She Said....

The man came to put the For Sale sign on our house last week and I happened to walk by the window when he pulled up.

I gasped when I saw him and ran to the front door.

Girlfriend and the Baby, are never more than a few steps behind me, and were on the porch before I could even call them to come see.

Girlfriend's all: "Uh. What is he doing?"

She legit went from zero to Sassy in two seconds flat when she saw the guy put a shovel into our lawn.

And I'm like: "Putting a sign on our grass so people know that they can buy our house."

And she's like: "Oh no he's not!"

She was instantly swishing her neck back and forth, and wagging a finger in his direction.... before I could stop her... she was yelling:

"Hey! You! Get out of here! You're at the wrong house! I hate you! Leave!"

So... it's safe to say she's handling this well.


Listening to the Universe

When we moved into this house, almost 8 years ago... we bought it because it was the biggest house we could afford for the money.

We knew we wanted a family, and fast... so we opted to buy a great big ol' house, just the two of us.... an hour from anyone we knew, and just... go for it.

It took awhile, but soon the Universe showed us it's plan.

After 6 years, Husband landed an amazing job, just one mile from our house.

Like he will call me when he gets in his car at the end of his day and be like, "I'm on my way home, what's for dinner...." and by the time he finishes his sentence, he is standing in our kitchen.

It's been an amazing gift... and I know that buying this house was all apart of our plan, because it led us to this wonderful job, which has been amazing for Husband's career.

So when we went to list our house... a friend of mine had just re-newed her real estate license. She had taken a break for about 5 years, which is when the whole technology side of real estate really took off.

Long story short, she was re-learning real estate and was being mentored by the owner of her agency.

I felt good about working with her because I knew that signing with her would be giving her her first big listing as a new (again) agent... and I love to support my friends.

Well, the Universe had other plans.... and sadly, it didn't work out with my friend.

Her mentor wanted her to play hard ball with us, and she brought new numbers to the contract signing... numbers that we felt weren't fair to us.

Poor Husband was sitting at the table ready to sign a contract, with a pen in his hand, when the new numbers were laid in front of him.

Everything felt wrong about that moment, and we opted to hold off, wait it out... think on it.

We piled the kids into the car to hit a few open houses and the new numbers were weighing heavy on our hearts.

We had worked with my friend for six weeks, planning for this big day to sign these papers... and we were absolutely bummed that things had taken a weird and unexpected turn with someone that we trusted to guide us.

We went to an Open House at a beautiful home that I wasn't super into....

It was in a great neighborhood, but it sat beneath these weird humongous power lines and I knew I wasnt into it.

The realtor opened the door and smiled and said, "Hi Guys! This house sold yesterday! But I couldn't cancel the Open House, so come on in! Poke around!"

I loved her instantly.

Before long I was chatting her up, I didn't look at the house at all.

The kids were busy kicking the guinea pig cage (no guinea pigs were harmed in the publishing of this post), and Husband was checking out the basement, while the realtor and I laughed together in the kitchen.

She's a bubbly loud blonde who is easy to talk to, just like me.

I loved her.

She had all the right answers and didn't even realize I was interviewing her... she thought we had a realtor.

And we did... until I met her.

We left that Open House and drove one mile down the road before calling her and asking her to come over and give us a market analysis.

The Universe put us at that Open House that I knew I didn't need to see, just so we would meet her that day.

I am confident of that.

She came by that afternoon, and again the next day.

A week later, and her sign is on my front lawn.

When the Universe is speaking to you... you listen.

I love her because she's hard on Husband too... she's like, "Get up dude, power wash the house, power wash the deck.... this house is not ready and you better make it shine."

Sadly, my "friend," whom we tried to work with in order to be supportive friends, hasn't reached out to us since we balked at her new numbers.

But, we feel that we made the right decision for our family... and are officially on the market.

We've had zero showings, and have an Open House scheduled for next weekend.

My "To Do" list is literally 57 bullet points long... and add to that a needy 2 year old that hangs on my legs and I'll be lucky if anything gets done at all.

Tonight we panicked when we looked at a couple other local listings that have been on the market for a year.

We put everyone in the car, during a torrential downpour, and drove by only to find them abandoned, not on nice lots, close to the road, on busy streets... whatever.

Husband is the panicker and I am the calmer.

At every house I rubbed his hand and told him we would figure it out, we've only been listed three days, we will get there, this is the right thing... we are listening to the Universe.

And when we got home, there was a beautiful double rainbow right in front of our house.

The kids started freaking out and jumping up and down and pointing and I clapped my hands and hung on Husband's arm yelling, "The buyers are coming! The buyers are coming!"

Now.... to make us all believe it.

Please if you are a praying person... keep us in your hearts as we try to move on to a place where our children can get a better education!


Four to the Store

Sometimes I forget, that my Girlfriend is still only four years old.

She has been so mature for so long... that I literally just freaking forget that she has only been alive for four years, and even though she acts like a teenager, she's still just a little girl.

I try to give each kid one on one Mommy time as much as I can, and last week Girlfriend asked... no... BEGGED me to take her to the grocery store.

By herself.

With her own shopping cart.

We dont have those grocery stores with the little "Shoppers Assistant" carts that all the kids have on Youtube and down South.

But my Girlfriend has seen Youtube videos of kids using those little carts and she decided that she just wanted to do that so so badly... and so, one night last week, I took her, all by herself, with her pink cart.

Now, I'll be honest.

I didn't even know if this was like, allowed.

I mean, not that there are grocery store rules, but, I haven't ever actually seen any kids with their own little carts either, so I made sure that we went at like, 7:30, so the store was basically empty.

It was a treat in itself to go just the two of us, plus going at bedtime, and add in the fact that I didn't use a cart at all, so it was all up to her and it was pretty much the best moment of my Girlfriend's life.

See... seriously, who gets this excited about grocery shopping?

I cant handle it.

She was like bursting with excitement walking through that store.

It was the simplest, easiest way to make her happy and honestly, something that I will never ever forget.


This Is What Happens...

This is what happens when a certain little boy decides that he wants to spy on his parents while they are talking to a contractor near the edge of the woods.

And the little boy decides that the perfect place to hide his face would be behind a tree branch...

And every time you turn his way... he moves the leaves over his face.... and every time you look away... he pulls them back.

He does this enough times that the next morning..... well.... see for yourself.

So, that was Day One... obviously, I kept him home from school. He was put on two different steroids instantly, and let me tell you how fun THAT was for twelve days.

Day Two he looked a little better... but it had spread... and I know people swear it doesn't spread but listen... the kid's body was COVERED in it Day Two.


To the point where I just couldn't expect him to sit in his chair in his classroom without being super uncomfortable and so... Day Two he stayed home too.

He didn't even look like himself he was so swollen.

Mind you... this was NOT poison ivy. This was bumpy and scaly and the Doctor didn't name it but assured me it was NOT Poison Ivy.

Probably an Oak or a Sumac... whatever it was... it took the full twelve days of Steroids to clear up.

When Day Three rolled around... he looked a little better (these photos are being kind, he did NOT look this good and that's coming from his Mother) but he was begging to go back to school and I honestly couldn't take another day of all three kids stuck in the house again so off he went.

Needless to say, when your child looks like he took a bath in Poison Ivy, people are not kind to his Mother.

The Mommy Shamers came out in full force to tell me all the ways I fucked up my kid by letting him play in the yard, by not bathing him in special soap, by not making him wear a snow suit outside to hide him from the leaves... yada yada yada.

