you're frantically googling natural ways to induce labor. When I hopped on the table for my weekly check-up, I told my doctor to please strip my membranes. To be more specific, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Make sure you strip 'em *real* good doc." (No shame here, guys. None. I wanted that baby OUT.) And let me tell you, he did his job allllmost a tad too well.

My mother-in-law had flown in during the appointment, and together she and my husband met us at the hospital because the kids couldn't wait to see her. I then said bye to the sweet nurses and receptionists, and told them that I hoped I wouldn't see them again. Well, not tell I had a baby to show for it. Then we all went back home, and I'm pretty sure I just went straight to bed.

Fast forward to around 7 o'clock in the evening. I don't remember what happened exactly, but I remember that I didn't give Pato a goodnight kiss and hug before bed. Maybe C and his mom put him to bed? Anyway, I remember thinking "Oh gosh. I forgot to say goodnight! What if the baby comes tonight and I didn't have a chance to tell him that I love him? It will be the last time he's the baby of the family!" Hormones you guys. HORMONES.

It was around then I started having some cramping, but nothing major. Chris, his mom and I finally sat down to eat dinner after the kids were down, and I stayed mostly quiet. I don't think anyone really noticed though because my husband loves to talk and his mom is the most amazing listener. It was sometime during dinner that I kept thinking, "Hm. These cramps don't seem to be going away. And they sorta hurt." I did't want to say anything though about it quite yet, so I just excused myself, and went upstairs to our bedroom.

I'd like to say I turned something amazing show on. With Sof, I watched "Friends" as I labored. With Pato, it was Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations." With O, I seriously just wanted something to distract me, so I watched that show called "Brain Games." Guys, I NE-VER watch that show. I really have NO clue what I chose that.

Anyway, it was then that I started timing my contractions, and I was surprised by how long they were lasting. And getting more uncomfortable. Oh, and closer. But, I STILL didn't want to say anything, and Chris and his mom were still downstairs. At some point I thought, "Okay. These are getting worse. I'm going to take a bath." So, I did, and I sat in the bath and facetimed with my mom who lives in Hong Kong. She kept saying, "I think you should go to the hospital now." Now listen, I LOVE my mom. But, she will send you to the doctor if you cough more than once in an hour. I kept telling her, "No, mom. I don't want to go just to have to turn right back around."

I sat in the bath and just breathed through the contractions, and then there were a few that were just taking my breath away. It was finally then that I thought, "Okay, maybe it's time to go."

Things escalated pretty quickly after that.

And thank goodness I had packed my hospital bag that morning because one minute I had finally broken it to Chris that it was time to go, and the next we were walking two blocks away because our Uber driver was picking us up at the wrong spot. Did I mention I felt like my break was about to break?

So, we get in the Uber sometime after 11PM, and my husband tells the driver just what every Uber driver just DREAMS of hearing, "We need to go to the hospital, she's in labor!"

The great thing is that because it was late, the drive only took about twenty minutes. You can never really tell with Philly traffic, and it had sometimes taken me forty minutes to get there. But even though the ride was technically short, it felt like one of the longest in my life. She stopped at EVERY yellow light, and I could feel myself getting so irritated. I rolled down the window and just moaned and moaned in the back. Poor lady.

(I should mention that with Sof, I had to be induced, so I never really experienced real labor pains at all. With O, I was admitted into the hospital when I was 3 cm dilated, and my contractions had just begun. I want to laugh and laugh and LAUGH when I think back on that time because I thought THAT was painful. Oh, honey.)

So we get to the hospital and I walk right out of the car, and didn't even think to look back and see if Chris was behind me. I walked right up to the front desk of the ER (where we had to go since it was after-hours) and I could feel everyone staring at me. The lady up front calmly asked, "What seems to be the problem?" EXCUUUUUUSE ME?! I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to forget my manners, so  in between breaths I said, "I'"

A few seconds later, I'm taken to this room off to the side and asked to sit back in this chair that looked like a dentist's chair. The doctor starts asking me WHO KNOWS WHAT to see if I truly was in labor, and I'm just like, "Is this a joke?" Thankfully, the most amazing, heart of gold, male nurse took one look at me, and basically picked me up and put me in a wheelchair and said, "No, she's definitely in labor." And then he raced me through the corridors and up the the maternity wing himself.

