July was...

Evenings spent riding our tricycle.

Days spent blogging when and where I could.

Nights spent just the two of us.

Facebook statuses that make you laugh.
And also feel loved.

New hair to remind you that age is just a number.

Tweets that make you feel starstruck.
And popular, if I can be honest!

Gifts that make you feel eight.
Because your mom would still buy you Molly,
if you let her spend that kind of cash.

Taking Instagram breaks when you should be cleaning.
Twitter and Facebook breaks too, because who likes to clean?

Mornings spent at dance for this one.
Be still my heart.

Evening walks, except she doesn't want to walk.

Waiting till 5pm on a Saturday to shower.
Because you just didn't feel like it.
Then going to Target alone, because you feel like it.

Impromptu dances in the rain.
Because mother nature was being hormonal and couldn't decide
on what to wear, hot and humid or rain.
She decided on both.
Way to mix patterns Mother Nature!

Vain selfies because you have good hair.
And it doesn't happen often.
And if you don't take a picture, it really didn't happen.

Nights for homemade ice cream.
Checking another item off our summer bucket list.

Sundays spent trying to make Daddy drink from baby bottles.

Trips to Costco for things we need, and finding
items for our wish list.

Late lunches or early dinners depending on your preference.
With kids wild eyed and hungry, in booths at restaurants while people stare.
Good thing they are cute.
And good thing the restaurant served corn dogs.

Free sundaes with dinner just because you are a kid.

July was hot days spent inside enjoying the cool AC.  Days at the beach exploring and getting sand in places we shouldn't mention.  Fireworks and watermelon.  Pool days and sunburns.  July was hot, humid, and this year even rainy.  It was our last shot of enjoying summer before school starts, our last embrace of ease, and a last chance to be free of responsibility, routine, and stress.  July was full of life and love, and now memories.

And it was just what this family needed.

Check out Jeanette on Friday for

Who sits at the cool kids table?

Last week there was a pretty good conversation going on between bloggers.  These were bloggers of all different content, walks of life, and size.  Some of us have very successful blogs with pretty big numbers under our "followers" header.  Others are little bloggers that can, and do with what they have and who they know.  
Some how we all had the same questions:

What constitutes a popular blog?  
Are people still reading?
Why do some blogs get more comments than others?
And so on...

I've been blogging for the better part of two years.  When I started I knew nothing of the blogging world.  I didn't know what a button was, that there was a blogging community, that people could make money blogging.  It wasn't until I stumbled upon a few blogs that I figured out, there was a real community here.  There were real ways to make money.  There were real ways to make friends.  And there were real ways to feel like you were in high school all over again.

In the two years since I started this blog, I have gone from one extreme to another.  I have been the blogger with 4 followers, three of them friends or family, with the standard "blogger" template, sharing my posts on my Facebook wall.  I have been the blogger who went all out with a button, some money to buy ads, gift cards to giveaway, and link ups to join.  I have been the blogger who agonized over another bloggers success at reaching 1000 followers before me.  I have been the blogger jealous over link ups and parties hosted by others.  I have been the blogger who cared more about sponsorships and giveaway, and less about content and readers.  I have done it all.

And in case you were wondering I have the same amount of "followers" I had a year ago.

I think it's because a year ago I decided that I couldn't keep up with the Jones'.  I couldn't kill myself daily to try and keep up with the kids at the cool table.  If I'm being honest with myself, I wasn't anywhere near the cool kids table.  I just thought I was.

Does it matter that one blogger has 3000 followers on Instagram and Bloglovin?  Not really.  Does it matter that someone gets a million hits a month?  Not unless you are trying to make a living on your blog.  If you are making a living on your blog good for you.  It's hard work, and I understand.  But the time, work, and effort it takes to maintain a "popular", "cool kids table", "must follow" blog, isn't my cup of tea.  I ain't got time for that.  I barely had time to write this post.

