My Most Sunny Days Always Leave Me Teary

There is a wonder I experience as a new mom, crossing new bridges as my oldest child does the same.

My kids are approaching the real pearl of childhood. At almost two and three, the sleepless nights are behind us. My boys are both talking and expressing their own, hilarious thoughts, and I feel that new-mom isolation no more.

I’ve been caught off guard by this new stage of life and its unexpected sprinkling of pixie dust, because my kids think EVERYTHING is magical.

From seeing a street sweeper, to a stranger’s raspy voice, to blossoming trees…it’s all entrancing. Holding a ladybug for the first time, and watching with sheer astonishment when it flies away! Listening for helicopters! Watching a puppy lap water from a bowl! Garbage day! Witnessing sprinklers turn on! Putting detergent in the washing machine! It’s new. It’s fresh. My mundane routine is suddenly dazzling and vivid. The days have more zest. I’m still tired, but my kids give me a shot of laughter hourly, and their thrill of pioneering a new world is contagious.

My children are young enough to not understand real sorrow. Heartbreak is unknown. They don’t know about the world…they only know the world I put in front of them. At ages one and three, naivety is normal. Innocence is beautiful. Heaven still feels close.

They’re also young enough to not have any real school schedule or pressing commitments. I savor the peacefulness of midmorning strolls on quiet roads, and appreciate being rich enough in time to admire every dandelion along the way. I love the slow pace, and have to remind myself often not to complicate it. The world hasn’t sped up yet. I know, I know, it will, and the sand will slip through the glass quickly and cruelly; let me just enjoy holding onto those little hands a bit longer.

And those little hands. Those teeny, sticky fingers always find me, because I am wanted. A heart soars to feel wanted! The elation of feeling truly wanted as a parent is unparalleled. I know they’ll need a mother for years, but to WANT a mother–that’s different. Even on the days I go crazy almost tripping over two extra shadows, I know my heart will break just a little the day my kids insist they can spread their wings alone.

These are the days.

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Nursery Rhyme Meanings That Keep You Guessing

 I’ve heard convincing arguments that Mother Goose is the key to Ivy Leagues. I’m all for brain stimulation and early developmental progress, but I don’t remember many nursery rhymes. I’ve had to go off of memory, and it has proven to be a little fuzzy.

By “a little fuzzy,” I mean that I can’t remember even half the words. “Ring around the Rosies” is the only thing that’s clear in my mind. Sadly, that’s only due to years of elementary school repetition, because of the fascinating rumors of its morbid meaning that were shared in the shadows of the tether ball poles.

I looked up a couple nursery rhymes to keep in my back pocket.

Have you read them recently? There are some real creepers in there. How many young children go to sleep smiling serenely after hearing about some egg-dude Humpty that fatally fell off a wall, anyway?

Why do none of these have conclusions? Are there sequels?

What do these even mean, anyway?!

Here are a handful of my loose interpretations.

“Little Miss Muffet
Sat on her tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider and sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.”
Translation: Little Miss Muffet sat on her stool, or possibly Kim K booty (haven’t checked “tuffet” on Urban Dictionary), and ate 2% cottage cheese. She regretted not keeping the pest control guy’s magnet on the fridge.

“Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.”
Translation: Someone spilled frozen peas in the steel cut oatmeal. Before finally throwing it out, Mom kept it for nine days, because there are starving children in Africa.

“It’s raining, it’s pouring;
The old man is snoring.
Bumped his head
And he went to bed
And he couldn’t get up in the morning.”’
Translation: He got the Advil mixed up with Ambien. Or else…

“The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see. To see what he could see, to see what he could see. The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.”
Translation: This was a “she” bear, probably a mom, just trying to get out of the house. Sometimes I do that. I go to Target, to buy what I can buy, to buy what I can buy.

“Old Mother Hubbard, went to her cupboard, to fetch her poor dog a bone. When she was there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none.”
Translation: This is an ASPCA commercial. Cue Sarah McLachlan.