Okay, I need to stop the story for a second. I don't know why I do this, but I always start acting really funny when I'm around doctors and nurses. Especially when I'm about to have a baby. I have this internal battle between trying to be polite, trying to be THE BEST PATIENT EVER, while also being extremely uncomfortable. So, I get wheeled into the delivery room, and I'm all excited and saying, "Hi!!! I'm having a baby!! It's happening!" Well, that upbeat attitude left the room REALLL quick.

The doctor came in and told me she was going to check my cervix and see how far along I was. She then said, "Well, you're about a six and half, almost seven." I was like, "WHAT do you MEAN." And then I was relieved because I've watched enough Grey's Anatomy to know they are not going to turn away a woman who was that far along. I immediately let her know that I most definitely would be wanting that five hours ago.

The pain. The pain was SO intense. And I'm sure I broke all the breathing rules because as soon as I felt one coming on, I would just hold on to my breath so tightly, and I thought I would break the sides of the bed from clutching them so hard. I had to get my IV put in, and it took the poor nurse close to 20 minutes just to do so. And it took every ounce of strength in me not to burst into tears (actually, there were definitely tears, I lied) and start screaming at the heavens. I was pleading for the epidural as I felt like every fiber in my body was being broken. To make it even worse, the nurse was asking me all sorts of questions like, "When's your birthday?" and "How much do you weigh?" I don't think I even knew my own NAME at that moment.

I'll fast forward to when the anesthesiologist walked in and administered my epidural. Even as I write this, I find myself holding my breath just thinking about that time. I finally started to feel the numbness, and with it, pure relief.

I was almost an 8 when I finally got the epidural. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be at 10 cm.

The next few hours were pretty uneventful. C and I were both so tired, and it's amazing how going through the very worst pain of your life really wipes the energy out of ya.

Finally, around 4 in the morning, I told the doctor I really felt like my body was ready to push, and she checked me and got the nurses all ready. It was baby time!

It happened so fast! I pushed once. Then was told to stop, and then half a push later, he was out! He came out so peacefully and when they placed him in my arms, I immediately had the thought, "Oh, there you are!" I didn't feel like I was meeting him for the first time. It felt like we were finally back together again, and my heart, my arms, the spot on my chest where he rested his tiny head- they already knew him. He laid quietly, and I remember asking the doctor, "What's wrong? Why is he so quiet." She then said, "There's nothing wrong. He's just happy."

Oscar Andres Jones. Born March 22, 2016 at 4:16 a.m. 21 inches and 7 lbs. 5 oz. of light, joy, love, and perfection.
(Cue the waterworks as I sit here in Starbucks writing this.)

"He's just happy."

I had no idea just how happy this special boy has made me. Has made his family. My heart yearned for him before I knew him, and he is even more wonderful than I had imagined. And to be honest, that's saying a lot because my expectations were admittedly high.

After taking a few minutes of smelling him and loving on him, I remember turning to the doctors and saying, "OH! Wow! Did you see how fast he came out?! I PUSHED SOOOO GOOOOD! Was that one of the best pushes you've EVER SEEEEEN?" (Seriously, how ridiculous was I?! Told you I got funny around doctors!) They laughed, and all assured me that indeed, I was a rockstar pusher.


Oscar Andres, you have lit up my life since the day you were born. You made my life more peaceful, and made me forget all the uncertainties that still surround us. You make me feel like everything will work out because we have you. I will spend the rest of my days trying to make sure you feel my love, and even beyond that. Thank you for choosing us.

6 Things that I do now that used to scare me...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

...and my life is way better for it.