In the last year my sponsorships have dropped.  I've changed my ad shop and not many people buy.  I haven't bought an ad since February.  I have been relying on swaps with my friends.  More importantly I have been relying on my content.  Sure I do the occasional paid post, to promote something I really do like, but mostly it's just me and my blog.  Just like in it's infancy.  And I'm ok with that.  I'm working on my writing.  It's why I started blogging in the first place.  I also like to blog about what I want.  Am I a lifestyle blog?  Only if the life style is lazy.  Am I a mommy blog?  Only if the mommies are crazy, exhausted, and parent with chocolate.  Spending my time trying to be something I'm not, trying to keep up with what I think people want to read got me no where.  

Back to the tweets of the previous week.  We all agreed on one thing.  Good solid content is hard work.  If you are a blogger then you know this to be true.  Every time you sit down and type your heart out, you understand that original content is about the hardest thing.  Especially under pressure or on the spot.  Many bloggers understand the blood, sweat, and tears that go into publishing good content five days a week.  I try to publish five days a week, and I will be the first to admit that the content isn't always my best.

Sure some blogs may get 80 comments a post, others may get three.  I can say from personal experience that I love all comments.  Even the bad ones.  Even the ones that make me cringe.  And if you are wondering I do read them all, and try to respond to them all, but some days...  I think the same may go for blog readers.  I've noticed that on days where traffic is high, sometimes the comments are nil.  
Maybe readers aren't commenting.  Maybe they have nothing to say. 
 Maybe they are just as busy as the blogger writing the post.

One thing that really hit me after this conversation on Twitter was the fact that I haven't been reading as many of my "favorites" either.  I've had a jam packed summer.  I have a hard time getting to my laptop and when I do it's for posts only.  My email inbox is out of control.  I check it daily, but only respond to urgent messages.  Sad and pathetic right?  But, what's more pathetic is that I expect readers to read my blog when I'm not reading any either.  So Sunday, after I wrote yesterdays post, I went into my blog roll, and read 4 blogs I hadn't visited in awhile.  Then I looked in my blog roll and read a few more, commenting each time.  Because I'm a blogger and I know that comments are more about feed back and confirmation than they are about popularity.

I'm happy to be the blogger that I am.  With wonderful readers and really awesome blogging friends.  The friends that I have made blogging have really helped me grow my blog.  It's the support of my readers who leave great comments that confirm I'm doing the right thing, by doing it my way.  I'm not saying that I won't sponsor another blog, or host another giveaway.  I know I will.  What I'm saying is that blogging is almost fly by night.  New blogs pop up daily, current blogs change focus, old blogs close up shop.  Blogging is dynamic.  The important thing is to feel good about the blog you are writing.  Because you are the most important part of your blog, not the cool kids. 
They probably don't even read your blog.

Don't judge a mother by the screams of her child

My face is still flushing with embarrassment as I write this.  I have over and over vowed not to be "that mom".  The Mom that stands by and judges things like screaming kids, kids running thought the aisles at the grocery store, kids melting down at the Icee machine.  Because sometimes I'm on the other side of the fence.  Sometimes my kids are the ones evoking stares of the masses, and unfortunately the stares from "that mom".  I was that mom today, as I listened to a child scream 3 or 4 times in Costco.  Today being a Sunday, a very crowded Sunday, with samples at the end of most aisles, and everyone shopping for the up coming week.  
At first I was kind of dumbstruck at the sound coming out of a child.  It was loud, even breaking the sound barrier of the normal din in Costco.  I looked toward the sound and thought, well it must be nap time, or it must be time for a snack, or maybe it's just time to go home.  

By the fourth time I heard the sound, I turned and saw the family in line for check out.  Mom, loud/crying toddler, and his older brother and sister.  He was having a meltdown, as I can spot those a mile away, and then something happened that stopped my Judge Judy alter ego in it's tracks.  His mom, lightly touched his cheek, made eye contact with him and started signing.  Signing.  As he tried to turn his head she snapped her fingers and continued to sign and then pointed toward the food court.  Looks like her little man wants some ice cream and doesn't want to wait for it.  It was then that I flushed with embarrassment.  

Who the hell do I think I am?  Judging mothers who are very much like me on the outside, but with a story so different from mine on the inside.  We are no different, her and I.  We have children, we are both trying to navigate through Costco on a busy, hot and humid Sunday.  I was embarrassed because she is doing the best she can with what she can.  I was embarrassed because she has an obstacle in motherhood that I don't.  I was embarrassed because I judged too quickly.  

