An Angel Tea Party

Up until last month the hardest parenting tasks I have had to deal with were potty training and breastfeeding, but explaining death to a 4 year old is on a whole new level.  I joked that potty training was the Lord Voldemort of parenting, but death is exactly as you would picture it; The Grim Reaper that puts a shadow over your child’s innocent and naive, little life.


Last month my husband and his family said goodbye to an absolutely amazing, selfless woman, his grandmother; Margaret. She was and still is the glue that holds the family together and my heart breaks when I think we will never hear her sweet voice or play cards with her again.  She welcomed me into her large family over 8 years ago as if I were her granddaughter my entire life.  Sass loved visiting her great grandma; Grammy Miller and associated cookies and flowers with her house whenever we talked about visiting.  Baked goods and flowers were pretty much Margaret’s mantra.

The night Margaret passed away, I laid with sass in her bed and explained to her that Grammy Miller had died and was her angel now.  She looked at me very confused through teary eyes and asked if we could go see her tomorrow.  In the past we had taken flowers to my grandfather’s grave, and most recently I had taken the bouquet from my sister’s wedding so it gave me an opportunity to connect the dots for her.  I had no idea how much empathy and compassion my sassy, little lady had in her tiny body but I soon learned.  Kessler

She proceeded to ask me if Grammy would be buried and if we could take her flowers, then very quietly asked me if I missed my grandpa.  Through tears and a cracking voice I told her I missed him very, very much and that we could take flowers to Grammy Miller whenever she missed her.  Over the next few days she continued to ask questions and seemed genuinely concerned that Grammy Miller would get dirt on her face and in her hair if she were buried in the ground.  Throughout the wake and funeral, our brave little girl marched up and back from the casket a couple dozen times.  She told her great grandmother how much she loved her and how pretty she looked over and over again. In all of the heartache, it was the light my husband needed.  I was so proud of her.

Flash forward a few weeks and our sweet girl asked me if we could go have a tea party with Grammy Miller.  Up until now, she had not mentioned much more of death and didn’t bring up her great grandma since the funeral.  I explained again that Grammy had died and was now her angel.  Sass continued in a snarky, little attitude that she knew and wanted to go have a tea party at her big rock with her name on it.  I couldn’t help but chuckle and wrap my arms around her.  Just like I promised that we could go see Grammy Miller any time she missed her; we got ice cream and went and sat with Grammy Miller for a tea party in the 90 degree heat that afternoon.  If it were 20 below zero, I think my heart would have still melted that afternoon at how sweet and grown up she is becoming.

tea party


Take Care of You


I pride myself in being a very open individual, it must be because I am a mother.  All modesty goes out the door when someone is shining a light on your downstairs waiting for you to push out a human being.  I go to the bathroom with the door open and walk in front of windows in my underwear.  Although, there is one thing I have not shared with many, I am not sure why.  Maybe I felt ashamed, maybe I just felt like by navigating through it alone I could get through it.  As always, I want to relate to other parents.  So here goes nothin.  I have postpartum anxiety and depression.  I had it after sass was born, and was also diagnosed again after our little man was born.

I tried to tiptoe around it this time.  Doing all of the “right” things.  I went on an incredibly low dose of anxiety medication to try to avoid, what was ultimately the inevitable.  I was determined to continue my breastfeeding journey longer than I had with our daughter.  I took time off work and slowly increased my hours as to not get overwhelmed with life as a mother of two and a hectic sales environment, but to my dismay at around 4 or 5 months postpartum the all too familiar feelings came back.  I never had feelings of hatred or harm towards either my children or myself, I just felt lost.  I had a constant worry over the uncontrollable which ultimately lead to a spiral into a depression.   I don’t want pity.  Please don’t look down on me as I try to help others up.  I am not broken.

On average, 15% of women are diagnosed with a postpartum illness.  That is just those that are diagnosed, there are far more who go without a diagnosis.  I always tell myself, if I were diagnosed with diabetes or an infection of some sort, I would not go untreated. The same goes for a postpartum illness as well.  There was no prevention for me, as I had hoped and tried so desperately to plan.  Our son slept great as a newborn (not so much now), I had all the help in the world from my amazing husband.  I truly had everything, but I just felt like I was navigating through a fog.  Every day was a struggle to not cry or snap at someone.  The once healthy and active lifestyle I loved so much just seemed too daunting to continue.