1. I've stopped apologizing so much. Look, I'm not saying you shouldn't say sorry when you do something wrong or own up to your mistakes. Did you accidentally imply that your friend's baby is not very cute? You should probably say sorry. Did you wait until the last minute to bail on an appointment? The kind thing to do would be to apologize. But, I used to say sorry all the time for things that weren't my fault or even WRONG. Does anyone else ever do that? Or does that not even make sense?

2. I voice my opinions. "Wait, you used to not voice your opinions?" Sometimes I did, but a lot of times I didn't. I was afraid that my opinion was wrong, or that I couldn't say anything because I was worried I'd be the only person who thought something. For example, I was in a recent discussion with a friend, and I said, "You know, I can see where you're coming from, but I don't know that I agree completely with that thought." And did she bite my head off? No. My head is still fully intact. Did I lose a friend? No. Does she think I'm a horrible person for disagreeing? Maybe. (Kidding, she is wonderful and I think she still likes me.) 

3. I accepted that I'm not perfect, and accepted that I will never be. And guess who's expecting perfection out of me? NO ONE. The load that took off my shoulders, I tell ya! I am so done chasing that impossible golden finish line.

4. I stopped selling myself short. Boy, this one is still hard. This has been more of a "business-y" decision, but I used to be afraid to say, "Hey, I'd love to work you, but this is how much it costs/ these are the terms." Also, when people used to ask about my blog, I'd answer with something like, "Ohhhhhh, ya know, its just a thingggg. It's dumb. I just write random stuff." And then I'd try to change the subject. But you know what? It's not true. I actually enjoy writing, and it's anything but dumb. I put thought and effort into every post I write. 

5. I started to say "no" more, AND "yes" more, too (especially if saying yes means stepping a bit out of my comfort zone!)

6. Get in front of the camera more instead of always staying behind it. 


Just don't ask me to get over my fear of heights. Or stick me in a room full of bees. Not happening.

It really takes a village.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The village.

This has been something that has been on my mind for a little while, as I've been thinking more and more about the people who we come in contact with daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. Then, there are those people who are like one of those "single use" items that we only come across once, but once is all it takes. 

It was then that I sat down and started to really think about all these characters in this Jones Village. (Because that's what I'm going to call it. You can go ahead and name your village whatever the heck you want.) I thought about the characters, the roles the play, and how it all works. 

In the Jones Village, we have one spit-fire little girl who has enough passion and personality for two people. And she's not afraid to let you know when your breath stinks.

There's a little boy who is sensitive, which is one of his best traits, but it also means his feelings can get hurt quite easily. He loves numbers and basketball, and even more when they're put together.

There's a baby who we loved before he was born. I missed him before I knew him. And now that he's here, he has made all our lives brighter.

There are two parents who make mistakes daily. But their kids are somehow able to forgive them and still love them, every single time. 

There are neighbors who treat your kids like gold, bring you cookies and Coke just because, and are there for you at a drop of a hat.

There are family members, near and far, who you know are thinking of you, even though you may not seem them often. When they say, "We have you in your prayers," you know they mean it because you can almost feel their hands physically lifting you.

There are friends who you can talk to about almost anything, and make you feel like you've left them with your cup filled. Who watch you let your baby eat Cheerios off the ground that are covered in dirt, or listen as you talk about something that affects your soul, or laugh with you when you've admitted your latest parenting blunder. And they do all this without judgement. 

Then, there are people who we encounter just in passing. They pick up the box of cereal that the baby knocked to the ground. The girl at Starbucks who, when she asked what size of water I wanted, said, "I'll just give you the biggest size." The woman on Instagram who says, "You're doing a good job." 

They say it takes a village to raise a child. But, I think my village is doing a lot more. They're also raising this mother. They make me want to be better, lift me when I'm down, and remind me that we're all in this together.

So, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in my village. Whether you're family, and are stuck with us for forever, or you're just passing through.