So as I walked by enough shampoo to last 2 lifetimes, I said a prayer.  
Lord, thank you for blessing me with all I can handle.  Lord, bless her for what she is handling,  Lord, forgive me for judging a mom by the screams.  

You'd think my embarrassment ended there.  You would be wrong.  To end our day at Costco, we too had to stop at the food court for hot dogs.  Again, I bumped into this same Mom and her three kids.  Again, she was signing to the little one, who was still asking/crying for ice cream (it was about 100 today, so I get it).  Then with a barely audible sound, the Mom, snapped her fingers and signed to her oldest son.  I flushed all over again.  This wasn't just a Mom dealing with the chaos of motherhood, this was a warrior, battling her way through motherhood with obstacles I will never understand.  Can you imagine mothering your child without your hearing?  How many of us rely on what our ears can and cannot hear?  Can you imagine mothering without your voice?  Without the ability to quickly get your point across?  

I'm sure this mom, this warrior, would tell you she's just a mom.  She just goes along loving her kids and doing her job.  Yet to someone like me, who feels like motherhood is a daily battle, she is a super mom.  A super mom whose kids were running around and crying in Costco.  A super mom who I never once saw lose her temper.  A super mom who was able to discipline and explain circumstances, without the sound of her voice.  A super mom who spoke straight to my heart and changed the meaning of motherhood for me once again.  

Perhaps it's not the Pinterest projects, the organized pantries, or the color coded calendars that make us a super mom.  Maybe it's our ability to mother under the most challenging of circumstances.

Today I learned my lesson, said a prayer, and will try really hard, 
not to judge a mother by the screams of her child.

In the moment {lessons in motherhood}

Every once in awhile, I'm reminded of the treasures of this life.  We can get lost as we weave through the days of endless laundry, dishes stacked sky high, and toys that seem impossible to pick up.  We forget that many of our ordinary days, are sometimes magical in a child's eyes.  They won't remember the kitchen table covered in books and last nights dinner dishes.  They will remember covering the mess in newspaper to paint before breakfast.  They won't remember the dishes stacked on the counter, but they will remember the bowl you always use when you make cookies, at eight o'clock on a Wednesday.  It's the every day occurrences that make up childhood memories.  

Monday was one such instance.  I had lunch with friends, while the girls played at my grandmother's house.  The day was stifling hot and humid.  Sticky arms and legs.  No breeze for miles.  We came home to a cooler house and gray skies.  I got dinner ready, and tried in vain to pick up the endless toys that continue to parade in our living room.  Distracted I thought I heard the Hubbs roll the trash cans into our side yard.  I checked the window for his car, but no car.  Then I heard the noise again, and looked out the window again.  


Hot, humid rain.  Ninety three degrees and pouring hot rain.

I opened the door and yelled for the girls.  
You've got to see this!  It's raining!!  

Then Caitlin asked, "Can I touch it?".


In my past mothering life I would have thought about dry dirt caking on damp legs.  Wet 
t -shirts and shorts dripping on my already filthy floors.  Mac and Cheese on the stove, threatening to boil over.  Chicken in the oven, threatening to burn.
Who has the time to dance in the rain?

In my new mothering life, we do.

My girls have been my greatest blessing.  In the past six years, they have taught me to let go.  Let the rope out a little.  Take a chance on fun.  Leap before I make a list, plan the leap, and pack some snacks.  To open my heart and my eyes to the every day occurrences that make up this chaotic and precious life.  

Because if I blink, hesitate, or pause for a moment, 
I just might miss the happiest six year old, dancing in the rain.

Wore: Memories of Home

All photos provided by Laura Hernandez Photography

There is something pleasant and simple about going home.  I tend to forget how much I love my birthplace until I'm back.  It's easy to love Salinas California in July, when you live in Fresno California in July.  Besides the beautiful weather, the less than 20 minute drive to the ocean, or the sweet smell of the strawberries straight from the fields, there is no place like my first home.  I'll admit that I took complete advantage of it in my youth.  So naive to all it had to offer.  Hidden treasures I didn't value at the time.  

