Dear Mr. Crutchfield {Happy Anniversary}

Dear Mr. Crutchfield,
I regret to inform you that this is a post about you.  In the past I know that you have taken issue with posts of this nature.  My sincerest apologies, however today is our wedding anniversary.  It should be noted, on record, that I thought our Anniversary was Wednesday.  Make no mistake, I do know the actual date of our anniversary, I just counted days wrong.  Much like the the budgets and spending limits you give me, I'm horrible at numbers.  I digress, this is a post dedicated to you, and all of the things I love and well sometimes hate about you.  I knew who you were when I married you, and you knew me.  Granted there are few surprises, the biggest being that you finally said yes.  Happy 8th, which I'm sure to you feels like 80.  It feels like 80 to me too, but I don't mind a bit.  
Enjoy your post and your time in the spotlight.
Your wife

It's so true that from the moment we met there was this strange attraction.  While we may have said we hated each other in the beginning, it's more like we couldn't stand to be apart from the other.  We have never recovered, because there is no single remedy for crazy, stupid, reckless, love.

This is the text book definition of our marriage.  However it's totally true.  Back before we got "together" that one last time, my mom asked me if I could really live with out you.  I told her it wasn't possible.  So she told me to cut the shit and just accept you for who you are.  She's a smart lady.  But you also had to accept me for me.  There are times, days, even months when I think, I just might have to cut you, but then I'd be sad.  I don't want to do this life without you.  And let's face it, you with out me?  It just wouldn't work.

I am crazy.  I admit that.  I also jump to conclusions.  I know that I'm not the easiest person to live with.  Just remember you are at times not cake walk either.  We do however compliment each other in the crazy.  It just sucks when we go crazy together.  But when we are crazy stupid and watching Beerfest together, or videos on YouTube, it's a little piece of heaven

Sometimes when we are having one of our "moments", I really wish this was on a tshirt.  In my size.  Not yours.  I still can't look at this ecard without laughing.  It reminds me of you so much!  There have been rare, very rare moments when you have been right.  But who's counting?

We made a third person and a fourth.  I always knew you would be a great dad. You probably don't remember but one night when we were semi-dating, we went to John's New England with some of your pledges on Wednesday night for beers and karaoke.  There was a family there with a little guy, probably about five.  He was trying to play some video game while standing on a chair, and you went over and helped him out.  Next thing I knew, you two were hi-fiving, and I was in love.  In a really stupid way, because I knew right then that I wanted to have your babies.  So a few years later I did.

You are sometimes.  But so am I.  So in a way we balance each other out.  
It doesn't really matter because I love you anyway.  Plus some of my favorite stories start with you being an a-hole to someone else.  You have this way of being an a-hole and being hilarious at the same time.  It's like a gift.  Which keeps on giving whether we like it or not.

Since these are the only cards you are going to get today, Happy Anniversary.  Eight years married.  Together since, well it's debatable.  But it's been almost 13 years since we met, and we all know it was down hill from there.  When I really think about it I think that we are incredibly lucky that we have the love that we have.  We scream, we yell, we laugh, we love.  There are always more good days than bad.  Arguments can be halted by a joke.  But we have always put in the work.  From the very beginning.  It has never been easy.  If it was, we wouldn't have any fun.  I love you for a million reasons, but the main reason is because you are you.  And I love you.  I love your laugh, your jokes, your occasional OCD-ness.  It would seem that after eight years things would be boring and mundane.  But as always with you, it's just as entertaining as it was the first time we met.

Which just to clarify, you were the one being a dick.