I SEE you, and I'm grateful. 


"It Really Takes a Village" tote c/o Eunie Park and you can find the exact tote HERE.

A night on the town with my best girl.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

So right off the bat, I can tell you there's one thing I'm not very good at: surprises. I'm not creative, I'm not always the best at planning ahead (though, I am making a real effort and getting better at this) and I'm also just not very creative. But, a few months ago when I heard that Matilda was coming to town, I knew this was something that I'd love to share with my favorite girl.

So, tickets were purchased, and I kept my mouth shut. Until THE DAY OF. I have no idea how I was able to just sit on this surprise for so long, but I swear the look on her face made it all worth it. First, I helped her pick out a "fancy" outfit, and she made sure that she topped off her look with some jewelry and some of mama's "pear-fume." She is just like her daddy, and always wants to know what the surprise is, but I kept telling her she had to wait. 

So we drove in to downtown Salt Lake, and grabbed a bite to eat. Nothing fancy, but she started jumping up and down when I told her she could pick out any dessert that she wanted. Naturally, she picked the thing that had the most whipped cream. 

After dinner, we ran in the pouring rain to catch the show. It wasn't until we had finally arrived that I told her that we were there to watch Matilda. And the face she made...well that's a look I'll never forget. She had guessed that we were going to go to the bookstore, or the zoo, and the mall, and I'm so glad I was able to surprise her.

It's amazing what a night out with my girl, watching one of our favorite characters, while eating an overpriced bag of gummy bears can do. Sof, I sure do like ya, kid. 

A Year of Oscar: Nine Months

Monday, February 27, 2017

This poor child. That's what happens when you're the third, right? Mom forgets to update the blog on all the cool things you're doing. Like, getting teeth, drooling, and finally sleeping through the night?

How rude!

Cute and Comfy with Carter's

**This post is sponsored by Carter's; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.**

It seems so hard to believe that Oscar will be one in less than a month! This has easily been the fastest year of my life yet. It feels like we were bringing him home from the hospital just yesterday, and we were knee deep in dirty diapers and spit up. Well, we still actually are knee-deep in diapers, but fortunately, the spit-up days are behind us.

You know what's funny? Even though baby O is our third, I feel like I haven't reached the "seasoned mom" status. But, do you ever really get there? And what does that even mean, right? Every day I'm learning new things about raising preschoolers and babies, and no day is the same as the other. 

One thing that has remained the same, however, is we have always found exactly what we needed to keep our babies cute and comfortable at Carter's. Oscar can look stylish while being comfortable, and that is absolutely key for me. Carter's has everything from rompers, pajamas, outfit sets, and sleep and plays so baby can wear something cute and cozy all day long. 

I had fun looking over their site as I was narrowing down some looks for O, and loved the look of all the indigo knits and dip-dyed fabrics (and I couldn't help but also take a peek at all the adorable girl's clothes as well.) 

When it comes to choosing clothes for Oscar, I feel like I've learned from having had two babies before him. Plus, now that we've added another person to do laundry for, I need whatever clothes he has to do double duty! This mama doesn't have time be drowning in laundry every day!

So, two-piece sets like this one are perfect because he can wear them while it's still cool with a undershirt, but it also won't make him feel hot in the early days of spring. Even better is that I can use each piece individually, and easily match it with something else.

With how busy O is these days, what with chasing after his older siblings, pulling things out of cabinets, and trying to get into the dishwasher anytime he can, he definitely has no time for clothes that slow him down, and I wouldn't want that either. I love watching him explore new things and figure himself out. Well, as long as he's not exploring my closet- then things can get a little messy! 

Lastly, I know how it feels to fall asleep and then wake up not feeling entirely well rested because I couldn't get quite comfortable because of what I was wearing.  Oscar doesn't need to worry about that because these outfits are cozy enough to drift off to dreamland.

Carter's is currently having some awesome deals in February, with their sale running from February 21st through March 6th. You can take advantage of the sale (see coupon) through 3/6 both in-store and online. 