Now, in this season in my life I'm so grateful for the blessings it brings me.  My grandparents who shower my girls with love and food that I remember from my childhood.  Nothing compares to freshly made tortillas or my Grandma's famous rice.  Watching my children play in the backyard where I once played as a child.  With some of the same toys, and all of the same joy.  Walking on the wharf with my girls and my dad, the same walk my dad and I made for years.  I now see it with different eyes, I feel it with a fuller heart.  Having picnics on a little sliver of beach tucked away from the masses, just enjoying the sand, the sea, and the sun.

On this last trip home I even got to catch up with a precious friend from high school.  After all these years, seeing her brought the same comfort it brought all those years before.  We are completely different people now, and yet completely the same.  Seeing her, was food for my soul.  Sharing breakfast with her, stories about our kids, our marriages, our lives, was a blessing.  To still have her in my life is a blessing.  How lucky we are that things like miles and years cannot change the connection of friendship.

Home is where your heart is, and sometimes if you are lucky, 
your heart can be in two places at once.

Princess Kate {mommy crush}

image courtesy of Yahoo
original URL

It's a royal bouncing baby boy!  Ah, rejoice America.  Something to take the attention away from South East, or West South, or whatever ridiculous name bestowed on so called American Royalty.  It's a HRH The Prince of Cambridge.  And I'm more excited than I thought I'd be.  Let's get real here, babies are exciting.  Royal babies send normal, level headed, could care less unless it's about True Blood me into hysterics.  I stalked the news all morning Tuesday, for perhaps a glimpse of our little HRH.  And to my surprise I hit it at just the right time to see the interview to end all interviews.  

Friends, Twitter was afire.  The anchors on CNN, ABC, and NBC were a flutter.  It's a Prince.  Carried by a beautiful commoner and then in the arms of his father, another beautiful prince.  I'm old enough to remember when Charles and Diana got hitched.  I remember my Grandma parked in front of the TV.  I remember the dress, the carriage, the palace.  I also remember the birth of both princes.  So this was just one step further in admitting that I love events like this.

Here is what absolutely blew my mind, Princess Kate.  She looked stunning.  Sure she had her hair dresser show up at the hospital, she's a damn princess for crying out loud.  And yes, she was wearing make up, and smiling a delicious smile of joy only a first time mother can have!  Stunning I tell you.  But wait it gets better, she still looked pregnant.  I know what you are thinking, but seriously, this is what a post delivery body looks like.  It looks like the baby is still in there.  That's real life friends.  That's what you are supposed to look like.  Not photo shopped in People Magazine.  Blissfully on the cover, with her baby in pastel lit room, while pillows and maxi dresses, and a baby covers her problems areas.  This is what keeping it real looks like.  There was no mega diet, mega juice fast, hours clocked at the gym.  She just pushed out a human, a royal one at that, then got up and rocked her first interview.  Has anyone even seen Kim K?  Yeah, Kim K who?  
Because she is too busy on a juice fast I would gather.

And I'm loving every moment of it!  Also I'm loving the Prince himself, who took that baby from Kate like a champ.  Who admitted his son has a set of lungs on him.  Kate has said the Prince has already changed some nappies (those are diapers to us Americans).  I also just about fell out of my chair when the Prince brought out the baby in the infant car seat and then proceeded to drive away.  He drove people!  Even the British correspondent had his panties in a bunch.  Royals, I take it, do not drive.  How novel!

So for the moment Kate is my mommy crush.  I know she will do us mamas proud by sporting her usual off the rack wardrobe, and possibly a top knot with 3 day old hair.  It's been reported that they are employing no nannies, so is it possible that we will see her baby wearing HRH?  I mean really!  Pushing a pram to the store for diapers?  Get out!  Can you even imagine if she breast feeds publicly?  It's insane the trends this woman is going to inspire, across the pond, but also here where we are quite royally obsessed!  Do you think she is just going to go to the local park and let HRH have a play date?  With no nannies do you think the royal couple will bicker and fight about real parent problems?  How awesome would those fights be?  "I don't care if you are next in line for King, change that shitty nappy!!", "I'm a Princess that just grew you a human, a royal one at that, let me sleep!".  OK, I'm just fantasizing here, but seriously, how cool would it be to say that?