Store Bought Cakes {Mac turns three}

Store bought cakes do not a bad mother make.
Let's say it again.
Store bought cakes do not a bad mother make.
It's the truth.  Or so I keep telling myself.  This was the first year that I let birthdays go.  I asked for help.  I bought more things than I made.  I actually stressed that I wasn't going to make Mac's birthday special enough, or memorable enough.
Then I realized it didn't matter.
Mac had a blast turning three.  She only wanted two things: a stroller for her baby doll, and a chocolate cake.  Well precious girl, done and done.
Friday we kicked off our celebration with our neighbors in the front yard.  A double chocolate cake from Costco and vanilla ice cream.  Mac played with her friends, played in the dirt, and went to bed, dirty feet in all at 10:30.  She didn't notice that the napkins and the plates didn't match.  She didn't notice that the cake came in a plastic container.  She was too busy eating cake.
This is Miss Mac party bound.  Her shirt was bought at a craft fair, and her tutu is from Gymboree.  Her flippies are from Target.  I know right.  Oh and her moves are all her own.  She's pretty much owning three.
Scenes from Mac's party.  Peppa Pig printables by this girl on Etsy.  Let me tell you she is amazing, and has Peppa Pig invitations!  She included cupcake wrappers and punch out circles with this kit.  Mommy knew that cupcakes and picks were way outta her time limit, so I didn't use them, but they were part of the party package.  Also she can customize the printable packs for you, and they don't break the bank.  Check her out!  Also the Peppa figurine is from Amazon.  
Mac really, really, really, wanted a Peppa Pig birthday.  We watch Peppa Pig on loop since I had the brilliant idea to DVR about 13 episodes.  We are a Peppa Pig family, since it's not unusual to find us using British accents!
This beautiful chocolate, chocolate cake is from Costco.  I added my own Peppa Pig as previously stated.  Here's the thing, I debated whether or not to make a cake like I did last year.  Or to make cupcakes, or to ask someone to make cupcakes.  Then I thought, why, when I can just buy one and add to it, or not.  Why put so much pressure on myself.  So I decided to screw homemade, and order this damn cake.  That everyone loved by the way.  No harm no foul, and we are on our way to ordering one for Caitlin's birthday in June!
We also held Mac's party at The Jungle Party House in our local Mall (we have two in this area and this is the smaller one).  It has an art area, a jungle gym, a bounce house, karaoke and dress up for the kids, and a pool table, air hockey table, an Wii, for the adults.  It was the best decision I have made when it comes to birthday parties.  I was cool (considering yesterday hit 90 degrees), it was clean, and I came home to a house that was still clean with no clean up.  I mean really, is there anything better?
Mac working on some serious birthday party art.
The hubbs took this picture right after we sang Happy Birthday.
She doesn't really like that, and she refused to blow out her candles!
However she didn't refuse any cake or ice cream.
I tried to get a smile out of her, this was the closest I got!
This my friends is the after party.
Because turning three is really hard.
I'm exhausted too, can you tell?
So once again in the spirit of some of my favorite bloggers (Chelsea, Summer), forgoing the usual Perfectly Pinterest birthday isn't a mommy fail, it's actually a mommy win.  I was less stressed.  I enjoyed myself so much more.  I had a great time, and didn't have to stay up the night before decorating ladybug cupcakes, and a ladybug cake (true story).  I didn't spend three weeks making a tank top dress, or hair bows, or pom poms, I didn't wake up at 5 in the morning to ensure that the pasta salad and sandwiches would be ready in time for the party.  I bought a store bought cake, some printables, and ordered sandwich trays.  I feel I out Pinterested any party.
Because a store bought cake does not a bad mother make.
Or so I keep telling myself.

Dear Mac {You're Three}

Dear Mac,
Today you are three.  And it's really hard for Mommy to wrap her head around that.  You are my baby.  The one that saved me.  I'm so glad I was blessed with you.

I adore your bad attitude.  Even if your whining drives me crazy.  Even if I can't stand your demanding little voice, yelling at me in the back seat for "more of my song".  I still secretly love it.  Because it reminds me of myself.  My apologies in advance.

I love your sense of humor.  I love that you laugh at all the right parts in Ratatouille.  I love that you laugh and ask for America's Funniest Home Videos. You know when someone is being silly.  You know when something is going to be funny before it's funny.  Keep that.  Hold on to that.  It will come in handy later in life.

I love that you know the words to Call me Maybe, and Stay.  I love that I can hear your little voice singing in the back seat.  It makes me smile and my heart swell.  I love that you get mad when we catch you singing.  Because you are just a tad bit embarrassed.

I love that you call root beer, fruit beer.  Daddy and I have now taken to calling it fruit beer as well.  Don't get mad when we tell your first boyfriend to take you out for fruit beer.  Because we are totally doing that.

Here are a few of the things that you have said lately that have made me laugh out loud. 

Can you go to work to buy more money so you can buy me more toys?
- in the Costco parking lot

Where's my chocolate?  I need it because I was crying.
- after a tantrum provoked by no one

Mommy, Mommy, MOMMEEEE, Wall-E left his bug friend!  
He left his BUG FRIEND!!
- during the movie, 
little does she know that the bug friend is a cockroach!

I love that you love Pirate's Booty and Cheetos.  BBQ chips and cheese and crackers.  I love that you are an Oreo bandit and we've had to move them to a higher shelf.  I love that you ask for pop tarts and cookies with the stripes.  I love that you are a junk food junkie.  Which is kind of bad, because mommy should make you eat more vegetables. 

I love that you still want to snuggle with me, and still grab my ear when you are tired.  I love that you climb into my bed and I find you there in the morning, taking up all the space.  

I love that you know who Mindy Kaling is because "mommy watches that show".  I love that when you saw her book in Target you said "mommy there is your friend".  I love that you ask for Big Bang Theory by name and tell me Sheldon is your favorite.  I love that you are a pop culture junkie just like me.  I love sharing that with you even if it shows my shortcomings as a mom...

Mac, you are a gift.  Each year has been a gift.  You took everything I thought I knew about motherhood and threw it out the window.  You have made me a better mom, a better person.  You are so smart already, almost too smart.  You are already a better negotiator than your sister.  You already know when we are trying to pull a fast one.  You already know when we are telling white lies.  

