June 26th, 2007


The morning my daughter was born, I cried quietly in the bathroom before getting dressed for the hospital. At the time, I didn't know that this was going to be the day my daughter was born. I was hopeful though, after missing not one, not two, but three consecutive due dates. Would this baby every come out? Would I ever become a mother? I asked myself those questions, but I really didn't want the answers.

I was terrified.

There I was peeing and crying and realizing that Holy Shit, there was a kid about to come out of me. Maybe even that day! I wasn't crying because of the pain of labor, although I was afraid of that. I wasn't crying because my life was going to change. Duh, people. I knew that, and even if I hadn't, everyone I encountered since the two pink lines showed up, had something to say about it. I knew that I wasn't going to get a good nights sleep ever again. I knew I'd never eat a hot meal again for many years. I knew that I'd never be alone again, not even to pee. I got that. I knew that. I was ready for that.

Still I was terrified.

Because everyone kept telling me that motherhood would come naturally. Motherhood would be the most natural thing I ever did. Yet, there was this little voice in my head, nagging me. Nagging me hours before I'd be bringing a life into this world that said, "Nothing is ever that easy".

It wasn't. Motherhood wasn't the most natural thing I had ever done.

Caitlin was born at four twenty-six in the afternoon, and by five o'clock I was seriously questioning my decisions in life so far. I looked at that little bundle of joy, and wondered, when is her mother coming to pick her up? Then I'd realize, oh, stupid, that's us. We're the mother. Who was going to change this kids diapers? Breastfeed? Tell her how to make good and solid life decisions? How the hell am I going to do that?

The first diaper I ever changed was Caitlin's. The breastfeeding went terribly. The bottle feeding swimmingly. She never slept, and neither did I. I was too stubborn and didn't really feel right about the "crying it out" method. I second guessed by self the entire way through her first year. Because two months later, six months later, one year later, I was terrified.

I was so afraid of not being perfect. I was so afraid of letting her down. I was so afraid that she could tell I totally sucked at motherhood. That she knew I didn't have one ounce of my shit together. I was terrified that people thought I was a horrible mother because she took a bottle, and because she slept in my bed. I was terrified that someone would realize what a terrible, no good, fuck up of a mother I was and take her away. I was so afraid that the world would know, finally know that I wasn't good at everything like I had always led them to believe. That everyone would finally know I was a fraud.

Funny thing is, I wasn't a fraud. I wasn't terrible or horrible. I was just a mother. I was just a human. My baby wasn't the only one crying. My baby wasn't the only one who took a bottle. My baby wasn't the only one who slept with me on the couch or in the guest bedroom bed. I wasn't the only mother who felt like a failure. In fact, according to some, I wasn't a failure at all.

It took time and a lot of phone therapy with my best friend to come to those conclusions. Eight years ago motherhood was a lonely place for me. I didn't blog or read blogs. The only parenting books were the "how to" kind, and who the fuck needed those? There were a million and one books to tell you how to me the perfect parent, and not a single one to tell you just to be a parent. Not a single book to reassure me and a million others that we were doing just fine, that we were writing the rules of our own stories.

June 27th, 2007 was the day I became a mother. There were no backsies. Ready or not, there I went into the great unknown, without an ounce of natural talent. Tomorrow I will probably cry while peeing again, because we did okay, her and I. We made it to eight. Which eight years ago seemed impossible. I'm so grateful for her, for all the challenges she brought, for all the joy and love she has given me. Without her I would have never known that I could do great and amazing things. Even when I was on my knees begging for just an ounce of sanity, I did and will continue to do great things. All because I became a mother. Her mother.


I wouldn't have it any other way.


Preschool Graduations and other heartaches


My baby graduated from preschool and I lived to tell the tale. What started with the tiny cap and gown hanging in my closet for a month, ended with a store bought chocolate cake and a gallon of chocolate ice cream. This entire school year passed like someone else's life, and yet there I was, in the same hall as the Christmas program just six months before, watching my little one grab her "diploma".

I didn't cry. Maybe I should have, but while it was bittersweet, it was also a relief. It was an exhale of all those harried mornings, all the missed show and tells, all the school parties I couldn't be at last year. I teared up a few times, especially when they played this sappy Taylor Swift song about growing up or something like that, and then I felt like as ass for tearing up. All around me parents and grandparents were crying, and I was sitting like a heart of stone.

I guess it's because I cry at other times.