I have now accepted three DIFFERENT brands of soap from three DIFFERENT women who all know better than I do apparently, and swear that THEIR miracle soap is the ONLY soap that will save the day every time.

And so, the next time my child is playing in the woods I will use all THREE kinds of soap on him when he comes inside.

But if they don't work... if none of them saves the day...if he looks like this again anyway, even after all the miracle soaps have been used.... I will just use the freaking steroid cream that the Doctor gave us, and life will go on.

Because... at least my child is playing outside, like he should be! And getting weird rashes is apart of childhood ya'll!

Let 'em play! Let 'em scratch! Let 'em find things out the hard way! Love 'em up... but let 'em live too!

It's good for them!


Nowvel Giveaway

How many photos do you have on your phone?

If you're anything like me... your answer is probably, "One billion."

Recently I had the pleasure of working with some great people behind the free app: "Nowvel."

They were all, "Mama....do you have one billion photos on your phone? Would you like us to get them off of there and put them into an adorable little book that you will want to strap to your forehead and show the world?"

And I was all: "I do! I do! I would! I would love to strap a book to my head!"

Okay, maybe that's not exactly how it went... but you get the idea.

Nowvel allows you to take pictures right off your phone, and create an automatic photo book on 20 pages of stiff, lay flat, eco-friendly paper stock.

The books are small-ish, at 8 inches; so they are just big enough to show off your photos, but still small enough to stash in your purse to show your girlfriends at the bar.

You know you hate looking at pictures on other people's phones. I do too, obviously.

Now, let me be real for a second here, and if you've been reading for a long time, you already know this: I hate technology.

Technology is Husband's department... he pays for the phone, and I keep it 10% charged... that's our deal in life.

So when I heard from a company about trying out their new app I was like... "Husband. I need help."

After the kids had gone to bed we snuggled up on the couch, and he showed me how to open my App Store... (you think I'm kidding).

We searched, "Nowvel," and downloaded the app and started to check it out together.

Within thirty seconds I realized that even someone as old school as me could figure this thing out, and I pushed Husband out of the way so I could pick and choose my photos on my own.

The app is super clean and organized looking, fun and easy on the eyes... definitely user friendly (thank goodness).

Nowvel organizes your photos into potential albums based on their dates, or let's you create your own.

For example, say you took 87 photos between April 14 and April 16... Nowvel knows that, puts all those photos together, and names the album, "The Weekend," for you... aren't they helpful??

Of course, you don't have to order that book, or ever even open it... it's just there as one of their billion possible options to get those photos off your phone... and into a book.

Tangible memories people! That's what it's all about!

They also organize your photos into things like, "Our Picks," "Just Faces," "Tagged Photos" and "All Photos".... I love that they give you possible albums to print, things that they think you might like.

I kept my book super clean looking with one photo per page because I like a simpler, more classic look... but if you wanted to, you could add up to 5 photos per page, for the same price!!

A book is 20 pages long... so you can actually pack 100 photos in this itty bitty book!!

I absolutely love the way it turned out.

I actually love it so much that I took a picture of almost every single page for you guys, because I couldn't choose just one or two! I love them all!

So nice, right?

The pages are harder than paperback... kind of like a kid's cardboard book... which you know I love because that means my maniac kids cant rip them to shreds.

The cover is also hard; not like, an encyclopedia... but harder than a paperback.

Those in the know call it a, "soft cover"... but I'd call it durable, meaning your kids wont be able to bend it.... and you know my shit is always getting broken, so you can trust me on that one.

Once I had all of my photos picked out, which took me forever because I hate commitment... I moved on to designing my cover.

They offer a slew of different designs... enough to suck you in for a good while.

You can also add your own font to the front and back covers...

The best part is, besides the great quality of my little book... it is super affordable... only $20... seriously, that's less than a buck a page...

Because shipping is INCLUDED!!! I KNOW.

AND... because Nowvel is awesome, they are offering coupon code: COTP just for Our Tiny Place readers... it'll save you five bananas!

And by bananas, I mean dollars... because who gives a crap about saving actual bananas, right?

So... you want to WIN one for yourself??

You want to unload some of those photos off your phone and into an adorable little book for your forehead don't you... I know you do!

Or maybe you want to make one of these bad boys for your Mom for Mother's day?

If you're furiously nodding yes to everything I am virtually asking you..... then your spouse probably thinks your weird as Hell...

So... now would be a great time to fill out the Rafflecopter below to be entered to win a Nowvel of your own... and if you don't win but still want to make your own cute little book, please use the coupon code above!

It is good for 30 days.... so open up your phone, (you know it has no freaking storage left on it)... and start selecting your photos!!!

Have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Moving Update

So... You might think that the above picture means that we listed our house, but we didn't... yet.

But we did start going to Open Houses, and these three little maniacs absolutely freaking love it.

They tear through the houses like: "This is my room! This is my office! Cool, can we keep this old fashioned TV??"

At one house they were all: "TAKE OUR PICTURE WITH THE SIGN!"... so... here it is world.

Me on the other hand.... well, Open Houses have proved to make me a hateful, angry woman.

Every house I go into has smaller rooms than ours, smaller kitchen.... weird layouts.

The realtors are like: "Oh! You are probably noticing that the floors are missing!" or... "The basement is this way.. outside... in the backyard... through this bomb shelter door."

Seriously, what the fuck is the rest of the world living in??

Some towns have no grocery store, or like, weird highways running through them... one house even had a neighbor that had a huge trailor in his yard that said: "TANDASCREWING".

Seriously. T and A Screwing. Like that was the name of their business.

Cant make this shit up folks.

So, we're getting an education, to say the least, and have knocked some towns off the list... added others in their place... basically we are just trying to figure out where the fuck we are going to live that will live up to our standards, at our budget.

Anyway it basically comes down to this: We are absolutely going to upgrade our town... and at our price range, we may have to downgrade from our current home..

And who the Hell wants to do that??


Dirty Looks & Door Handles

So we are driving home from Virginia... and we are at the three hour point, and everyone is getting kinda crazy and loud and annoying so we decide to stop in Delaware at a Wa-Wa.

If you're not familiar with the humongous gas stations that are called Wa-Wa... picture like 30 gas pumps and a grocery store attached to it... like huge.

So Husband is pumping gas, and Boyfriend is dumping his Gatorade bottle full of pee, and Girlfriend is putting her shoes on, and there is a man that stopped his car just to marvel at our circus, and the Baby's freaking shoes are lost in the abyss that is a road trip car....

Can you picture this? We were a hot mess.

So I'm sweating, digging through piles of coloring books and discarded clothes, because apparently we must strip on our road trips, and finally I give up and say to Husband, "You bring the Baby, I'll take the Big Kids."

So I grab Boyfriend and Girlfriend by their wrists, because like I said, we are at Wa-Wa and the place is a freaking mad house... so I'm walking all fast and purposeful, like a Mom on a Mission does, ya know... and I'm all:

"You get one snack, and don't sit on the toilet seat, and don't touch the walls, and don't peak under other people's stalls and don't stare at strangers..."

And my Girlfriend, of course, is not paying attention to me...

I let go of her hand to grab the door handle, and she walks over to the window to look at a poster.

And because this is my life, and we know it is ridiculous...

At the EXACT moment that I swing that door open... hard as fucking Hell... my Girlfriend turns around... and I nearly knock her head off.

I hit that kid in the head with the door so freaking hard, it is amazing it didn't knock her ass out.

