Adios June {a rant}

This was possibly the hardest month I've had in a while.  I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the end.  I'm not being over dramatic either.  It was also a month that flew right by, with little or no time to enjoy it.  But here I am, on the 30th, living to tale the tale.  Also it's about 109 outside and we (the family) have yet to leave the house.  It's just the kind of day I needed to recover from a month that almost beat me.

June started like this:

But really felt like this:

I'm going to go ahead and complain about the things I couldn't change, because that's progressive right?

Complaint worthy:
My mom got sick, like 2 trips to the ER sick.
My car broke down, as in dead with my mom on her way to the ER 
and John and the kids in the pool with no phone access.
Late for a hair appointment with no car seats.
Late afternoon naps which mean pj parties 
with a 3 year old that last till one am.
Mad Men season finales that leave me with important questions.
Four thirty am wake up calls to get to work on time.

It wasn't all bad.  In fact there were some great highlights.  My oldest turned six.  We completed kindergarten.  I started working out again.  And while this month was crazy full, busy, what have you.  I was still able to look back on some highlights.

Note worthy blessings:
Kindergarten ended, mama's heart broke, but First Grade here we come.
A wonderful Father's Day spent poolside.
Caitlin turned six and was spoiled for an entire week.
A night out with the girls to shop at Target with greens straws in our cups.
Catching up with a dear friend even for just 45 minutes.
Mom is on the mend.
My car is alive again.
Late summer nights spent in the front yard with our favorite people.
FURLOUGH, from my seasonal job.
Slowly starting to write and blog again

June, you almost killed me and I thought Jillian Michaels was tough.
But you are done, and I will miss you for all the blessings you brought.
Tell your friend July I'm still in recovery mode...

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When Mommy naps {oh the shame!}

source via Pinterest
Last Friday I was exhausted.  I'm sure you have read this before, but for some reason last Friday the exhaustion was the worst.  I went to work with my fingers crossed that we'd finally be furloughed for the season.  I worked my shift, and at the end, I received the greatest news, FURLOUGH.  With a big sigh of relief I signed my paperwork and turned in my badge.  I was home free for the rest of the summer.  Early mornings were hopefully a thing of the past!  Yeah for sleeping in...  I was ready to celebrate Friday with reckless abandon.

That didn't happen.

Sure I had big plans.  A blog post or two.  Catch up on some emails.  Take my kiddos swimming.  I was so motivated.  I was ready to party and swim and live the furloughed life.

Then I got home and sat down.
That's the end of the story.

Ok, not really, because I took a three hour nap.  THREE HOUR NAP!!  I know, sounds ridiculous with 2 kids running around.  And it was, ridiculous.  It wasn't even close to being qualified as a good nap, because the interruptions were many, the REM sleep was minimal, and I'm pretty sure my kids ate their body weight in junk food.

Here are some things overheard in my house last Friday afternoon:

Children screaming and whining and crying and hitting.
I am unable to identify which child did what or said what, but I'm 95% sure they were mine.

Mom, Mom, mom, mom, mom,....

Mom are you sleeping?

Mommy we are so hungry... Can we eat the mini Oreos?

I don't care what you eat, Lunchables, there are lunchables in the outside fridge!!!

Mommy we want water!!

Drink Capri Suns!!  Get them yourself!!!

Mommy are you still sleeping?

Caitlin take your sister potty and leave it, I'll clean it later.

You guys seriously, just watch Wall-E.

There is chocolate in the pantry, eat it!

Oh, the shame!  The shame of a mother, trying to nap on a Friday afternoon!  I'd like to tell you that I fed them a nutritious dinner, but it was chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and carrot sticks with ranch.  I'm pretty sure we had Popsicles for dessert.

 I won't sugar coat this situation.  It was a shit show.

But as you can see from Instagram, they are still alive and I've got my sanity.

A win-win for this mom any day of the week.

Six {on the twenty sixth}

Six years since becoming your mommy.  Six years of challenges, blessings, and life lessons.  
Six years of love and laughter.  Six years to learn how to really treasure you.

