The Day Sweet M Paused the World

Oh boy! What an eventful past few days we’ve had around here. 

Sweet M has been battling a cold and cough for the past two weeks, as have Miss H and I. I’m a pretty non-alarmist when it comes to illness, so other than popping in some essential oils in the diffuser and upping everyone’s vitamin C and zinc intake, I don’t typically do anything unless someone is really feeling poorly. 

Thursday was rough. Sweet M was just sad all day. 

I had several loads of clean laundry to put away (and just as many to wash!), so I had planned on getting Sweet M down for his afternoon nap and then slipping away to get that done. 

But as he fell asleep in my arms, his head nuzzled into my chest, I decided the laundry could wait and I just held my darling, sleeping baby. 

After a while it dawned on me that I wasn’t hearing his congested breathing nor did I feel the heave of his chest against mine. 

I looked down and his mouth was purple. The skin around it in a perfect ring coming away from his lips – purple. It was a sight I’d never seen before; one I didn’t truly realize could happen until that moment.

Instinctively, in what felt like slow motion as the world around me paused, I jerked him up and away from me. His eyes popped open and he gasped furiously for air. Then he began to cough violently, followed by deep sobs.

It’s the only time in my life that I’ve been so happy to hear one of my children cry.

I tried to no avail to reach J, hoping he’d put my mind at ease. So then I called the pediatrician, assuming they’d advise a wait and see approach as they often do. Instead, the asked me to come in immediately. 

I picked up Miss H from school on my way, and went straight to the pediatrician. 

They hooked him up to an oxygen monitor where his levels where in the 80s. The doc and I talked, where he ascertained it sounded as if he simply choked on some drainage in his sleep. He said it was a rare fluke and he didn’t anticipate it happening again. 

As Sweet M’s oxygen levels finally raised into the 90s, he told me it was a good thing I was holding him. He didn’t need to say more. My brain had all ready gone there.

If I’d laid him down and gone to do laundry like I have hundreds of times before, and he’d choked, maybe I’d have found him after it was too late. 

That’s so much to load me down. 

I know the “what if” game is a dangerous one, but it’s all too easy to get sucked into for those who deal with anxiety. 

We all know life is precious and can be snuffed out in a second, but we often live as if we are invincible anyway. Because we have to in order to live happy, productive, fulfilling lives. It’s simply necessary. 

But man. I had to sit with the realization that my baby is in fact not invincible. That’s a hard fact to stomach.

It did make Friday and today, when his cold finally included a fever and he was the saddest, neediest baby in the world a cake walk. I was all too happy to put the world on pause and love him up. 

Y’all, hug your babies tightly. Tell them you love them. Life is fragile and fleeting. 

A Girl Called Fearless

When I grow up, I want to be Miss H. 

She’s the real deal. What you see is what you get. And if you don’t adore her – tough cookies. She doesn’t care (or notice), and at the end of the day, it’s only your loss. Because she’s amazing. 

From the very beginning, this girl of mine has been fearless. She flew into this world ready to conquer it. 

Friday we ventured to an indoor rock climbing facility. She’s done rock climbing before, but it has been a while. 

In the beginning, she was leery. She’d climb half way, then come back down. 

“I’m scared,” she said.

“Okay,” I replied. “But you’re brave.”

“Being brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared,” she rolled her eyes at me. “But you do it anyway.”

And that was that. 

She was off.

She conquered nearly all of the walls except the ones where the rocks were litterally too far apparent for her to reach. Walls that sloped and curved? She was a master!

“Mom!” She hollered at me at one point. “Look at me! I’m way up here! I’m not even scared anymore! I’m fearless.”



Pros and cons.

On the bright side, nothing scares her enough to not at least attempt it.

On the down side, nothing scares her enough to not at least attempt it. 

Lifelong Friends

I’m an introvert. I’m really bad at small talk, and large groups of people gives me extreme anxiety. Hell for me would be being in an auditorium full of people, forced to discuss the weather with them. 

Because of this I tend to come off as stand offish. I try really hard not to, but alas. I’m coming to terms that it’s simply who I am. 

It makes me cherish the friends I do have though. Those super close ones who more or less forced me to be their friend when I was totally content going solo but am now eternally grateful they wouldn’t let me walk away with my nose in a book. 

Those are the people I’d go to the ends of the earth for. Some of them I’ve been friends with since I was itty bitty. Others I didn’t meet until college or motherhood. They’re all invaluable. 

When you find a friend like that, the kind that’s there for the long haul; you hang on to them. 

So last year when one of H’s closest friends moved to Florida, I didn’t fret the way she did. Because I knew all ready that some friendships just cannot be hindered even with distance. 

So then this happened Tuesday night. 

My 6.5 year old and her dear friend who moved far away. Tears, y’all, tears. What a gift. 