This happened two weeks ago and I can still see her head swing backwards when I close my eyes... and it still makes me laugh.

I'm a terrible person.

(Side note: I googled "kid getting hit in the face with door" to try to find a video of what it looked like... and this video is pretty much exactly what happened to my Girlfriend... except with the door handle.)

So anyway, I duff my kid in the face with the door handle as hard as I fucking can, and she kinda blinks once or twice and shakes it off, like: "I'm fine, I'm fine."

And she was!

She is super resilient and tough...

And also?? She doesn't believe in wasting time being hurt when she could be picking out gas station snacks...she is my daughter after all.

SO...... we finally get into the bathroom, and because I hit her in the face with the door, I let her go pee first.

You get hurt, you pee first in my book.

Boyfriend, Girlfriend and myself are all piled into the handicapped / family stall and she sits, (on the toilet paper covered seat of course), and starts to pee and looks up at me.

It occurs to me at this moment that I hadn't really looked at her since I slammed her in the face with the door....

And I notice that she has a huge bruise going down the middle of her face.

Like a huge red raised bump, as wide as the door handle...  that goes from between her eyes, to the top of her forehead.

And at this moment... I just fucking cant.

I lose my mind laughing.

Remember, she's totally fine so don't judge me when I say that I was literally laughing in her face.

I'm not trying to be a mean girl, I just can't not laugh at this whole ordeal.

The stressful ride has officially turned me into a basket case and here I am... Laughing and pointing in my kid's face in a bathroom in Delaware.

So there I was, laughing so hard that I'm choking, when my body remembers that it has to pee...

And I'm like "Get up! Get up get up GET UP! I am going to pee in my pants!"

And I'm laughing so damn hard the kids are looking at me like... ".... the fuck?"

So I reach over,  and yank that kid mid-piss off the toilet and plop my ass down and she's like, "Heyyyyy!!! I peed on my legs because of you!!!"

She's staring at me with these big brown accusing eyes like:  "I will cut you lady. I just peed on myself and you are laughing like a damn hyena on the toilet at Wa-Wa. What is SO FUCKING FUNNY!"

Except she didn't say any of that of course... she just stared at me with her door handle egg head like I had lost my damn mind.

She is so damn beautiful and I shouldn't be laughing at her getting hurt but I just, cant, stop.

I just couldn't.... I couldn't even look at her without crying and laughing and thank God I was on that toilet because LORDDDD.

This is my favorite story in life right now because sometimes I'll just be doing the dishes, or making a bed, or folding laundry, yeh, probably folding laundry cause that's all the fuck I ever do.....and my mind will give me a little present, a little wrapped up gift in the shape of my daughter giving me a dirty look with her door handle bump and I just lose my shit all over again.

And I...... I miiight be a terrible person.... but that... was the funniest moment of my life.


This is 33.

Today, I turned thirty three.

I opened my eyes and heard Husband ask the kids what they had to say to me... and they were all: "What's for breakfast?"

And I thought to myself... "This is thirty three."

I walked to the bathroom and peered into the mirror...

I turned my face right, and left...

I pushed my wrinkles up, and down...

I pulled them side to side...

I yanked at the skin around my eyes, trying to remember what they looked like before all the crows feet set in.

I sighed, dropped my hands, and stared at my reflection in the mirror... she looked tired; she needed blush.

I spoke out loud to the older, more distinguished woman in the mirror: "I guess you're thirty three."

I got everyone fed, and dressed... on the bus and off to school.

There was no "Happy Birthday," sign on the chalkboard, no banners hanging in the hallway... no balloons taped to the walls....

I couldn't help it... I was sad.

I was sad that everyone else's birthday is a huge grand affair... celebration after celebration .... and mine... wasn't.

As if this birthday didn't feel totally mundane and unimportant enough... as luck would have it, we were completely out of toilet paper.

So I packed the Baby into the car and headed to the store.... buying toilet paper on my birthday....

This is definitely thirty three.

The baby started screaming as soon as we walked into the store...

Apparently, he hates toilet paper... and wanted everyone to know it.

He took a deep breath, wound up, and started howling from his perch in the cart:


I shook my head and laughed to myself, as I pulled out my camera and snapped a picture thinking... this is thirty three.

I'm buying toilet paper... with a toddler who doesn't wipe his own ass, but has serious anger issues towards toilet paper...

I'm so old that I think that this would be the perfect time for a photo op...

I look around me and despite all the toilet paper screaming, I realize that no one has even noticed us...

I am sad again.... this might be the least special moment of my whole life...

This must be thirty three.

I decide to buy balloons.

I got home and blew up the whole damn package, all 20 of 'em.

I'm tired as Hell after they are all blown up and I think... Shit... this must be thirty three.

I taped them everywhere and instantly felt better about myself and my endurance.

I stepped back, crossed my arms over my chest and smiled, thinking... "This.... is thirty three."

Those balloons were colorful bright beacons of happiness lighting up my life and filling me with pride... for myself.

Suddenly, I wasn't a wrinkly woman that was sad... I was a woman who knew herself well enough to know that if I wanted some damn balloons, I better just go get them.

A younger, more childish version of myself would have pouted about the balloons... but not this woman.

She is a woman who gets shit done.

She is thirty three.

I took my pride onto Facebook and caught sight of my Husband's adorable tribute to my birthday and you know what?

I usually give no shits about Public Displays of Affection and often find them cheesy... but not today... not on my birthday.

I read what that man wrote about me and beamed from ear to ear... having a man who is not afraid to tell the world that he still thinks his wife is hot... suddenly seemed like a very thirty-three year old thing to have.

I smiled at my bright balloon beacons and thought to myself... maybe birthdays aren't so bad... maybe my crows feet are laugh lines.

The doorbell rang and one of my nearest and dearest Girlfriends stood there, ready to make good on her birthday promise to help me with my garden.

Gardening... I thought to myself... on my birthday... THIS... is thirty three.

We moved three humongous plants, we used a saw, and a wheel barrel... things that I have literally never touched in my life... but I wanted the garden to look nice, and my friend offered to help me do it and so I was all... "bring on the saw! and the wheel barrel! and the hoes!" (Just kidding, that's someone else's birthday story).

Because as we learned with the balloons, if I want something done... I had better do it myself... or at least, with the help of one of my nearest and dearest Girlfriends.

And so... we dug and sweat and laughed and complained, about how when you're a woman, sometimes... your birthday isn't what you'd hoped for... sometimes no one hangs up balloons and you buy toilet paper.

I chuckled to myself as I wiped dirt on my clothes, watching my friend use a shovel in the name of friendship and thought.... This is thirty three.

Having a friend who knows you well enough to know that all you want is to not do a shitty job all by yourself on your birthday... is definitely something a thirty three year old would have.

At lunch time Husband came home with one dozen roses and a huge bouquet of balloons.

He is, after all, a man... and so though he always pulls through... it's usually not on time.

I smiled as he walked around the kitchen staring at the balloons that I had given myself.

I explained that they weren't there to make him feel bad, they were there to make me feel good.

He hugged me close and told me how very much my birthday meant to him... and I thought to myself...

This is thirty three... when someone loves you so much, that your birthday is important to them too.

This is thirty three... when your husband knows that your birthday is your favorite day of the whole year... and no matter what, he wont let you down.

This is thirty three... I thought to myself... knowing that you picked the right partner... even when the flowers show up late.

He brought me a deli sandwich for lunch, my favorite... and something that I never treat myself to.

That afternoon, I napped, and I went for a run...

