First, the good stuff...

I have a million things on my heart. Two million thoughts in my brain. How to share them all here has been the question of the week. Hence the paralyzing writers block, that was, of course, broken at six o'clock Thursday morning. Isn't that the way?

I've decided to go with the good stuff first. Not because I'm being fake or only telling you about the good parts. I want to celebrate the good stuff first. I want to savor those moments and be thankful for them. I want them to be the moments we remember about this summer that was over way too quickly. So the good stuff first. So I don't forget.

Breakfast for dinner. Because it was way too hot to turn on an oven. And because waffles and eggs take fifteen minutes max. It's always a crowd pleaser, but it's also my favorite because I feel like it creates memories for my kids. They will never know that breakfast for dinner was because "mom just couldn't do one more thing". It will always be my secret.

New school shoes for my second grader. Because she is unbelievably hard on her shoes we went to the Van's store where she picked out these Half Cabs. Ok, maybe they aren't specifically Half Cabs, but they are to me. I did a victory dance as I am raising the daughter I somewhat conjured in my seventeen year old mind, while I wore similar Van's and a Girls Kick Ass baby T. 

In the same Van's store I caught this girl rocking out to some punk rock mix. Again, happy dance. She was totally enjoying herself. Who wouldn't enjoy themselves when their mother pushes their four year old bum around in a pink stroller. This is for ease, as she will cry seven minutes into a mall trip about her legs hurting. I've learned to pick my battles.

This check came. "Pay to the order of", Me. I got paid for my writing. For the first time ever. And while it's didn't pay any bills specifically, it did buy me moisturizer, hair dye, and concealer. That's how writers do it I guess. Savor the check. Think about framing it, and then because the money is few and far between for their writing they break down and cash them for real life things. But it's a start. And I had to start somewhere.

Crazy Costco trip with both my girls. Who love to watch the the rotisserie chickens cook. Who can't get enough of the samples. Who beg for things like double boxes of Lucky Charms because they promise this time they will eat the cereal too, and not just the marshmallows. Even the craziest Costco trips provide little moments to document. To say we were here.

Text conversations that deserve top billing on Facebook statuses. For the days I literally can't even. For the days that I just want to hide in my bed with ice cream and Grey's Anatomy. On those days, things like this save me. 

Our Fresno State season tickets came in, and it was like Christmas. The girls don't even go, but they were born into the madness, so they get it. They get how excited Daddy is for home openers and tailgating and fall. I get it too. It just takes me a little while to get acclimated.

Hilarious pictures taken in the car on our way to somewhere or nowhere. Mommy always has her camera out, trying to document the things. Most days we cooperate, but on this day. It was just too good not to post. She simply did not want her picture taken, and her sister was trying not to laugh. And of course I could not wait to post it on Instagram. Because if this ain't the life, I don't know what is.

Late night grocery store trips are things of the past since school has started, but this picture... Oh, these girls. I just had to run to the store for one thing at 9:30 at night and they just had to come. They picked out their shoes of course, and I was way too tired to fight. So I had them pose, next to the soda, and it was way too perfect. Two kids, out way past their "bedtime". I should be receiving the Life Time Achievement Award from the Mother of The Year committee any day now.

Summer came to a close Monday. But we didn't have time to dwell on it since we were too busy getting ourselves ready for the first day. My best friend asked me if Caitlin put this "look" together herself. Yes, yes she did. Down to the sunglasses. Those crutches didn't stop her either. I'm proud of her. She knows what she wants and who she is. I pray that she never loses that along the way.

Mac went back to preschool on Tuesday. This is it folks. The year before kindergarten. The year before real school. And I'm ready and not ready and my uterus is crying all at the same time. There were a few tears (hers), but for the most part, she was excited.

And even more excited when I picked her up.

So the good stuff first. Like Instagram filters and days off from work. Let's just remember the good stuff first. Goodbye Summer. Hello reality, please bring more good stuff.

It's been awhile...

Confession: I had to schedule the time to write this post. I had to set my alarm for a half hour earlier than I needed to be up, in order to get something posted. It's awful because I haven't been able to drag myself to this space, and I hate that. I hate when writing something, anything feels like a chore. But I also hate when I haven't posted anything in almost a week.

A few years ago when I first started blogging, I fell in love with a lifestyle blogger. Her blog and her life seemed perfect. She was crafty, she was the first to master the cake box-cake pop, she had style and grace and wrote beautifully. I sometimes visited her blog three times a day, hoping and praying that a little of her magic would rub off on me. My day was made by reading a new post from her, and not because I'm a stalker with single white female tendencies, but because she was so damn inspiring. One morning I visited her site and there wasn't a new post. No new updates. No new crafts or things to bake. I went back after lunch and again at dinner, and still nothing. WTF? Didn't this blogger know that I needed to read new content every day? Didn't she realize the world was waiting on her? 

Of course she didn't. She had a life. A beautiful one. A busy one. A real one.