Mackenzie really has grown up this year. We now buy her clothes in the "girls" department, not the toddlers. She has decided to grow out her hair, and so her little a-lined noggin is a thing of the past. She likes to paint her nails and her toe nails. She knows all the words to "Blank Space". She can also count to one hundred and say her alphabet. She can even write her name.

Mackenzie seems so big and so small at the same time. And so I tear up and my heartaches when she does those little things that remind me that she is the baby.

She still rubs my earlobes when she's tired or scared. She still wants me to snuggle her in the morning. She will still crawl in my lap and pretend she isn't tired, when it's so obvious she is. She is still afraid of the dark, and of loud noises outside her window. Just last week when we were watching a movie, she covered her eyes at the part where the kids were going to get into trouble, then began to peek through her fingers so she wouldn't miss it. She still wants to be a princess and a teacher when she grows up. She still wants mom when it gets dark.

And even though it sometimes feels like I still have a baby in the house, I found myself at a preschool graduation. My daughter's preschool graduation. I wasn't quite ready for my last baby to say goodbye to preschool and hello to kindergarten. I wish that I could extend summer another month, to make sure we put off the new school year as long as possible. Because after kindergarten it all starts to fly. That is really what makes my heartache. It's not just the idea that there aren't any babies left in this house. It's that there is nothing we can do to stop them from becoming grown ups. They keep growing up. I keep growing old, and I guess, nostalgic.

There was no pomp or circumstance for this preschool graduation. There was cake and people who loved her. There was a cap and a gown, and for whatever reason her insistence on wearing rainbow socks with that cap and gown. She also demanded shorts and a t-shirt, and thankfully, I talked her into a new blouse instead. We had a quiet good-bye to great teachers and a fantastic school. I had a quiet good-bye to a part of my mothering life that is over. Those years right before school is a constant. When going to school is optional, and it's for half a day three or four days a week. I said good-bye to homework free nights and optional field trips. I've said good-bye to an era that I thought I couldn't wait to get out of, but sadly am now regretful to leave. Why do we spend so much time looking forward, and not enough time looking around? Why are we always in such a rush?

I'm not rushing this summer. I want to enjoy every last minute before I have a kindergartner. I want to cherish and hold every last second before I finally realize nothing will stop time or the little heartaches along the way.

Finding the right fit {WIW: Elevate Conf 2015}




I wore shorts to Elevate this year. If you have followed this blog for more than a year, then you must know that I struggle with what to wear to the conference every year.  This year I just wanted to be comfortable. I didn't want to bake in the sun (it was actually unseasonably cool this year) and I didn't want to be pulling at my sweaty clothes all day. Shorts and a flowy tank were perfect, and when I look at this picture I'm pretty happy with the way I look. The shorts are one size bigger than I normally buy, but they sat better on my hips than the smaller size. The tank hid any flaws in my mid section and the sandals were just perfect. There is something to be said about feeling confident in your skin, let alone in your clothes.

This hasn't always been the case. For the better part of the year I've been struggling with my weight. I'm sure most people look at me and say, "She is so tiny", because I'm short and could fit in my husband's pocket. Yet for me, this is a size I'm not used to even though I weigh exactly what I weighed when I got pregnant with Mackenzie. Back then I was happy with that size, even though I never could fit in my pre-Caitlin jeans. I just bought new jeans and kind of started a new life. I would have been happy fitting into those jeans after having Mackenzie and I did, until I didn't. After having Mackenzie my body went into shock. I suffer from autoimmune deficiencies, and found that everything I ate made me sick. I was exhausted, and because I was eating a really restricted diet I lost a lot of weight. So much weight that I found myself a size I hadn't been since my freshman year of high school. I didn't hate that size, I'll admit it. I was really tiny, and I had to buy jeans in a size I had never fit in before. My clothes fit in such a way that I loved the way looked. For the first time in years, I really did love my body.

Then I got better. With the help of a new diet and some really good supplements, I started eating again. I even started exercising again, running if you can believe it. And I felt good, I felt really good. I felt like I was finally healthy. Then something strange started to happen, my tiny jeans got tight. Shirts I was comfortable in, weren't so comfortable anymore. I started to see flaws when I looked in the mirror. Then I stepped on a scale and was shocked. Up almost six pounds.

That was almost two years ago. Those six pounds eventually turned into eight. Now those eight are actually more like ten. Those tiny jeans went in the giveaway pile. Some of those shirts have been passed on. I've had to buy new jeans. I've had to buy new shirts. Most importantly I've had to "buy" a new attitude. I've had to look in the mirror and buy into this person looking back at me. And let me tell you, it's taking a really long time.