I sat on the porch in the sunshine while my babies ate popsicles and ran in the yard.

I felt blessed to be able to do all of my favorite things, and be at a point in my life where my birthday can be relaxing and enjoyable.

I went to hibachi with the family and my sister .... Where, For the first time in my life, I caught the flying zucchini that the chef throws.

 AND... I ate it even though I hate mushy zucchini.

Because this is thirty three.

This is the adult thing to do... eat the food that someone just threw at your face and smile because for fuck's sake you finally caught it!

After dinner was dessert and singing and presents and when I leaned in to blow out my candles... three little heads leaned in with me...

And then...

As I was just getting my head wrapped around my wish... those three little heads blew out my candle and cheered for themselves and I laughed thinking....

This is thirty three.

When three someone else's blow out your candles and beam with pride and you don't even care because you know that life has been so, so kind to you.

Thirty three means rolling with the punches... and trying not to be so hard on myself.

Thirty three means being so grateful for every last inch of my wonderful life.

Thirty three means not being allowed to skimp on the water... and hoping that someday, my wrinkle cream will start to work.

Thirty three means continuing to worry about the size of my ass... even as I run on the treadmill and eat cucumbers (not at the same time of course).

Thirty three means praying that all of my body parts will somehow defy gravity and stay where God and Victoria's Secret intended for them to be.

Thirty three means knowing damn well who I am, and being proud as Hell of that woman and all that she has accomplished.

Thirty three means accepting that my accomplishments have not been in an office, or in a bank account... but in shaping the lives, hearts and minds of my children.

Thirty three means knowing that as we get older, birthdays kind of start to suck...

Thirty three means knowing that I have a choice in how I approach every situation... and understanding that those choices will be a direct reflection of my heart and mind.

Thirty three is old enough to know better... and old enough to do better.

Thirty three is looking around, and knowing that you are exactly where you were meant to be...

Bunny ears and all.


She Said...

Our washing machine shit the bed.

So I'm standing in Home Depot, watching Husband and the boys talk to the washing machine man,  while I hang out with the cart and my Girlfriend.

She's opening and closing all the different washing machines and telling me what she thinks.

Finally, she gets to the one that we are going to buy.

"This is it? This is the one we are going to buy?" she says.

"Yup," I tell her, "That's the one... do you like it?"

She looks from me, to the washing machine, and back again.

She opens it up, and peers inside... she is silently calculating something, but I have no idea what... I'm absolutely shocked at her interest in this washing machine.

I can not wait to hear what is about to come out of her mouth.

She takes a deep breath and says, "Well Mom, yes, I like it... but.... I think we are going to need a bigger cart."


Her Story: Someone Like You

"Her Story: Someone Like You," is a new weekly feature, designed to bring us all a little closer together. Please join me as I share stories of women from all over the world. It is my hope that you will see a little of yourself or someone you know in these stories... and that you will share them... making our great big world feel a little more like a neighborhood, where no one is alone. If you would like to be featured in Her Story, please email me at ourtinyplace@gmail.com.

Throughout my pregnancy I had the highest of hopes, like any mom does. I would be the best parent I could be, we would provide the best of everything, and nothing could stand in my way. We had tried for so long to get pregnant and now our daughter was almost here after all that time. I committed to myself that she would be breastfed at least until one, this was the plan and that was how it would work. I took breastfeeding classes and my sister is a lactation counselor so I felt like I had set myself up for success.

When Stella was first born nursing wasn’t easy but it was also worth it to me and we started to get the hang of it and I thought, “okay this is great, this is working, I am able to provide the best food for my baby”. Then when she was around six weeks the pain began.  Slowly, but surely, I started to develop pain in my right breast that became unbearable. I had a clogged duct, which is pretty common, but it would not go away. Finally at my wits end with the pain and frustration I visited my OB and was referred the breast center where I had my first (of many) aspirations to remove the build up from the clogged duct.  Except this wasn’t just a clogged duct, nor was it mastitis, which can be easily treated by antibiotics, no no I was feeling so much pain due to having an abscess in my breast. Don’t google it, I did, and was immediately horrified and terrified.

The relief from the aspiration was immediate, and they send off the sample to the lab to be tested, but the relief didn’t last long. It built up again and within 24 hours I was in the emergency room having another aspiration. With the sample results not back yet and the limited medications I could take while nursing, they started an antibiotic but were unsure if it would treat my exact infection. That night was the first time I had left my baby, who had never taken a bottle and wasn’t eating and the stress of it all was unbearable. She survived but I was scarred and still in incredible pain and wouldn’t give myself a break. I was adamant that I would continue nursing and that I wouldn’t take the “easy way out” and use formula.

Then the results came back, and the abscess was so persistent because it was MRSA positive. If you know anything about infections you know that MRSA is a particularly aggressive staph infection and it can be difficult to treat and dangerous for babies. I immediately started to cry and frantically called my pediatrician terrified that I had harmed my baby. They assured me I could keep nursing as she likely had already been exposed and to keep an eye out for symptoms. Despite their assurance I stopped nursing on that side and started to pump. I could not nurse from that side knowing how infected and contagious I was. Not getting much and needing yet another aspiration a few days later I started to loose all supply on that side. Trying to keep up with one side was killing me but I as going to do it!

The straw that finally broke the camels back was waking up covered head to toe in hives. I was allergic to the ONLY antibiotics that could treat MRSA orally and were safe for nursing. My options were to be admitted and take IV antibiotics and pump or stay home with my baby and stop nursing. Exhausted, overwhelmed, in pain, and terrified to leave my baby I chose the latter. I knew that I needed to be healthy for Stella, and in the end this is what I needed to do for her. The relief was legitimately immediate once we started to use formula. I had gone through three weeks of almost daily hospital visits, ER visits, six aspirations, multiple medications, excruciating pain, and it was finally over.

Emotionally I was so spent but I was also so relieved that I was no longer nursing. I mourned the loss of what I had hoped our nursing relationship would be, but I was finally able to enjoy my time with Stella. I was no longer dragging her to a doctor every day and exposing her to extra germs in the hospital. I was able to just BE with her. Feeding her from a bottle didn’t change our relationship for the worse, it ended up helping as I could be relaxed and enjoy my time with her.  Part of me regrets that I didn’t stop earlier, part of me regrets that I stopped at all. In the end my daughter is happy and healthy and this is what matters. The (literal) scars I have are a daily reminder of what we went through but we made it to the other side and this little face couldn’t be more worth it.


Car Quickie

So, when Boyfriend has to pee in the car, he gives us like, fifteen seconds notice before it's an Emergency.

Bless his Heart I know he is just trying to be a good boy and not bother anyone, but DUDE... there is not a public rest room within 15 seconds of our car at all times, ya know?

Anyway, a few times on our ride Boyfriend happened to have an empty bottle next to him, so he just peed in it..

I know what you're thinking and don't judge me.

He sits by himself in the way way back and who cares if he pees in a bottle? Not me.

So after two back to back 8 hour car rides... the kid is like an expert at peeing in bottles.

Except on the way home, all of a sudden he's like, "I gotta pee I gotta pee!"

I happened to have to pee at this exact moment too, and we were just about to get off the highway... now the exit wasn't within fifteen seconds, but it was close.

So I'm all: "Okay, Bud, I swear, the Exit is right there, you can see it... deep breaths and we will run in together, five minutes tops."

And he's like panicking, "No! I can't I cant!"