I'm excited to see how this newest royal edition is going to grow up.  I'm looking forward to see how Kate enjoys motherhood, how she tackles motherhood, and of course what she wears while doing it.  I'm also curious to know what they will name the newest HRH.  I've heard that George, Phillip, and Albert are at the top of the list.  
However, Albus Severus is really catchy.

Summer Sunday Nights

For whatever reasons, Sunday nights never go as planned.
And by planned, I mean that my kids are never in bed in time for me to watch True Blood.  
I know priorities, right?

Sunday was no different really.
Piles of laundry waiting.
Evening family walk in the neighborhood to calm the crazies.
And a little 3 year old who decided that 7:30 pm was a totally appropriate time for a nap.
She woke up twice only to fall right back asleep.
My oldest watched Teen Beach Movie (again) with Dad, and I had the TV to myself.
With both kids in bed, I watched some of my favorite vamps draw blood!
Then since I was on a roll, I watched a new favorite, Newsroom.
And it was quiet and blissful and I talked to the TV like I usually do.

Then about 11:15 I heard a little voice.
"Mommy, where did you go?  Can I have a peanut butter sandwich?"
So it was then that I surrendered to it.
"It" being the long night ahead of me.
Of course you can have a PB&J.
And let's get some water and watch Sprout in the dark.
Like a midnight picnic.
And it was.
I think she finally dozed at 12:30 am.
And I slept in her bed with her.

Because these nights will only exist for so long.
Summer is almost over.
And normally I would have been angry and put out.
Another "all nighter", oh the humanity.
But for whatever reason, not this Sunday.

This Sunday was perfect for a quiet moment for mom.
PB & J kisses with a gal who is growing all to quick.
A midnight picnic in bed, that left crumbs everywhere.
And a cartoon marathon.

Summer Sundays can sometimes surprise you.

My vagina is too old for Cosmo

Yes.  Yes I did buy this copy of More magazine.  Without embarrassment.  Almost recklessly.  Melissa McCarthy is my hero, so it was without shame that I slapped this on the conveyor belt at Target two weeks ago.  What's to be embarrassed about right?  It's Melissa McCarthy.
I read it.  Ok, devoured it.  And I found it to be refreshing.  The women in that magazine looked like me.  They are worried about anti aging and acne at the same time, like me.  They are trying to appropriately integrate some neon into their fashion life, just like me.  It was amazing.  It was comfortable.  

And I loved every bit of it.

Then, last Monday I had an hair appointment.  To cover my grays it takes an entire hour of sitting with dye on my hair.  Which is perfect for me.  It's like a mini vacation.  It bliss.  It's the perfect time to catch up on all the rags in the hair salon.  Which is usually the icing on the cake.  Until it wasn't.

I spent no longer than five minutes flipping through a Cosmopolitian magazine before I came to the screeching realization that I have outgrown the once sought after rag.  Better yet, I think it's safe to say my vagina has outgrown Cosmo.  The models look 12, possibly 14.  They are modeling for articles about young baby girl worries.  Like how to care for your vagina after a one night stand.  Or how to appropriately initiate a one night stand.  They are about pleasing your man, in bed, at a bar, on the subway.  Seriously.  I'm sure at one time "college mommy", as my Hubbs likes to refer to my former self, was really interested in such issues.  Sure, there is a right way and a wrong way to exit a one night stand.  There is a certain way to handle ones self in the work place after romance.  There are certain things your vagina should and shouldn't do.  But I'm 35, and my vagina doesn't go on such adventures anymore.

Favorite titles from their recent issues online and in print include: How To Please Your Man; Happy Birthday Sex, Seven ways to blow out his candles; Why Isn't He Texting You Back; and Things To Do Before Graduation.  Look, my younger former self, and self's much younger vagina, would have embraced all of these titles.  These days, seven ways to blow anything seems pretty daunting.  As a comfortable 35 year old wife and mother, I know exactly how to please my man.  I say yes to sex when I would rather sleep, watch True Blood, or read the latest issue of More.  I also know exactly why he's not texting me back.  It's because I'm a nagging bitch and want to know what time he's getting home from work, or if he can stop at the store for that one damned thing I forgot.  As for the graduation article I was really confused.  My graduation?  My kids graduation?

