Little assholes

Hiiiiiiiiiii!   I know, I know, it’s been a while!  I didn’t even finish my domestic abuse series yet from you know, ahem, October (insert shame).  I promise to get to that riveting conclusion soon!  Okay, it’s not riveting, but I’ll share it none the less.  I didn’t intend to drop the ball on that but, as you may or may not know, I’m a photographer and thus the fall photo season tied me down with work, work, work.  Then it was holiday season and now I’m in a season of “Dear Lord, make it stop!!!!!”  I wish I had the time or the words to fill you with something inspirational and send you out into the day with warm and fuzzy vibes but alas, I don’t.  Fresh out of warm and fuzzy vibes this morning and it looks like I’m not restocking anytime before bedtime.  What I have for you is a pure unadulterated rant.  If warm and fuzzy is what you seek, look away now friend.  Look away!

Y’all!  I wanted kids soooooooo bad.  It was like my life’s mission to do motherhood and do it well.  You know, not to toot my own horn (toot), but it was something that always came pretty naturally to me.  For all intensive purposes, I was a good mom.  A refreshing combination of Martha Stewart, June Cleaver, Lorelai Gilmore, and oh I don’t know, Roseanne Conner.  The point is, I was rocking motherhood.

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Or so I thought…

As of late, I’ve been feeling more like Gemma Teller or Norma Bates (of the series, not the movie).  A hot freaking mess.  This week has been particularly rough.  I’m looking around my house and wondering… how the hell did that happen?  What was the thought processes behind this?  I tripped on a shoe coming down the stairs.  Just one.  I immediately wondered what circumstance would make a child say, “you know, I think I’ll just take this one shoe off right here in the middle of the stairs and keep going for a dramatic Cinderella effect”.  When I went into the bathroom and saw a whole roll of charmin strung to and fro like party streamers I tried to analyze the thought process behind “I need to wipe my butt, hmmm… wait!  Let’s see how much toilet paper is REALLY on this roll.”  When I navigated through a battle zone of lego landmines in the playroom (you know, the ones I painstakingly color coded into fabulous Ikea storage bins a mere 2 weeks ago for 3 hours?), I considered what must have undoubtably been a disturbing conversation between my children and their inner selves.  Child: “Let’s play with the legos”  Child’s inner demons: “let’s ‘make it rain’ legos instead (I can almost hear their devious laughter now).

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So as I’ve almost broken my neck tripping on a shoe on the staircase, re-rolled the toilet paper, and mumbled the F word under my breath with each painful lego jab it occurred to me that these little assholes were really making it hard for me to be the domestic maternal goddess I wanted to be!  I’ve been down on myself because I felt like I was failing in the mothering department lately.  But maybe I haven’t been failing in the mothering department at all.  Maybe they’re failing in the considerate children department.  You know what, that’s okay because they’re just kids after all.

The problem is, we as parents, equate our children’s shortcomings with our own failures.  Forget the fact that I spend 80% of my day cleaning something, the legos on the floor and the shoes on the staircase stare me down like I’m desperately failing at my job.  When they don’t excel on a spelling test or win their soccer game, we immediately blame ourselves.  “Maybe she would have made a 100 if I wasn’t working all day and spent more time studying with her.”  “Maybe she would have made that goal if we went to the park and kicked the ball around a little more often.”  We dwell on that one chick-fil-a meal we fed them instead of the 5 homemade meals we served.  Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves??!?!  We need to stop magnifying our failures and start celebrating our successes…  So today, that’s what I’m doing.  I’m celebrating the fact that I have 3 beautiful, intelligent, Jesus loving, healthy children and I’m going to completely ignore the lego landmines for another day.  In this moment I’m going to sit here with yesterday’s hair and makeup and drink a mimosa.  Because contrary to what I often feel like, I do NOT suck at life!  Cheers!  ❤
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Moms like me-Lori Latch

I’ve had this idea in my head for quite sometime and I’ve decided it’s finally time to execute it.  I’ve been long troubled about the pressures we place on ourselves as mothers and the comparison game.  It’s easy to look at someone’s posts on social media and their lives from the outside and think they’ve got it all figured out.  In reality, they’re probably just as lost as the rest of us.  So readers, I introduce to you a new monthly segment called “Moms like me”.  In this segment, I’ll provide a glimpse into the lives of moms who are just like me and you.  Stay at home moms, work from home moms, workforce moms all with 7 plates spinning in the air at once.  Although I’ve got a few willing participants on my list, I’ve decided to start with myself to break the ice.  Yeah, I interviewed myself, because I’m cool like that!  😉

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Tell us a little about yourself, like the cliff notes version:  Welp, my name is Lorianne Latch but most folks just call me Lori.  I’m a 32 year old Texas gal with a big heart, a deep love for Jesus, and all things artsy.  I’ve been in the photography business for about 6 years now and am still learning more about it every day.  I’ve got a good lookin’ hubby, 3 gorgeous girls, and a rambunctious yorkie poo named Sadie.