In March I turned thirty seven, and on my thirty seventh birthday I woke up and worked out in my living room. Some Jillian Michaels torture session. I didn't make a big announcement on social media. I was proud of myself, but I also didn't want to fly my would be failure on social media. I say that because I was pretty sure I wouldn't keep up with it. I knew that I'd do really well for three weeks and then when nothing had changed, not the scale, not the way my clothes fit, I would look at my five in the morning alarm and say "fuck it".

But I didn't. I told myself that I didn't have to work out every day. I challenged myself to use my birthday "gift" three times a week. Since I had at least two days off, those became mandatory work out days. The first month was awful. I hated getting up that early, but when I did, when I worked out, I felt so much better about the day and myself. Oh, God. I know what you are thinking. I'm that person who is going to tell you how amazing exercise it. Don't worry. I'm not. I still hate waking up early to exercise. I still have a special kind of hate for Jillian Michaels at five thirty in the morning. I still gasp for air and spell the eff word while doing jumping jacks. But... I really do feel better when it's all said and done.

The changes haven't been drastic. I'm not sure anyone has really noticed, but I have. When I was in Disneyland last month my jeans were bigger. My tank tops didn't cling like they did a month before. My shorts were so loose I could have used a belt. Those were changes I was okay with. Maybe no one else could tell, but I could. I knew I was finding the right fit. The right fit for me.

I've said before on this blog that I will never have flat abs. I will never run a marathon (at least I think I probably won't because it's not a desire of mine). I will never work out every day of the week because sleep, duh. And everyday is a cheat day if it's going to be a good day. But I really want to like the body that I see in the mirror. I really want to find the right fit. I'm quite happy with the way I look currently, even if I hate what the scale says. It's funny because I don't feel like the number the scale says. I feel lighter than that. I feel fitter than that. I finally feel like I no longer want to worry about enjoying chocolate almond cupcakes or coconut milk ice cream by the pint. Years ago I read about people who were throwing away their scales. I'm making it a point to only step on them at the doctor's office.

I look at that picture from Elevate and I feel like it fits. That's me. I'm not sick anymore. I'm not sad anymore. I'm not post baby or prebaby or in training for anything but living a happy and full life. I like being healthy, even if I hate the five a.m. wake up call. I like that my clothes feel like they fit. I like that I don't make myself feel bad if I decide to sleep in, or if I decide to eat french fries. If I decide to eat an entire pint of coconut milk ice cream, I want to be able to face myself in the morning. When I look in the mirror today, I feel like I'm finally looking at me. Flaws and all. Smiles and all. That's a welcomed change after a struggle with finding the right fit for the better part of two years.

I didn't work out this morning. Sleep and the silence of the house was too tempting. I stayed in bed. I ate a frozen banana in my night shirt, while sitting in our recliner. I finished a book I started on Sunday.

I have to admit, it felt really good. In fact, it fit perfectly.

Mouse Ears {recapturing the magic}




Four years ago, a dear friend of mine, called to tell me that she was planning a trip to Disneyland. She went into great detail about the planning and the excitement, and I played along like a good friend should, but I was also jealous. Our daughters are the same age, and four years ago, a trip to Disneyland was not in the cards for us. Not for our highly sensitive, very anxious daughter. Four years ago we gave up Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and any team mascot that walked by at our local AAA baseball field. From an early age crowds and noise were problems, she even spent part of her third birthday in my bedroom as there were too many people in our house for her liking. It's only been since age five that we can allow singing when we do birthday cake. For many years Disneyland was just a dream, an idea, something that I thought we'd have to postpone until her teenage years.

Then one day, she started to ask about Disneyland after seeing commercials on the Disney channel about the park. She asked if we could go, and John and I began to tell her about the park. We tried to give her a good idea about how big the park was, and how many people like to go to the park. We found videos on YouTube that showed parades and rides, and she seemed open to them. The more questions she asked, the more questions we asked ourselves. Was she ready? Could we really make a trip to the Happiest place on Earth?

Last year after our Elevate trip, we took a detour to Downtown Disney on her way home. The idea was that if she could see how massive the park was, if she could see just how crowded it would get, maybe we could get a better idea of how she would do if we went to the park. From the moment we stepped on the Toy Story, she was overwhelmed in the best way. Her excitement was getting the best of her, and by the time we got to the park gates, she was all smiles. We hit the big Disney store in Downtown Disney and she was beside herself. We walked and talked and enjoyed a nice lunch, and before we knew it, it was time to go home. That's when she cried and begged to go to Disneyland. "Can't we just walk inside the gates for five minutes?", she asked.