I get it now. The compulsion to continue to churn out new and interesting material every day until you just can't. Today, almost four years after the fact, I get that most bloggers don't have the time to just sit and write all day. We are mothers, some of us working mothers, we are wives and sisters and daughters and friends. We have school drop off and lunches to make and toilets to clean. And then some of us then have to go and put in a shift at work, or still work from home. Some days it's just impossible to meet your readers with something new.

Today, I realize how much I miss this place. I squandered a lot of time this summer. And not just time I could have spent writing, but time I could have spent with my kids and my family. I worked a lot this summer, a fact that just defeated me. It wasn't the summer I wanted to have with my kids. I wanted to do beach days and pool days and get that beautiful brown color that my kids developed. Instead I worked. And it sent me to this place that exhausted me and paralyzed me. Now that school has started the guilt has set in. I could write an entire post on what we could have done this summer if I just would have accepted this season in my life instead of fought so hard to avoid it and it's truths. 

I woke up this morning thinking that if I could just spend the day writing, I could get my life back on track. I could have fresh content for readers. Fill you guys in on the last two weeks. Share a recipe or what I have been reading. That was the plan for today, to write my heart out. Then I remembered that we need things from Costco and Target. I remembered that I need to pay the dance studio and call the dentist. I remembered that my family wants to see me on my day off. And I remembered that this blog is not always as important as I think it is. Which is hard to admit. Which breaks my heart. But it's solidly the truth. 

This post has been all over the place. I blame the time of day. But there is something quite poetic about writing as the sun comes up. A new day is emerging, and with it I hope a new outlook. I hope that after we get through this first week of school, and get settled in a new routine, finding time to write will become easier. Finding time for life in general with hopefully become easier. Until then, I will take these pockets of time where I can get them. Even if they feel like the middle of the night.

Back to reality

Getting our sillies out before school starts.

Tomorrow reality will set in. I'm not sure we are ready.

Tomorrow, reality begins again. Summer is gone. Gone. How could it be? But school starts tomorrow, and I know that reality will set in real quick. Because I haven't written a damn thing for this space in over a week. Because despite our best efforts, no one will go to bed at a decent hour tonight. Because tomorrow not only do I have to get myself ready for work, Caitlin ready for school, child care lined up, and find time to call the OBGYN about my annual (which I've been putting off), I also have to be happy about all of those things. I'm exhausted already. It's not that I'm not a happy person, or that I'm depressed, or that my life sucks. On the contrary, I like this little life of mine, but sometimes it feels so very big and overwhelming. I have a habit of letting things pile on. I have a habit of waiting until the last minute. I have a habit of being a pessimist. But aside from all of that, some days I'm just too exhausted to fake it till I make it. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be one of those days. On the bright side, I have a second grader who is looking forward to school, even if she has to tackle the first day on crutches. I bought a new bra today, and as many of you can agree, that's like winning the motherhood lottery. Even better I got it for $15 off with a coupon. I know, it's like Christmas. And even though tomorrow morning may be hard and exhausting, I can feel that little buzz in the air. The excitement for new adventures. The excitement to see friends we have missed all summer. We will fake it until we make it, and honestly it may take until October, but we will do it. One bleary eyed morning at a time. 

I could have been anything

A few weeks ago my neighbors and I were having a pow wow in the front yard. We were laughing and joking when one of my neighbors said, "You know what? I could have been a...". I can't remember what he said he was going to be. That's not the point, the point is that I replied, "We all could have been a lot of things, but now we are this". I wasn't saying it to be negative, I was just stating the obvious. We were a bunch of parents just sitting in the front yard, watching our kids play. Parents that work daily to figure out how to be the best parents and partners to our spouses. But the more I thought about it the more I realized there was more to it for me.

It's true. I could have been a lot of things. When I was four I wanted to be a ballerina. When I was nine I wanted to be a lawyer. In high school I wanted to be a fashion designer, then an editor at Sassy, and then an editor at Vogue. After college I wanted to be a buyer for Macy's. I feel like my whole life I've wanted to be something.

It's horrible being a mother wasn't always on my list of what I wanted to be when I grew up. that I didn't always want to become a mother? Maybe it's because I read way too much about strong women in impossible roles. It's possible that all the riot-girl vinyl continues to play in my subconscious. Maybe it's because I felt like I missed my era when I read about Gloria Steinem. Or it could just be that I just couldn't see myself as a mother. Whatever the reason, I had big dreams of what I was going to be when I grew up and being a wife and a mom were always afterthoughts. 

Funny how something as simple as falling in love and getting married can change your mind. Once I could see myself as a wife, I could almost imagine myself as a mother. The more I thought about the more it sounded like a good idea. The more it seemed like it would fit. When I finally realized I wanted to be a mother, I went wholeheartedly. I had great ideas and ridiculously high hopes. Like all my other career aspirations, I had it all mapped out, I just knew, in my mind exactly how it would go. But as we all know, there are no plans when it comes to motherhood.

I was in the thick of it, when I finally decided I wanted to be a mom. I was knee deep in the shit that is motherhood. It was almost like a declaration: I want to be a good mother damn it. I want to do this. But more than that, I wanted to be their mother. The only one they will ever get.