Five things to come this year for your.  Pierced ears (fingers crossed Daddy says yes).  
First grade.  New friends.  More teeth to loose.  And don't tell Daddy, but Disneyland!!

Four things I love about you.  
Your mischievous grin.  When you read out loud to me.  
Your amazing fashion sense.  Your kind heart.

Three birthday wishes for you.
Bows that don't snag your hair.
Your first grade teacher of choice.
A year full of fun, and that you will remember it always.

Two birthday gifts you can't live without at six years old.
The Monster High build a monster add on pack in Siren, which is a mermaid.
Clothes from your favorite store Justice.

One wild and precious life.  One beautiful child that I have been blessed with.  
One day at a time for us since day one.  One mom, and one life, reborn the same day as you, 
completely transformed. 

Because there is only one you.

Happy  Birthday Caitlin, with my whole heart and my whole life.

This post was inspired by Amanda.
Read her post here.

Rebuilt {by motherhood}

source via Pinterest

Every year since the birth of my daughter Caitlin, I get emotional and teary eyed as June 26th approaches.  It is the day that I became a mother for the first time.  Scared and excited I pushed with all my might, and was rewarded with a beautiful bundle of joy.  The story of my life was being written before my eyes.  Here was my baby in the baby carriage.  Every year I wish I could go back to that moment, the one where they put a wide eyed Caitlin on my chest, and bottle that feeling.  The feeling of hope and optimism, the feeling of joy and excitement, the feeling that I did this.

It wasn't long before I realized that those feelings were gone.  That this job was going to be the hardest of my life.  That my life was no longer my own.  I was terrified.  Of just about everything.  Of her, of her cry, of her tiny body that wanted every ounce of me.  I was overwhelmed, I was exhausted, and I felt so alone.  I knew I had to be the only one messing this up royally.  That I knew nothing about motherhood.  Nothing good anyway.  I knew that my job as mom was bound to be a bust.

But as the sleepless nights started to wane, the crying easier to identify, and the child, so beautiful, began to smile I realized that this was the only job for me.  This was what I was destined to do.  Even though I had never wanted to do it.  Being a mom was on my short list if I'm being very honest.  I was always about career, lifestyle, I was always about me.  To a selfish extent.  It helped that I married a wonderful man, who wanted to be a dad, who painted a wonderful picture of what our family could become.  It didn't take long for me to want to be a mom, but I didn't know how fully I'd want to be one.  With her birth, Caitlin showed me that I wanted to be a mom with my whole body, my whole heart, with my whole life.  
And again I was terrified.

Perhaps Caitlin was sent to rescue me.  To challenge me.  To show me what unconditional love looks like from both sides.  Perhaps she was the one challenge I needed to be a better person, let alone a good mother.  It has taken some time for me to really see myself in her eyes.  And I strive every day to be the person she sees, the person she needs, the person she loves.

Six years ago, motherhood rebuilt me and the foundation of my life.

And I'm incredibly thankful.

Finally {a post}

I've been trying to bring myself to the keyboard since Wednesday.  Trying to motivate myself to write.  It's not that I haven't wanted to, it's just that I haven't had much to write about.  I've been so exhausted lately that I've been uninspired.  But today, with work at it's end, with my kids on summer break, and with me, at a point to really focus on this blog and my writing, I'm making my way back.  All last week, as I put my feet up, got my ass kicked by Jillian, or just sat out in the front yard with my neighbors, I keep thinking, "and still not blog post to be written"...

We spent a lazy Father's Day lounging at the pool.  
It's tough being a Dad.
I spent the day soaking it all, and no post was written.

Last Sunday all my TV dreams were coming true.
So for obvious reasons, no blogging could take place.

Unknown to many of us, Instagram was having an upgrade.
This is my selfie, using the actual IG camera to try to post a pic.
I had been struggling all morning.
Since I was at work, another day passing with no post written.

My OK tank from Hello Apparel.
And HELLO they are the most comfortable thing I've ever put on my bod.
Also with mirrors and bathroom counters, there is not time to be blogging.
Although, this is rarely a reason that stops me from blogging.