It was time.

As we made our way to the park that exciting morning, she gripped my hand, as we hurried our steps. She whispered over and over that she was so nervous. That she was scared. What if it was too big? What if she didn't like the rides? What if? What if? I told her over and over that it would be fine, but as we got in line at the gates to Disneyland, I looked over at her, and then looked her in the eye and told her that I was here. I was right here next to her, with her hand in mine, and we wouldn't do anything that she didn't want to do. If she didn't want to ride a ride, we wouldn't. If she just wanted to walk the entire park, we would do that. If all she wanted to do was eat Dole Whips all day while shopping on Main Street, so be it. But I promised that I'd be right there to hold her hand. She smiled, squared her shoulders, and dived right in.

She had done just fine at the Character Breakfast, so I knew that seeing the characters in the park would be okay. But I had no idea just how bravely she would face those characters. Two hours into our adventure, and Peter Pan himself asked if she would like to go on an adventure with him. And to every one's surprise, mine especially, she said yes.


Peter Pan took my once shy and anxious, almost eight year old girl by the hand, and led her on a short adventure to scare Captain Hook. They ran and skipped and plotted. I took picture after picture, not believing my own eyes. She was excited and brave and smiled ear to ear. It was everything I had always wanted for her and her first trip to Disneyland.


It occurred to me that this was only the beginning. She was just beginning to find her brave heart. Only starting to stretch those wings that so many of her peers have already stretched. She's growing, before my eyes everyday, but the monotony and chaos blind me to it. Second grade has taught her to be more independent and age has taught her to leave her fears behind. And though she gripped my hand so tightly over the course of this trip, it wasn't because she was always afraid, it was because she was finding her brave.


This big trip to Disneyland was also a growing experience for the both of us. Our relationship has been rocky at best since little sister came to town. I didn't mean for that to happen, but as I've written before, as my first born, I project more responsibility and expectation onto her. Unfairly of course. Most days are spent arguing because my expectations are so high, and her need to please me is comparable. It breaks my heart to write that, but it's so achingly true. We don't always get along, even in the best of circumstances. I didn't want that for this trip. I wanted us to have fun, enjoy each other, and for the love of God, not fight about clothes!


So we did. We took selfies. We held hands. We rode rides together. I covered her eyes when I though it would be scary. I didn't push her to ride any rides that she was nervous about. I made it a point not to lose my temper. I made it a point to pick my battles. I said yes, every day in the park was a "yes" day. Even when it meant indulging in a famous Mickey Mouse ice cream bar post breakfast. I just wanted her to remember this as one of the best experiences as a kid. It's my hope that she will.


Don't get me wrong, it wasn't perfect. There were some tears. Pirates of the Caribbean was too dark. The Goofy Sky School Coaster was too fast. World of Color was so loud and it was cold. The last night in the park, she and I took a detour to get away from the fireworks, that she didn't like at all. Instead of staying with Dad and sister near It's a Small World, we made our way to Frontierland. We rode The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh three times. And sure, I'm told I missed some amazing fireworks, but I'd never trade those fireworks for the little adventure I had with my girl.

I've been working on this post, in my mind, since we spent that first day in the park. I knew we had turned a corner, her and I. It's as if we floated into this sweet spot, that would help me mind my temper. A sweet spot that would give her pause before she lost all sense of herself. We still have our days, where she tries my temper, where I yell, where we both look at each other and just have to get the last word in. But it's different. We find little ways to sneak out for Target trips and Starbucks without the rest of the family. We stay up late and watch The Golden Girls. We watch music videos on YouTube. I've always wondered if I could recapture some of our magic. The magic between mother and first born is a strong one. The magic that we had all those years ago when she was just a baby sleeping on my chest. I feared that it had been too long, that I hadn't made the effort to recapture her heart. I love her, and she loves me, but somewhere along the way we got lost. There was a piece missing, and I was worried we would never find it again.


Imagine my surprise when I found it. That little missing puzzle piece that would put life and love back together again magically. Would you believe me if told you it's shaped like mouse ears?

Dear 2014-2015 School Year {I was that Mom}


Dear 2014-2015 School Year,

I'm sure it's obvious to both of us that I was that Mom this year. You know the one who forgets the permission slips or loses them all together. The mother who waits until the last possible second to pay for the field trip, the class pictures, to sign the progress reports. I was her, I'll own that. I'll also own the fact that I'm not really sorry about it. I'm not going to apologize for being less than perfect. I'm not going to apologize for not having my shit together. I'm just going to ask that you let it slide.