The truth is, I am a mother, their mother, in the best and worst possible ways. I am flawed. I am loving. And hilariously enough, I am still learning, every day. But I am their mother in the most cliche, most overwhelming way. And suddenly I realize it's what I really want to be. It's finally the job that fits. The one that sticks.

I realize now that I still can be anything. Anything and everything, including their mother. Motherhood makes you believe in the impossible. If you can make it through this, you can make it through anything. Today I know that there is still time for me, no matter the dream, no matter the job. I realize that I could have been anything, but without being their mother, I would have never tried, never been as brave, never taken a chance.

I could have been anything, and now I'm this. So, wholeheartedly, this.

Book Club {Every Ugly Word}

***This is a book review for a book that I was approached to review. I was given an e-copy of the book, and no additional compensation for this review.

Have you ever read a book that is so incredibly gripping that you have to keep reading just to see how it will all end? This was the case with Every Ugly Word, by Aimee L. Salter. Every Ugly Word is a YA novel about the horrible world of bullying. Salter tells us the story of Ashley who is, in graphic detail, bullied in high school. Ashley's only relief is her own reflection in the mirror, but there is a twist to her reflection, it's her older self. This may sound hokey, but it makes for a very interesting story.

What I liked best about this book is that I believe it's a very accurate account of what bullying has morphed into since I was in high school. I remember the rumors about the "school slut", the notes passed in class, hating the girl that talked to your boyfriend, and all of that. In this book, we see the effects social media and and the struggle to be part of the "in crowd" have on teens today. I think that this book would be an excellent read for anyone who has been accused of bullying. This would really open their eyes to how something as simple as starting a rumor or name calling can snowball into something else. But really, lots of tweens and teen could benefit by reading this book. It would give them a better understanding on what bullying looks like. I feel like sometimes when you are in the middle of it, whether bullying or being bullied, you can't really see what is happening.

I also enjoyed the suspense of the book. It's told in two parts, real time and flash backs, or so you think. I'm not entirely sure which was which. But in telling Ashley's story, Salter really kept the pace going. I finished this book in less than three days. I just had to know what was going to happen to Ashley. I was totally invested in her story, but I'm still on the fence about her as a character.

Sadly, Ashley wasn't the most likable character. We find that she started one of the rumors about herself to bolster her popularity. The Author chalks this up to naive stupidity as a tween, but the consequences never leave Ashley as we now find her as a senior. I had a hard time with this, since I felt like she put herself in this situation. I was able to have sympathy for her but not pity,she has a horrible mother, no father figure, and a best friend who seems dense at best. I know with all of those things stacked against her, it may be hard for her to reach out to anyone for help. Even her best friend seems to have blinders on when it comes to her bullies.

The book lost me all together when it seems that no one with any kind of authority at the school sees this kind of bullying. It's also hard to read that her mother was so cold and calculating that she does nothing to help, and only adds to Ashley's grief when she bullies Ashley at home. The poor main character in this book is beaten mentally for so long she thinks this is just how life is going to be.

Would I suggest this book to you all in bloggyland? Yes. Yes if you like quick YA reads, yes, if you can agree and believe in some almost paranormal activity, yes if you remember what it was like to be bullied yourself. This book alludes to a happy ending. It makes you believe that Ashley is going to be alright. And that's all fine and dandy, but I still wanted more consequences for her aggressors. I wanted to know what happened to her mother. Was her mother remorseful? Did she finally realize how horrible she was to her daughter? And what ever happened to all the teachers and administrators who didn't ever see a thing? I feel like Salter could have wrote another hundred pages on just consequences and I would have happily read them. But that's just me. I wanted to see all those a-holes getting what they deserved after they just about killed Ashley, figuratively and literally.

I really did like Salter's style, and I look forward to reading more of her work. Please check out her author page, and check out her book if you are looking for a departure from your regular YA books about futuristic societies or vampires and werewolves. I'm not saying it's free of fantasy, but I am saying no one sparkles or has to fight against the capital. Not that there is anything wrong with that either.

Do you want to build a snowWOMAN? {Or sing a song to slash any remaining gender stereotypes?}

Frozen still has a huge presence in this house. Despite the Anna and Elsa dolls, the story behind the Elsa Dress, and my over all love for a story that literally proclaims, "Sisters before Misters", I still love the effect that Frozen is having on my daughters.

Last week the girls and I were driving my mom home after a day of shopping. Of course Mackenzie wanted to hear the Frozen soundtrack and we went through all the songs, singing along. Doing the voices, you know the drill. During a fantastic sing a long to "Let it Go", Mackenzie said that she wanted a "Frozen 2". We all agreed, a sequel to Frozen would be fantastic. Most likely not as amazing as the first, but still, with the same cast, I'd be there on opening night. My mom said that she wondered what kind of story Frozen 2 would tell. I was like, "Does it matter?", but my mom blurted out, "Elsa needs a husband. Frozen 2 can be about Elsa and a husband". I kid you not, the following are actual events:

loud voice from the back seat:


My Mom: Don't you think Elsa needs a King?