What about your other half?  Been married to Dave for going on 8 years now.  He’s truly become my best friend.  We’re pretty much always goofing off and laughing together.
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Let’s meet the kiddos:  I’ve got 3 of them.  All girls.  Yeah, I know, we’ve totally got our work cut out for us.
P is 11.  She’s big hearted and the easiest kid on the planet.  Always has been.  She’s my big helper and an amazing big sister.  She’s my soccer star and my artist.  I can always count on her.
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T is 7.  She’s goofy, smart, and loud.  She’s caring and super sweet but will argue with a wall.  She’s my cheerleader and my horse lover.  She hopes to barrel race when she gets older.
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A is 4.  She goes about a mile a minute from the second she rises in the morning till she lays her head to sleep each night.  Strong willed doesn’t even begin to describe her.  She makes every day an adventure.
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Early bird or night owl?  Night owl. Definietly night owl.
What do you do after your kids go to bed?  Stare at the wall in silence.  For real though.  The day is so busy and noisy that I need like 10 minutes to process it all when it’s finally quiet.  If I’ve got sessions to edit, I usually do it when they’re sleeping and I can concentrate.  Sometimes I color (yes, adults totally do that), read, or lounge in the recliner and peruse pinterest.  When Dave is home, we watch movies and shows together. 
Tell us what a typical weekday looks like for you: 
I typically wake up about 6:30 and get the big girls ready for school. 
I drop them off by 7:30 and try to get some time in the Word in before full on chaos ensues.  
Tue/Thurs about 8:15 I wake the little one up, feed her, make her lunch, and get her ready for MDO.  
After I drop her off at 9, I run errands if there are errands to be run.  Grocery store, bank, dry cleaners, etc.  
I then frolic home to do my chores like a good little housewife.  
If Dave is home, sometimes we use the time to have a lunch date or something since we don’t get out without kids at night much. 
I work on some continuing education classes I’ve got online for a couple of hours and then it’s time to start picking kids up.  
After school snack, homework, and then it’s off to Cheer practice and soccer.  
Home to quickly whip up dinner and feed everyone.  
Then it’s bath, book, and bedtime for the kiddos!
gameblog.jpg(I tried to include some real life stuff here, which is tough when you’re the photographer!  Thanks to my handy tripod and timed release shutter, I was able to get some pretty telling photos of the girls and I playing a game.  Playing board games is one of our favorite things to do together.  Even though I have like 8 chins and P looks like she was picking her nose(she was scratching the side of it actually), I posted them anyway.  Why?  Because the way A is being her sassy bossy self needs to be shared and the way T gets in your face to rub it in when she’s winning is legit)
Let’s talk about your business, how’d you get started and what’s the best thing about your job:  I took an interest in photography in my high school photo journalism class and I’ve loved it ever since.  I purchased my first dslr in 2009 as a way to mainly take photos of my kiddos.  I started taking pictures for friends and family but really didn’t know what I was doing.  I cringe when I look at some of those old photos.  By 2010, I decided to make a business of it and launched Piece of Cake Photography.  I was also making cakes at the time so the name went along with my cake business.  I took a little hiatus after we moved 2 years ago but recently rebranded and relaunched as Lori Latch Photography and I’m super excited about all the new possibilities.  (Like me on Facebook and follow me on Instagram).  The absolute hands down best part about my “job” is meeting awesome new people and getting to see the world through the eyes of a child occasionally.  I’ve gotten to share in some amazing moments from birthdays to weddings and have enjoyed watching some of my clients grow over the years.
What are your biggest challenges balancing your business and your family? Sometimes I’m so swamped with editing or a design project that I need to do it during my children’s waking hours.  It becomes difficult when you’re interrupted repeatedly to get a snack, a drink, diffuse an argument, or doctor a boo boo.  Some days are so busy I don’t have a single waking second to myself and I work into the wee hours of morning making sure my projects are client ready.  
Do you ever feel like society underplays your job as a mom?  All.the.time!  Sometimes I feel like people think I stay home with my children because I didn’t have any other skills or because I wasn’t smart enough for a “real career”.  That’s totally not the case.  I stayed home because I felt like it’s what was best for my family and my children.  If you think I don’t miss the adult interaction of my 8-5 you’re gravely mistaken.  It’s a choice.  A choice that I question daily.
What do you think about the pressures we put on ourselves and other mothers?  I think it’s dreadful.  Mom guilt, it’s real y’all!  We’ve got the weight of the world on our shoulders and we are all so critical of ourselves and other mother’s too for that matter!  If I feed my children anything less than farm raised organic meat and organic locally grown produce with fresh spring water I feel like a failure.  We have this idea of what the perfect June Cleaver mother should look like with a perfectly clean home, fantastically delicious nutritious meals, and perfect hair and pearls and when we undoubtably fall short, we beat ourselves up.  When other mothers don’t parent quite the same way we do, we judge.  
What bit of encouragement would you offer other moms?  You do you.  Worry about what works best for your family and your busy lifestyle.  Worrying about keeping up with your neighbor, your best friend, or that awesome mommy blogger you found on pinterest will only bring more stress to your life.  Seriously, some days I make elaborate meals and play all day with my kids.  Some days we do amazing art projects and things are all unicorns and rainbows and we post those things on social media for all to see.  Other days, we run late , forget things, eat chef boyardee, and have meltdowns you don’t always see.  Some days I have the patience of Job while others I yell at my kids and then feel so guilty I crawl in the fetal position and cry.  The point is, if elaborate valentines, meals, and parties are your cup of tea, you do you.  If they’re not, there is absolutely no shame in your game!  I’ve got to make a more conscious effort to stop holding myself (and others) to some unrealistic standard.  We’re all in this together!