Miss H isn’t the into introvert her momma is. She’s all ready had more friends in her short life than I likely ever will. She’s so likeable you’d have to be a sociopath to not instantly adore her. 

And yet. Oh, yet. She’s still human. And she’s going to have those forever friends too. And I’m so very happy that I get to watch those relationships blossom. 

I’m so happy to see that at such a young age Miss H all ready knows who (some anyway) of her lifelong peoples are. 

When Life Isn’t an Adventure

I’ve been so fortunate in the adult life of mine. One beautiful adventure after another.

But honestly, it’s not always a beautiful, exciting adventure. Don’t get me wrong; life itself is one helluva grand adventure, but sometimes the day to day stuff can become mundane.

I’m nomadic at heart. I thrive on constant change: one of the reasons I’m sure that I’m always painting something in my house, rearranging furniture, etc. I need change. Grandiose adventures.

I love being settles. Amazing husband. Check. Three beautiful babies. Check. Gorgeous house that is an ever ongoing project. Check. A day to day routine that we all find amenable and keeps us all comfortable. Check.

But I still love travel and adventure. I crave it deep in my soul, even though I know it’s not half as glamorous as I believe it to be in my head when I’m not in the throes of it. It doesn’t make me enjoy it any less though, knowing it won’t be quite as wonderful as I build it up to be. I know it’s a lot of work. Even before there were tiny humans to consider in travelling, it was still exhausting and required lots of prep.

And yet, that’s still what keeps me ticking some days. The knowledge of going somewhere at some point. The thrill of new.

But even during the seasons of life when we’ve been gone more than we’ve been home, the thrill of being gone would not exist if we didn’t have those moments of home.

The trust is, the every day ordinary of home is exquisitely beautiful and enjoyable, too. I sometimes take it for granted though.

Today I watched my 4 year old practice learning how to dive. He needs work still; but I got to watch him leave his comfort zone and truly be challenged, leaving his apprehensiveness at the door so that he could battle his fears of the deep end.


Today my 6 year old put her leadership abilities to good use, passing out snacks and crafts at story time, and helping smaller kids with their crafts after completing her own masterpiece.


Today I watched my 5 month old squeal in absolute delight as he tried green beans for the first time. Those big belly laughs were music to my ears.


Today I read to my 4 year old for over half an hour, just him and me, while a friend held and loved on my baby so I could get that time in with him. He’s not going to be a 4 year old much longer.


Today I nursed my ever-curious (read: way too nosey to eat around other people) 5 month old and held him on my chest for nearly two hours while his big siblings played quietly, feeling his rhythmic breathing in my arms like the melodious beat it is.


Today I watched my 6 year old proudly master the rules of silent e.


Today I watched my 4  year old play the ukulele for his tiny brother; a beautiful moment of brotherly love.


All these little things, little moments, are more beautiful than any grand adventure we have ever or could ever have.

It’s taken me 6 years of motherhood to slow down. 6 years to accept and embrace that life isn’t always an adventure, and really, it shouldn’t be.

It should be about these little moments. That look joy when he tries to dive for the first time. The baby milk-drunk sighs from the infant passed out on my chest. The opportunity to witness her in the role of helper. Watching my children bond and love one another is the most unprompted, organic of moments.


It doesn’t mean I’m not looking my next escape from reality; that I’ll enjoy our next adventure any less. I don’t think the wanderlust inside of me, the spirited beast of “more,” can ever ben wholly abandoned; but here is a time and place for it, and for now, it must be hushed so I don’t miss out on the here and the now.


Disciplining for the Long Term

It never fails, whichever parent spends the most time with the kids ultimately ends up being the primary disciplinarian. Not on purpose, but simply because they’re around the most so statistically they’ll be the one there the most to correct.

You know what? It sucks.

There is nothing I loathe more than disciplining my children.

We are primarily non-punitive. We don’t do time-outs or other arbitrary punishments. I do send them to their rooms to read some books or play quietly when they’re clearly overwhelmed with too much togetherness and just cannot summon it within themselves to treat one another lovingly and kindly; but they’re just having quiet time playing. They’re not sitting in a corner “thinking about what they’ve done” (because what kid is actually contemplating their “misbehavior” in time-out?).

We are all about talking and working together over here. I know a lot of people roll their eyes at that. Once upon a time I said, “Gentle hands” and “Hands are for hugging not hitting” so many times I wanted to roll my eyes too. But somehow we all got through that phase in tact and they pretty much know not to hit now; time-outs, being yelled at, and spankings not needed.

But still. B’s always had a temper, and H is so dramatic and sassy. It’s exhausting.

I remind myself daily what my goals are for my children long term, not necessarily today. And just focus on those.