Caitlin: Elsa does not need a King, Grandma! She is free.

Me: Well amen to that! Look mom, I'm doing it right!

I've never been prouder. Let's break this down a little. One, my seven year old daughter realizes that Elsa has choices, and she does not need any man in her life to make it better. Elsa is free to be who she is and live in that fancy ice castle alone, making a closet full of ice stilettos if she chooses. Two, my seven year old daughter has the wherewithal to realize that you can be happy and live a very fulfilled life without a man. Ok, maybe not to that extent just yet, but this little lesson in feminism will not leave her as she grows into a young lady. 

Maybe I'm getting away from myself, but I think Gloria Steinem would high five me on my parenting win. I've never wanted anything more that to raise my girls with a strong sense of self. To raise them to know that they are enough, that they are strong, that they have choices. I want my girls to grow up and know that their possibilities are endless. I can do that because that's what my mama did for me. And so last week it all felt kind of full circle.

Can we talk about this little burst of "girl power" for a moment. Sure this isn't a burning bra moment by any means, but the tides have turned for our little ladies. When I was a kid I watched cartoon after cartoon and read story after story where the princesses were saved by the prince. The stories were filled with women who were almost strong enough, but in the end, they still needed that man to cross the threshold. A man to save them and make them feel safe and secure. Does anyone remember that scene in the Sex and the City movie when Carrie tells Lilly, Charlotte's daughter, that "Cinderella" doesn't really happen. If she wants to live in a castle all by herself that's all right too. I loved that scene, because I had always wondered what would have happened if Cinderella took that pumpkin carriage and got the hell out of dodge. I mean Cinderella had a Fairy Effing Godmother! Why didn't she ask for a convertible pumpkin and a new wardrobe? What if Ariel just swam up to Eric and was like, "Hey you wanna go for a swim?". What if Sleeping Beauty woke up and was like, "Hey, thanks for the kiss dude, but I've got a life to live". Seriously? What if all the Disney Princesses before Elsa had choices?

If I allow myself to take this Frozen Feminism crazy train, I can look at my daughters and know that they will always know they have a choice. They can get married, or they can live alone. They can choose to be a career woman or they can choose to be a stay at home mom. They can choose to travel the world or they can choose to grow roots right here in Fresno California. But they have the choice. Could we be moving closer to the day when the pressure to get married and have kids disappears? Could we be moving closer and closer to a time when our daughters will know that the best person to save them is themselves?

Thanks to Frozen, my girls realize there is more to life than some man to save you. They will know that not all men are "Princes", that some aren't who they say they are. They will grow up knowing that sisters are warriors, and will fight for each other. Thanks to Frozen, my seven year old knows that a man isn't an answer to your problems, even if you have set off an eternal winter and almost killed your sister accidentally.

Finally, we can sing at the top of our lungs, "Boys never bothered us anyway!"***.

Have I mentioned I'm totally doing this right?

***Editors Note: "Boys never bothered me anyway", is an original quote from the Hubbs. He sang this little ditty, to the tune of Let It Go, when I told this story. He wanted to be sure I gave him all the credit.

When it's dark...

I've been talking a lot about depression this week. We all have and for good reason. People may think that it's funny for us, as a nation and as humans, to mourn for someone we may have never met. To mourn for a man who was in movies and on TV, who made us laugh and cry, and quote lines from his movies. But we are justified in our grief for many reasons. One, because it was so sudden and tragic, knocking us off balance in the middle of an otherwise normal day. Two, because of the way that he went, taking his own life. And three, because we then have to ask the question as to why.

I've grown tired of the Facebook posts about depression and suicide. The bad ones that say perhaps if Robin Williams was a more faithful man, if perhaps he took a moment to look at what he had, how much he had to live for. The posts that try to place the blame. Those posts and articles drive me crazy because I don't believe for one minute that depression is something that humans can control. When I think about depression I imagine that it's a vine, that grows and wraps itself around the heart and the mind. It binds the arms and the legs and even gags our mouths. And before we know it, the darkness sets in.

We can talk about all of the things that Robin Williams had in his life, a wife, children, an amazing career spanning decades. He had fans and admirers all over the world, he was famous, he was, he was, he was... 
I could go on forever about all of the things that he was, but I have a feeling that despite all of the things that he had, he never felt like he deserved them.

The thing about the darkness, it makes you feel like you will never be enough. No matter what you have, no matter who you are, you will never feel like you deserve it, you will never feel like you've earned it. The bottom line is that the darkness makes you believe that you are never going to be enough for all the things that you have.

In any event, these are just my opinions. My thoughts on depression and how it changes you, are based on personal experience. How it makes you believe things you never would have before the darkness. I have no idea what Robin Williams was wrestling with, I won't even try. I didn't know him personally, I wasn't his friend, I was just a fan. But I will say that my heart broke when I heard the news, because on the day he took his own life, he felt like that was the answer. That by leaving this world, it would solve everything.