So here I am, exposed.  I am fine.  I am okay.  I am doing great.  There are some days where I still fall into a discouraging slump.  I worry about anything and everything and then internalize it and it just all snowballs.  Other times I will go days, even weeks without even noticing.  It will be an ongoing battle for a little while I am sure, but I am proud.  I am a proud wife.  I am a proud mother.  I am a proud daughter, sister, friend.  I am happy and ya know what, it does get better.  Always remember to take care of you and know that you are not alone.

How to be a Hot Mess

Now that I am a seasoned mother of two, I can assure you I qualify as a “hot mess”.  I thought chasing after one child was a handful, sprinkle in a second and wooooweeee have we got ourselves a hot mess over here.

Step 1: Be a mother. The end.  Just kidding…kind of.  Being a mom totally qualifies you as a hot mess.  Most of the time I look at the clock and can’t figure out where my entire day has gone.  Granted I work part time and chase two kids, but being a mother seriously is messy.  I took the kids to the park a couple days ago.  Chasing after two kids at the park is like herding cats into a bathtub of water.  (Note: I have never herded cats or tried to give them baths, but I assume it is a shit show) The baby somehow got sunscreen in his eyes even though I slathered his little, glow in the dark, white body with it before we even left for the park.  He must have been sitting in his car seat licking his arms and then smearing the slobbery, sunscreeny mess all over his face.  I spent a good portion of the 90 minutes we were at the park wiping snot and tears off of his face and convincing people he wasn’t a leper, just all irritated from his sunscreen.   Sass refused to get out of the sandbox, so she had that dirty park sand caked in random places that will only become clean once I run her through the car wash.  When it was time to leave she had the most dramatic reaction because she wasted 87/90 minutes parked in the sandbox instead of running off her energy like I had hoped.  All I got from the park visit was snot in my hair, gross sand all over my car, and pit stains on my tee shirt from chasing after the baby who kept trying to climb up the slides.  Hot mess.

Step 2: Pepper in some pets.  We have two pugs.  One was a package deal with me when I met my hunk of a hub, the other we obtained after we got married.  I love our pugs, but they stink and don’t listen and get dog hair all over my house.  They run out the front door and garage every chance they get.  The older one doesn’t venture far because she knows she has to come back, but they can be almost as exhausting as the kids.  Trying to get the baby to sleep an extended period of time is torture for me.  (I am typing this furiously fast as he naps). Anyways, pugs.  The pugs have a vendetta for me.  They bark at anything and everything.  The older one is senile, I think.  She is pushing 10,  she even barks at the air conditioner when it turns on, but the younger one barks at cartoon animals on the television and NatGeo so any type of animal show is out of the question. Sorry Paw Patrol and Secret Life of Pets, you’re out.  So afternoon naps are hard to come by, especially when someone knocks on the door and the dogs lose their minds and wake the baby.  Frickin pugs.

Step 3: Lack of sleep.  My son sucks at sleeping.  As previous noted, extended sleep is hard to come by.  I rock a pretty constant purple/blue bag under each of my eyes and can almost always be found with a cup of cold coffee in hand. I have gone so long drinking cold coffee because I let my hot cup sit for too long, that I can’t even tolerate hot coffee anymore.  Even my coffee is a hot (cold) mess.  I fall asleep at the most inopportune times; during movies, during shows, while putting the kids to bed, rocking the baby in the rocking chair….I consider two wake ups a night from him a “good night” and I have a hard time sleeping more than 6 hours because I am so used to a lack of sleep that I feel hungover the next day if I sleep for more.  Sleep, I miss you.

Step 4: Work from home.  As I type this, I am still in my pajamas at 1pm.  Granted I ate two meals  today and brushed my teeth after lunch, but most days I look pretty similar to what I did when my husband left for work at 6am, starving and can’t remember if I brushed my teeth or when I last took a shower.  Anyways, I can answer the phone and emails and nobody knows I have bedhead and coffee breath.  It’s great but I look like a college student and/or Frank Gallagher from Shameless most days.  Hot mess.