But my favorite things are the sound of your laugh.  Hearing your voice.  Your arms around my neck.  Those are the things that remind me that this motherhood gig is worth every minute.  Every heartache.  Every obstacle.  You my child bring great joy, not just to my life, buy to the lives around you.  Even your sisters, even when she acts like you are a major cramp in her style.  

Happy 3rd birthday precious.  My pretty, pretty precious.

Mommy loves you.

To celebrate visit Mac's birth story

The quest to be mom

I spend the majority of time in this place writing about my trials in motherhood.  I complain about whinny crying babies.  I complain about sleepless nights, early mornings, potty training, and poop.  I complain about not enough me time, not enough us time, not enough time period.  I spend lots of time complaining about being a mom.  

It never occurred to me that I'm blessed to have a complaint.

Before I became a mother, I didn't know that for some women, motherhood is a quest.  I was of the school of thought that you got pregnant, you had a baby, you became mom, end of story.  I didn't know anything about loss and infertility.  It took 9 months to conceive Caitlin, and I was getting worried.  I was told by my doctor that I had old eggs (at 28 no less).  I was told by my mother in law that time was wasting.  I was told by my mother that she wasn't getting any younger.  I was told a lot of things, but none of those were that conceiving was impossible.  Because that just didn't occur to me.

But today it does.  Today I know someone who is in the throws of infertility.  She is quite possibly on the last leg of her journey.  She's had heartbreak and disappointment.  She's had a struggle with her faith.  She's had to come to grips with the "impossible".  She's had to endure things that I know nothing about.

I have no words that will comfort her.  That is so hard for me.  What can I say?  I know that she reads my blog, and I wonder, does she want to choke me?  Tell me how lucky I am that I have mouths to feed, or butts to wipe?  Does she have to turn away some days because I'm so "overwhelmed" with being a mother?  What can I say to comfort her?  I know nothing of her struggle.  Quite frankly I can't even imagine.

Today I want to say to her that mothers are made from many cloths.  Sometimes they are made in unconventional ways.  There is no single journey to motherhood.  The roads are different for every one.  Some of us take one fork, some of us take another.  No matter the way, we all end up at the same place.  Motherhood.

Today I want to offer her an extra prayer.  I want to offer her my hand to hold.  I want to offer her words of inspiration.  I want her to know that in her quest for motherhood she is not alone.  She is not the last.  She is not at the finish line.  Because mothers never give up.  They will never take no for an answer.  They always trudge on, through the trenches.  There is no finish line, when you are a mom.

I want her to know, that in her quest to be a mom, she already is one.

Amanda has been writing in honor of NIAW, 
be sure to check out her posts.

Also linking up here.

When motherhood gives you the finger

In my mind there are days when motherhood resembles the main character in Juno.  Sarcastic, witty, and just on the edge of being a bitch.  It's like no matter what you do, motherhood/Juno has a comment or comeback for you.  No matter how hard you try, she dryly comments on how you could have done that better, or faster, or with more enthusiasm.  I imagine her in my mind wearing a shirt that says "Ask me if I care", because on most days motherhood doesn't give a damn.  So go ahead and plan that picnic, that play date, that trip to Target.  Somewhere along the way motherhood is going to trip you up.

I've let motherhood get the best of me for a long time.  Even now there are days when I'm so defeated.  My Facebook status reads:  It's one of those days.  Those days.  Where your kids are fighting over the same cookie, and even though you have a dozen, they both want that one.  Those days, when you wake up with a to do list that would rival Martha Stewart's, only to find that your child is running a fever.  Again. Those days, where there is not enough coffee, wine, or Housewives marathons to take you away.  

Last week I was having one of those weeks.  A week full of late nights and early mornings.  A week of underlying mommy guilt for forgetting to lay out the days outfit, or sending an envelope in a folder.  A week of not wanting to cook a single thing for dinner.  I was letting it get to me.  Worrying about blogging and emails, and getting the kids to bed at the right time.  I was worried about how I was going to fit all the to dos into my life.  Then I realized, there is not enough me, enough hours, and enough is enough.

So I gave motherhood the finger back.  

I let the laundry go another day.  Caitlin's hair didn't get washed for two consecutive days.  I skipped a shower and went to Target in a hat and the previous days makeup.  Let's be honest here, isn't this the life?  Who made up these ridiculous rules about motherhood?  No my mother certainly. When I was a kid, fast food dinners were the norm.  My mama worked.  She was good at her job, and in my eyes the best mom.  Ever.  So if she didn't put these ridiculous expectations on me, then who did?