 

*Are you a DFW area Mama who might like to be featured in a future Moms like me post?  It’s easy and fun!  I’ll email you a few questions similar to those above and then on a day that’s convenient for you, come snap some photos of you and your family both in a portrait like setting and your natural element.  There’s absolutely no session charge and I’ll link your business page for your customers and mine!  Let’s support each other’s businesses ladies and encourage other mamas too!  I’m looking for work from home mamas, business owner mamas, working moms, and stay at home moms married or single.  It takes a village!*

 

Sheriff Callie Party

I know I’m a little behind on sharing A’s December birthday party but I figured while I’m on a roll, I may as well back track!  She requested a Sheriff Callie party and I’m typically pretty opposed to character parties but I thought I could probably run with a cowgirl theme so I agreed.  Of course our first step was to snap some photos for her invitations.  I stumbled upon the cutest little flea market outside of town that looked like a mini old west town from the outside so we loaded up and took advantage of the scenery.

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I designed a quick and colorful invitation in photoshop and sent it off to my print company.  The above photo was the back and the front was this:

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We used our trusty ole tablecloth trick to transform our garage into the ole west.  We picked a blue color to look like sky and my mother had the idea to use cotton to make clouds.  The result was pretty adorable!  I knew early on that I wanted to make an old west town out of appliance boxes for the party so I called me local Lowe’s and asked them to save me a few refrigerator and washer/dryer boxes.  They called within days saying they had a few and we went to work cutting and painting them.  We made a bank, Ella’s saloon, Uncle Bun’s store, and of course the Sheriff’s station and jail.  I had my husband cut a walkway between a refrigerator box and a dryer box so that we could connect them.  That way when the Sheriff had to throw someone in jail, they had to go through the station door.  We used a box cutter to make the bars and tin foil to give them a metallic look.

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We took pictures of her stuffed animals and added them to wanted posters in photoshop then printed them in sepia tone and taped them inside the sheriff’s station and the outside door.  I used scrapbook paper that looked like old distressed wood from Hobby Lobby for the bank and sheriff’s station doors.  We bought fake money at dollar tree for the kids to play with in the bank, plastic cups and pitcher (also from dollar tree) for the saloon, and brought out some play kitchen foods and shopping bags for the general store.  It’s amazing how much fun kids can have in cardboard boxes!

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As our guests arrived, we got them all fitted in bandanas, cowboy hats, and deputy badges. We got the foam hats in black and brown at dollar tree and the bandanas at Hobby Lobby.  Because they were so large and the majority of our guests were under 5, we cut each bandana into 4th’s.  This was cost efficient and they fit much better on little ones.  The deputy badges came from Hobby Lobby as well.  We also gave each guest a little drawstring canvas bag from oriental trading to keep their gold nuggets in from the panning for gold station.

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Because our party was in the afternoon, we served sweet snacks rather than an actual meal.  We choose flavored popcorns from a local gourmet popcorn shop and put them in little cow print favor bags from Hobby Lobby.  We also made s’more pops by putting large marshmallows on a skewer, dipping them in melting chocolates, and then covering in sprinkles.  These were a huge hit as were the chocolate coins. I raided our American Girl collection and thought this Our Generation horse stable was the perfect addition to our table.  We used it to hang onto our snacks.  12322645_1229405073752640_166357767555459773_o

I found those awesome fabric garlands on clearance at Michael’s for around $3 each and knew I couldn’t pass them up.  We found the tissue fans at Dollar Tree for an extra pop of color.