Most of the time it seems like they’re utter angels for J, and absolute hellions for me. But when I break it down, I probably get more sweet angelic moments than he does; I just also get those crazy terrible ones too.

I want so badly for our days to be all sunshine and roses that I have to bite my lip from screaming, “I want to be freaking Miss Honey but you’re all a bunch of baby Trunchbulls making this impossible!” (We are obviously reading Matilda right now.)

On those more stressful, gray-hair-inducing days, I pour a glass of wine and remind myself that they are such precious little gifts. That they’re disciplining me (and by discipline, I mean teaching, always, always, always), just as much as I am them. Which is why it is so very important that I show them immense grace and patience, even when I have to search deep down into my core and muster up the very last slivers I have left in me, because it will always be worth. The pay out will far exceed what I must put forth right now.

But some days it is so challenging. That terrible little monster named Jealousy pokes her head up when I find it seeming like all the time J has with them is fun, and I’m doing all the hard work.

Then I am reminded that it’s not true when I watch him in the throes of it. Baby on his hip, H demanding he help her, B crying for his attention, and him just standing there, needing to get a million other things done. I’m not doing it all alone. Some days are longer than others, but he’s in this just as thick as I am.

It’s not all roses and sunshine. Not even remotely close. But it is all beautiful in its own crazy, chaotic, every-challenging way.

So although I despise the least fun parts of discipline, I just keep reminding myself that I’m helping to model and teach them to be kind and loving little people, and sometimes that means I have to correct and reprimand and have them angry at me, and I have to do it all with patience and gentleness, because we are disciplining for long term results, not punishing for in-the-moment mishaps.

*** The winner of our giveaway for Strengths Based Parenting is Shelley! Thank you all who participated!***


Growing Pains

So I had planned on transferring the majority of my old blog over. I mean, there are like 450 posts – that’s a lot of writing.

But as I read through so many of my old posts, I realized that maybe I didn’t want to bring them over.

Let’s just be honest here.

I was a completely different person when that blog started than what I am now.

And I guess that’s the learning part of it.

But geesh. I was downright awful at times.

Five years ago my life was still very black and white. Black and white served me well though, up until that point in my life. It got me where I am. There was always a very clear cut right and wrong for me. In everything.

The idea of there being a gray area, or – gasp – varying shades of gray, was simply unfathomable.

Now, that got me excellent grades in school and helped me find a guy who met my exceedingly high and difficult standards. But if there is nothing else I’ve learned in parenting, it’s that there simply is no black and white.

That doesn’t mean I don’t view a lot of parenting ideals in black and white still. I’m pretty steadfast on many of my views, but there are a lot of things I realize aren’t a big deal.

As I was telling two of my closest friends a few days ago when I asked them how they didn’t tell me how flat out awful I used to be, I commented that H and B are all ready planning Christmas. Yep, in June. They know what gifts they want and what sort of cookies they want to make for Santa. They’ve asked if they can leave the reindeer carrots and a glitter trail to our house. B advised me that the chimney needs cleaned out and that he is certain Santa Claus does not like almond milk.

Guys. Two years ago I’d have been over here all panicky like, “Wheeeeeere did I go wrooooong!? Don’t they know the true meaning of Christmas? Why are they just asking for gifts!? OMG! I didn’t tell them Santa is real! In fact, I flat out told them he is pretend and we read a whole book about the real St. Nicholas. So whyyyyy do they want to make him cookies? And for Pete’s sakes they know reindeer can’t fly, so why would they play into this silliness?”

No joke. That used to be my train of thought.

And now I’m just like, “Cool. Sounds fun. Whatever rocks your boat, kidlets.”

I used to get my panties in a twist over wording. Wording! Of course I don’t bribe my kids! The horror! I explain to them in the step in which things will occur. “First you get in your car seat. Then you get a lollipop.” Let’s just call a spade a spade. “If you get in your carseat without screaming for a fucking hour beforehand, you can have a lollipop. The whole bag if we can drive across town with zero screeching.”

I know that a lot of it is my hardcore perfectionism gene. And I’ve been working on fixing that (but changing your DNA is HARD). But geez. How did I have friends? How did I not completely suffocate my kids in ridiculous, unbridled, never-quite-there perfectionism?

Good grief.

So anyway.

I’m leaving that whole blog up. Peruse it at your leisure. Chuckle at how crazy uptight I once was (and okay, okay, still am in more ways than I truly want to admit). But I’m just going to leave that there and start fresh (though I may pull things over as I see fit).

And we can all just be thankful that over the years I’ve grown. Oh, how I’ve grown. Painfully sometimes. And yet it’s been for the best as it’s all brought me to this very point in time.

Let’s go forward from here, learning from my ridiculous growing pains, and learn together how to raise sweet, caring, well-rounded, open-minded, self-actualized little people who will make the world a truly better place.