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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What If I Match My Babysitter? Age Appropriate Shopping Concerns

I just have a question under the category of “adulting.”

What am I supposed to be wearing at age thirty?

It’s less my age, maybe, than my stage of life.

Here’s my sitch: pregnant, postpartum, disproportionate nursing bod’, pregnant again, think-I’m-normal-size-but-not-really, back to normal (ish). Another baby wanted.

Am I given a pass to buy inexpensive clothing where sixteen year old girls waste time in line posting their Coachella pictures?

Or, is having a real-life wardrobe imperative to my being taken seriously during squabbles with our pediatrician’s front desk staff? (“Oh, you’ve been sitting in the empty room with a fevering child for over an hour? I must have not checked you in. What’s your name again?”)

Next time, I want to be like, “THIS IS A CHICO’S BLAZER, KAREN, DO I LOOK INCAPABLE OF A TERRIBLE YELP REVIEW TO YOU?”

I’ll bust out any amount to have the upper hand at a pediatrician, I’ll tell you that much.

I dislike paying $75 for a made-in-China shirt that I will ruin with hair color at my job, or Cheetohs at my other job, but I’ll break out my Southwest credit card if needs be. I’m happy to rack up enough points to get to San Juan this summer.

Well, at least Wichita.

(Below are some of my most complimented pants. I wasn’t aware they were pajama pants when I purchased them. I just assumed Kate Moss for Topshop meant English chic. I DO wear them to social events, and you SHOULD be jealous I found the only comfortable high-waisted pants ever made. Or just bless my heart.)

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Do I know you? Do you want to look at my room service pictures anyway?

Blogland slowed down for a second, because, to be honest, I got a little freaked out.

When I started a little blog in 2008, all my friends had one. It was how I communicated with friends and family prior to Instagram.

My readership has increased since then, especially since I’ve been trying to promote it to find writing opportunities. I can’t believe it! Frankly, I’m stunned that anyone stops by here, but it’s awesome!

It’s just…who are you?

Are you someone who cares to know that my post 9:00 PM time management is terrible, and I complain about never getting laundry done as I pick my face for an hour?

Are you someone who finds it interesting that my husband legitimately accused me of forgetting a burrito in our bedroom a few weeks ago? (It DID smell like Mexican food in our room for a couple days, and it IS a valid hypothesis, but I did not. I haven’t eaten a burrito in our room…for years. It left me offended and hungry.)

Are you the type I can confide in that I feel completely overwhelmed, and recently bit off more than I can chew? Are you the kind friend that will put an arm around me and tell me that’s just life? And to stop wasting time picking my face?

Are you a person that doesn’t mind if I post no-makeup, not professional pictures occasionally?

As a reader, I enjoy elements of raw emotion in writing. That will inevitably bleed onto Fluent in Blonde (unless I see a therapist for my emotions, or something), and I spent a week debating my level of not-child-related caution in what I share. By no means am I controversial, but I have a personality, you know? What if I offend someone? What if I unknowingly make myself way too vulnerable?

…buuuuut coming from a girl who can pound an entire pack of Springtime Oreos, I probably weigh too much to walk on eggshells.

I’ve also concluded that sharing my thoughts with you is less detrimental to me than it is to you. My overexposed emotions is probably more like…a flasher. A streaker. Okay, maybe something more mild, like mooning. As a verbal (or more traditional) mooner,I can’t feel vulnerable if I’m intentionally expoooosing myself to you.

Obviously, my sweet ninos are a different story, but writing with emotion? I think I’m okay with you reading it, you. Whoever you are. (I’m glad you’re here.)

Here’s what I’ve been doing while ignoring you:

It was brought to my attention by an online Zappos customer service rep that April 20th is National Cheese Fry Day. There was no questioning eating animal fries, animal fries know no shame. That’s why I unapologetically ate them in a swimsuit. It was also the first time everrrr that my little angel babies were being little angel babies in the kids’ pool. I sat on the side eating 3000 calories, and they just played! Gloooooooooooo-ria.

I enjoyed a one night vacation with my friend, Taylor. I never enjoy leaving any of my boys, but laying on a beach all day? Sleeping in until 10? Room service? Not currently physically attached to a baby? Well, okay. I’ll go for one day.


No vegan, gluten, dairy,or sugar preferences here.


Alwaaaays happy to be back home and wake up to my little loves snuggling in my bed.