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Kids colored Sheriff Callie sheets and “roasted” their marshmallows over the “fire”.  I found that adorable inflatable campfire at oriental trading and it was a big hit!  I printed the coloring sheets directly from the disney jr. website.

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My niece, nephew, and girls tried out the panning for gold station before the party started.  For quality assurance purposes of course.  To make this, we purchased a small bag of decorative rocks from Dollar Tree and spray painted them gold.  We then took a large long plastic bin and filled it with sand purchased from Home Depot and sprinkled the “golden nuggets” all around burying them in the sand.  We added water to the top and added some shovels and other sand toys we already had.  We used foil pie tins which we hammered holes into the bottom so the kids could scoop and sift.  Whatever nuggets they found, they got to take home in their little pouches.  There was a steady flow of children here the whole party.  HUGE hit even with the older kids!

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Another huge hit was the Photo Booth area.  To make this, I just took an image of a wanted poster I found online (I’ll link it if I can find it again) and enlarged it in photoshop. I then printed it off in quarter sections.  We cut it out, burned the edges with a lighter to give it an aged look and then glued it to a piece of cardboard that was left over from our cardboard box town renovations.  We used a box cutter to cut out the center and thumb tacks to secure the edges and look like fancy nails.  We used a long thick piece of leftover cardboard to create a stand and then placed it in a small bucket filled with sand and rocks to steady it.    The kids had fun with this but honestly, I think the adults had more fun with it!  haha

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Unfortunately, in my haste, I forgot to photograph the other 2 activity stations we had but they were inexpensive and simple and kept the kids busy the whole party long.  We took a stick horse from our playroom and stuck it in the yard by digging a small hole for the stick.  We set out hula hoops we already had and let kids try their hand at “lassoing” the horse.  It was sort of like a ring toss on a bigger scale.  We also had buckets which I had decorated with pictures of boots I had printed and colored.  We purchased plush snakes from the dollar tree and kids had to try and toss the snake in the boot.  We called it the “there’s a snake in my boot” game.  Because we’re witty like that!  😉

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The Sheriff and all her little pals had a great time and those darn boxes stayed in our garage for a month because we couldn’t bring ourselves to toss them!  lol

Birthday Carnival Fun

Gosh, I’ve been pretty bad about updating here lately.  What can I say?  I’ve been a busy beaver for sure!  The holiday’s had me swamped and then it was birthday parties and traveling and out of town guests galore!  Last weekend, we hosted T’s 7th birthday party here at home.  Even though I never managed to get A’s Sheriff Callie party blogged (I better do that today too!), I thought I would go ahead and get the details for the Carnival party blogged while they were still fresh on my mind.

We decided about 3 months ago that we would be going with a Carnival theme and took to pinterest immediately to begin planning.  A few weeks before the party, I took her out in some colorful clown garb to snap a few photos for her invitations.  They’re pretty goofy but they’re probably my favorite pictures ever of her because they really let her silly personality shine!  Here are a few of my favorites!

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I normally have really cute double sided photo invitations printed from my print company but, unfortunately, I procrastinated a bit and ran out of time.  Instead, I had them printed 2 to a page at my local office depot.  They had them printed and cut down to size for me within an hour and they were on their way to the post office that afternoon!

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Meanwhile, we begin gathering supplies and prizes for the games and sketching ideas for setup in chalk in the garage and driveway.  Haha  We decided that since A. I would be returning from camp with my oldest the night before the party and B. The party was in the afternoon that we would not serve a full lunch menu but instead opted for snacks and sweets.  While I was at camp, I enlisted my hubby and mama to transform our garage into a big top canopy by using plastic tablecloths.  We’ve used this method for many parties and it always works so well.  Gives us an ample party space while still being whimsical and colorful.  You almost forget you’re in a garage.  Thankfully, weather for both my girl’s winter birthdays has been absolutely perfect!

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I wish I had taken a better picture of the garage because it looked super cute but you get the gist here.  We served popcorn, cotton candy, cake, and ice cream.  I got the cute little carnival napkins at Hobby Lobby, as well as the little cotton candy stand, and the marque looking signs.   Most of the other table decor came from the dollar spot at Target!  We found the colorful popcorn containers there as well as the felt birthday banner and letters, and the cute little red cake stand.  Because I didn’t have a lot of extra time or energy for cake decorating, I picked a super simple design and I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out.  I rolled the bottom tier in sprinkles and for the top tier, I designed cute little ticket strips with her name and birthday in photoshop and then took it down to my local Wal Mart bakery for them to print on an edible image.  It was quick and easy and the image only cost about $7!  I got the little pennant banner, cupcake flags, and glitter 7 at hobby lobby too.  I bought bags of cotton candy from our local Golden Corral for $1.25 each and just divided them into small portions and put them on lollipop sticks.  They made for a cute display and kids weren’t consuming giant portions of sugar so it was a double win!