So I'm like, "Well did you finish your lemonade? We are about to get off it wont even be another minute, but if you really cant hold it, pee into your lemonade bottle."

And then I hear: "Uh Oh."

Followed by: "He peed on me!"

And then: "There's pee on the ceiling!"

"There's pee on my seat!"

And then from the Baby: "Pants. Wet."

Turns out, the kid had decided to pee into the paper cup that I had been using to pass back snacks.

Except, you can't just aim a fire hose into a paper cup, cause it'll bounce back and spray everywhere.

Like the ceiling.

And your sister's car seat.

And your brother's pants.

Lesson learned, empty bottles yes, paper cups no.


Roooooad Trip!

We took the crew to Va Beach this past week... and we lived to tell the tale.

Thank you JEEZUS!

Guys. I have no idea how long you've been reading, a day? A minute? Five years?

Whatever it is, let me fill you in... our kids are not good at car travel.

Okay, I'm being nice: they fucking suck at it.

They are the neediest little trolls on the planet.

You remember that we don't do iPads... which I learned, was 100% of the reason that they were terrible in the car.

Kids these days (I am now 100 apparently) live such an instant gratification, constantly entertained life, that they have no idea how to just freaking chill and look out the window.

So you know what we did this time?

We gave them ALLL THE THINGS!

In our house, Husband is the driver, and I am the clown.

I make sure that everyone is calm and well behaved and happy and fed and no one is touching anyone else .... you know, that person.

So preparing correctly for this trip was really important to me, because the more work I did ahead of time, the less I would have to do on the ride... that was the goal anyway.

I spent almost two hours getting everything we needed in the perfect places, and ready to go.

We borrowed iPads and Gameboys and got new batteries for the Leap Pads, hooked up the kid computers.... and that's just the technology part of it.

For snacks, I packed 100 things. Like almost literally.

I started with three rounds of fruit then like, fifty rounds of chips, yogurt, cookies... you name it.

I packed paper cups and just kept them up front with me. Every time it was time for a new round of snacks, I handed them each a cup.


The cups were my road trip best friend.

I even put crayons, markers, little cars, etc etc etc in them and just passed them on back.

Everyone was happy to have their own little stash of whatever was up next.

I have a method to car trips that has always worked two-thirds well for us, and we used it again this time.

I say "two-thirds well" because the boys are easy and Girlfriend is a non-sleeper, so she is always our wild card.

I always always get into the car and try to keep them busy for the first three hours of the trip.

From there we stop and run around.

On this particular trip that meant stopping at a McDonald's play land, (followed by a quick bath in hand sanitizer of course)... I didn't force them to eat, and instead packed the food to go while they ran around for 45 minutes.

While they ran and Husband watched, I snuck out to the car and emptied whatever trash and junk we had accumulated, re-set up each kid so that they would be comfortable, re-packed, condensed and got out blankets for everyone.

I do this so that the car feels different when they get back in.

So they don't get back into the same mess and feel like uggghhh more car time!

When the kids get back in, they fill their bellies, and go to bed.

Then we haul fucking ass, within the speed limit of course (don't worry Mom).

That, "entertain, eat, stop, set up, sleep" deal has worked well for us like that since Boyfriend was a baby (again, we are not including Girlfriend in this statement because that child is not a sleeper).

It also takes some of the pressure off of me, because I am not trying to get everyone to sleep as soon as we get in the car, I know that I am only entertaining them for the first half, and for the second half it is a little more chill.

Thank God, it worked really well for us this time too... and we got to Virginia in 8 hours. Not bad considering we added a 45 minutes McDonald's stop in there.

All that to say... I was wrong, people.

Use those iPads.

Especially in the car.

It made our lives 100% easier and although they weren't fool proof, we felt like we traveled safer when we weren't begging, pleading, screaming at the kids to just for the love of God calm down and look out the window.

Although, we did that too!

There was not one single point in the entire trip that all three slept at the same time, but we feel lucky that the kids are getting old enough to understand that good car behavior equals good things for the whole crew.

Honestly, there is no way to explain how much this means for us.

I used to spend entire car rides crying about the way Girlfriend would scream in the car.

We even tried some sort of prescription anxiety meds that made her look like she was high, and dance like she was at a festival.

It has been a long four years with that particular child in the car, but thanks to getting older, iPads, and snacks... we were able to go on our very first real deal road trip... and it went awesome!

I am so grateful, and we are already planning our next trip!

Three cheers for a successful trip!


She Said...

Girlfriend is getting smart... much smarter than Boyfriend was at age 4, (no offense Buddy).

She's super into learning to write letters, numbers, even how to spell.

So the other day she comes to me and she's like... "Mom Mom! I know how to spell SLEEP!"

And I'm thinking, what the Hell is going to come out of this kid's mouth right now??

There's no way she knows how to spell SLEEP, right?

So apparently in another life she was an Spelling Bee contestant cause all of a sudden she is standing up super straight and speaking very clearly.

She's like.. "Are you ready, are you ready?"

I smile and nod as she begins.

Clearing her throat and beaming ear to ear, my sweet little Doll, belts out: 


Smart kid.


The Reason for the Season

So, we aren't super religious.

I was raised Catholic and all the babes are baptized, but we don't actually go to Church or anything.

We encourage the kids to pray, and be thankful, and talk to God... but we haven't actually ever gotten into the nitty gritty of Jesus and the "reason for the (Easter) season," before.

Until day.

It occurred to me, as I was laying on the floor in our playroom, surrounded by Easter grass and jelly beans, that the kids had no freaking idea why any of this was happening.

Let me pause for a second here to add that... I kind of hate the Easter Bunny.

It's not his fault really, but I am actually so obsessed with Santa that I hate the Easter Bunny.

I think that he is going to ruin it for Santa & the Toothfairy because the Easter Bunny is like totally unbelievable and makes no sense.

The kids have been asking me questions for weeks...

"Does the Easter Bunny have a car?"

"Does he just walk around town?"

"Why is he so big?"

"Are there other big bunnies?"

You get the idea... they are smart and to be honest, those are actually really freaking good questions!

Like I said, the Easter Bunny makes no sense.

Anyway, on to the reason for the season.

So I'm telling the kids all about Jesus, and how he was sent from God to take care of people and to teach us kindness and he was killed by bad guys who didn't believe in him but don't worry after three days he rose from the dead.

And I'm thinking... I am terrible at this.

Let's be real, some parts of the Jesus story are not so happy and I'm trying my hardest to make this a happy story and make the kids understand that today is the day we celebrate Jesus' life.

So, I get all the way through my sermon... which was like three minutes long... and my super intelligent Boyfriend is looking at me like okay well you must have missed a huge part of the story or something Mom because that doesnt make any sense.... and he's like:

"Okay, well that's fine but what does all that have to do with a bunny... and baskets? And jellybeans?"


Best questions EVER kid.

I have no fucking clue how they are related.

So I did what any good parent would do... I lied.

I made up as much crazy bull shit as I could think of.

I made sure it was totally confusing and absolutely unclear, so that my kid's little heads and big brains couldn't grasp what the fuck I had just said to them.

It worked, cause Boyfriend kind of just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders like..."Okay, whatever you say Mom."

All that to say... I think by next year Boyfriend will no longer believe... which is why I'm so happy to say that the kids had a great Easter and got everything they wanted.

We had a wonderful day with family.

We played outside, everyone got dirty, got sugar high, and took naps together in a puppy pile when we got home.

Thank you Jesus.


The Case of the Budful Picture

It was bedtime.