Could it be that we, the women of the "have it all" generation have set ourselves up for heartache?  I mean I was told that I could in fact have it all.  The career, motherhood, the happy family behind the picket fence.  At no time did anyone explain that behind that picket fence the kids would be fighting, the dishes would be stacked, and I'd be crying about all that and more.  I feel like there should be a class offered at major universities called "failed dreams and disenchantment".  Because so many of us set such a high standard for ourselves.  I mean, we did go out and get our educations.  We worked hard for those degrees.  We fought our way up corporate ladders, to what?  Get pregnant, and decline into a life of casual yoga pants and dressy yoga pants?  I know this isn't the life that every mom leads, but there are a chosen few of us who procreated and then realized we weren't cut out for this shit at all.  And it scared us and disappointed us and now we are the disenchanted.  We laugh at those pregnant moms in Target full of hopes and dreams as they register for bottle warmers and boppies.  Because we hope that they are the spared ones.  The ones who are blissful, and glowing, even when they are covered in baby vomit from their statement necklace to their wedge sandals.  

I'd like us to all take a pledge to give motherhood the finger.  On those days.  When you could get dressed up and made up but choose yoga pants instead.  On the days when cookies for dinner sounds perfect.  On those days when your house looks like you run a day care, but nope it's just you and your kid.  Those days.  Just for a minute, pour another cup of coffee, another glass of wine, perhaps crack open a beer, and have a seat.  Put up your feet, yell at the kids from the couch, and take a minute to say,

F you motherhood.  I'm just fine, in fact I'm perfect.

Hello Monday {sarcastically}

Hello 5:15 am.  Which should have really been 5 am but I hit the snooze.  Do you realize how hard it is for me to get up, 5:15?  Even the sun is still asleep.

Hello overgrown eyebrows and puffy bags.  Yeah I see you.  I'm ignoring you, so why can't you ignore me.  I know I know, I should have gone to bed, and not stayed up on Pinterest and watching MadMen.  But I can't say no to Don Draper.  Who can?

Hello new maxi skirt that I didn't get a chance to take a picture of. Now the world of Instagram has no idea just how wonderful you are.

Hello keys.  Where the hell are you?  Like seriously.  Where are you?  Because now it's 6:55, and I normally leave the house at 6:40, and while I will still make it to work on time, I'm totally thrown.  Where are you?

Dear Darling Daughter, thank you from the bottom of my rushed and over reactive mommy heart.  Thank you for hiding my keys under your pillow so they would be safe.  I had a feeling I left them in your room, but I had no idea where.  Thank you finding them and hiding them under your pillow.  In the future, could you just bring them to mommy so she can keep them in her purse for safe keeping.

Dear radio on the drive to work.  You have helped turn around my day.  First Nysnc.  Then Weezer (Say it ain't so, of all songs), and finally Red Hot Chili Peppers.  It's put the lost keys, the 5:15 call time, and the fact that it's Monday into perspective.

Dear Work... No, just no.  Thank God, for the friends that sit near me.  That keep me sane, and keep me laughing when you all together SUCK.

Dear 4pm.  Thank you for coming, but alas your joy is short lived.  It's off to ballet.  Then home to throw dinner together, then homework... Hey this sounds familiar.  Like a job...

Dear ramen, grilled cheese, and pre sliced fruit that is expensive but worth it.  Dinner is served.  Thanks for the solid.

Dear Husband.  Thank you for doing the dishes and vacuuming the kitchen (Swiffer Vac yo!), and the living room.  Thank you for doing the job I hate the most.  

Hello coconut milk ice cream.  I know you are in there.  I'll meet you on the couch in one hour.  

Dear Monday.  Here we are at 7:01 in the evening.  I can't say I'm sad to see you go.  But really as far as Monday's go, you weren't so bad.  Can you give Tuesday a message for me?  
For the love of all things holy, be easy on me.

I'm sure this post isn't what Lisa Leonard had in mind.  
But I'm going to link up with her today anyway.  
So go over there and read some real Hello Monday posts 
that aren't so sarcastic.  
And most likely have great pictures.

Baby we were born to run....