To find some affordable looks for your own little ones, you can find their line of clothes HERE and their super cute shoes HERE. And here's that coupon I promised ya!

And like his shirt says, there really is a whole world out there. I just feel lucky that I can be a part of his little journey.

Again, a big huge thanks to Carter's for sponsoring this post :) 

A Year of Oscar: Ten Months

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Only a month late, right?

This was such a fun month with O. He learned that he likes to be into everything, and his main form of recreation is chasing after his older siblings and pulling things off of shelves and tables.

Continues to be far our pickiest baby when it comes to mealtime, and I swear if he could live off of bread, he would. Looks like we have another carb lover in the family. He really doesn't particularly like fruit, unless it comes in one of those baby food pouches. I've tried cutting up all sorts of fruits for him, and he takes on bite, makes a face and lets out this "guck" sound, and spits it out.

Unlike our other babies, however, he does seem to like little bits of meat.

So basically what I'm saying is that he's going to grow up and probably find a job at Five Guys and eat burgers all day. 

The stuff they don't always tell you about pregnancy and giving birth.

DISCLAIMER: Before you read ANY further, let me tell you right now that things are going to get real on this post. Not real as in "I'm baring my soul" real, but like, bodily fluids real.

Are you still reading this? If you keep reading, then that means you really are okay with reading about the real stuff that comes with pregnancy and birth.

Okay, this is absolutely your last chance. Like, for real. Don't come back complaining that I didn't warn ya. 


Well, now that we're here, and everyone who is here is here because they want to, I'm going to tell you why I'm writing this post.

I'm writing this because I'm going to address some things that I wish someone had told ME before I gave birth. I don't know how many times I've talked to other moms, and we've thrown up our hands and said, "WHY did no one ever tell us this?" I believe that in certain situations, I feel so much more comfortable if I know what to expect. Now, I'm sure I will probably leave something out, and if I do, please let me know and I'll try to add it.

Okay, without further ado...

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had My First Baby

During Pregnancy

+ This could just be me, but I get SO RAVENOUS in the beginning. I could be in the middle of a pleasant conversation about a show on Netflix with my husband, when all of a sudden it's like, "OH MY GOSH IF I DON'T HAVE A BURGER IN MY HANDS IN THE NEXT .00003 SECONDS SOMETHING VERY BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO EVERY PERSON IN THIS ROOM." I don't even like cereal, and I used to keep cereal right next to my bed. I remember waking my husband up a few times in the middle of the night asking him to go get me some crackers because I felt like I was SO hungry, and if I were to get up, I would surely perish.

+ People LOVE pregnant women. One of the perks I wasn't expecting was that people just will smile at you when you pass by them and it totally makes you feel like a million bucks. They are kinder and will totally let you cut in front of them. And being pregnant totally gets you further up the bathroom line.

+ You've heard about postpartum depression, right? Well, you can also get it DURING pregnancy. I had it with my last two pregnancies, and the first time, it totally knocked me off my feet. The second time, I was able to recognize the feelings I was having, so I was able to tell my husband right away, "Hey, this is happening to me and I need your help." I was very very very fortunate both times because I was able identify it, vocalize my feelings, and it was pretty much gone by around 16 weeks. I am normally a super upbeat and cheerful person, so as soon as I felt that "fog," I knew something was different. 

At the Hospital

+ Getting the IV in the hospital is no fun at all. This last time with O, it took the nurse close to twenty minutes to get my IV put in and I was silently praying that for the love of all that was good and holy, that it would just be done with. I was having really strong contractions at that point and just wanted that part to be over with.

+ Okay, so this is MY personal opinion. IF you go the epidural route, I was actually *pleasantly* surprised that the epidural was not very painful. It really feels like a pinch and a slight burning sensation. Granted, I've never had any adverse reactions to the epidural, so again, I'm speaking from my own experience. I think the reason the epidural doesn't seem to bad, however, is because theres a good chance you're already in a good deal amount of pain and discomfort, that the pain from the epidural has always just seemed so small in comparison. Again, with my last birth, I was close to being dilated to 8cm when I received my epidural, and I was in so much pain, that I was about ready to stab myself in the spine with that thing. 