I walked upstairs, like I do every night, to check on the big kids and tuck them into their beds.

Because this is real life, and not Facebook, no one was in their beds.

I walked into my Girlfriend's room and she said, "Mommy! Look at the beautiful picture I made you!"

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, my Boyfriend came flying through the door.

He started yipping in my face, "Mom! But Mom! She..."

I cut him off, "I need you to not yip in my face at bedtime, it is her turn, I'll be in your room in a second."

"But Mom! But Mom she!"

He kept persisting and pointing at his sister and trying to get the words out and I quickly shushed him out the door with a... "Two minutes, in two minutes you can tell me anything you want, when it is your turn."

I try really hard to give each kid their own time at the end of the day, it makes us all feel more special I think, and I try not to ever budge on it.

So as far as I was concerned, whatever Boyfriend had to say, could wait a few more minutes.

So I'm back to Girlfriend. She looks so damn adorable in her little hand me down baby doll jammies. She climbs up into my lap and looks at me with those big brown eyes and tells me all about the beautiful picture that she made me.

I can hear Boyfriend wailing something from his room as Girlfriend is stroking my hair and telling me I'm beautiful, she loves me, she made this picture just for me.

I'm asking her what it is and she's saying just some beautiful circles for my beautiful mom.

She tells me that Boyfriend wrote the words on the top of her picture and I'm thinking of course, that must be what all the yipping was about.

I can tell that she is just so proud of this "budful" picture, she asks if I'll take her picture with it, and so I do.

I tuck her into bed and close her door.

I am holding my budful picture under my arm as I walk into Boyfriend's room.

His back is to me, he's in his little boxer briefs and I think to myself how gangly he is getting... so old and long.

He turns then, and I can see that he has been crying... that he is still, crying.

I'm so surprised, because I wasn't mean I was just like, "Dude, you get your time in two minutes, chill till then..." he isn't usually so sensitive.

I begin.. "What's wrong Buddy? Girlfriend told me how you were such a great big brother and wrote the words on her beautiful picture for her... why are you sad?"


That little sneaky Girlfriend of mine.

I gave Boyfriend a huge bear hug, pretty much just pulled his gangly little legs out from under him and pounced on him like a cheetah on the floor.

He's like.. "Mom! I cant breathe!"

The poor kid is such a good boy and his sister is always pestering him, stealing his toys, bothering him, beating him up.

Boyfriend and I snuggled for awhile, and I promised to frame it on my dresser... we took his picture with the picture too, to add to the collection.

At the end of the day, I feel like it's so important to make sure everyone is right with their day... with you... with themselves.

Sometimes, I want to skip this step... I want to just send them up to their beds and not follow 10 minutes later to tuck them in and make sure everyone is ready for the next morning.

I want to just stay on the couch because hello... couch.

But that 2 minutes at the end of the day, that little "last call," as I like to refer to it.... is something that is so important to them, and to me.

If for no other reason than for those 2 minutes, they stay in their freaking beds.

Lord knows the second I walk out the door they are bouncing off the walls again.



Moving has been on our minds for years.

We live exactly one hour from where we grew up and even though that doesn't seem far, for some people, it is.

Our friends and family have long since expected and grown accustomed to us making the trip regularly and aside from my parents, very few people realize that the road goes both ways.

Because being near our family and friends is very important to us, we have always known that our eventual goal would be to move about halfway closer to what we still refer to as "home."

With a recent announcement from our town's Board of Education about closing an elementary school, busing kids around town, and Middle School starting with 5th grade... we have decided, I think... that the time is now.

Fuck shit fuck.... I am so nervous I can barely even type the words.

We have set a tentative goal of listing our home by May 1.

I am seriously sweating even writing this stuff down and putting it out there to the world and real life.

So, since I'm the Mom and my life revolves around making sure everything in our world is calm, and no feathers are ever ruffled and everyone is always settled... I am freaking the fuck out about this.

I am kind of a, "If it's not broke why fix it," type of girl.

And our beautiful home is not broken, nor is our great neighborhood.

But... our town, isn't the greatest, and I want our children to be proud of where they grew up.

It scares the crap out of me to, "sell before we buy," (because we have to)... to give up our perfectly good home, and worst of all... to not know what it is coming next.


So... because I clearly am having a panic attack about this, I asked told Husband if he is really serious about this move, then he needs to take the wheel, or I will just continue to drag my feet because change scares me.

I said... half joking, half serious... "If You want to show me that you want to move that bad... then make a Power Point Presentation, sit me down, and walk me through it. Show me that you're serious, do the numbers, write out the plan."

And then... he did just that.

I know. Pictures and bullet points and everything.

I was shocked too.

We are interviewing two more realtors this week and then we will rent a storage unit to put some of our stuff in... from there, we put a sign on our house and wait.

And I pray.

That we aren't selling our house and going to end up in a box on the side of the road.

Or with my parents.

Or my in laws.

God help us all.


Days Like This...

It's 9 o'clock, and I am sitting down for the first time all day.

I had a day, Lord, did I have a day.

We all woke up late, so I had to drop both kids at school... two different schools, in two different towns.

Husband left for a business trip, late.

He had a 11 hours of traveling ahead of him, and I left the house with his iPod and sunglasses.

He is acting like someone stole his car, not like he left his iPod behind... and I, was acting like a woman.

A calm, collected woman who has no patience for men when they are acting like the world is ending.

Who was with the youngest, at the Doctor, with his second double ear infection in a month.

From there I went to the Elementary School to register my Girlfriend for Kindergarten.

Fuck my life how am I old enough to have two kids in Elementary School?

From there I went to Target, to switch our prescriptions.

Because fuck Walgreen's for giving me Baby's Prescription in a glass bottle. Which I broke. Which is why he got his second double ear infection. Because I refused to pay $75 for a second bottle, and they refused to give me more meds for my sick baby.

So back to Target.

I change our prescriptions and they're all, "Shop around! Enjoy yourself! Get popcorn! It'll be ready in 10 minutes."

Except 10 minutes in Target equals spending fifty fucking dollars that I didn't actually mean to spend, but I did anyway.

Oh and I bought Cheese Balls... who the Hell knows why. The jar is so damn big that I legit cant open it because my hands are too small.

From Target I went to drop off food to a sick friend.

From there I went to register my boyfriend for baseball.

Why does baseball cost $150? I have no fucking idea, the kid is 6.

From baseball I went to pick up Girlfriend at school.

Husband is now safely on his plane, hopefully feeling like a complete idiot for acting like a toddler without his favorite toy.

I get the kids down for nap, but not before opening the cheese balls (with two hands) and watching my Baby dump the entire 17 gallon tub all over the floor.

Of course he did.

From picking up cheese balls I move on to wiping the dishwasher. Because of course the Baby has decided that the dishwasher = his urinal.

You read that right and if there is a further explanation I sure as shit do not know it.

I am on my hands and knees, wiping pee off the front of the dishwasher, while my baby's are upstairs sleeping, and my Husband is flying somewhere over middle America... with no iPod.

"Good," I think to myself. I should listen to that thing all day just to spite him.

So now I'm on my hands and knees, head phones in, bobbing to the beat of Husband's iPod because I think this is hysterical and it is making me laugh...

Except then I stand to start the dishes... and I look in the sink and see that it is full of sneakers.

I have no fucking idea why there are shoes in my sink.

Like ten pairs, not that that makes any more sense than one or two pairs, but I'm just letting ya'll know... there were 10 pairs of shoes in my sink.