We had 5 game stations so each kid was given 5 tickets when they arrived (I got these at dollar tree!) so they each got to try each game once.  Because we had extra time and more prizes once each kid had a turn, we allowed them another set of tickets if they wanted to continue playing which most did. We also hired an amazing local face painter.  She was a huge hit with the kiddos!  Our carnival games were simple and inexpensive as were our prizes.  Most were purchased at the dollar tree with the exception of the pet fish soap which I made myself.

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The balloon pop station was the biggest hit I think.  To assemble it, we used squares of cork board purchased at hobby lobby attached to a piece of plywood we had laying around.  We used thumb tacks to attach the balloons and darts with plastic tips for the kids to throw.  If they popped a balloon the selected a prize (bubbles or play dough) and if they missed they got a piece of candy.  They each got 3 tries per ticket.  We got the dart balloons on amazon and the darts 3 to a pk for $1.97 at Wal Mart.  We blew all the balloons up prior to the party and placed them in trash bags.  We just did a little at a time and within a couple of weeks had them all blown up!  🙂

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For the fish bowl game we used small clear plastic cups from walmart filled with water.  We dropped a plastic fish toy in several of the cups and kids had to toss ping pong balls into the cups.  They got 3 tries per ticket and if they got it in a cup with a fish, they got to take home a pet fishy bath soap.  I made these easily by purchasing a large block of clear glycerine soap from Michael’s with a 50% off coupon.  It totaled about $10 and I still have a ton left for a future craft!  I purchased the vinyl goldfish on Amazon.  They were so simple to make and the kids had a blast helping me.  We cut the soap into smaller pieces and placed them in a microwave safe bowl.  We melted them in the microwave and then poured the liquid into small plastic treat bags sitting in mugs.  We then moved the bags to a bowl of ice water where we used a skewer to push fish toys down into the soap as it hardened.  If you choose to add scent to your soap, mix it in with the bowl.

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For the ring toss, we had the painstaking job of drinking beer to empty those bottles!  I gave my husband that job weeks in advance thinking they would be done waaaaay ahead of time but the week before party time, we only had 2 bottles sitting on the counter!  Luckily, we attended a Super Bowl party the weekend before and managed to collect enough!  lol  I spray painted the bottles and caps and found those super cute carnival soda labels at Hobby Lobby.  The kids each got 3 rings (which were harder to find than I imagined).

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For the lucky ducky game we purchased 50 rubber duckies and this inflatable pool from Amazon and glued washers to the bottom of each duck.  We painted about 12 with nail polish first.  The kids got 3 tries to pick a duck with a colored washer on the bottom to win a prize.  They got a piece of candy if they didn’t pick a winning ducky.

Last but not least we had a bean bag toss.  I didn’t get any pictures of this but it was pretty simple.  We used a lawn game set we already had from Academy and set it out side by side that way 2 kids could play at once.  Each got 3 bean bags.

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After a stop at the face painting booth, our guest were ready to have their picture taken in the ring of fire.  I had my oldest and a friend make this using a hula hoop we found at the dollar tree and red, yellow, and orange tissue paper.  Made for a cute photo prop!

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Overall, I think a great time was had by all.  Even this ole top hat wearing Ring Master!  Thanks to everyone who came to make our girl’s day extra special!

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BIG SEVEN

7 years. 364 weeks. 2,555 days. 61,320 hours. 3,679,200 minutes.