Wednesday I figured out why I couldn't write a single thing.  I had Boston on my mind and in my heart.  The senselessness of it all.  One minute everyone is celebrating a major milestone, a 26 mile marathon, and the next, devastation.  Like every major news event, I was glued to the TV and social media.  I'm a serious news junkie and I just want more and more info.  I guess I think it will help me understand the why.  I still don't understand the why.
For almost a week I thought about Jeff Bauman Jr.  He was one of the first of the victims I saw in photographs. In a wheelchair, gripping his leg, which was badly injured.  His face was in my mind.  With every news report, every picture, I kept thinking about the man in the wheelchair.  On Tuesday I didn't even know his name.  Thursday I found his name, in an article about the pictures run my major media outlets.  Jeff, had indeed survived.  Both legs amputated under the knee, surgery to relieve fluid in his abdomen, but alive.  Then I realized I had been holding my breath.  I had been praying daily for a man I have never known, who I will never meet.  But I knew he needed my prayers.  I prayed that he was safe, and alive, and in good care. 
As the week went on with the manhunt and the shut down of a major city in the US, I thought about other tragedies that we have faced as Americans.  Whether they were on US soil or not.  One thing has always been clear, the American spirit to rally will never perish.
Even at our darkest hours, Americans will rally around each other.  No matter their creed or color.  No matter their party or their vote.  They will rally and come together.  Offer help, offer shelter, offer hope, and always offer prayer.  Is it any wonder that the stories of heroes like the man in the cowboy hat, captivate us?  That stories of Bostonians opening up their restaurants and business, even there homes to help displaced runners who had no where to go, steel us in our grief?  No, because it's what we do, as a country, as a people.  We come together, we pray together, we heal together.
The people of Boston, the victims, the first responders, the families of the perished, they have miles to go.  They have a journey of grief that they must go on.  With every bump in the road, every turn and fork in front of them.  We as Americans, we too have our own journey.  Our resolve a little stronger, our hearts on a higher alert.  We will not go about our days and forget.  We will add the marathon bombings onto our lists of acts by terrorists that were aimed at tearing us apart.  To make sure that we got knocked to our knees.  To make sure we had a harder time getting up. 
Those terrorists, they always forget.  We are not easily knocked down.  We are not slow to get up.  We rise from our tragedies with a renewed vigor.  We will not be intimidated, or submitted.  We will not let the acts of a few, hold hostage the many.  As Americans we band together, we push forward with tears in our eyes and patriotism in our hearts. 
This time next year, we will be watching the Boston Marathon while holding our breaths.  Like any other anniversary of a great tragedy we will be mindful of the year before.  We will be more cautious.  We may even be a little scared.  But it won't stop us.  We, the entire nation will be there, in person, or in our hearts.  We will be waiting for those amazing athletes to cross that finish line.  To say, no yell, at those who challenge us, "You can't take this from us!".
Because baby we were born to run.

Thursday Therapy


Last night I went to bed.  I didn't check Instagram one last time.  I didn't go on Pinterest for an extra laugh.  I didn't turn on the new for more marathon coverage.  I just went to bed.  
Half of me was guilt ridden, half of me was sad.  I'm feeling this extraordinary pull.  I spend all my time away from home these days, or so it seems.  When I finally walk back through the door, I'm not surprised at my overwhelming compulsion to do nothing.  Nothing.  Not a thing.  Not even blogging.

That's been the hardest part.  Not having it in me to write.  I string thoughts that could make a post.  Stories told to myself in my head.  But the act of picking up a pen, or logging into blogger leave me uninterested. 

Funny how one day away, one night off, reminds me of the relief I get when I write.  How much better I feel.  So today, all I thought about was getting to my laptop and writing.  Even if it was crap.  Which by now you have probably noticed this is just a jumble of thoughts.  Dancing in my head.
And so I give you my little piece of therapy for the day.

I've got writers block.  Or maybe writers fatigue.  I can't for the life of me write something quickly.  With work, then coming home to children I dearly miss, dinner to make and homework to do, I feel like there is not enough time to eek out a post.  I'm feeling the pressure now as I write this while my children play and the husband wrangles.  I could push this moment to later tonight when the kids are in bed, but what about me?  Lately mommy needs her sleep.  I'd say beauty sleep but really?  Let's be honest, there is nothing beautiful of 2nd day hair and bags under the eyes.  So today's post is what it is.  Something quick.  Something easy.  Something almost brainless.

I've never wanted this blog to feel like work.  And thankfully it still doesn't, but my heart hurts a little that I can't write the way I want.  I can't have the ease and the blocks of time to really put my heart into it.  So my posts may be spotty.  You may see really great stuff at the beginning of the week and then some leaner stuff at the end.  And that's ok for now.  I look forward to late night weekend blogging sessions, but I may choose sleep over the blogging.  I'm really that tired.  

So that's my bloggy therapy for today.  Anything you want to get off your chest?  Need to make a bloggy confession?  Go ahead and leave it in the comments, or write your own and leave it in the comments.  Because this is way cheaper than therapy.


What was the biggest decision you had to make when you entered motherhood?  Was it to breastfeed or not to breastfeed?  Was it to cloth diaper?  Was it about co-sleeping or ferberizing?  All big decisions that we make for our kiddos, but what if I told you the biggest decision I had to make when I became a mom, had nothing to do with my child and everything to do with me.

Motherhood was like a fairy tale that I had been hearing my whole life.  The perfect child, in the perfectly decorated nursery, with the perfect mother (me?).  Everything including my child would be swathed in cotton candy colored flannel blankets, and that I'd bask in the sunlight while I rocked my darling babe to sleep.  We all know that this was not the case, and my ideas about motherhood and how I would mother got knocked on it's ass.  The fairy tale was over in less than three sleepless weeks, and I was faced with a new dilemma.  How do I get over this?