+ Be prepared to bleed. A lot. There's no sugar coating it. After you give birth, you start to wonder how you're still alive because there's no way there could be any blood left in your body. During this time, your husband is no longer your best friend. Your squirt bottle is. I would say before you give birth, stock up on all sorts of pads so you can decide which works best for you. I always opt for the long overnight ones. (Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm really writing about this.)

Additionally, the hospital will provide you with insanely large pads, special ice packs for your nether-regions, and MAGIC underwear. TAKE. ALL. OF. IT. And when you've put all of it in your bag to go home, ASK FOR MORE. The magic underwear I'm telling you about? They are probably the most comfortable things on earth. Look, I've made quite a few exaggerations in my lifetime, but this is not one of them. Take as many pairs of underwear as they will allow you to. (And I don't advocate theft, but...ya know. Jk! Jk!) 

+ So, you've had the baby and now you're done, right? Wrong. I don't know if it's because I'm totally clueless (might be) or I just hadn't even thought of it, but hello! You also have to deliver the placenta. Which is not a small thing. This happens after the baby comes out, and by that time you're jello anyway. I was able to go through my first birth without even seeing the placenta, but the second time, my doctor held it up like it was some kind of trophy and at first, I literally had NO idea what he was holding up. (Okay, since I'm being super honest here....oh my gosh really why am I telling you this...but when he held it up I remember thinking, "Why on EARTH is he holding up a piece of steak when I just had a baby?? Who the crap is going around the maternity wing handing out steaks?") 

+ After the placenta is out, there's the whole business of trying to get your uterus to shrink back down to normal. This is also not pleasant. They push down on your belly (every few hours) to get it to squeeze down, and this last time with O, I remember asking the nurse one of the times to please please just skip it. No dice. Also, your uterus contracts when you nurse, and it feels like just that: contractions. They're not AS bad as the really bad labor contractions though, so, I guess that's the silver lining. 

+ Someone actually reminded me about this next one and I laughed out loud because I had totally forgotten! She mentioned that she "...didn't poop for three days because it hurt so bad." That one's pretty self-explanatory.

After the Hospital 

+ When you leave, you still look pregnant. Embrace your softness.

+ When your milk comes in, it really hurts. I can't speak for every single woman who has breastfed, but I was FLOORED by how painful it was. I vividly recall the first day I came home from the hospital with my first and laying in bed with these huge rocks attached to my chest. It hurt to even rest my arms to my side. I felt totally blindsided. My mom came into my room and I said, "Mom! This really really really hurts!" To which she replied, "I know." Dear, Mom. I LOVE you. But, you KNOW??? You mean people KNEW this already? 

So, I'm telling you right now in case there's no one else to tell you this. It. Hurts. BUT, and the big BUT is, it gets better. You can look up all sorts of remedies online, but what worked best for me was expressing a little bit of milk to relieve some of the pressure, and I apply a warm towel to them. Also, massaging them in the shower also eased the pain. 

+ Going back to the boobs. Once you've gotten into your nursing groove (go you!) you might realize that your breasts leak milk. Sometimes quite often. I was totally floored when after having my first, I realized that my breasts would leak when I even just thought of my baby.  Other things that would make me leak milk: other babies crying, when I hadn't nursed for a couple of hours (it's amazing- your breasts are so great at letting you know what it's time for you baby to eat again), and nursing. To this day, whenever I nurse O, I usually always start with my right breast, and without fail, my left always leaks a little bit. 

OKAY! PHEW! Did you make it to the end of this?? Now that I've throughly scared you?? 

I want to end with this.

ALL of the things I wrote about are real things. This is just what pregnancy and labor and recovery are like.