My heart breaks for all those out in the world that think suicide is the answer. To be there, in that pocket of the darkness is a lonely place. Can you imagine being there? Thinking that the only answer to the pain and despair is taking your own life? It should break your heart, it should stir compassion and empathy. Unfortunately, conversations of suicide and depression are rarely met with either of these.

I know a little about depression. The darkness, the weight, the feeling of drowning out of the water. I've battled pockets of dark my whole life. I'm not afraid to admit it today, but at one time I was. Those times I felt stuck, struggling to stay above water, afraid to admit those feelings of inadequacy. Afraid to admit that I was depressed. Afraid that that word would swallow me whole. I'll admit that I never got to the point where I wanted to take my own life, but at times, I've wanted to run away. As a teen, I wanted to run away from the bullying, the words that people were saying about me. Then as a mother, I wanted to run, far away. Thinking that my family deserved better, that I would never be enough for them. I was lucky, I was able to get help, to talk about my fears and my thoughts. I was able to find my way back.

Depression has been my mind this week. It's been on many minds this week. But let's not forget about next week and the week after that. Robin Williams was famous, and we will talk about him and his passing for years. But will we continue to talk about depression and suicide for years? Will we talk about it so much that it will take the stigma away? How can we continue to have the conversation about depression and mental illness so that it's no longer taboo? So it's not longer something we fear and something we accept. 

So as this week ends, and another begins, please continue to talk. Continue to talk about Robin Williams, or your neighbor, or your sister. Talk about that friend in high school or college. Talk about that mama friend of yours. Talk about those people who have struggled with depression. Tell those stories, embrace those stories. You may even be able to tell your own story. You never know who may be listening. You never know who you might inspire. You never know you might need some help, some understanding, some empathy. 

You never know who may need a little light in the dark.

If you need help with depression or suicidal thoughts 

A Tale of Two Daughters

I snapped this picture a few weeks ago. My best friend and her brood, I can call them that since she has three kids now, came over to swim at my mom's house. It was hot, as is typical for this time of year in Fresno, and the perfect day to be in the pool. As we sat there, my friend marveled at the fact that we have reached the point in motherhood where we can sit and have a conversation. Our older kids outnumber our younger kids, so they can all help take care of each other. We sat, and talked about everything and nothing at all. It's something we have always wanted, as friends, for our kids to get along. For our children to call each other friends and grow up together. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes it doesn't. In that afternoon we drank in the blessing of having kids that can get along. Kids that have fun together no matter the gender.

But it was this picture in particular that gave me pause. These two daughters, not sisters, almost friends. Two little humans who were surprises. Who are blessings. Because I didn't want a second child. I was so scared to try motherhood again. To start over from scratch. Would it be as awful the second time around? Would I be able to recognize the fog, the darkness that almost swallowed me whole? Some how I found the courage to take a chance, to "hand it over to Jesus" (that is a direct quote, ask my best friend) and try motherhood again. It's the best cliff I've ever jumped off.

For the second little human up there, I won't tell her story. It isn't mine to tell. But I can tell you this, her mama, my best friend, had resigned herself to a life of boys. She had two boys by the time I had my two girls and we, collectively (and without our husbands input, I might add) decided that we were done. Two was good. Two felt right. And then, life happened and well, my best friend found out that three felt better. Now she is awash in pinks and glitter and tulle. She now dreams about pink ballet slippers and fancy Easter dresses. And while she will never trade her boys and their Ninja Power Rangers Lego catastrophes for anything, she will tell you that pink princess tea parties make her heart flutter.

It's so funny how you can make single declarations about motherhood, and be so incredibly wrong about them. In the beginning I hated being proved wrong by motherhood. Motherhood was supposed to be regimented and by the book. I was so wrong and so naive, and I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that motherhood has proved me wrong time and again. If I had followed my fear, instead of letting go, I wouldn't have my second helping of motherhood. I wouldn't have my beautiful blessing. And if my best friend had listened to her own fears and the naysayers, she wouldn't have her beautiful blessing either.

The tale of these two daughters is beautiful and flawed and perfect and imperfect. It's a story about fear and love and overcoming the fears that seem impossibly large. Because the tale of these two daughters is just another tale of how motherhood continues to change their mothers again and again.

Writing for Fun {Pooping the Table}

A few months ago I spend a late night writing down some thoughts that I hope will one day materialize into a book. As always I'm never sure if I should publish things like this, but because I'm at a loss at what to write today, I thought maybe this would get the creative buzz flowing. Let me know what you think. This passage is based on actual events, although I may have changed the dialog a bit. Thanks for playing along with me and my writing.

Poop the Table

No three words have put the fear of God in me more.  I remember the day I read about pooping the table.  I immediately called my only friend who had actually given birth.

Me:  Is this a thing?  "Pooping the Table"?

Her:  Well yeah, I mean you are pushing, and its like if you push hard enough…

Me:  Are you fucking kidding me?  It’s not bad enough that I’m going to break my vagina, now i have to worry about shitting on my doctor?

Her:  (laughing) Not everyone does it.  I mean some women don’t actually poop the table.