When I do post, I love comments from friends like Alyson.
Especially when she says she would totally clean my house.
Instant blog love.

Sitting at work, eating a banana.
To be honest, this is when I'd rather be blogging.

Instagram got video.
And while the IG world was excited.
The Hubbs not so much.
So instead of posting, I took videos of him.
Much to his dismay.

Also much to miss Mac's dismay.
Here was a Saturday situation where I could have totally been blogging,
but instead I was sitting on my butt with my gal.
Taking unwanted video of her.

A Saturday night spent with great gal pals.
Having dinner, storming Target and enjoying cups with green straws.
Not a single blog post to be written this night.
Also not a eff given about that either.

Carrying my ArtsyAnthro clutch just makes my day.
It means I'm getting fancy and that I don't need extra snacks for the kids.
It also goes with everything, whether the fashion world likes it or not.

Seriously the sweetest most Pinterest inspired baby shower.
Amelia Bedelia for Miss Amelia Jo.
It was beautiful, and I just about died over the book decor.

Caitlin's turn on a 2 wheeled scooter, and her first IG video.
More time spent living and less time spent writing.
Which felt perfectly in balance for a change.

A Sunday spent at a baby shower with good neighbors who are now friends.
A week spent trying to catch up on sleep and health.
Days spent sweating it out trying to tone up for summer.
Nights spent swooning over TV hotties.
Time spent with the Hubbs, with the girls, with me.

Not a single post was written.
But what a bunch of life that was lived.

You can find me on Instagram at @absolute_mommy.
This is after my Instagram disaster of 2013.

Fat Girl Jeans {or the quest to feel skinny}

I already know what you are going to say.  You are going to tell me to stuff it because you've seen me on Instagram and know for a fact that I don't own a pair of fat girl jeans.  You're going to tell me I'm perfect just the way that I am.  You are going to say I look great.

And you are probably right... Except I don't feel that way.

About two years ago I lost a ton of weight.  Let's say for blogging purposes, 15 pounds.  I looked sick, because I was.  My body was in rebellion.  It rebelled against the food I was eating, the caffeine I was drinking, and the amount of stress I was putting on it.  My body rebelled so well, that I had to dramatically change my life last February.  Insert the Diet of Death, take out all the things that most people live for, (caffeine, sugar, dairy, and grain) and be witness to my transformation.  I was happy, I was healthy, and for the first time in my life my body was in balance with the rest of my life.

That brings me to today.  Today, I wore fat girl jeans.  The jeans I've had for 6 years.  The "after Caitlin" jeans.  They are not a double digit size.  They are just not the size I have been wearing for the last two years.  In fact, they have been way too big for the last two years.  Until I put them on today.  Today, they fit, in the comfortable way I remember.  The way that they hang, and say, look at you, your pants are a little big.  For lack of a better reason, I wore them because they made me feel skinny.

I'm a hypocrite and a liar.  I'm just going to tell you that.   Most of the time I live the "practically paleo" life style.  Most of the time I love my body, how I look, the clothes I wear.  I'm a firm believer in accepting your body and what it is capable of.  Lately, I'm a big fat liar.  Recently I've been letting Jillian Michaels kick my ass at least 4 days a week.  I've been killing myself at work and at home, and guess what I have concluded.  One, I hate it immensely.  And two, my body is in rebellion again.  Even my diet can't save me this time.  I'm bloated, I'm in tummy pain, and I've got acne like a teenager.  I keep asking if this is what over the hill feels like.  I did turn 35.  Is there a switch in the body that at 35, the fat sticks to your hips at a faster rate?  Just asking.  I mean I get it, but you'd think the girl who eats no bread, no milk, or no cheese, wouldn't have "love handles".  Which is a direct quote from my grandma...

The hard part is that Jillian's crazy actually works.  I have biceps.  My tummy is getting a little leaner.  But sadly I'm not feeling any better.  I'm exhausted.  I'm in pain (stomach pain even though I'm sticking to my diet like a boss).  I'm in a horrible, crap, bitch face mood that makes me a gem to live with.