Yes, there is pain, yes there are discomforts, and yes there are tears. BUT, it is all fleeting, and once you meet that baby and think, "Oh! There you are!" nothing else matters. 

And after you've endured all that stuff, you'll realize that you are a freaking superwoman, and who knows, you might choose to do it all over again.

I know I do :) 

One-Pan Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I had a lot of people ask me for the recipe that I posted on Instagram the other day, so HERE YA GO! You guys, it was so easy and so delicious! Thank you, Serious Eats, for making me feel like a friggin super hero.

Why I'm okay with not being the world's best mom.

Monday, February 20, 2017

When S was born, I remember looking into her eyes, and right away, I wanted to give her the world.

Okay, actually, that's not entirely true. Back up.

After twelve hours of labor, I was so exhausted, and my brain was so fuzzy that I think I was half-asleep when she finally came out. I have the distinct memory of looking over at her under the warm lights, being tended by the nurses and seeing my husband watching over her. I remember thinking, "Oh. Good. I'm glad there are other people in the room to pay attention to her."

Guys, I was OUT.

But then, we had somehow hazily made it through the rest of the night, and the sun came up. After getting a bit of sleep, and some chocolate chip cookies in me (yup, that's the first thing I ate after giving birth) THEN, then I looked into her eyes, and thought, "I am going to be the very best mama to you ever."

And for a good little stretch, I think I did pretty okay. I nursed her and watched her chunk up, even though every time she latched those first few weeks, I winced in pain thinking, "Is it time to eat again? Oh gosh, I'm not ready." I took her on walks so she could soak the world up, I changed her clothes every time she spit up, and I sang to her during every one of her nightly baths.

Then a few months later, I found out I was expecting...again.

As soon as I found out, I cried. I had just put S down for a nap, and I knew I just wanted to scoop her out of her crib and hold her. I felt like I was letting her down because I felt like I was robbing her of my 100%. But, somehow, I was able to work through the grey early fog that came with baby number two, and tried my best.

Fast forward a couple years. S was 2 almost 3 and J was 1 almost 2. I will forever look back fondly on that year. It was such a special time because I felt like we were the Three Musketeers. We were always out of the house by 10am to do our thing for the day. Some days we'd go to the little beach by our house, or we'd go to the bookstore and play and get a cookie afterwards. Other days we'd go to the pet store or take their scooters to the park. Life wasn't perfect, but it was pretty darn rosy.

Things were rosy, but I was also getting tired. I was tired of trying to make things perfect for them all the time. But, see, I was able to deal with it. I pressed forward.

Fast forward another couple years, and I was pregnant with O. Sof was in preschool, and Pato and I were finally able to enjoy some one-on-one time. I loved having that time with him because he was happy just to cuddle with me and watch Daniel Tiger. But, that's when the guilt started to really creep in. This last pregnancy got pretty brutal during the last trimester, and it's not something I've talked a ton about on here. When I'm in pain or sick I really don't like to talk about it. Maybe part of me thinks if I don't acknowledge it, it will go away? Anyway, without going into so much detail, I'll just say that I think I cried every single day those last couple of months. Usually in the middle of the night because turning over and getting out of bed was so excruciating, I could barely even breathe. I did so as quietly as I could, not wanting to wake up C, who already was knee deep (no, waist deep? neck deep? entirely submerged?) in writing, and finishing up his dissertation. He would always tell me to wake him up so he could help me, but then that would mean waking him up four or five times a night, and I felt so guilty doing so. (Note: if you're pregnant, you have to advocate for yourself. If you tell your doctor something isn't right, make them listen and don't let them brush you off!)