As of 5:00 p.m. today, that’s how long I’ve been married. 7 years, although it’s not a particularly large or traditional anniversary milestone, it is for me. I try not to get too incredibly personal where my marriage is concerned but it is with my husband’s permission that I share a little bit about our story. Our marriage has never been a walk in the park. In the 7 years since we said I do we have been through our fair share of trials. We’ve seen a deployment, an oil boom, 2 oil busts, a layoff, the birth of 2 children, 3 moves, and a whole lot in between. Last year however, we endured our toughest trial yet. As I’m sure those of you who personally know me or closely follow my blog are aware of, we lost my mother in law last August. Just one week shy of our 6 year wedding anniversary. That summer had been particularly strenuous on our marriage because it just seemed as though we had grown apart. I felt like Dave was mean and short tempered all the time, like he no longer cared about me and our marriage, and that he was incredibly selfish. He felt under appreciated, like I nagged constantly, and that I was trying to control him. Neither of us were budging and were both frustrated and burnt out on the relationship. Around June, I suggested maybe we take some time apart and perhaps give each other some breathing room without speaking while he was away at work to do some thinking. Within 2 weeks, we had decided to work on things and make some changes so that we could make our marriage work. We sort of just swept things under the rug at this point though because neither of us actually did anything to change. By August we were pretty miserable with each other but in attempts to reconnect, he took off work for our anniversary and my mother was planning to keep the kids for a few days so that we could spend some much needed one on one time together. The week before we were scheduled to leave, we got the news that his mother had passed and we quickly began making arrangements. We ended up spending our anniversary at the family ranch with all of his family as we laid her to rest. We were both really mourning the loss and trying to wrap our heads around it and really tried to lean on each other. By the next month however we were right back where we were before her passing. Mid September Dave came to me and said he was tired of fighting and he wasn’t sure he wanted to be married anymore. I hesitantly admitted I was feeling the same way and when he left for work later that day, we had decided it was more of a goodbye than a see you later. We had decided to separate. I realized pretty early on this wasn’t truly what I wanted but I was so frustrated I wasn’t sure what to do. Dave took a little longer however to come around. I won’t get into all the details of what happened between us in the weeks to follow but I will say we said and did alot of things to hurt one another. During our separation, my grandmother passed away and I found myself back home with my parents for the funeral. I spent 6 years praying for God to move in my husband’s heart. To change him. I never once asked for God to change ME. I never asked for God to move in MY heart and reveal to me what I was doing wrong because I was so focused on what he was doing wrong. I was so focused on my hurt and my resentment that I couldn’t see my contributions to the demise of my marriage. But the night of my grandmother’s funeral I ugly cried out to the Lord. I asked him to reveal to me what I could change in myself, I asked him to help me get over the hurt of the past, and finally I asked for peace and for comfort for whatever his will was for my marriage. I couldn’t beg him to make Dave want to be married to me anymore, I began to plead for HIM to invade my heart and make me okay with being on my own if that’s so what he wanted for my life. I asked him for strength and wisdom to be a strong mother for my girls through this difficult time. For the first time in weeks, I slept soundly through the night. When I woke up the next morning, I decided it was time to stop mourning my marriage. I wasn’t going to cry or beg Dave to stay, if he wanted to leave, I would let him and I would be okay. Just like that, God moved. Dave asked to see me that night, we talked, I cried, he asked for forgiveness, so did I. We decided to work on things and communicate more. He looked at me in a way I had never seen him look at me before. When I asked him what made him suddenly want to see me, he couldn’t really provide an answer other than he was just sitting there watching tv and felt like he HAD to see me. Something extraordinary happened that night. We became friends. Best friends. The month or so afterwards were difficult because we were still working through some things together and trying to mend some hurts. I’m sitting here in awe of the miracle God has worked in our marriage since then. My husband has become one of the most patient kind men I know. He always puts the girls and I first. He makes our marriage a priority and goes to church with me when he’s home. He calls me and texts me every chance he gets and makes me feel so loved daily. We truly enjoy each other’s company and when he looks at me, I can visibly see his love for me. I on the other hand probably could still work on my nagging but I do try harder to show my appreciation for all he does and sacrifices for our family. I’m asking God daily to show me how to love my husband more and to fully mend all of my past hurts. I spent many years being patient with Dave and I’m thankful he was patient with me this last year while I worked through some hurt, insecurities, and some struggles of my own. I’m glad I didn’t give up on him easily and glad he hasn’t given up on me. So while a 7 year anniversary may not seem like something super spectacular to you, in many ways, it was the most special milestone of all for us. It was the first anniversary of our new beginning, it was an anniversary I didn’t think we were going to make it to. We are so appreciative of our family and friends who vigilantly prayed with us and for us and truly fought for our marriage along side us.

Honey, I’m thankful for second chances. I promise to let my guard down and just live. I promise to *try harder* not to nag and to remember to pick up your dry cleaning. I love you 809238423740298840923374238409280 +7. I can’t wait to see what adventures our next year brings. ❤

Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. Mark 10:9

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On our Wedding day August 9, 2008

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Motherhood

I want to start with a bit of an apology or a disclaimer if you will, I normally proof read my blogs briefly before I post because I know I can often become long winded or stray from the subject but I didn’t do that here. I just wanted to express exactly what I was feeling without any regards to run ons or subject changes! You’ve been warned.