Me:  Did you?

Her:  Honestly I don’t even know.  I didn’t even ask.  There is so much going on down there I could have.

Me: Don’t you want to know?

Her:  No. Never.

After clearing that up with her I made the mistake of telling the Hubbs about it.  I should have known telling him would be a complete disaster. He was mystified that I could poop while giving birth.  

Him:  That could happen?  Like you could actually shit on the table.  Like as the baby comes out?

Me:  I don’t know I guess.

Him:  that is so fucking cool.

Me:  What? WHAT?

Him:  You could shit.  On the table.  While having a baby.  It’s like a movie or something.

Me:  Shitting the table is not cool.  It’s not like a movie.  It’s not something I’m planning on doing.

Him:  But how cool if you did?

Me:  I can’t believe I’m having a baby with you.

I’ll say this.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t poop the table the first time.  The second time, I could have, I was in so much pain I wasn't paying attention to much else. Pooping the table is real, though.  It’s not a phenomenon or an urban legend. That’s why back in my mother’s child bearing days, all expectant mothers got an enema when they went into labor.  How fun does that sound?  I guess you could still have one today if you were really scared about it. But honestly, when you are in the absolute thick of labor, there is all kinds of nonsense happening down there, and shitting the table is the least of your concerns.  I promise.  

This is the real me {coffee date}

There are days when I wish we really could sit down and have a cup of coffee together. Days where I could send you a last second text to say, "Hey my house is a disaster, but nothing that will kill you, so how about a cup of something. Anything you want, as long as we can sit and talk". Wouldn't that be so much fun? But fun isn't the only reason. I'd love for many of you to see me in real life to show you that this is me. One hundred percent me. I don't sit at the keyboard every day or every other day to write about another person's life. I sit here and write about my life. The one that I have grown into. The one that has changed me in so many good ways. I sit here and write about this life, the good, the bad, and the sometimes terribly ugly truths that pop up. 

Two minute dinners sponsored by Nitrates and Microwaves
A few weeks ago, I was challenged on this blog's authenticity. I was talking to a real life friend who told me that she finds it hard to read this blog, because "Absolute Mommy" isn't the Megan she knows. She confessed that she doesn't know the "Megan" who writes this blog. She feels that they are not the same person, or the same voice. This shocked me and hurt me in a really deep way. When I sat out to write this blog almost four years ago, my one and only rule was that I always be honest. That I always tell the truth about motherhood. In four years I've learned so many things about myself by living and breathing those truths. But for a few days I replayed that conversation. Am I the person I claim to be on this blog? Am I wholly authentic to my voice and my readers? Am I the person I claim to be?

Last nights make up is just a myth with the right Instagram filter

It took a few days. I looked at what I put out on Facebook and Instagram. I looked at my blog content. What posts were most popular? What did people respond to? For starters they liked my posts about microwaved dinners and wearing last nights make up to pick up breakfast at McDonald's. Readers have responded to posts about Poise pads and Brazilian waxing. People have responded to fights with my daughter, struggles with my temper, and my admittance that I may not be the best mother that ever lived. All things that I have wholeheartedly written with nothing but honesty and fear. Was I nervous to post about my Brazilian wax experience? Hell yes! Have I lingered over the publish button on posts about fighting with Caitlin? Absolutely. But that is my fear. Fear that I'm being too honest. That I'm sharing too much. But never a fear of being authentic. 

Wrestling with Daddy at eleven at night - what bedtime?

In defense of myself and this blog, I told my friend that I have changed so much in the last four years, but the truth is, I've changed so much in the last seven years. My friend is right in mentioning that I'm not the confident woman I once was. That confidence and that person were thrown out with the placenta the day my oldest was born. My confidence and self worth were shredded that day. I still don't have an answer to why, other than I was scared and realized that I was now "in charge" of an actual life. Motherhood took away the idea that I was perfect, infallible, and a quick study. Motherhood spun me and then left me waist high in a pile of dirty diapers and pacifiers. How could I not change? How could I not grow into someone new? Motherhood forces the best parts of you to rise to the occasion. After four years, I think that this blog is one of my best parts.

Against All Grain Real Deal Choco-chip Cookies for Dinner

This blog helped me find my confidence again. It allowed me to be honest with you, my readers, but also with myself. When a problem in my life arises, I try to spin it, maybe with humor, maybe with tears, but I will always share it here. This blog is two parts therapy and one part camaraderie. I share my problems and then I receive emails and comments on how I'm not effing up as bad as the next person. I'm not afraid to admit my short coming anymore. I'm not afraid to tell you that Caitlin sleeps in our bed, still at seven, once or twice a week. That I still crawl into bed with Mac when she night wakes. I'm not afraid to tell you that on some nights I forget dinner all together. That sometimes we skip baths on multiple days over the summer. That I let my girls watch episodes of Uncle Grandpa well after a reasonable bedtime, just so the Hubbs and I can have a conversation without interruption. I'm not afraid to admit to cookies for dinner and failed whole 30 challenges, and that I've started and stopped 5K training more times than I can count this summer. I'm not afraid of those things anymore. Because writing them down takes away their power. Admitting them out loud makes them seem insignificant. 