I guess I could have pushed myself harder, but since the day I was born, I am extremely hard on myself.  I think it comes from being born with a penchant for OCD and the Type A personality chromosome.  From the beginning, any little failure or defeat was met with fear and loathing.  Could I ever do anything right?  Would I ever be able to face those challenges again?  I would obsess over every little mistake, every little slip up, every little defeat.  Even now, when I hit publish on this blog, only to go back and view it and find that I have typos... I berate myself, fix the typos, and pray that no one saw the mix up.  How sick is that?

So instead of pushing myself harder, and over the edge I had to slowly come to some decisions.  Decisions about me, about motherhood, about what I had come to expect out of both.  My conclusion:  I could be happy or I could be crazy.  And when I say crazy, I don't mean that I needed medication.  Unless there is medication for bitchiness.  Which is what I mean by crazy.  

I feel like it's a decision that many of us have to come to.  Like a come to Jesus talk.  We have to have a come to mama talk.  Do I want to be happy or do I want to be crazy?  Do I want to appreciate and acknowledge the mess of my life for what it is, a blessing?  Or would I rather be crazy and obsess about every stain on a shirt, every dish in the sink, every sock without a mate?  I think the decision is pretty clear.

I was talking with another mom a few weeks ago, and she said something that totally struck a chord:
Can I be happy with who I am right now?  Can I be content with my life, as is, right now?
That's a pretty powerful question to ask yourself.  Can you answer that question?  Can we accept our lives the way they are right now, and find comfort in them?  Can we look in the mirror and accept who is looking back at us?  Can we strive to be better, to do more, to be more, but truly not be devastated when it doesn't go the way it was intended?  These are the decisions we must make for ourselves, as mothers or not.

I have been happily making decisions about motherhood, since my "happy vs crazy" revelation.  I have decided to pick my battles.  Some days cookies instead of pancakes is a battle I know I'm not going to win. Some days the laundry gets done, or the dishes, but not both.  Some days my kids are quietly playing, but their rooms and outlying areas are a disaster.  I make the decision to let it go, let them play, let me browse Pinterest a little longer, serve Mac and Cheese for the 3rd consecutive night.  Decisions that may not make me the perfect wife and mother, but make me a happier person all the way around.  

Can we make the decision to be happy with the person we have become in motherhood?  The woman who is no longer a girl.  Who understands that the biggest crisis in the world is not a day without makeup, but a day without Nick Jr.  The woman who feels like her solo trip to Target is comparable to an island vacation.  The woman who prefers yoga pants to heels.  Can we like her?  Can we love her?  Can we accept her?

Possibly our biggest decision when it comes to motherhood is whether we accept what motherhood has made us.  There is always room for improvement, but what if that improvement takes longer than we anticipated?  Should we put happiness on the back burner until the conditions are perfect?

Let's decide that we like her, that woman looking back at you in the mirror.  Let's decide that we accept her, let's decide that we are happy, in the moment, in the here and now.  Maybe the key to having it all is realizing that "all" is a relative term.  Your all and my all are totally different.  And that's ok.  In fact its just perfect.

I've decided to be happy.  I've decided to pick my battles.  I've decided to accept that woman looking back at me in the mirror.  I've also decided that I do want it all, but just not at the same time.  Because it's the only way I can enjoy it all.

Is there a price tag? {Life Lately}

These moments are what I will miss most when I'm at work.

Days spent at home with my girls, are days that I have taken advantage.  Granted I've always known how lucky and blessed I have been to get to stay home.  That it's a privilege that many do not get.  But at what cost, at what sacrifice am I willing to ignore the obvious...

The pay sucks.

I have never discussed financials on the blog, but I'll tell you as of late, it's been a struggle.  Starting small, like a whisper, and growing and growing into a scream, a din I can no longer ignore.  It's become obvious and clear that I need to return to the workforce, and not just in a seasonal part time capacity.  But in a full time, sign over my other goals and aspirations and dive into, what millions of moms everywhere are doing now... Working.

Afternoons at Target with blue icee mouths.
It's easy to take these days for granted.

Maybe I sound like a brat.  Stomping my feet and crossing my arms.  Maybe I've been pampered or lazy, but returning to the workforce is not something I want to do.  It's not something I'm looking forward too, but it's something that I'm going to do.  For my family.

Yet in thinking about returning to work, I've been thinking about the value of the Stay at Home Mother.  What is the value?  The cost?  The price tag of the infamous Stay at Home Mother?

Is it strange that I have a hard time pleading my case to stay home when the sink is full of dishes?  When the laundry is piled up, both dirty and clean.  When the kids rooms look like Toys R US on Black Friday.  How do I then plead a case that I'm in fact valuable and cost effective as a stay at home mom?

Dancing like no on is watching.
You can't put a dollar amount on these moments.

It's been another tough transition as I returned to work on Thursday.  Getting used to mom being away for the morning routine, drop off and pick up, or after school activities.  The girls are slowly getting used to it again, and I wonder how they would do if this was on a full time basis.  The thing is, I actually enjoy doing all the menial tasks of motherhood.  This was not the case a few years ago, but now, in my groove, I feel like I've finally got it down.  That I'm now a top performer in this SAHM gig.  I'm a school volunteer, a room mom, a soon to be Girl Scout troop leader.  But none of these wonderful experiences pay the big bucks, or any bucks for that matter.