So today I rocked my fat girl jeans.  Because I needed a little boost.  I needed a little room to breathe.  To take the edge off.  I have my skinny girl jeans waiting for me.  For when I'm better rested.  For when I can actually keep up the the Devil herself (Jillian).  I'm saving those skinny girl jeans for when I'm back to feeling like myself.  When work isn't kicking my ass.  When the kids aren't kicking my ass.  When I'm not kicking my own ass.  I'll save those skinny jeans for a day where I can look a pint of coconut milk ice cream in the face and not feel like an epic failure.

Until then, I'm going to hang out in my fat girl jeans.
They get me.
They understand me.
They remember me.


In my early days of motherhood, milestones were like Olympic medals.  It seemed as if every day, from the very beginning, we were in a race to complete and conquer each milestone.  From breastfeeding to sleeping in the crib, to solid foods, to bottle weaning.  Milestones were not only a hard ran race, but they were also highly competitive in mommy circles.  What I didn't realize then was that the milestones slow down.  They almost come to a halt.  And while your child is still growing and maturing, they are not conquering life at the same pace as they used to.  They may begin to read.  They may recite and sing Taylor Swift songs.  They may even dance their heart out at their dance recitals.  But the big ones...  The first big ones, like first steps, first time on the potty, or first day of kindergarten, those all sadly come too quickly and fade too fast.  

That brings me to one of our last big firsts.

Last Friday night Caitlin lost her first tooth.

I should say that she pulled out her first loose tooth, because that is exactly what she did.  It was funny and sad and bittersweet all at the same time.  She had been begging me and the Hubbs to pull it out, at a constant rate for almost an hour.  The begging and pleading, and we of course refused.  First because, we didn't think it was quite ready, and two, we knew without a doubt it would bleed, and she would loose her proverbial sh%t.  So we told her to be patient and work it with her tongue.  Well that wasn't good enough for her, because within the hour, she pulled that puppy right out.

"Mom, Mom, MOM!", she screamed.  "I pulled out my tooth!!!  I really did it!!!".  Then with fear in her voice, "Is it BLEEDING???!".

It was, and of course I told her it would be ok, we just had to rinse out her mouth.  And she was trying so hard not to cry, but a few tears escaped, and a few of mine too.  This was one of the last milestones for this child for awhile.  Loosing a tooth is the last in a long line of milestones.  As I watched her rinse her mouth, and cup the tiniest tooth I have ever seen in my life, my heart hurt a little.  It took me back to a cold January night close to six years ago, when an infant Caitlin cried and carried on.  A baby who was just inconsolable.  With parents who were total rookies.  And before we could really panic, there were 2 perfect little white mounds on puffy, pink, bloody gums.  That night seemed so long ago in comparison.  Here I was with my almost six year old and her tooth, the one it seemed she just cut yesterday, in the palm of her little girl hand.

Like with everything in this house, we were not quite prepared for the Tooth Fairy.  I had been browsing Pinterest for weeks for a tooth pillow.  Still hadn't made one.  No big deal right?  Felt, glue gun, and some old buttons, we got a pretty hip tooth pillow for my big girl.  The Monster High theme was her idea, of course.  There is nothing like hot gluing a tooth pillow at 10 on a Friday night to confirm that you are indeed a mother.  And not just any mother, but that mother, who despite your best efforts, still doesn't have it together all the time.  Yet, like with all things I've learned as a mom, it all worked out fine.  

I think it's funny that my girl was concerned with getting her picture on Facebook.  She wanted to make sure that we told everyone!  I also thought it was great that she was worried that the Tooth Fairy would not know she lost her tooth.  Mom it's so late, how will she know.  I told her that the Tooth Fairy is on Facebook, and she checks all the posts that use the words "lost tooth" or "tooth fairy".  That's how she knows when kids loose their teeth.  It worked.  We made sure to post extra pictures too just in case.

No one can really prepare you for motherhood.  No one will ever really know what will cut your mothering heart to it's core.  Sometimes it's a lullaby long forgotten.  Maybe a misplaced lovey at the bottom of a closet.  Or maybe it's just a memory, so long ago, that makes you think back to a time you just wanted to get through, and never really thought about savoring.  