When I held P (now 10) in my arms for the very first time, I knew being a mom was my calling. I mean, I had always known it but it really reiterated it. Yep, this was what I was meant to do. I was absolutely made to be a mother. I closed my eyes and envisioned my future as a glowing, nurturing, patient, maternal goddess. My entire future glowed before me. Soccer games, cheerleading, PTA meetings, family pictures. Yes, life was going to be picturesque, I could feel it. Even through the pain of my c-section and the late night feedings and poop explosions I trucked on towards the prize. The mother-of-year-prize; as though it was a tangible engraved trophy. I attended all her preschool parties with handmade treats and personalized party favors in tow. I scrapbooked every glorious little detail of her life in elaborate hand cut spreads with corner rounded photos. When I learned I was pregnant again, I just knew I would be an even better mother this time around. After all, I had some experience under my belt now, I was practically a pro! But when T came along, I learned I wasn’t as super as I thought. She was a difficult baby. She pretty much hated anyone but me and refused to be bottle fed at all. Pumped milk was not her thing, she wanted it fresh from the source! lol So class parties and other social events sort of took a back seat to little sister. I felt spread so thin I was sure both of my girls were suffering. By the time T was around 2 and I finally felt like I had a foothold on motherhood again, Dave and I begin talking about trying for our third and final baby. We thought since we were “trying” this time, it may take a while but in no time at all we were expecting again. This pregnancy was exciting to me because we were better prepared for it. It was expected, we were excited, the girls were excited, and we were in a better place financially to accommodate a new little blessing than previously. I was older, more experienced, and completely ready to take this on. After all, I had mastered being a mother of two, how much more difficult could a third child be? A was a pretty difficult child right out of the gate. She was colicky and was seriously attached to her mama. She did like Daddy much more than T did as a baby so that helped. Dave was much more helpful this time around too. He changed diapers and would offer to keep her so I could go to the store alone occasionally. But 3 kids into my parenting journey, I don’t exactly feel like a pro. I am NOT president of the PTA like I envisioned, I don’t even attend meetings. I have a hard time keeping their school and sporting events straight so I’m always late or confused in someway. We haven’t had family pictures taken in years. I’m not a glowing maternal goddess. I’m out of shape and stressed and overwhelmed most days. I feel like I’m drowning and failing in so many ways. I spend most of my days questioning every parenting decision I make and reflecting on every poor choice I made in the day: I text while I was at dinner with them, I fed them chick-fil-a because I didn’t feel like cooking, I didn’t bathe them last night because I was beyond ready for them to go to bed, they watched tv for more than an hour today, I lost my patience, I yelled, I skipped a bedtime story, we didn’t wake up in time for church, we didn’t pray together before bed. Did I spend enough time with them? Did I spend TOO much time with them? Did I let them be individuals and develop their own opinions or am I forcing mine on them? Have I scared them for life? Am I crushing their little spirits and forever changing who they are? Will they need therapy as adults? You laugh, but you know you’ve all thought the same thing about your parenting skills. Some days I hide in my closet and cry because I’m so disappointed in myself as a mother. Our pediatrician constantly compliments me on how well behaved, polite, intelligent, and wonderful our girls are. She praises Dave and I for our parenting every time we visit. Recently, Dave and I treated the girls to a nice dinner at Saltgrass steakhouse to celebrate P & T both being selected as students of the month at school when an elderly gentleman sitting at the table behind us came over as they were leaving and shook Dave’s hand. He said he just wanted to stop by and congratulate us on being wonderful parents. He said he and his wife had been watching and they were so blown away by how polite the girls were and how they just sat there sweetly the entire dinner. They were never rambunctious, never threw a fit, and were absolutely beautiful as well. Dave beamed with pride and the girls sweetly smiled and said thank you before waiving goodbye. Stuff like this literally happens to us every time we leave the house but still I don’t feel like a good parent. I still am overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy and failure. This weekend was a great weekend for our family. Thursday I attended a muffins with Mom breakfast at the older girl’s elementary school and then a few hours later attended a muffins with Mom event at A’s mother’s day out program. I loved watching them very proudly present me little handmade cards and gifts as a Mother’s Day present. Friday morning, I attended another early morning breakfast event at the school because P had been chosen for a character award. Each time I attend an event at the girl’s school I am bombarded by reports of praise from their teachers, administrators, peers, and other parents. I cried as a letter from her teacher explaining why she was chosen was read aloud choked full of wonderful words of praise like “P is selfless, generous, and there is not a student in my classroom who thinks anything but the best of her. On my own bad days, I can think of a student like her and realize why I love to do this job.”. She goes on to say “Her kindness and constant enthusiasm will be something I remember for many years to come.”. Wow! Included in her award papers was a wonderful collage of sweet comments that each of her peers had contributed about her. “P is a problem solver and I have never seen her with a frown”, “You are a sweet, nice, cute, and generous girl and will be my best friend forever”, “You are awesome! You are fast, nice, gold hearted, a good friend, and very good at soccer”, “She is one of the coolest and nicest people I have ever met”. Were amongst some of my favorite things her classmates had to share about her. I am so so proud of this amazing little girl but I can’t take the credit for it. Even with all this praise, I can’t take credit. She’s wonderful all on her own and I still felt like a failure when I fed her fast food for dinner that night. The next morning, our whole family attended a city wide “Character March” at one of the local high schools. Star students from each school in the city were brought on stage and recognized for being students of impeccable character. This year there were about 18 students out of the nearly 500 enrolled students at their school selected to be students of the month and of those 18, my 2 children were BOTH selected! They were the only set of siblings recognized that day. T’s teacher said about her: “She always has a kind word for her friends and encourages others. She usually goes the extra mile to help teachers and students alike.” She added, “She is a great example to her peers daily and her genuine and caring heart makes her a friend to all.” We finished off the morning with food and fun at the stadium and then enjoyed an evening of pizza and playing with friends. At the end of the night when I kept my children up waaaaaay past their bedtimes and then became irritated when A was extremely cranky and whiney I felt like a failure again. My point in all of this was not to brag on my children, (okay, maybe a little bit, but they truly deserve some recognition), it was to say that no matter what the parenting circumstances are, no matter how other people view you as a parent, no matter how well behaved and kind hearted your kids may be, you will always be your own worst critic. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I became a mother and something I will probably always struggle with from time to time. This morning when I was surprised with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, jewelry from one of my favorite stores, donuts, and hand drawn Mother’s Day cards before church, I cried. Reading the sweet words on the card my husband had selected for me and the wonderful note he wrote at the bottom made my heart swell because I realized something for the first time in all of my years as a mom. I realized that I am enough. I’m not perfect, I’m often impatient, I become overwhelmed, sometimes my kids eat fast food, but I’m doing my very best and you know what? That’s a pretty good start. God didn’t intend for us to be perfect mothers. He intended us to lean on him with faithful prayer. He intended for us to go to Him for counsel and guidance and to raise our children to love him. Can I tell you something moms? You are enough for those babies. Someday when they’re grown, they won’t remember that time we were too tired for a bedtime story, they will remember the love we had for them, the discipline they received when they were disobedient, the lessons we teach them, and most importantly how we instilled in them a love for the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I find so much encouragement in the word knowing that the Father is with me co-parenting and picking up the slack when I can’t go on. I find hope in His promises for me as a mother and although I know I will always fall short in some area as a mother, I know those sweet, beautiful, amazing, precious babies of mine love their imperfect, absent minded, goofy, flawed mommy more than I deserve. They are truly the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. They try my patience and drive my absolutely batty some days but this wonderful amazing motherhood journey has been the greatest ride of my life!