The guilt weighed so heavily on me. Getting in and out of the car was so painful that most days we barely left the house. Some days, we'd go to the museum, and I would find a bench or an empty spot against the wall, and just plop myself down to watch my kids play. I'd try to put on a smile as they would excitedly show me and tell me things, but it broke my heart when I'd have to say, "I'm sorry baby, I can't run over there with you. I'll watch from here." It was around this time that I also realized that I wasn't doing enough to take care of myself. Things that I used to love to do, like write and read, were put on the back burner. And then the back burner was flown across the world and dumped into a hole. It finally clicked that I couldn't be "on" all the time. There was no such thing as a switch that turned on in the morning when I woke up, and off when I went to sleep. I simply couldn't survive that way.

So, what was my answer? It was simple. As much as I wanted to be the world's best mother, or at least the world's best mother to MY kids, I couldn't do it. At least, not in the way I originally thought. The mom who makes a hot breakfast every morning, kept a tidy house (while being on top of the laundry), the mom who didn't have time for herself, but made every day a little more beautiful than the last for her children is just not in me.

Because sometimes I do get frustrated and say things to my kids I immediately regret.
Because some days I just count the seconds till it's time for them to go to bed so I can finally relax.
Because sometimes I shut my bedroom door and beg the kids to please just give me some space.
Because sometimes (a lot of times) I rush too much.
Because sometimes I just really don't want to play another game of Uno.

I let that nonexistent perfect mother go, and I'm learning (yes, still) to love and accept the imperfect mom that I am.

Because a little part of me is happy when one of the kids comes into our bed at night, even though it means I'm left with just a sliver of space.
Because every time I make waffles, I really try to put some extra love in them because I know they're my Pato's favorites. If love could be bottled and put into salt and pepper shakers, I'd sprinkle it all over the place.
Because at least once a day, I try to look hard into their eyes, hoping they can *really* feel that I value them, that I hear them, that I see them.
Because my kids go to bed with their cheeks thoroughly covered in invisible kisses.
Because if there is one thing I can do, it's love them. One thing that I know that I'm capable of doing so near perfectly it's loving my kids.

And most of all, I've learned to accept myself and my imperfections because somehow, my kids have accepted them, too. And they love me anyway.

When the big kids are away...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Oscarboy will play!

+ get into their stuff.
+ pull out all the utensils when I load the dishwasher. 
+ sit his bum right into every dirt pile when I sweep.


Oscar's bonnet is the "Petite Bonnet in Dot" from Petite Soul Shop, and you can find it HERE

Adventuring with Josset

Monday, January 30, 2017

I don't know if it's because we now have three children, or because we've moved across the country twice in less than two years, but I've become a lot more purposeful about the things we bring into our home. I feel like once upon a time, I was constantly looking for something more. A cute new something for the house (that I usually-okay-almost always, didn't need) or I'd buy an article of clothing for me or the kids that I liked but, I didn't really LOVE. Now, when I'm debating whether I bring something home or not, I always ask myself, "Do I LOVE this? Will I even like it five years from now?" The same goes for the clothes we wear.

Josset is a company I feel like I can really stand behind. Not only do I love the fabrics, prints, and designs of their dresses, but they also have a really awesome drive behind each and every one of their items. I feel like that in the crazy times we are living in at the moment, I'm always wondering what is something I could do to make a difference, even it it's a small one. Supporting this company who supports so many others is one thing I can do to help. Josset not only stands by their designs, but also by their employees. That is why each handmade piece is made by a Josset employee who has been paid a fair and living wage.

Also, this dress is definitely one that I'll be hanging on to if we ever have another girl or if S would like for her own daughter someday. Don't worry, I don't feel like I have to hang on to every single thing my kids wear, but when they're so beautiful and well-made, it for sure stays in the "keep pile." Plus, one of the best parts of this dress is that the owner of Josset wanted to make sure that her pieces are ones that can be worn longer than just a few months. As I look at these pictures of S in the snow, I can already imagine her adventuring in this dress with sandals and a popsicle in hand in the summer, and running around with leaves crunching under her in the fall. 

When purchasing your next item for your children, please consider shopping small and supporting someone's very real dreams.

To read more about Josset's mission statement, go HERE, and you can also find the dress S is wearing HERE.

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