Step 5: Be late to every social function you attend.  We are late, to almost everything. Always.  Sass can’t find her shoes, the baby takes a big steamer as we are walking out the door, I forgot my wallet, I can’t find my shoes, where are the baby wipes, we need snacks, forgot the blankie, need the iPad for an extended drive.  We have to tell ourselves that something starts 15 minutes prior to the actual start time just so we can get out the door on time.  Going places as a family is a hot mess.

Step 6: Messy House I have given up on cleaning up.  Honestly this was a good move on my part because it has made me much less neurotic during the day.  I try to do the dishes and clean up toys after dinner right before bath time instead of throughout the day.  It was like chasing a tornado.  The mess just moved from room to room.  It was exhausting.  I do a swift cleanup before G man gets home from work, but often times he is stepping over cars and ponies in the kitchen.  I found a toy sheep in the crock pot and a teething ring in the pots and pans yesterday.  I am not sure if I put those there or one of the kids.

Steps 7-10: Forget.  I forget what I was going to write for these steps.

Here’s to you hot mess of a mommy, cheers!

Note: most likely typos and grammatical errors as I can’t seem to find my reading glasses so I feel blind.  mess

Thank you, my love

Who knew parenting 2 kids and keeping up with a blog was so tough? Oye ves! I was looking back and just realized it is has been forever since I posted again.  I blame my sleep deprived state that I am in most days.  Thank God for my hot roommate who helps out when he isn’t slaying the aerospace industry with his in-geniuses.

So here is to my baby daddy.  Thank you for driving an hour one way to work every day so I can tell people my husband works for NASA.  Thank you for working so hard day in and day out so I can hang with our tiny savages and peddle ATMs on the side.  Thank you for picking up Chipotle when I am too lazy to cook dinner because I spent my day arguing with our 4 year old sassy dictator.  Thank you for filling my water bottle 100+ times a day while I am trapped under our mama lovin little man.

Thank you for looking the other way when I spend too much money at Target, again… Thank you for supporting my breastfeeding journey with both of our kids.  When I decided to stop at 8 weeks with sass and when I decided that our son will wean when he is ready.  Thank you for supporting me in EVERYTHING I do.  Whether that everything is trying to eat better, trying to eat Paleo, weightlifting, running, yoga, making homemade Kombucha tea, making homemade jam, planting our own veggie garden, building our mini farm….  Thank you.

Thank you for loving me when I was 8 weeks pregnant and sicker than a dog.  Thank you for loving me when I was 9 months pregnant and miserable.  Thank you for loving me 8 and a half years ago when we met.  Thank you for loving me now.  Every day.  Even though I am covered in stretch marks and my boobs feel like they sag down to my hips. Even though I struggle with anxiety day in and day out.  Thank you for loving me.  Every day. Even when my hair hasn’t been washed in 4 days, I am in shambles, and I have bags under my eyes and am crying because our kids drive me nuts but good God do I love them so much.  Thank you.  I love YOU so much for loving me. Jana-66

Beautiful Girl

I like to think that I am a strong woman.  I like to think that I am instilling those traits in our daughter.  We tell her she is strong, kind, intelligent and beautiful, nearly every day.  We try to work with her to see how she can overcome obstacles and get past frustrations.  She is a strong willed child.  What is that part in the Moana song?  “You are your father’s daughter, stubbornness and pride…”  That is sass in a sentence.  She is growing and changing so much every day.  She is noticing that people are different, and like every 4 year old she states those differences very bluntly.

Wednesday evening while I was getting her ready for bed, she stood in her little undies and smacked the sides of her thighs.  I asked what in the world she was doing.  Her response was “Mommy, I am getting fat, I need to stretch and do workouts more.”  My heart broke.  It sank down into the pit of my stomach.  I nearly welled up with tears as I pulled her close to me and told her “No, you are not fat.  You are beautiful.  You are smart. You are brave.  Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the little girl that you are.  You have become such a great big sister and you are our favorite girl in the entire world.” She smiled but still seemed displeased with my response.