Not this time.  With this milestone, we took it all in.

And I was finally at a place that I could enjoy every single minute of it.

Raising narcissistic children {Or bloggers}

Mastering the half tuck and WIW pose like a blogger.
I have this overwhelming fear that I'm raising narcissistic children.  It's not that I'm raising them to be vain, showering them with complements, telling them they are prettier than the other girls.  On the contrary, I fear that I'm raising them to think that the world wants to know all about them.  
I fear it's because I blog and Instagram their lives.

She already knows the importance of a selfie.
If you are a blogger too, then you know that the life that requires you to take a photo of everything.  Your incredibly long wait at the post office.  Your morning Starbucks.  Your healthy (paleo) lunch.  Your dinner you slaved (or drove through) to make.  Every thing and everything is fair game in the life of a blogger.  Even when your kids sits on the potty, it's a bloggable moment. So what example am I setting?  That everything is fodder for the blogosphere? 
A few weeks ago, my friend Chelsea posted a picture on Instagram of her adorable daughter hiding behind her ice cream treat, refusing to take a picture.  Her mommy, a blogger was just following the bloggy rules of life.  If it happens, I must photograph it, and it must go on my blog.  We all laughed and liked the picture because we have all been there.  Mac refuses most pictures on most days.  I think she knows, I'm selling her out for Instagram likes.  But it got me thinking, am I raising a child, or children who will think that the world really wants to know everything about them?
What's a blogger with out a mustache?
With the invention of social media, we have all become a little more self involved and absorbed.  Does the twitter-verse really want to know that I just got a free frap at Starbucks?  Do my Insta-peeps really care about my scrambled egg breakfast?  I think so.  I also think that they want to see Mac eating a donut, or Caitlin rocking some serious swag.  Only reinforcing the fact that the world wants to know everything about them!  What will their life be like when they grow up?  Will they literally live blog their lives?  Or will this only be a by product of children of mommy bloggers?  I can already hear them in therapy, "Well my mommy was a blogger, so...".
My children are growing up with the sense that everything they do is noteworthy to social media.  That their breakfast is breaking news.  That their outfits are blog worthy.  I'm the only one to blame, and for now it really doesn't bother me, but what am I going to do in 10 years when one of my little miss' wants to start her own blog?  How can I refuse, when I'm doing the same thing?
Look ma, sunnies, take a pic for Instagram!
It's already happening now.  Caitlin will put on an outfit of her own Project Runway creation, and will ask me to take a picture so I can put it on Facebook.  She recently asked for her own Instagram account so she can photograph and publish her Monster High and Lalaloopsy tableaus.  It's slowing happening that she knows the world wants to know about her.  It's kind of scary isn't it?

For now, I'm ok with blogging our lives.  It's really turned into a memory book for us.  Instagram is our family photo album.  I just worry what the future is going to bring.  How happy will the friends and boyfriends of my daughters be?  Will they understand the need to document every single life event on social media, or will they just think they are vain and narcissistic?
Until then I've got time.

Or do I?


Summer Snacks {stay healty. be happy}

Many of you know that I'm on a highly specific diet.  Since February 2012 I've been grain, caffeine, sugar, and dairy free.  That's a lot of free!  But what looked like a challenge a year and a half ago, doesn't look so bad now.  The thing is, I love when I'm offered to review healthy snacks, that are great for my family, but even I can indulge in.  I was super excited to try Nature Box and review it here.  This is a paid post and Nature Box did send me delicious snacks to eat.

My favorites were the pistachios, the kids loved the lemon meringue waffles, and the husband loved the BBQ kettle kernels.  The kettle kernels were a lot like corn nuts, but with none of the preservatives or hard to pronounce scientific experiment ingredients.  We also received guacamole bites.  I was a little sad that they contained corn, which is a no no for me, but according to my brother in law, they have a nice bite, and will be making their way into a taco salad very soon.  

