Saturday, March 29, 2014


(repeat from 9/24/12)

I remember an exercise I did at a church function in high school. We broke up into groups and were assigned names of people from the other groups. We had to come up with a list of things we liked about that person -- what we thought were funny, kind, chracteristics we admired. Anything. And then share them with the big group all together for them to hear.

What I didn't expect was how I would feel hearing the affirming things that the group said about ME. I was floored. People think THAT about me?? I mean, so often, we know our friends hang out with us, like us, or maybe we don't know if someone likes us. Hearing things like, "she always makes us laugh", "she makes these funny facial expressions that crack us up" (hmm, we know about this don't we?) was a total game changer for me. I always felt awkward, unattractive, klutzy. Now, I realized, people liked those silly qualities!

I came away from that feeling so full. What a great exercise. We need affirmation all the time. Some people are shy of compliments. Some people are compliment whores (ahem, I don't know what you are talking about!). But whether it is a spoken word, a written note, or an action, affirmation is what gives us that feeling of, "yep, I'm worth it". Not in a L'Oreal kind of way folks.

I want my children to feel affirmation every day. I want to smile to them when I walk in the room. Or they come home from school, I want them to see me happy to see them. I want my husband to walk in the door after a long day at work, and know that I appreciate him. But this often takes effort after a long tiring day at the office. It’s a work in progress.

Nevertheless, take my advice, share affirmation whenever you get the chance. Tell your children, your spouse, your mom, what you appreciate them for.

Share writers that you love. Pieces of work that touch you. If you think they are 'too popular', 'too big' to care – this is so not true. I look at pages with thousands more fans than me, and I know that they enjoy compliments, too.

Song: The Way I am Artist: Ingrid Michaelson

Thursday, March 27, 2014



1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 Stick Melted Butter
3 Eggs
3 Mashed Bananas


Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter. In a separate bowl add cake mix, eggs and mashed bananas. Beat in melted butter and mix well. You can add 1 cup of walnuts if you like nuts in your bread. (My kids don’t, so I make 1 loaf with and 1 loaf without.) Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for about 45 minutes until cooked through.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

{life in pictures}

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


To all starry-eyed moms-to-be, take a good, long look at all those cute new baby clothes and matchy-matchy crib linens. Now, imagine everything covered in diarrhea.

You're welcome.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I’m trying to appreciate the busy-ness among us right now. But I have to agree with baby Ripley at times, “waaahhhh!” Sometimes I daydream of our carefree days, when we… went to the movie theatre every Sunday and took spur-of-the-moment vacations and went to endless happy hours and dined at chic restaurants and lounged in bed talking for hours upon wakening and enjoyed long meals with a bottle of wine and played uninterrupted board games and window shopped and slept a good 8 hours every night. I’m grateful that I had that time with my husband. A couple of years of just the two of us, doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to. It was important for us to have that then, so that we can be the best we can be to our children and each other now. Because some days, I look at my Petey with heavy eyes and think “I never even kissed you today.”

We willingly signed up for this. We expected it to be hard and tiresome and different from what we were accustomed to -- and so when it is, we just remind ourselves of that commitment. We never imagined how much parenting would open up our hearts. How much joy we would find EVERYDAY! in our cuddly little 7-week old, in our hilarious little 2 year old old, tender-hearted 12 year old, and our charming 14 year old. And we never anticipated how much more love we’d have for one another watching the other embrace our roles with the baby.

I share so much of the beauty of our family on this blog but it’s only fair to talk about the sacrifice and the stress and the hard work it requires. Children are amazing but they do change everything. Daily, we find ourselves learning to navigate this new life. We are finding ways to exist happily with its unexpected complexities, with the lack of individual and couple time, with the mess and the chaos…and couple it with the love and focus we feel for our family.

“We are doing important work” as a friend once told me. And none of it should be more important than the other -- raising our children, handling our responsibilities, taking time for ourselves individually, and nurturing our relationship. It’s a balancing act and one we don’t always feel like we are succeeding at -- but we continue to work at it, admit our defeats and our successes and move forward -- and really, that’s been our ticket to keeping it all afloat.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


My children are still young and require so much of me. Each day, they are growing. And alongside them, I am learning how to be a better mother. With every month that passes, they need me a little less and with that realization comes a little sadness.

One day, my children will be out in the world somewhere, perhaps even learning the same lessons I am now. And I will be missing these days, when I was the thing that they needed most. And in my heart I will be mourning for the challenging moments that I sometimes try to wish away now. I will long for a crying infant that needs to be shh-shh-shh’d late into the night, for the side-splitting laughter we endure with a 2-year old, even for the arguments we have with our teens.