So now I'm throwing shoes over my shoulder onto the floor behind me because Husband is away for the week so who gives a shit if the house is messy, right?

I get to the bottom of the shoes and can finally see the dishes.

I start loading the dishwasher, which no longer smells like pee...

I get to the bottom of the dishes and find...

The remote control.

To the TV.

Covered in bubbles.

Full of water.

Because of course the kid would put the remote control in the sink with the shoes.


Listen... if you're a working Mom, or a stay at home Mom.

Or a Mom who works at night and stays home during the day...

Or a Mom that works from home.

Or whatever the Heck kind of Mom you are...

Let's just all reach out and hug each other right now okay.

Virtual hug.

Seriously... hold me.

I need it. We all need it.

Let's stop hating people that are different than us, that we think have it easier than we do...

Here's the truth ladies, listen up.... Everyone has days like these... every last one of us...

We all have a spouse who can be a jerk and kids who pee on the dishwasher, or write on the walls, or get in trouble at school, or just generally suck every once in awhile.

And you know what else we all have? If we chose to accept it?

We all have each other.

So today, be nicer to every woman you see.

Maybe her kid just peed in her glove compartment and she needs someone to make her smile.

Let that person be you.

I was raised Catholic, so pretty much everything makes me feel guilty... including complaining... especially to the world, about my perfectly good family and my perfectly difficult day.

But I'm only human, and bad days happen.

I try so hard to always be appreciative of this wonderful life that I have, and to end every day with a grateful thought or idea... it's hard, but I never let a day pass without doing it.

Today's grateful thought, is that I made it all day without losing my mind...

Says the woman eating cheese balls off the kitchen floor surrounded by sneakers...

Tomorrow, is another day.


Her Story: Someone Like You

"Her Story: Someone Like You," is a new weekly feature, designed to bring us all a little closer together. Please join me as I share stories of women from all over the world. It is my hope that you will see a little of yourself or someone you know in these stories... and that you will share them... making our great big world feel a little more like a neighborhood, where no one is alone. If you would like to be featured in Her Story, please email me at ourtinyplace@gmail.com.

"I'm gonna cry. I can't talk about this without crying. I can't even think about going back to work, and putting her in Day Care and having a stranger watch her roll over for the first time. That's my baby! I should see her roll over first! Not someone else! I don't want to miss a single second.. like literally not one second. What if I get stuck in traffic and cant pick her up on time? What if she sits in poop all day? What if one day she realizes that I left her?? See. I told you I'd cry. She's already registered and ready to go. I go back to work in 6 weeks and I'm already crying about leaving her. But we are a two income family and it's just not going to work unless I work, that's just the way it is. My sister and I have three babies under three months. We've been spending our maternity leaves together. In the beginning we were like.. "This is so fun!" and we took turns buying each other lunch... until we realized how expensive babies are. So now we visit each other and make lunch at home. For a few weeks we watched the babies sleep and enjoyed being Stay At Home Moms. We talked a lot about the things we wanted to do for our kids, the type of childhood we wanted to give them. We quickly realized that if we want our kids to go on vacations, out to ice cream, have big Christmases.... we were going to need more income. These were all new expenses that we had never thought of, so with the kids in mind....  we started a business. We decided to go all in on a company we named, "SipSissys". We make custom wine glasses and tumblers. I cut the vinyl and she places it on the glass. Placing the vinyl stresses me out. I took apart an entire beer mug last week, I was sweating. We've made about 50 glasses so far... it's kind of scary, pretty much every surface in my house is covered with glasses. Together we've invested $1000.00. We haven't made a sale yet, but we will, we're still new. Our entire family has jumped on board to help us out. If one of us is applying glitter, or vinyl, the other might be juggling the three babies... or our parents come by and babysit so we can work out shipping costs and packaging and business cards.  My basement looks like a glitter bomb went off. I call it, "The Glitter Lab,". We've been focusing on getting SipSissys up and running for about a month, lots of trial and error. Some products haven't worked well, we had to find our own techniques and figure out how to do things so they made sense. We made a really beautiful, "You Are My Sunshine, "glass and just as we were falling in love with how cute it was... one of us dropped it and it broke into a million pieces. You know, it's been a learning process. But we've got it now. We are signed up for a few craft fairs and are committed to making this work. I keep thinking of being able to do fun stuff with my daughter and my niece and nephew... of having that extra, "we don't have to worry as much," income to play with. Eventually it'd be nice to not have to work, to stay home with my daughter instead of handing my paycheck to her Day Care provider. In the mean time, I'm cutting vinyl and playing with glitter and glue techniques... and keeping that goal in mind. Because I don't want someone else raising my baby. I want to do it. I'm crying again."

If you'd like to help the SipSissys grow their business, please visit their Facebook page here.

Update: The SipSissys made their first sale today... To an Our Tiny Place reader!! Congratulations to the SipSissys on officially being in business!!


Reading & Getting Older

When I was a kid my Mom used to take my books away to punish me.

I was just about the biggest book worm you can imagine.

In the Summer we would go to the Used Book Store and my mom would take my siblings to the stores nearby and leave me sitting on the floor with a stack of books.

Don't worry, I was like thirteen when this happened, not five.

I would devour a book in a day, sometimes two in an afternoon.

I had such a thirst for words and stories and novels... I just absolutely dove head first into anything that I could find.

I don't get to read much anymore, which makes me really sad, because there is literally nothing in this world like getting lost in a good book.

But you know who does read?

This kid.

He reads above his grade level... and he reads it all.

He is always carrying around a book, or a notebook, scribbling down a story or drawing up a new character.

I'm not saying this to be one of those Facebook Moms who brags about their kids being perfect, that's not my style.

I'm saying it because it legitimately touches my soul to see my child fall in love with something that I loved when I was his age.

I imagine it's something like watching your child excel at a sport that you once loved too.

Boyfriend asks me daily to teach him new words.

I mean really... there is just nothing better than a kid who has a healthy thirst for new vocabulary.

My English Major nerd side is showing big time in this post. But I give no shits.

I have to sign Boyfriend's homework paper every night.

I'm not even sure when it started, but maybe somewhere around Christmas I decided to use this daily ritual as a learning opportunity.

I mean I am full nerd here guys.

I started signing my name, "Educated Mom," "Enthralled Mom," "Fantastic Mom," Admirable Mom."

Basically I used any word I could think of that Boyfriend didn't know.

And then I'd hand him back the paper and he would get embarrassed and say.. "MOOOOOMMMMM... Why can't you just be normal like other Moms? Can't you just write your name?!?"

And we'd laugh and then he'd sit down and try to sound out the word. Sometimes he'd get it right away, sometimes he'd ask for help.

He has gotten really good, and I am pretty proud of myself because I am imagining a high S.A.T. score somewhere in the near future as a result of this little exercise.

Okay, maybe that's a stretch but this is my blog so I don't care.

We go to the Library as a family just about once a week and if Boyfriend and I had our way... we would stay all day.

I love to watch him walk down the aisles of books.

He touches the bindings... turning his head this way and that, as he reads the titles in a soft whisper to himself.

In a world of technology and all-day-every-day screen time, in a world where all the knowledge we could ever ask for is literally at the touch of a button... moments like this, with no chords, or batteries to charge... are what really matters.

When I watch my boyfriend curl up with a good book, and I hear the soft swipe of turning pages... when he interrupts me as I make dinner to tell me about a particular character... my entire soul bubbles over with pride.