So yes, there are days when I wish I knew many of you in real life. I wish you could come to my house and see the American Girl/Monster High/Barbie Sharknado that has hit my house. I wish you could see the dishes in the sink, and the mail still on the counter from yesterday, and the bench covered with June's progress reports and school letters. I wish you could see how I look on a day I don't post an outfit of the day, what I look like with out the magical hair powder that covers my bald spot, without the concealer that hides my dark under eye circles. I wish you could see for just one moment that this is truly me. 

Yup, that's me!

It took me thirty three years to find my voice. All through high school and college I wondered what I'd really do with myself. Who was I going to be in this life? It took a husband, a marriage, and two beautiful girls to light a fire under my ass. It took becoming a mother to let go of all the fears I've ever had, the ones about being fat or ugly or not good enough. Motherhood forces you to live, it forces you to move on and get over it. Motherhood forced me to grow up and find out who I was, who I wanted to be. So here I am, Megan, who had to grow up and be Mommy. 

Who is now, so wonderfully and definitely Absolute Mommy.

Worn {outfits of the day and other reasons for selfies}

I've gotten out of the habit of sharing my outfit of the day selfies on the blog, so today is the day. Also I just wanted another reason to share some of these because the fun of wearing work clothes has lost it's excitement.

Black jeggings and flowy tanks. So comfy and so right. 
I usually just add a cardi for work.
Navy stripped tank, grey layering tank under, olive pants. 
New favorite outfit in rotation.

Bathing suit, because some summers you just have to own it. 

Kitty meow meow tank on date night. Because the Hubbs said, 
"don't wear a moo", 
which is what he calls maxi dresses. 
So I wore this with shorts in protest.

Peasant shirt from my neighbor that I purposely cut off the sleeves. 
I really should hide all the scissors.

Chambray shirt, burgundy tank, white shorts. 
I loved it on one of the hottest days of the year. 
But it's like weird karma that when you 
wear white shorts your monthly bill comes in. 
Why is that?

 Soccer mom to the extreme. I wore this to work for some floor setting fun, then I decided to just wear flip flops for the rest of the day. 
Can I just mention how rare it is to wear jeans in Fresno IN AUGUST? 
It's unheard of, except for last Monday when it was 
overcast and sprinkling and not cold, but not blazing hot either.

 My momma made me buy this dress. I'm so glad that she did. 
It's from Target clearance and if they hand more colors 
I would have bought them all. I'm kind of in love with it. 
And I wore bright pink flip flops because in my world that's fancy. 
Sad, but true...

From all of my #ootd posts you probably think I live a semi-glamorous life. 
Well let me tell you how wrong you are. 
Getting a good shot, with a good angle and a good filter is rough. 
Especially when you have little humans popping in when ever they like. 
I can't be mad though, she's pretty cute.

I'm sure this was the most interesting post you have read on my blog. My apologies. But it was pretty fun to write. I hope to be back with more interesting reading material soon.

Pinned it, Made it my own {Inspiration Boards}

If you follow me on Pinterest, then you know I pin about a million things on any given day. I'll pin some funny stuff, I'll pin things to eat, I'll pin crafts to make. Let's be honest here, pinning is fun, but do we ever really make all the things we pin? I don't. I get inspired, then go and buy tons of crafting supplies I will never use, and then by the time I get it all together I'm so over the original craft I've completely lost interest. Sound familiar? 

A few weeks ago I came across this pin. It's the lazy person's version of Subway Art. You know for those of us who don't have fancy cutting machines, or the patience or skill to pull off freezer paper stencils. I totally roll my eyes at myself that I actually know what freezer paper stencils are. That's the kind of crap you learn when you pin at two in the morning. Anyway, this pin looked like something I could do with my girls, and isn't that what summer is all about? Doing the messy crafts with mom when she actually has a bit of time. Ok, that's a lie too, I literally scheduled this activity. As in I planned nothing else for this particular Thursday, since it was my day off, and I knew we could fit it in, if we did NOTHING ELSE. How's that for motherhood?

The craft itself is pretty easy. Buy some finished wood boards, any shape, we picked squares. Buy some paint in your color of choice, or use whatever colors you have on hand. Make sure you have some Mod Podge, or buy some if you need it. Don't worry, it's not scary, it's just glue. Then after you buy all this stuff (and foam brushes or paint brushes if you need them, like we did), take it all home and go through some old magazines you have lying around. Since I'm the magazine queen, we had a lot to choose from. This is the fun part, start tearing out what you want on your board. Now since I was trying to stay as close to the original pin as possible, I looked for words or quotes. Caitlin decided that she would rather put animals on her board, so that's what she looked for, and Mackenzie? Well Mackenzie painted her board, lost interest, and decided to play with Barbies after cutting a few magazine pages in to pieces so small they have alluded the vacuum ever since. 