Never heard of Nature Box?  Neither had I.  Here is a little about them:

• NatureBox is a subscription service that offers the ability to discover
and enjoy healthy snacks on a monthly basis. 
• NatureBox’s products are made from wholesome ingredients and are Nutritionist-approved. They abide by strict quality standards: No High Fructose Corn Syrup, No Partially Hydrogenated Oils, No Trans Fats, No Artificial Sweeteners, No Artificial Flavors, No Artificial Colors.
• NatureBox members receive a Discovery Box of surprise snacks for their 1st NatureBox and then they have the option to choose the snacks they receive.
• NatureBox is available in 3 sizes, at 3 different price points: Deluxe Snacker (5 bags for $19.95), Family Snacker (10 bags for $29.95) and Professional Snacker (20 bags for $59.95). 
• All NatureBoxes are cataloged and each month they display the nutrition label and ingredient list for previous NatureBox snacks on the site:  naturebox[dot]com/naturebox-foods/
•NatureBoxes make great gifts for your friends and family for holidays, special occasions, or anytime. College students, summer campers, teachers, coaches, new parents, and deployed service members all love to receive healthy snacks any time of the year.
• Naturebox shares delicious recipes and healthy eating tips on their blog:   and social media sites. 
• NatureBox currently ships to the 48 continental states as well as FPO/APO addresses. They also ship to P.O. Boxes. Your monthly box always ships free (with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska - shipping is $1.97 to ensure a more expedited delivery). 
Each bag has 3-5 servings of that snack within it.

They are also dedicated to making summer snacking easier and healthier.  
Click here to, visit the NatureBox site for $10 off any sized box (Deluxe, Family, Professional Snacker) by entering the promo code SUMMERSNACK10. 

The promotional code expires August 31st, 2013 and is valid for new customers only and may only be used towards monthly subscriptions. Cannot be used towards a purchase of a gift subscription. Monthly subscriptions may be cancelled at anytime.

It's a super sweet deal, and it's even sweeter to get happy mail you can eat.  There are seriously enough snacks to share with all our neighbors while we hang out on long summer nights.  Take a moment to visit Nature Box, and check out some yummy healthy snacks that you and your family will love.
Thanks for reading and possibly eating!

  • Full disclosure: this article is financially supported by NatureBox

The Father's Day post that almost didn't get written

My husband knows that I love him in an almost obscene way.  He gets that I get stressed, that I get tired and that I try to make things perfect even when they are crumbling around me.  The reason why I love him is that he hardly ever loses his cool about the little things.  That's why even though its 6:36 in the evening on Father's Day, he will appreciate this post anyway.
Early this morning, I went through our hard drive and founds some of my favorite pictures of John being a Dad.  The pictures that make him a Dad.  The ones I knew I would take all those years ago, when we were on the outs.  The pictures I knew I'd take the day I said I do.  The kind of pictures I have been taking since June 2007 when Caitlin was born.  These are the essence of fatherhood for John.  It's funny because this weekend was one that we really had to do some serious talking about his career.  The one that has been paying the bills for 6 years.  The one we rely so heavily on.  We had to talk about new adventures, new beginnings, and possibly new routines.  For the first time in six years, this man, my man, has a new perspective.  He now has the eyes of a father.  Not that he hasn't before, but this year for the first time, it wasn't about the money, or the career, or even the notoriety.  It was about his girls, simply stating, "I'd miss them too much".  Which my friends, is so poetic and breathtaking to this mama.  It completely confirms what I have known all along, that there was never a question about this man.  This dad.

The day he became a dad.

Trying to soothe a mad as hell Mac.

Daddy and Mac just chillin.

Bounce house shenanigans.

He can never deny that this child is his, because
I'll use this picture as evidence.

Throwing leaves on Thanksgiving 2011.

A picture on the eve of last father's day.  Perfection.

Teaching his girls about baseball.

Smothering him with love.

First Father Daughter Dance excitement.

This picture reminds me that there is no other person I'd rather share my life with.

Dear Hubbs,
Thank you for making my dreams come true.
Even the ones I never dreamed about.
This is my happily ever after.
With love,
The wife

Happy Father's Day!

linking up
still being [molly]