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.
She gave them some broth,
Without any bread,
Whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.”
Translation: This lady came home from Saks with new Louboutins, and her husband said, “You better be living in those shoes, because that was as much as a mortgage payment!” She was like, “Fine, I will.” The new leather smell made her go crazy, and I really don’t know what happened after that. I’m sure the husband has full custody, and a pending restraining order.

I don’t think I’ll read that one to my little guy.

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A Letter to the People Telling Me I Have My Hands Full

To Humans That Throw Me The Old, “You’ve got your hands full! HA! HA! WINK!” Comment Every Time I Leave The House,

Okay, okaaaay. First of all, duh. I have a one and three year old, so, yes, you’re right.

Second of…wait. Are you referring to my children, or the large drink and two Starbucks sugar cookies in my hand as I’m steering the Target cart with my wrists?

Just making sure we were on the same page.

Does, “WOW YOU HAVE SURE GOT YOUR HANDS FULL!” translate to, “Hello!” in some kind of Costco/Target dialect of English?

Could you at least hold the door open for me while you say it?

Maybe not run to try to beat me to the check out?

Buy me a Twix?

I am beyond grateful to have babies with strong personalities and strong bodies to keep me busy. I adore them. I want more. Also, I won’t tell you that they’re actually being very angelic right now because I bribe them with orange Tic Tacs at the register.

If I have another baby, the only reason I’m hesitant to save my placenta to throw at people like you is because I don’t trust my aim. Pulling a placenta out of a Rebecca Minkoff bag and drilling the wrong person in the back of the head at Nordstrom Rack sounds like a news worthy assault suit.

Except, quite a few attorney friends are coming to mind as I’m thinking of it. I could probably count on some feminist friends to rally in front of the courthouse…so tell me I’ve got my hands full one more time and we’ll both see if I’m joking.

Juuuust kidding. We both know I’ll just fake smile at you again, like every week, and maybe say something much classier, like, “So is my heart!”

But, really. Knock it off.

Thanks You’re Annoying,

Ashton

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Finding Light in the Dark

Over the weekend, a past salon owner lost his child. Even though we weren’t close friends, the sadness was felt throughout the whole weekend at my salon. Like any parent, I feel deeply for this family. I can’t even handle the news in my mom-with-a-lot-of-feelings state! It’s safe to say I was a little shaken and very eager to love on my little guys a little extra. As I drove home from work both days, I thought about this tragedy in silence, because music almost seemed inappropriate.

For me, the stillness lingered today.

…but in that stillness, I noticed a lot more than I might have.

The vibrant green of new, spring leaves is stunning.

Teeny legs of a ladybug are ticklish. My boys held out both arms in awe as we caught our first ladybug. They marveled at the red. How many spots did it have? Was it friends with bees and butterflies? What about crocodiles? My youngest son screamed the shrieks of joy only a thrilled one year old and a baby velociraptor can.

My grandpa’s eyes have a never-aging twinkle in them every time he smiles.

My three year old’s face as he looked at himself incredulously in the mirror the first time he tried on new Batman jammies will make a grown man cry…and it did. Gus was stunned speechless with nothing but a huge grin and a few gasps, couldn’t stop touching the Batman logo until he needed both hands to fly. His sweet daddy’s smile was almost as big as he quietly wiped a few tears.

In these still moments, I am reminded what a beautiful life we live. Even though I have a limited understanding of the big picture, I know the Lord intends for us to be happy. Tender, perfect moments are sprinkled all along our lives’ paths, no matter where they may lead.

Right on cue from LDS General Conference today: “Even in the most difficult and darkest of times, there is goodness and light all around us.” -Elder Bragg

I can’t imagine how this cute family must feel, so I write this only as a “note to self” for future reference, and hope they can feel how many people send their love.

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Our Beginning of the Week +1.

For some reason, I’d assumed leaving my kids to go to work would get progressively easier as they got older. For me, it’s proven to be quite the opposite. Watching my little guys fade out of view in my rear view mirror makes me teary almost every single time.