So we painted, mutilated a few magazines, slapped a few coats of Mod Podge, and ta-dah, something that resembles a collage board or an inspiration board. 

I won't lie, I was surprised at how much fun I had. I remember being a teen and making collages. I was tempted to put things like lipstick and shoes on the board, but once I got going I was able to find quotes from some pretty inspiring actresses like Melissa McCarthy and Amy Poehler. I feel like this is the perfect thing to put in my office/craft room whenever I get in there and finally clean it. Until then, it's just hanging out on a shelf. I also made this board during a time of writers block and wouldn't you know that something as simple as this got my mind moving and the words just followed. Funny how that happens. 

So if you are looking for some last minute crafting to do with your kids, or if you just need to break out of a rut, this may be the craft for you. It's simple and messy, and it looks great even if you can't cut straight.
Which as you can tell, isn't one of my finer skills. 

One day, I'll miss this

One day, I'll be able to sleep in as late as I want. I'll be able to decide if I want to even get out of bed. I'll be able to plan my entire day from the comfort of my bed and know that my day will go according to plan. One day there will be no hiccups, no chaos, no mess.

One day my house will be clean. The laundry will be done and put away. The dishes will never be stacked in the sink for more than a day. The dining room table will be empty and free of sticky spills and crumbs. One day our carpet will be clean.

One day I will cook dinners. Real dinners using fresh ingredients. My microwave will almost become obsolete. One day I will no longer buy things like chicken nuggets and microwave pancakes and juice that comes in pouches. One day, if I decide, I will eat nothing but broccoli, and no one will complain about the smell.

One day my living room will be free of doll shoes and crayon marks and play-doh. One day I won't have to watch my step as closely. The bathroom in the hall will always be clean, and no longer necessitate the quick spot clean when company comes. It will no longer have hair bows and toothbrushes littering the counter and towels on the floor. One day everything in my bathroom with match, down to the soap dispenser.

One day, will be here before I know it. I'll wake up one morning and the dolls will remain on the shelves, their shoes in their designated bins. One morning I'll start making smoothies and coffees and someone will only want orange juice and a single piece of toast. One day, I'll come home to an empty house, free of toys and spills and piles of laundry to fold. And I will miss the chaos terribly.

I find that I get wrapped up in the mess and the chaos. Because I'm pulling our clothes out of the clean pile. Because dinner is chicken nuggets again. I get upset when I realize that the light switch in the bathroom has dirty finger prints after our guests have left, that they had to wipe their hands on the discolored towel hanging on the rack. I worry that my kitchen sink smells, that the garbage should have been taken out yesterday, that they just might sit on a couch that is full of Cheetos crumbs.

I try to remind myself that this season is so short. That already the spills are less. The crumbs are fewer and farther between. I think that one day I'll miss the smell of chicken nuggets right out of the microwave, I'll miss the complaints about the broccoli smell. I've begun to realize that one day they will let me sleep in. That one day they won't need me to make their breakfast. It's occurred to me that one day, they will be so wrapped in their own lives that sitting down to read a book or color a picture will be a distant memory.

One day my house will be so quiet and clean. And I'll wonder why on earth I wanted this so much.

Because one day I'll miss every single bit of this life that is so very messy that it is downright beautiful.

The sixteen hour getaway

Saturday the Hubbs and I got away for exactly sixteen hours. We met some friends in Turlock, got on a bus and rode all the way to San Francisco to see the Giants play. And even though I had to be at work the next day at eight in the morning, I couldn't resist a day with the Hubbs, the Giants, and good friends. See I'm the girl that over plans. I'm the girl that knows she will be too tired to do something like a sixteen hour turn around trip. I'm the girl who makes excuses, like work or the kids. I'm always the one to say "We can't". But not this time. This time I embraced the mess and the full and the busy. I didn't want this summer to pass without going to the ballpark. I didn't want this to be the summer that I used work and exhaustion as an excuse. Because as the Hubbs reminds me, I'm always going to be tired, and I'm always going to have to work. Why does he have to make sense sometimes?

The obligatory bus selfie. Because it's not happening unless you post it on Instagram.

My ballpark selfie to let the Giants and Hunter Pence know I was there. The Giants did favorite my tweet, which got me all kinds of excited. But sadly nothing from Hunter. 

Funny story about this jersey. There were two raffles on the bus. The first was for a gift card to a restaurant in Modesto. The second was for this Will Clark throw back jersey. We, the Hubbs and I, won both. That's right. Both raffles, and the bus was none to happy with us "outsiders". It was hilarious. But as kids, the Hubbs and I both loved Will Clark. Plus the Hubbs works this jersey, am I right?

The game started at six and it was just gorgeous out. I took this picture and thought, this looks like a post card. It was a great night for baseball if you weren't a Giants fan, because they lost. It didn't matter. The Hubbs and I had a great time. We spent sixteen hours with friends who really feel like family. We spent sixteen hours laughing and being together without the interruption of being "mom" and "dad". It was the best sixteen hour getaway you could ask for.

Because if I'm being honest, I'd go anywhere with this man even if it was just a one hour getaway.