I see the other Moms. The ones that come to school in their clean jeans and freshly washed hair. They have their toddlers decked out in bows, and I take a minute to morn that kind of mother I once wanted to be. I'm happy for them, I watch them and wonder where they got their cute boyfriend jeans, and wonder how they get them to fit that way. Most mornings I'm in whatever I can pass as business casual, with a pony tail, or erratically flat ironed hair. Some mornings I'm still in my pajamas, or workout clothes, to give off the appearance that I actually work out and take care of myself. Although in reality, I go home and watch Grey's Anatomy in the recliner all day while my kids are at school.

This was a very hard year for me. Kind of like last year but more pressure had built. I started working full time. I lost that extra day off during the week. I stopped volunteering in the classrooms. I stopped checking homework religiously. Most weeks I didn't know if my kid passed her spelling test, or if she even had a test. I spent less time on campus, relying on Dad or Grandma to take the kids to the school library, make sure they got their homework done, to make sure they took the right ingredients to school for the right recipes or projects. I lost more notes and pieces of important paperwork in my pile of crap in the dining room. I forgot to send cereal on cereal day, and occassionally forgot to pack my kids snack for morning recess. That ususally happened on the mornings when she didn't get breakfast either. I know, I never meant for it to get this way either.

This year I forgot about "Twin Day", Picture Day, and somehow lost not one, but two "Character Counts" t-shirts. I really wish you'd stop inventing those special school spirit t-shirt days. I forgot to pay for Spring Pictures for Mackenzie after I worked for a week to help her get her outfit right. I realized a month later when I cleaned off the fridge and noticed the envelope still attached to the flyer, still empty and incomplete. I can only slap my head so many times when I make assholes moves like that.

I didn't send a special class room gift for Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas. I did make photo cards for Valentine's Day because it was easier than sitting with both girls and hand addressing them. The only party I made it to, I showed up late and missed all the fun. No matter my kid was happy anyway. We even skipped the pumpkin patch this year with preschool and the Girl Scouts. Whatever.

In all the madness, I have to say that the Teachers are what saved us this year. I handed over crying children on countless mornings after losing my voice in epic shoe and hair battles. On those mornings with little time left to cuddle and soothe, the teachers took charge and changed the subjects, helping them look forward to school. I can't thank them enough. I had to accept that I couldn't wipe those tears or hold those hands, because I had to get to work, or drop off another kid. Most mornings I just couldn't shake the feeling that I was royally effing up the entire thing. But the teachers, they swooped in and saved the day.

The sad thing is, I've always wanted to be super mom. I never wanted perfection, but I did enjoy volunteering in the classroom. I have fun making those classroom gifts that I pin on Pinterest. I missed being on campus and knowing what days were twin days and what days were crazy hair days. I like being in the loop, writing down important days in my planner. I've always been the mother that gets the eye roll because I bring the candy bar bats at Halloween and the personalized ornaments at Christmas. But not this year. This year I had to let that go, and while I was sad, I'm wasn't sorry. This year, while becoming that mom, I've also become a better mother. The one who says "aw eff-it, let's be late to school and stop at Starbucks first". I've become the mother who buys the classroom gifts, like individually wrapped hostess cupcakes, which are really like gold to second graders. Honestly, this year Mac took donuts to school for her birthday and Caitlin is taking Jamba Juice smoothies. It was easier and way more exciting that mom's haphazardly iced cupcakes. I've become the mother who sends money in place of my time, realizing that there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing bad or wrong about being that mom. I am her, she is me, and that discovery has been so freeing. There is so much freedom when you let go of all that pressures you. After a year without the luxury of time and weekends off, I'm okay with that now. We should all be okay with being that mom.

It's almost summer, and I'm not sorry to see you go 2014-2015 school year. You were a beast, a challenge, an unforgiving shithead. You gave us your worst and your best. We all had growing pains this year, and I learned a thing or two about myself and about school years in general. For every bad morning, there were two or three really good ones, where I didn't yell, where we all got to school/work on time. Thankfully my kids didn't notice much. They were too busy learning, playing, and growing up. I can't promise much will change next year. I'm still me, and my kids will still be late on most days. The best I can do is promise that they will be dressed, be wearing shoes, and be ready to learn. Just don't be surprised if I'm still in last nights make up. 

Have a great Summer,
Megan