How do we put a price on the SAHM?  Am I being selfish, that I'm only thinking about all of the experiences and life I'm going to miss out on.  I know a lot of working moms, and I feel that sometimes this blog is almost offensive in the way that I go on and on about being a SAHM and how hard, or how challenging it is.  I almost envy the working mom who has known no other way, who finds comfort in the role she has carved out for herself.  The working mom who is confident and proud of her career and her children.

I cannot put a price on the years I have been able to spend with my children in the most formative years of their lives.  I cannot set a monetary amount on our time, the days spent on the couch in our jammies watching Nick Jr.  The mornings where we had cookies for breakfast, or a quick run to Starbucks for tea and cake pops.  Great memories made, experiences had, imperfectly perfect days.  I don't know what lies ahead.  I don't know if I'll be able to find work.  Who's going to hire a SAHM who has been out of work for almost 6 years?  My hope is that I'll be able to find my way, develop my new self, and have as good a grasp on working mom, as I feel like I do being a SAHM.  

There is no monetary value, no price tag that can be attached to motherhood.  Motherhood is in fact what we make it.  We take the good, the bad, the ugly, and the imperfect and make it our own.  There is no price you can set upon that.  All we can do is swim within the riches of what motherhood brings us.  

There is no job around that can pay me what motherhood has paid me for the last six years.  Unfortunately that pay, doesn't convert into dollars.

Linking up with Alli and Haley

Missing in action {InstaFriday}

Last weekend I was part of the Instagram outage.  I've got to confess I freaked a little.  We were out and about as a family on a Sunday.  That's kind of rare in this family considering most Sundays we are in our pjs all day.  I was so sad that I couldn't post any pictures, but I kept trying.  And trying.  And trying.  So in the end, I still got some pretty fabulous pictures, of a perfectly imperfect Sunday.

We went to Big Hat Days here in Clovis.  It's to mark the beginning of rodeo season.  You can't go to Big Hat Days and not buy a big hat.  Obviously.  

The weather was beautiful, in fact it was perfect for some Hawaiian Shaved Ice.  Here is Mac savoring every single bite.  While she watches Daddy buy the hot dog she's been asking for.

More icee love.  In the shade, enjoying the breeze.  What is it about an outdoor festival that makes spending $6 on shaved ice seem reasonable?  For these faces, I'm sure we'd have paid anything.

This is a girl and her duck.  That walks.  She got lots of looks and smiles as she walked her duck to the car.  Sure it made the walk that much longer, but really, where did we have to go?  It was turning out to be one of those lazy Sundays.

These are my missing in action shots, from a day where I felt I was missing in action online.  Only to find out that I was totally present and in the moment offline.  Sometimes being shut out of your favorite app is a blessing in disguise.  Guess the universe was trying to tell me something.

How a book established a friendship

Last week I posted this picture in Instagram.  It was and is a lovely book.  A treasure in my eyes.  It's the book that Julia Child and Louisette and Simone are working on in Julie and Julia.  A movie that I just adore, because who can say no to Amy Adams (seriously go watch Leap Year, now), but I'm not a cook.  Not really and while I would have loved to display this book, I'm not a decorator either.  I'm just a book worm, who loves to spend mornings in my local used bookstore.  But this book will hold a special place in my heart, because it really did establish a friendship.

The crazy thing about blogging is that you interact with people that you may never meet.  It's fun to get shout outs from your favorite "big" bloggers, but it's even more satisfying to have conversations with bloggers you have come to know and love.  It's funny that I've taken to talking about some of my bloggy friends as if they are my friends in real life.  As if I just got off the phone with them.  That's what blogging does.  It sets the foundations for not just interactions and contacts, but for actual friendships.  

What I can't really explain to most is the community that I have entered.  It's not a clique, or a secret club, it's more of a neighborhood.  A bunch of women, with kids, without, crafty, or artistic, bookish, nerdy, beautiful, fashionable.  Yet, we all like each other.  We all tweet and facebook and comment on each other's blogs.  We give encouragement.  We pray.  We love each others kids.  It's crazy.  It's unreal.  Last year, I wanted to meet up with another blogger in Southern California so we could road trip to a conference.  My husband was appalled.  He could not believe that I would go to someones house I had never met and just get in her car.  When I tried to explain that I knew her through her blog, he claimed that she could be a serial killer.  But Babe, I said, I read her blog, I see her kids on Instagram, we tweet.  It's totally cool.  I know her.

Because I felt like I really did.