Coming off my long work weekends, I’m so eager to play with my buddies. I like to ditch my phone and enjoy being in the moment. I want to tickle my 22 month old and hear his deep belly laugh. I want to have zero distractions building carwashes with blocks. I want to lay with my boys while they fall asleep and admire the thick eyelashes they will never fully appreciate.

My whole world revolves around them. As exhausting as it is, I am completely soaking in this season of life.

I think it’s because of my work guilt that I let my kids completely take the reins on Mondays.

Thaaaaaat’s why we’ve ended up taking this little turtle with us on several beginning of the week outings. His name is Turtle…my boys are quite literal in the naming process.

Turtle wanted to swing recently, so he got his own swing and I spent a while pushing both my guys and a turtle.

After my boys were done swinging, my 22 month old stood next to me to help push Turtle. I snapped a few pictures, then went back to pushing Turtle and narrating the ride with lots of “WEEEEE! SO HIGH!” until I realized the little blonde in my peripheral wasn’t my child, but a little girl and her grandma. They were patiently waiting behind me to stop taking pictures of my swinging plastic turtle so she could have a turn.

My kids were in a playground tunnel, so I, alone, moved Turtle, and he sat down next to me on a bench.

I’m sure I’m on some neighborhood watch Facebook page, but I’m really into Turtle right now. He’s become a real beacon getting me through my work days.

I am lucky to love my job, but if Turtle joins the crew and makes an appearance in my rearview this weekend, I’ll probably need waterproof mascara.

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I’m okay with my house being destroyed as long as you tell me when you’re coming over.

I had a friend in middle school whose home smelled like soggy Honey Nut Cheerios. I think even her clothes did, too. I borrowed an Abercrombie shirt, so I know. I walked around 8th grade B day smelling like milky Cheerios, but I did look super cool. A&F1892.

I remembered this the other day while I was eating Golden Grahams, which I just so happen to like slightly soggy. Al dente, if you will.

I wondered if my house now smells weird. That’s a stupid question, because of course it does. I was guessing what it smelled like as I looked around and wondered how my house got so messy and crumbs got everywhere and why a sharpie lid is on the floor.

I looked at the adorable mini humans destroying my home, and they sure are cute, but what the heck, but they sure are cute. Oh, and their little feet! Their little toes!

But why is my house so messy and smelling odd?

Plastic crap every where frustrates me, especially those little dinosaurs and sharks. Watch your bare feet for those.

I was irritated that I couldn’t keep our house straight, and when Roscoe wouldn’t nap, I felt even more defeated. I just needed an hour alone! Maybe I’ll pick up, maybe I’ll do some sub par core workout, or maybe I’ll watch Real Housewives… but I just need a minute! I finally gave in to Roscoe’s protests and pulled him out of his crib to cuddle. Within one minute, he fell asleep with his head on my shoulder.

He hasn’t slept on me in over a year, and I held him for a long time before I laid him down.

His room was a mess, and his dresser drawer was completely unloaded. Clothes and blankets were strewn everywhere. A few toys were sprinkled in, and a superhero cape he had stolen from his brother’s room was crinkled up in a corner, obviously trying to be hidden.

But when I held Roscoe, I realized this was all perfect. This was okay. I held my baby boy, with his cheek nuzzled into my shoulder and squishy legs dangling, and savored the last little bit of his babyhood before he turns two this spring. I decided that for today, at least, I don’t want anything to be different. These frustrating, least tidy days are the most sparkling memories that I will ache to relive in thirty years.

May my clothes smell weird, my tummy be soft, my house be messy, and my heart be never happier.

I’ll remind myself that tomorrow, and the next day, and when I find the other side of the Sharpie.

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I’d Give Myself a Solid B Today

I was a crappy mom last Thursday. All around. I ended up letting my kids just splash around in a mall fountain to their hearts’ content, while I sat defeated on the side eating a caramel apple.

I’d glare from behind my caramel apple at anyone that asked if my kids needed a towel, or gave the oh-so-clever, “Looks like you’ve got your hands full! Har har!” comment.