I knew something was brewing when I renewed my subscription to Redbook and not to Glamour.  Alas, we've (vagina and me) outgrown Glamour too.  It's sad.  Youth really is fleeting, but I can't read another article on how you should act at a summer wedding when you are still the last of your friends to get married.  Or what to do when you drink too much at an after work function.  I'm not saying these issues aren't important to today's generation of women.  I was once one of those women.  Now, I need a magazine that understands I want to read about resetting goals after 30.  I need a magazine that isn't going to try and convince me that wearing high waisted booty shorts is a hot look for 35 year old me.  I need a magazine where the women in it look like me, sound like me, and know how to handle their vaginas.

So I'm sending in that annoying card and subscribing to More.  Because I need More in my life.  My crows feet need More.  My grays need More.  My vagina, however, just wants to read the articles.

The mess that is my life.

Clearly my lack of focus is forcing me to post a recap of my Absolute Life via Instagram photos.  My BF posted on her Facebook a few days ago, that a young person at her work (and by young I mean born in the early 90s, I know gag), told her that she doesn't really use Facebook anymore because it's filled with old people.  My BF told her to watch out because we are taking over Instagram too.  And we are so watch out you young ins.  Now on to the show, which is more like a circus.

I took advantage of Vintage Sunshine's Insta hoop sale.
It's for my BFs baby.  
Because she needs it in her life.

Only in America are Twinkies and their comeback front page news.
I mean this is serious fat status.
I'm only saying that because I'm jealous.
I can't eat Twinkies.
Dumb intestines.

I was co hearsed into participating in a neighborhood 
garage sale.  There is nothing more satisfying than 
waking up at the crack of dawn,
on a Saturday morning, and selling your Nine West 
sea foam green pumps for five bucks.
That's right five bucks.
But seriously I couldn't stand to look at them
anymore since they were clearly a size 7 posing as an 8.

These are strawberries from the Salinas Valley in California.
I challenge you to find a better tasting strawberry.
These smell like my childhood and taste like home.

This is my new personal Hell.
In my day (insert old lady nagging voice), Leggos were simple building blocksin primary colors, 
sent to stimulate young minds.
They were not construction jobs, 
with 40 page instruction manuals that required
an engineering degree to complete.
And while it is fantastic that this set in particular 
is geared toward my six year old
daughter in hopes to inspire her to be an engineer, 
it's only inspiring me to
despise the brand, the miniature tiled blocks, 
and the time it took to complete.
Forty minutes is the time it took to complete.

Me and my photographer.
Because I'm so cool that I have a photographer.
Just kidding Laura is family, and I milk her talent to no end.
Thankfully she loves taking pictures and having fun.
Stay tuned for the pictures they are fabulous.
And they were taken under duress as 
Miss Mac screamed the entire time.

I know it's been weeks, but this was the best part of my 4th.
Plus this was the only firework that Miss Caitlin enjoyed.
And yes, she is clutching a flamingo.

Thank you Jesus for hats and Sunglasses.
Two day old hair.
No make up.
No sleep.
And no one on Instagram had any idea.

When I post this pic on Instagram I said we were having an 
ice cream sandwich luncheon.  
Because it's a sandwich and it has dairy which 
is a major food group.
And calling it a luncheon makes it a thing.
So it's a thing.

Not to be outdone, I also served a giant 
Oreo cookie ice cream sandwich.
Because a regular ice cream sandwich 
isn't enough when you are six.
Being six requires variety.

You know the story about this baby.
Let's get up to speed.  
She went with us to the Aquarium too, 
and was mistaken as an actual
baby since my mom was carrying her around.
Cue the hilarity as my mom had to explain why she was walking
around the Monterey Bay Aquarium with Black Baby.

Just for fun I'm adding this one of the Hubbs.
Who is in fact cleaning up and sorting all of 
Caitlin's birthday gifts.
As I sit on the couch comfortably and take pictures of him.
Then posting said pictures to Instagram.
And I could tell you that after I laughed 
and said "let me help".
But I'm not a liar.

Are you missing some serious sarcasm in your life?
You know it's one of life's greatest "asms".
Follow me on Instagram to get some.

I'm gonna chill with Jeanette today.