So that brings me to the book.  I had recently exchanged numbers with Tricia so we could text.  Can I just say how fabulous this is?  Getting a text from someone you normally tweet is so much fun.  So imagine my surprise when I get a flurry of texts from Tricia.  Am I still at the bookstore?  What does the book look like? Hello?  Where are you?  So I text her back and soon find out that that book up there is a highly sought after book.  Especially if it has the copy write date of 1961, which it did.  Then a text later revealed that they are being auctioned on Ebay for a queens ransom.  I had to get the book.  Pronto!

I go back to the store, kids in tow, and race up the staircase... Yes, staircase, and it's as fabulous as it sounds..  I find the book, open to the main page and call Tricia.  No answer.  So I leave a message.  Hey it's me, Megan, I got your book, call me.  And when I hang up I think... She has never heard my voice.  I have never heard hers.  This is like some twisted blind date situation.

It's what happened when she called me back that is amazing.  Tricia and I talk.  Like we have known each other for years.  When she tells me about her day, I already know the details because of Instagram.  When we talk about her life, I already know details because of her blog.  When I offer advice, she receives it, happily, because she reads my blog.  And just like that, this friendship, that was established in social media, is then defined in real life.  As if we were neighbors and I was picking up some milk for her.

What I love most about this story is that I gave no thought about going the extra mile for Tricia.  I wanted to do it, because I already knew she would do it for me.

Twitter will not destroy my marriage

There has been great debate around these parts that Twitter, nay, blogging and social media will be the demise of my marriage.  I kid you not.  My devotion to my blog, my tweeps, the Instagram followers, will indirectly be the death of my marriage, and in time the American family.  I couldn't make this up if I tried friends so let me explain...

When I started blogging a few years ago, it was just me and my blog.  I shared my "posts" on my personal Facebook page, and if I got a few likes on Facebook I was a happy girl.  I was exercising my writing chops that had been out of practice for far too long.  And I was happy.  The husband was happy.  My children were, well they were my children.  I posted about once a week if I could, and pretty much left it at that.

Then I found Pinterest.  Perhaps Pinterest should be blamed for the demise of my marriage.  At any rate, I found Pinterest and then I found a handful of bloggers who were crafty, and fashionable, and beautiful.  They wrote about their children, and the days they spent in perfectly decorated houses.  They made things like cake pops and fruit pies.  And they were blogging the way I wanted to blog.  To the masses, with followers, and sponsors, and they got free stuff.  It was like I had finally seen the light.

So I started following the "big girls", I linked up to the big girl leagues, I entered giveaways, and started following and following and following.  The more I read the more I wanted to be, and the more I wanted to be the more time I spent in front of a screen.  A computer screen or my iPhone screen.  Whatever it took to get one more follower, one more comment, one more like.

And so it took a toll.  You can't spend hours in front of a screen and expect a clean house and a happy family.  You can't blog to your hearts content and not sacrifice a few things around the house.  And this my friends has been the thorn in the side of my marriage.  A thorn that gets sharper with every like, comment, or uptick in followers.  A thorn that sticks and draws blood when I feel like the blog is calling me for more content, more sweat, more tears, more me... And when that blood is drawn, it's pow wow time

The Hubbs and I have a conversation.  Sometimes it's a fight.  We have been having this same conversation for over a year, and we have it periodically throughout the year.  The "why is this so important to you" speech.  The "are those people in your phone more important that us" speech.  And with an eye roll that almost causes me to keel over, I tell him no, they are not more important than you, or the children.  Those "readers" or followers behind the screen are not more important than my family... But my blog is important to me.  Maybe it's appears to be priority number one, or even number four, and while it will in no way compare to my real life touchable and tangible family, my blog is still important TO ME.

Because it's been a long time since something has been all mine.  It's been a long time since I have had something to show for all the spit up, all the poop, all the laundry, all the dishes.  All the mundane daily tasks that I take for granted.   All the tasks that are actually blessings in disguise.  It's been a long time since someone has told me "Hey that thing you did, it was fantastic".  It's been a long time since I worked on something so intently, and instead of it getting destroyed fifteen minutes after doing it, it lives, in black and white.

So perhaps, many of us lose ourselves to blogging or social media.  We like the idea that our status updates of cranky toddlers, sassy teenagers, or horrible service at Starbucks, is met with confirmation.  We like that the outfits and self portraits we post to Instagram are met with "you look great" or "you're a hot mama", because most days, we don't hear anything remotely close.  We need that confirmation, we crave it.  Because we are confirming all the life around us, selflessly.  WE make sure that those around us are safe, content, and happy.  So it's nice to get some of that confirmation in return.

Social media and blogging will not and cannot be the demise of my marriage.  I won't let them.  Both have made me incredibly happy over the last two years.  The friends I have made.  The community of women who stand together, even when they don't see eye to eye on every single thing.  We still have a great love and great respect for each other.  Being in this community makes me happy, makes me feel whole again, makes me feel like a person again.  It reminds me that I was Megan first, and then I became Mommy.  

So no, social media and blogging will not ruin or destroy my marriage.  

As long as the Hubbs continues to ignore my blog posts.