I know, it’s February, and Shamu reenactments can be a little brisk. It’s just that the night before I forgot to completely recharge my patience the way I do my phone. I was in low power mode. (My kids were super happy, for the record.)

Because of my bland mothering the end of last week, I went into my long work weekend feeling guilty. After hearing a few sad stories and seeing a friend get hit by a drunk driver with her son in the backseat, I was fiercely determined to be an A+ mom this week.

So, we have played all day the past few days. I put my phone in a drawer. We got out the Playdough. We went out to eat. I cleaned G’s little spot on his wall where he (carefully and intentionally) displays his boogies after declining Kleenexes. My kids refused their naps, so they just watched Mickey…but no naps don’t fly with me. The precious, precious, precious synchronized naps are when I gloriously recharge, and my guys awaken to a clean-ish house, and a mom with clean-ish hair.

Naptime is my phoenix rising from the ashes moment, if you will. It’s as dramatic as it sounds.

No naps really steal my thunder, but I triiiiied to not fall off the wagon by playing with stickers and coloring and tickling and reading and playing hockey.

That A+ grade is hard earned, man. It reminds me of my freshman year biology class, when I worked SO hard for a grade that would make you pat my head.

This time, I’ve got nothing to study, and all those Pinterest moms are throwing the curve.

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I’d Like to Title Today “L-O-L.”

I would like to title today “L-O-L.”

Even though I was not laughing out loud, I think the universe was. At me.

Because I’ve being up multiple times a night this entire week (and because I don’t have a newborn), I hit the pillow everrrry night with the thought, “This is my night. Tonight. I. Sleep.” The moon says, “LOL! See you in thirty!”

I tried to do my slept-on-it-wet hair this morning, and my hair was like, “LOL!”

I thought Gus’s ear infection issues would be a simple fix…two weeks ago. LOL!

I thought Gus’s ear infection situation would finally be resolved at the doctor today! LOL!

If we have to go to a specialist, odds are good that we will meet our deductible in a month! LOLSIES!

We discovered the price tag on Gus’s third prescription, and my bank account said, “LOL!”

I almost took a nap today, and Roscoe said, “LOL. Mom. LOLOLOL.”

I tried to Google (misspelled) “My 3 year old won’t take medicine” for some new ways to sneak Advil to Gus without him throwing up, and I actually did LOL. By the looks of the suggested search items, looks like 3 year olds are collectively conspiring against the world. Or just real jerks.

Good one, January 19.

What a weird week.

Sidenote: I’ve noticed that when I reach a certain threshold of sleeplessness, really obscure thoughts/memories bubble up to the forefront of my mind. They’re long forgotten mementos from my life that escape confinement when my brain is so tired, it literally can’t even (like me, with my kids today, when I let them watch Mickey over and over and let Roscoe run all over and over).

I couldn’t get Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” out of my head last night, and today I suddenly remembered how eager I was to try a Giada brunch recipe I’d seen around Thanksgiving several years ago. So, there I was tonight, standing in front of a blender with a little guy hanging on my leg, making a sage hollandaise sauce.

Brian came home from work, nonchalantly set down the box of tampons he’d been requested to buy (LOL), and swept up the boys’ dinner (and breakfast) from the floor. Bless Brian. I don’t know if he competely disregarded my one-person,Thanksgiving-inspired brunch for dinner because I looked like I was going to crack, or because I looked like I was on crack, but either way, it was much appreciated “LOL” ending to an “LOL” day.

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Midnight Mixology

I once worked at a bar. Okay, not really a BAR, per se, but I worked at a Vegas pool, which is essentially the same thing, right?

I’m not a drinker and had zero experience with fancy alcoholic beverages, so I was pretty intrigued watching the bartenders. During events, the other girls would sometimes fulfill their own drink orders instead of waiting for the bartender…but obviously, I couldn’t. What was a twist? What was a margarita with a Grand Marnier floater? Sounded like French backwash.

Sorry, bartender, I’ll just wait for you for anything I need that isn’t in a Dasani bottle.