It is bittersweet to watch your child get older... to see them become independent, have their own opinions, likes and dislikes.

But when one of their loves is one of your loves... and a good love at that... well, then him not being a baby anymore doesn't seem quite so bad.

I am so proud of the smart boy that he is becoming... even if he wont hold my hand  anymore in front of his friends... even if he does insist on rolling up his sleeves, like the "Property Brothers"... even if he plays "Cooties" at recess and rough houses entirely too hard with his baby brother.

We share a love for escaping to another place through our imagination. We share an appreciation for books and learning in a way that some people may never experience in their whole lives.

And if acknowledging this gift means admitting that we are both growing up, well then, I guess I'm alright with that.

"Children get older... I'm getting older too."
-Stevie Nicks


The Day We Accidentally Froze Our Fish

Not that the above title needs any further explanation... but we accidentally almost froze our beta fish last week.

Her name is Dorothy.

So, it's nap time, and it's quiet... and I hear this singing... and I can't figure out where it's coming from.

And I finally make my way into the playroom, and then into the playroom bathroom, and there's Dorothy, ninety nine percent frozen to the bottom of her tank and she's all:

Okay, so the singing part didn't happen... but she was kinda frozen to her rocks.

You see, the playroom has electric heat and the rest of the house doesn't.

So we only turn the heat on in there when we play in there.

Anyway, one thing led to another and there was Dorothy, hanging on for dear life.

Listen, I know shit about fish, so I am legit freaking out that my baby girl's fish is going to be dead when she wakes up from her nap.

I have no clue when I became so attached to Dorothy, but all of a sudden I was determined to save her little fish life.

I was pretty sure that if she wasn't too dead already, she would live.

So, I start googling and I stick my finger in Dorothy's water and realize that it is basically an ice cube.

Apparently Beta fish like warm water. Woops.

Within minutes I am six pages deep on a Beta thread from 2007 reading about colors and fins and gills and oxygen levels and heaters. For real, I had no idea that people love their fish so damn much.

I quickly realize  that I suck as a fish owner and I feel pretty crappy about it.

Not that I am not a nice person, but my compassion towards a $2 fish astonishes even me.

So, I decide right then and there that I will become Bill Nye the Science Guy.

I start playing with water temperatures.

This is absurd because I honestly dont even like to get my hands wet.

I have no idea what the fuck I am doing but it involves a lot of turning the faucet on and off and a ton of Tupperware.

Since it was nap time, our house was quiet except for the buzz buzzing of my cell phone.

It was Husband of course, texting me like, "stop playing with the water, you are going to kill the fish, you are not Bill Nye.... Blah blah."

I stopped responding... I was on a mission.

After I got Dorothy in some warmer water, she started flit fluttering around slowly, but it occured to me that that she was kind of like, a weird ass color.

She wasnt deep blue anymore, she was like, dead green.

And her tail was all wrinkly like she had been in a bathtub for too long.

I wasn't convinced that she'd live, so I did what I had to do.

I woke Girlfriend up from her nap to prepare her that Dorothy might kick the bucket.

She looked at me with those big brown eyes and gave me an open mouthed, blink blink.

She quietly got out of bed and walked across the room without saying a word.

Her Daddy had recently given her flowers, which were sitting on her dresser.

She grabbed the flowers from their vase, shook off the excess water, and said, "Okay, let's go watch Dorothy die. I'll give her these flowers and then we can go buy another fish. Can I get a red one?"

Clearly, Girlfriend is still too young to give any shits about her fish dying.

We watched Dorothy swim around for awhile and stayed quiet...

When Girlfriend got tired of being quiet she looked at me and said, "Ugh... Dorothy is taking FOREVER to die! Let's just have a party for her to live."

Girlfriend was all, "let's sing songs and act silly to celebrate her blue life!"

And so we did.

It's been about two weeks now, and Dorothy is still alive and kicking swimming.

I was super proud of my girl for being so calm about the entire event... if not a little worried at her apparent lack of compassion.

At the end of the day, the fish lived, and we all laughed. 

Oh and in case there are any beta police out there reading this, dont worry, her water is warm now.


Her Story: Someone Like You

"Her Story: Someone Like You," is a new weekly feature, designed to bring us all a little closer together. Please join me as I share stories of women from all over the world. It is my hope that you will see a little of yourself or someone you know in these stories... and that you will share them... making our great big world feel a little more like a neighborhood, where no one is alone. If you would like to be featured in Her Story, please email me at ourtinyplace@gmail.com.

"I started eating the core of a pineapple, seriously, it's wood. I listened to church radio... I'm not even religious! But somewhere along the line I decided that I would grab on to any strand of hope that I could find. Seven rounds of IVF, two miscarriages, and losing a baby at 26 weeks ... all in the span of four years, will do that to a person. I had a really hard time when people around me announced their pregnancies, especially when they announced them early. I was always scared that the other shoe would drop for them, because it always dropped for me. Every time. And I would get so mad,because they were pregnant and I wasn't. It wasn't their fault, but I was still mad. Our insurance didn't cover IVF, or any medication. We spent so, so much money. We went through a lot of heartache and growing in those years. Everything was uncertain, and emotional, and my body, my poor body. But I refused to give up. We got a dog two years into our journey because I was desperate to be a mother to something! I''ll never forget when my husband tried to give me my first Lupron shot in my belly. He would get really close to me with that teeny tiny needle, and I'd start laughing and back away from him. We were both nervous and had no clue what this journey would be like... ignorance was still bliss at that point. But those needles stayed in our lives for years and I eventually became a pro at giving myself shots. Even the progesterone ones, and those are big, nasty needles full of thick oil that goes into your butt muscle. Our 7th round of IVF was our all or nothing, last chance. We were all in at that point. I emptied my 401k and prayed to Gods that I didn't even know existed before all of this started. My husband took me for acupuncture after my amazing Doctor transferred our last 3 embryos. I cant say for certain that it made a difference, but a few weeks later on February 7, 2009, I got my BFP... that's infertility speak for "Big Fat Positive"... I was pregnant. Two weeks later we heard two heart beats, and at 18 weeks 5 days we found out that our babies were fraternal twin boys. But our joy was short lived. The doctors told us at 24 weeks that one of our sons wasn't growing properly, his heartbeat was strong but his growth had stopped. We had one perfectly healthy, strong boy, and one that wasn't. There was no explanation, no reasoning...the ball was dropping again. When we found out, I decided that the boys needed names. We lost Connor Mathew on July 13, he was 26 weeks and 2 days. Connor means "strong willed," and Mathews means, "gift from God,"... we thought it was the perfect name for our baby who never lived outside of my belly, but was such a gift to us all the same. The doctors were watching me like a hawk at that point, I had appointments every other day. I remember telling one of the nurses, "I'm not leaving here with no one." I followed every instruction and did everything they asked to keep my remaining son alive. On September 29, 2009, both boys were delivered via c-section. Cole Joseph, was born strong and healthy. It was the happiest, and saddest day of my life. My very first day of Motherhood taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought possible. I held both of my babies that day, and my heart will never be the same. We still mourn Connor, and I often think about the brother that never was, but I look at Cole and know that this is the way it was supposed to be. He is everything that I always wanted, he's smart, funny and kind.. and we make a great team. I wear my necklace for the boys everyday, I never take if off. Sometimes people ask about it and I tell them my story, I'm not embarrassed or ashamed that we did IVF. It's not a bad thing, it gave me my family. I am a better mother because of all that we lost... and I am grateful every day for all that we gained."

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