I wrapped my arms around her and asked her to look at her hands.  She did.  I said “Now look at mommy’s hands.”  She did.  I asked her what was different about them.  “Well mommy, your hands are big and mine are tiny.”  I then asked her about the other differences we have in our family.  “Mommy you are short and daddy is big.  Daddy is bald and Harrison has baby hair and I have long hair like Rapunzel.”  I kissed her on the head and told her she was right.  The next statement I said, I was hoping I would never have to have with our daughter.  Let alone at the age of 4.

“Honey, you are beautiful, you are not fat.  Fat is a bad word, we don’t say that word in our house.  Everyone is different.  Some people are tall, some are short.  Some are big, some are little.  Some people have blonde hair, like you, some have red hair, like Harrison.  Some people have blue eyes, some have brown.  Some people have different colors of skin, and guess what?”  She looked at me and smiled, “What mommy?”

I said “It is beautiful.  Everyone is different and it is beautiful.”  She seemed pleased with that response.  She repeated everything I told her back to me and assured me that we wouldn’t say the word “fat” anymore because it was bad.  Now if we could all remember that when thinking of ourselves and others.  Everyone is beautiful.  Everyone is different. That it is perfectly okay, too.  Mommies and Daddies.  Brothers and Sisters. Grandmas and Grandpas. Aunts and Uncles.  Please remember that our littles are sponges, they absorb everything they hear.  Some of the words are hurtful and can have a big impact on their little minds.


Welcome Back!

Hello everyone! It has been quite some time.  A little over a year, actually.  We became a family of four.  We have been finding time to adjust to all the changes of having two kids, basically it is an even playing field these days.  Two vs Two.  Bed time is typically a shit show, but I digress.  We welcomed our handsome, little man on May 19, 2016.  He is a joy and we are so blessed to have him in our lives.  Sass has adjusted I guess as well as any 4 year old can to having a brother.  We go through trials, we have ups, and downs, but seeing the two of them starting to play together (and fight) brings me so much happiness. It is why we had two.  Welcome back, and I look forward to sharing more chaotic stories in my life as a momma to two beautiful, little poop bandits.  CI6A7592.jpg

Shit Sass Says

Everyone always says “kids say the darndest things” and maybe I am biased, but sass says the most hilarious shit these days.  She has an opinion and a theory on EVERYTHING.  I was starting to get worried she maybe didn’t get my sense of humor gene but I think she just took some time to start expressing herself because she is HILARIOUS now.  Here is a run down of a few of the hilarious things she has said the past few weeks.

Eating cookies with my dad at the kitchen table she was nagging him to go play with her. My dad calmly replied “let me finish my cookie and we can go play.” Very seriously she looked at him and went “Pop you get a belly ache and poop if you eat cookies, come on!”

On the same belly ache story line, she had a little bit of a belly ache a few weeks ago.  I have apparently told her not to drink the bath water a couple 100+ times because she looked at me real serious, slightly in pain from her belly ache and replied “I drink the water in the bath, I have a belly ache and poop mommy.”  (I monitor her baths very closely, she never drinks the water anymore so I know it must have just been a little bug or something not agreeing with her) At least I know it’s not going in one ear and out the other!

A few weeks ago we took her to see her great grandparents and as we were walking in she screamed “ohhh mommy old people live here!!!!!”  I replied “It’s Grammy and Papa’s house, that’s not nice to say.”  And that was that!

I made the mistake of teaching her the “damn daniel” trend… It was really very hilarious and caused me to nearly pass out from laughing too hard.  Then she started running around the whole night screaming “DAAAAAMNNNN Oliver!” at our one pug.  I had to come up with a new catchy saying so we went with “woahhhhhh zo!” so she screams that at the other pug now.  Whewwww dodged a bullet with that one.

The first few weeks that we could feel baby brother kick around in my belly I made sure she got to put her hand on my belly to feel.  I just thought it would be the coolest thing for her to feel.  More often than not she was totally irritated that I made her take time out of her busy schedule to put her hand on my stomach, but a lot of times she was more or less just very curious about “what he doning in there???”  I explained he is growing and wiggling and kicking around.  Ever so seriously and completely disgusted with me she replied “Mommy he no kick a soccer ball!!! He a baby and too little!!!!” Obviously…what was I thinking?