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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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They Will Slash Your Tires: Story Time Moms Unveiled

Our library has a fun story time program for young kids.

…and judging by the squealing Honda Odyssey tires in the parking lot, it’s not as rainbow-y as it sounds.

Story Time at our library is a short program for parents and toddlers that involves a little dancing, singing, reading, poems, and a take home craft. It is also limits it’s attendees on a first come, first serve basis, due to “fire code”/instructor’s sanity. Story Time hits capacity quickly, and moms are universally a few minutes behind.

Let me tell you the result of this equation from personal experience.

I am one of the rushed moms, throwing my kids in the stroller and running to the library entrance. Half a dozen grown women all run through the parking lot, driving their strollers around and sometimes over parking hurdles (or just plain off-roading their City Selects through the plants if it’s a quarter after).

Gus face planted last week, but brushed off and continued running next to me without a peep. Even he knew from our pre-Story Time huddle—one man down is another man’s spot on the rug.

The running slows to a brisk walk at the library entrance, where women smile politely at…nothing. They don’t even make eye contact. They just have a thin smile plastered onto their faces, because they’re terrifying like that. (You know this feeling from when your mom would thin-smile at you, and something inside of you would squeak, “What does this mean?!”)

In this instance, the women are thin-smiling because they’re about to turn the corner and dart to the elevator, all while keeping their Story Time competitors in their peripheral vision.

I missed the elevator by just a few feet, and as the door closed, I heard an “Oh, sorry!” and a laugh that was VERY MUCH A WITCH CACKLE. Gus almost said, “Trick or Treat, b—-,” under his breath.

I’m just kidding. Inappropriate. (Gus wouldn’t dream of that kind of language.)

By the time the second elevator of tangled strollers arrives to the second floor Story Time entrance, it’s too late. The limited story time tickets are gone.

I’m not sure if there is an after market price being offered, but I’m pretty sure I could scalp Story Time passes in the parking lot, or at least over by the Gardening Self-help section. Money ain’t a thing to a woman who has woken a sleeping child or rearranged nap schedules for story time.

Should we happen to not make it in time to get tickets, which is fairly regularly, my kids are offered a consolation prize of playing with the Pink Eye Puzzles. Agree with me that we are looking directly at bacteria without a microscope. Streptococcus? Flesh eating.

All I’m saying is that it’s possible Ronda Rousey began her career in the Story Time parking lot.

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A New Mom’s Letter to Her Babysitter

We don’t get date nights often enough, and I semi-blame the whole “finding a babysitter” fiasco.

Now that we are on our second child, our instructions to babysitters have become much more lax. Ultimately, we just want our kids safe and happy. A few years ago, however, my new mom hormones were TURNT UP. WAY UP. Had I written an actual note (a la my mom in 1992), it would have looked exactly like this:

Dear babysitter,

Thanks for coming over! Help yourself to any food (notice we bought the name brand graham crackers this week), and make yourself at home. My kids should be sleeping, so just hang out! Watch TV!

Except, try to avoid turning the TV volume higher than 12, because that will wake up my kids, but it’s okay if you have to because you don’t lip read as well as I’ve been forced to learn. If you would like to actually hear your show, you can just put them back to sleep after they wake up. They’ll lay down for you super easily.

All you have to do is this!

You’ll need to heat up a little milk (roughly between 4-6 oz) for my little one, for 45 seconds. He is particular. Shake the bottle. Test the temperature. He also likes his grey blankie to snuggle with, but make sure it’s not on his face. My other son can just get up and watch TV, but only one show and not for too long, and if you don’t understand what he is saying, try the Dinosaur movie, but fast forward the part where the dad dies. Along those lines, if he says something that sounds like “daddy,” it could mean daddy, Mickey, or blankie (full phonetically spelled translation guide on the side of the fridge).

But whatever! Just have fun! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!!!

Consult the attached pamphlet for numbers of my–

Pediatrician
Poison Control
My number
Restaurant’s number
Next door neighbor’s number
911’s number
Insurance agent information
Homeland Security
CPR instructions
Animal control
Living trust
Speediest SWAT responders (Don’t hesitate to call!)
Current shot records
Life insurance documentation
Last will and testament

We will be back in forty five minutes! Thanks!

–Ashton

PS Fire extinguisher is under the kitchen sink.

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