I am trying to embrace the present all of the time… not just in times of happiness but even more so when I feel myself struggling.

These are the best days of my life. Here’s to not letting them pass me by.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Waterpik.

When the package arrived and I showed it to my 14year old son, who wears braces, he was so excited and could not wait to try it out! Who knew that a Water Flosser would make him so happy? The first thing I noticed when I unpacked it was how compact it is. This is great for people like us who are short on counter space. With three kids sharing one bathroom, the small counter doesn't give us room for much. The Water Flosser tucks nicely into the corner.

The most important area of your mouth to clean is in-between your teeth. This is the first place bacterial plaque will form, and it is also the hardest to keep clean. Most people are familiar with dental floss, but waterflossers like Waterpik actually clean better than floss. Many people, especially my family, find them easier and more enjoyable to use than floss too. 

Waterpik makes several types of waterflossers including some just for kids. Personally, I like the countertop Waterpik Aquarieous Pro Water Flosser (WP-660), since it holds a good amount of liquid and I feel like I have more control over the water pressure than the cordless Waterpiks. It's the easy and more effective way to floss and the most advanced water flosser ever.

When you pick up your brand new counterop Waterpik from the store, which I highly recommend you do, find a good spot on your bathroom counter where you can plug the unit safely, and follow the included directions to get it set up.  

Here are the step by step instructions I use to keep my teeth and gums healthy.

Fill the water reservoir to the maximum allowable level with warm water, so hopefully you don't have refill in the middle of cleaning. Warm water is going to be much more comfortable especially if you have sensitive teeth. The water in the line might be cold if it has been sitting out, so you might need to flush the line too. If your gums are inflammed the high pressure might feel like too much the first few times you use it, so find a comfortable level and gradually work your way up.

Waterpik Closed Mouth

To avoid splashing, clean while slightly closing your lips and letting the water run out of your mouth into the sink, or while keeping you mouth totally closed and pause to spit out the water from time to time.

Waterpik Guide

It doesn't matter if you start on the top or bottom teeth, but make sure you clean both the cheek/lip side of the teeth and the tongue side. I like to start in the back and work my way around each arch.

Waterpik Tip Angulation

Place the tip at a 90 Degree angle to your teeth. Pause for a few seconds between teeth before sweeping along the gumline to the next area. Having the Waterpik on high power will flush things out nicely.

*Also don't forget to change the attachments every few months.

That's really all there is to it!

To purchase yours, visit the Waterpik website and use code FREESHIPWP660 for free shipping on any Waterpik product purchased through the site. This promo code is good through March 31, 2014.

Please note that the opinions and views expressed in this review are my own and based on my personal experience with the product and/or company. You may encounter a different experience with this than I did. I received a product free of charge for review. This post may contain affiliate links.

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#waterpik AD

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Well Beginnings.

well beginnings logo
As as mom to an infant and 2 year old, I am always on diaper duty. Stretchy tabs are the first awesome thing I noticed about the Well Beginnings diapers from Walgreens. My toddler started wearing the diapers this past week and I have nothing but praise for them.

well beginnings diapers

It is amazing though how one brand can vary from another.  Its not that one diaper is necessarily better than the other, but they do seem to fit kids differently as well. Well Beginnings Diapers provide leakage protection for day or night time use. The cottony soft diaper has natural botanicals like vitamin E and aloe. It’s stretchy enough for a comfortable fit and can easily keep up with both of our busy babies!

Well Beginnings Baby Wipes are super soft and yet strong enough to get the job done. I like how they feel and they keep our baby fresh and clean! The easy to use pop up pack is also great for on the go families like ours.  I personally like that the Well Beginnings baby wipes are alcohol free and because there are added moisturizes they keep baby’s skin soft long after the diaper change!

well beginnings diaper

Overall, I am happy with the Well Beginnings diapers.  I had no issues with my 2 year old using them and he loves the elephant design. How convenient that I can swing into my local Walgreens when I'm low on diapers, and know I can trust the Well Beginnings brand, is remarkably helpful to a busy parent like myself.
You can find Well Beginnings diapers, wipes and other products for your baby inside your local Walgreens store. For more information about Walgreens Well Beginnings, visit the Walgreens Website and be sure to “Like” Walgreens on Facebook.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Well Beginnings.
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{life in pictures} ONE MONTH

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


We recently hosted a Sip & See party -- what better way to show off your new bundle of joy? Plus it’s a great excuse to get out of those sweats and bulky t-shirt for some much needed socialization with adults after many sleepless nights. Anyone can host a Sip and See party for you or you can have one yourself, which I prefer. If you choose to be the hostess just make sure that you add “no presents but your presence” to your invitation, which I failed to do.

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