Proverbs 31:28-29 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many women do noble things but you surpass them all.

Thank you Lord for loving me so completely despite my many flaws. Thank you for trusting me with these 3 amazing little angels. Thank you for giving me a God fearing mother as an example to myself and my children and for the many amazing mothers in my life. I pray for extra strength for my fellow mommies who are struggling with the same feelings of inadequacy and failure today. Less of us and more of you Lord.

Happy Mother’s Day Mamas! ❤

An inside peek at my MOMentary lapses in sanity

Dear Diary,

When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a writer.  I also dreamed of being a skinny, rich, and famous singer but that’s neither here nor there.   I used to have this little notebook that I would write down “news stories” in and I would make all my friends write articles for my newspapers and magazines (naturally I was the editor).   As I got older, I developed a few more dreams like becoming a wife and a mother and my childhood dreams took a backseat to my grownup dreams.  Now here I am “playing house” if you will, living out my big girl dreams and thinking to myself, who says big girls can’t live their childhood dreams?  So here I am.  Living the dream.  Okay okay it’s not exactly a published masterpiece, it’s a little mom blog but everyone has to start somewhere right?  Besides, sometimes combining your dreams can make for something pretty amazing!  This won’t be one of those “lookie at what my children did today” kind of blogs.  This is going to be an all access pass to the products, crafts, snacktivities, and chaos that make our family life-a supercallafradulisticexpialadocious ball of awesomeness!  But it’s not awesome all the time.  Sometimes our crafts don’t work out the way we planned, our meals are a bust, and the hair products that promised to “control the frizz” backfire on our curly heads.  We won’t hold back, we’ll share it all.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the frizzy we’re gonna lay it all out.  So pull up a chair and stay a while to laugh with me, cry with me, craft and cook with me, and try a few things we’ve never tried before.  Welcome to the Diary of a Dysfunctional Domestic Diva!  ❤