We have a nightly routine before bed time, Sass gets a bath, she has a snack, has quiet time and watches a show or two on the couch then is in bed between 7 and 730.  Last night she did her nightly thing then said goodnight to her daddy and then she has to get really close to my belly and scream “NIGHT BABY BROTHER!!!”  (The poor kid will most likely stay in forever due to this activity, he is probably scared shitless of the chaos outside). After the 2 minutes of up close screaming at my belly, she stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me and went “Mommy when he come out?? He take EVERRRR!” (I assume she meant forever) I replied “Soon baby, he will be here soon.  He has to get a little bigger and stronger then he will be here.”  She seemed satisfied with that explanation then gave me a look of confusion and asked “Mommy how he get out of there???”  (I have been dreading this conversation all of my pregnancy and honestly was surprised we made it 7 months without any questions asked).  I said “Well he knows how to get out, he finds a way like all babies do.” She also seemed accepting of that explanation then I saw a light bulb go off . “MOMMY YOU HAVE A ZIPPER!!!!! Let me see your zipper!!!!!”  (She also says zipper like “zippa” as if she is British so it made the moment even more hilarious)

I can’t wait for all of the funny questions and statements that will soon come when baby brother actually does arrive and she realizes her downstairs is different than his! These past few months with her I will cherish so much and laugh for years to come at all of the funny things she has said, but nothing will compare to seeing her with her new baby brother in a few weeks and the fun conversations we get to have as she gets older!!

Here is sass with her post-gymnastics donut this past weekend!

ella march 2016

A Letter to My Daughter

I remember the moment I found out we were expecting you.  I was so overjoyed and wanted to shout it from the top of my lungs.  The months went by and soon I began to feel your little flutters, which then became big kicks.  I remember sitting in your nursery dreaming of what you would look like and who you would take after more, me or daddy. The moment they placed you in my arms, I fell in love all over again with daddy.  Daddy helped give me you and you gave me the name mommy.  The greatest job I have ever had.

You have grown so fast and some times I feel like life spirals around me so quickly.  You are 3 years old right now and the worst of your troubles is when your sock doesn’t sit right on your toes or when your play-doh snake breaks.  You look at the entire world with such inquisition and want to explore and learn so much.  You are as much of a little princess as you are a little grease monkey with daddy in the basement, passing him his different tools in your little hands with your ever so perfectly polished finger nails while sporting your frilly princess gowns.

You will never be this little again.  You change every day and it amazes me over and over again.  I worry I will forget the little things some days and it breaks my heart so much. Like the way your hair smells in the mornings when you curl up on my lap (in case you were wondering it smells like love) or the way you sometimes have a British accent when you pronounce things like “water” or “daddy” because you have watched your fair share of Peppa Pig.  I love when you get close to mommy’s belly and shout “hewwo baby brother, I wuv you.”  I love to hear you sing silly songs, forgetting some words and adding in others where they don’t belong, but it will always be my favorite version of the song.

I love that you still want me to hold you and pick you up.  I love that sometimes late at night or early in the morning you sneak into bed with mommy and daddy because “you miss me mommy?”  My favorite thing in the world is to cuddle you at night when you sleep, so quiet and peaceful.  There will come a day, when it will be the last time I hear your little feet come running down the hallway to climb in bed with us, but I hope it isn’t any time soon.  I love that when I kiss you and tell you I love you over and over again, you ever so calmly tell me “that’s enough” because at times I can be a bit overbearing.  I think I tell you 100 times a day how much I love you, because little girl, I do love you ever so much.  I love that I joke with daddy that you will never leave and go off to school and be a grownup, even though I know you will and that’s okay.  You will still be my little girl.

I love dreaming of all the amazing things you will do in your life and what your little hands will do some day.  Will you grow up to be a doctor, engineer, teacher, writer?  And no matter what you want to do, I just want you to be happy.  Daddy and I always say we never knew happiness until you.  You made mommy and daddy who we are today.  We can’t wait to see you grow and be the greatest big sister in the world soon to your baby brother.  We have never been so proud.  You will forever be our little girl and we thank you for making us into better people and for making us want to make the world a better place for you.

We love you so much more than to the moon and back again.