At some point, however, I did make a few mojitos. Turns out that I was a heavy pourer and the alcohol : soda ratio was astronomical.

No extra round of drinks were needed after one Mormon mojito!

That summer job has popped into mind as I’ve been up late night drink concocting the past couple weeks with sick babies. Without fail, Gus throws up any medicine the second it hits his tongue, so we mix it in his drinks as discreetly as possible.

The mixers and the hard stuff.

A few nights ago, I spent the hours of 3:30AM-5AM digging out Koolaid and perfecting drink mixtures. Grape Motrin pairs well with apple juice or blue Hawaiian Punch. Chocolate milk seems to be working well to mask amoxicillin. Cherry Tylenol was okay with lemonade, but the bubble gum Advil? Ugh. Can’t hide bubble gum in anything.

I was confident in my drink combinations, but I presented them with Goldfish chasers, just in case.

(Just for the record, I’m an exact 5 ml/1 tsp pourer these days.)

I know I haven’t slept in days when I think this is all hilarious…

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My Notes on Miscarriage

With pregnancy comes the first lesson of motherhood: you’re not in charge anymore. This bullet point was highlighted a couple weeks ago as I miscarried.

I blame my out of whack hormones, but I surprised myself with my emotions, and realized that I honestly have never heard miscarriages discussed (until I talked to my friends Melissa and Jessy) to calibrate my own situation. I know miscarriages are common, and have had several friends miscarry early in pregnancy…so how is it that I didn’t know what to expect?

Is it because I’m THE awkward friend that reroutes all uncomfortable conversation because I don’t know how to best respond?

Or, is it because I’m still that middle school girl that didn’t know my own female anatomy well enough to figure out tampon placement without reading (with panicked uncertainty) Tampax’s included instructions? (THREE exits down there?!)

I’m a girl! Help a sister out and talk about these things!

So, here is my girl talk contribution.

After navigating through past pregnancies with no major issues, this miscarriage was a mid-Christmas bombshell. Drastic hormonal changes paired with the emotions led to some inevitable tears, but since I was just shy of eight weeks, I felt silly for crying. It seems irrational to cry about something you never really had.

But, I did. I cried.

Because I somehow let the most fragile flutters of a new heartbeat inside of me slip away.
Because it was more painful than I had expected.
Because I’d become so attached to the idea of a new baby in the summer.
Because even several hours in, I frantically held on to the dimming hope that I wasn’t miscarrying.
Because the pregnancy had been planned and talked about for months.
Because I felt guilty that my initial excitement of a positive pregnancy test was tinged with the fear of a midsummer due date in Las Vegas heat.
Because I was due on a best friend’s birthday.

And then I cried because I felt dumb for being sad. I’ve already been blessed with two beautiful, healthy children, both of whom were being forced to leave me alone so I could cry about all these weird things that don’t make sense.

But, real life continued.

As I was curled up on my bed during a particularly painful hour, and still feeling first trimester nausea, my boys decided they were bored with their fourth show. They jumped and danced around (and on) me to some weird Tiesto electronic dance mix on Spotify.

There was also a unicorn mask involved.

I couldn’t keep from smiling. In that moment, I was so thankful to be the lucky mama that got the super active, super physical, chipped-tooth wild ones. Ain’t no time for crying with the active kids if you care about your drywall, you know what I’m saying?

We left the house, got hot chocolate, and walked around a Christmas tree lot on the side of the freeway. Nothing invigorates the soul like inhaling fresh pine and the occasional semi truck exhaust.

And then, we were all happy again. (In hindsight, it could have been the fumes.) I am beyond blessed to have these two little buddies. I can never fully express my gratitude for my kids. Just for those few hours, they knew the caretaker roles had reversed, and sticky little fingers would always find my hand to hold.

After about a week, I was totally fine. I was still disappointed, and still looked a little bloated, but I had leveled out emotionally.

I am learning to not hate the moments that sting my heart a little. Those cloudy moments make everything else look a little brighter.

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