Photo Credit: Candystick Photography

A Beautiful World

ella dec 2015.2I was having a conversation this morning with a friend on how thankfully, the chaos of the terrible (cough I mean TERRIFIC) twos really does subside.  Sass is currently 3 and a half and I LOVE this age.  Granted we still fight with each other about silly stuff on the regular.  Last night my roomie was amazed that I wouldn’t just give up my seat for her to sit in.  I turned full on crazy, preggo and demanded sass share or sit in her own GD chair.  I am the boss, damnit.  You win some you lose some.  In early pregnancy when I was SO sick (I am sure you recall my ever melodramatic post about how I literally felt like the baby was sucking the life from me)…Anyways, I caved and let sass have more popsicles than I could count in one day.  It got me thinking that there really is no “cookie cutter” way to go through parenting (really no matter how many books you read, shit is crazy as a parent). Too bad we can’t look at the world and other people the way a 3 year old does, simply beautifully.  My lesson of the day is we should never look down on someone else because they don’t do things the way you would.  Unless that person is wearing crocs.  Don’t wear crocs unless you are under 7…or over 50. Thank you.

I read a post last week about how us mommies can be our own biggest judges.  I am so guilty of this.  I always wonder if we are raising our daughter the right way.  If I should limit her screen time more.  Force more veggies in her mouth.  I see people without children (or who have grown children) that judge us parentals all the time.  My favorite is “when I have kids my child will never act like that”.  Well I used to be that type of person and I will tell you now that that’s bullshit.  Granted I am the oldest of a whole litter of kids, so I have been around toddler temper tantrums and the smart ass tween stages, so I had some idea of what to expect, but you never really know until they are your own.  Some stages can be royally embarrassing and others utterly miserable.

Going out to eat with sass used to be torture.  It was more stressful for me than enjoyable. She is finally a civilized being and will sit with you at the table, but she used to be like a farm animal and climb on the table, fling food, and squeal.  It was torture for us.  We believe in discipline with her, but we don’t run a military training camp.  She is a little girl, she is still growing and learning.  She is sat down and talked to and now knows when she does something wrong and that we don’t act certain ways, but until kids are about 2 1/2 or 3 they really don’t have a damn clue what you are trying to explain to them.  So if you see me dragging my kid on her belly behind our shopping cart at the grocery store…in true Elsa fashion….let it go.  Turn the other way, chances are I wouldn’t let her slam a bag of M&Ms or throw a pepper through the produce section.  It is much easier to just carry on than fuel the tiny, blazing fire of a temper tantrum.

Like I said, I am totally enjoying the hilarious 3 year old stage we are going through.  Sass is so honest, literal, and 99% of the time incredibly blunt that I find myself having a hard time even explaining things to her.  She brought home a painting from school that appeared to be a bowl of blueberries.  I asked her about it and she replied with “No mommy, that is brown paper and blue paint”.  Totally disgusted with me and incredibly literal.

We have encountered a couple really awkward situations in public over the past few months as well.  Unfortunately more than once while shopping at our ever so favorite store, the red ball store (aka Target) sass saw a couple little women wearing bonnets in the dollar section. Immediately “baaaa-ed” at them and screamed “It’s BO PEEP MOMMY!!” Now how in the hell do you explain to a 3 year old that in certain religions and in certain lifestyles women wear bonnets?  You don’t.  You move on and bribe them with a toy just so they close their mouths.  “Hey look there’s an Elsa toy that you don’t have yet.”

Last week we were on our way home from the doctor’s office and the baby belly decided it really wanted a blizzard from DQ.  We stopped and got some ice cream and from the backseat sass is screaming “MOMMY WHO IS THAT LITTLE BOY WITH MY ICE CREAM CONE?”  No no, there was not a little boy serving us her ice cream in the drive thru.  It was a shorter woman with a very cropped, pixie type haircut.  I just ignored her and proceeded to distribute our ice cream.  We live in a world where you have to basically tiptoe around to try and not offend someone these days, I really didn’t want to cross that bridge with my 3 year old just let.  I will just let her live in her little world while she can, because the world through her eyes is so beautiful.


(The pic of sass is at DisneyWorld two weeks ago.  Sometimes you just have to let your 3 year old play in the splash pad and buy her new, dry clothes, because it made her SO HAPPY and that was totally worth it to me)