Getting Back into Work Mode

The only word I can really use to describe my every day at the moment is “busy”. I feel like I have something I HAVE to do every single day…oh how I miss my summer already! Not that my summer was as relaxing as they used to be…lounging by the pool, sleeping in till 10 (at the earliest), trying new restaurants, seeing all the new movies, etc. etc. Nope, Caden changed all that didn’t he? BUT, this summer was much more substantial…every second truly counted because I was soaking up every bit of baby that I could. I am SO thankful I will always get every holiday & summer off to spend with my little one(s) (#teacherperk), but it also makes going back SO much harder. I get so spoiled during all that time off…Nate has to practically drag me to my car every Monday morning while I kick & scream the whole way.


Last day of summer on the lake!

Even though it is extremely tough going to work and it never gets easier…I am proud and happy to be a working mama. I love that Caden gets to hang out with his Nana or his Daddy on the days that I’m at work…not many kids get to spend as much time with those two important people in their lives…Caden has no idea how lucky he is, but one day he’ll appreciate it. I love that I set a good example for my son, showing him that I can work all day and still come and re-boot my energy so it’s all for him. I love that Nate and I can still have our “wants” that makes us happy like our TV show addictions, “fun” money, and frequently dining out.


“Daddy Day-Care”

Do I randomly feel tears well up in my eyes when I am driving to work? Yes, I do…especially those dreaded Mondays. But, I have 22 adoring faces smiling at me all day long…I get to take care of someone else’s babies while their mamas are missing them too. Someone has to do it right? Just like our pediatricians, hair stylists, first responders, doctors, reporters, etc. Everyone is missing someone when they’re at work. And what would we do without those mommies and daddies who left their littles too? I know I’m not the first person to have to leave my sweet baby for a few hours a day, and I don’t pretend that I am.

How lucky am I to have this perfect boy waiting for me every day? I know Caden can feel my love for him whether I’m sitting right next to him or we’re miles apart. I know that he can somehow tell how important he is to me. I love that the time we get together every night and weekend is even more purposeful and valuable to us. At the end of the day, when I get to come home and see that ear-to-ear smile…there’s nothing like it.


Fighting the Good Fight: Raising Kids on Faith

“That’s my brother. My Mom calls him Captain Crazy.” Oops. Guilty mom alert and pretty sure I didn’t mean for the oldest to repeat that. But sometimes it’s not just one kid that’s crazy, it’s all three…and therefore I am crazy too.  Every now and then it is truly insane around here. And by insane I mean the most unpredictable, unthinkable, and what-on-earth-are-we-doing kinds of days.

But we’re fighting a good fight here. A really, really good one. It’s a fight to raise men of faith with character, ambition, courage, and (one of my favs) a healthy sense of humor.

Have you ever just watched a little boy play? Maybe a three year old captivated in his own little world of dragons and swords (squirrels and sticks) with an uncontainable zeal for life and enough energy to run a marathon. Always on the move; jumping, spinning, and throwing himself on the ground. On multiple occasions I’ve questioned my children’s hearing because I literally must shout their names 3 times before they snap out of dragon world with a, “me?” Yes sweet child, you. I am trying so terribly hard to help you tame that wild little spirit.

It feels like a lost cause to correct every single thing that my children do in the course of a day. Why? Because it is a lost cause.  In my mind, constant correction doesn’t tame the spirit, it crushes it. I love, love, love the wild little side of my boys so in these young years! The day to day is tough (understatement of my life) but my husband and I try to focus our efforts on a few broad categories and expect to focus more on specifics as the boys get older (check back in about 7 years for that post). And before friends and family laugh at these, remember that I said we’re working on these; we certainly have not mastered them.

LISTENING: My sweet boys have the biggest and brownest eyes you have literally ever seen. 

Big eyes

I’ve learned that they have a certain stare that can be translated, “Mommy, I see your mouth moving but I’m not hearing any of your words.” My new approach is to make eye contact, give short and concise instructions, then have them repeat what I said. It works a solid 60% of the time. In my mind, listening and following through will be appreciated by future teachers, will get us closer to being out the door on time (I once heard myself say “put on your shoes” 12 times), and will certainly save my sanity.

RESPECT FOR STUFF: Literally everything falls into this category…toys, utensils, cups, papers, books, trees, flowers, chairs, shoes, floors, cars, etc… Little boys must touch everything…EVERYTHING!! I tell myself that it’s part of learning, which is true. However, breaking things is not ok. One of my pet peeves is things being ruined or broken just because “he breaks everything.” Don’t get me wrong here, my kids have broken, spilled, torn, and squished plenty of things but I try to stay a step ahead of them or at least use teachable moments to constantly encourage respect for ‘stuff.’

ADVENTURE: One look at kid entertainment and you’ll see superheroes, explorers, discoveries, and a whole host of action packed adventure. My sweet boys seem to be “adventurous” in quite scary ways; jumping off couches, scaling high furniture, climbing the door frames like monkeys, or sword fighting using any and every object that is remotely long or skinny. 

Standing on Couch

It is truly a case by case basis to figure out what we will and will not approve of for the boys. Some of their suggestions are an immediate ‘no.’ But other suggestions have me coming back to a couple of thoughts; we are raising men and men love adventure and adventure is ideally both fun and safe. Will they possibly get hurt? Yep. Will they possibly build confidence? Yep. Will I possibly regret this? Yep. Will I possibly be overcome with pride? Yep. Is parenting a whole host of difficult questions? Yep.

CAMARADERIE: I am not competitive; never have been, and never will be. But these boys? I can’t even count how many meltdowns per day we have over who is the ‘winner,’ the first, best, fastest, tallest, loudest (my middle child always win this one), and the list goes on. The only real loser of these conversations is me! So we started to focus on brotherhood, teamwork, camaraderie, and we made a shift to encouragement over competition. 


And let me tell you, it has been GLORIOUS. Good attitudes make winners and bad sports make losers. Talk about a good fight! Fingers crossed that this one pays off when high school sports begin.

Don’t misunderstand me here, we do a whole lot more parenting than these four things. But life with boys can quickly become a crazy house full of little minions that don’t listen, break everything they touch (which is going to be everything), run wild in dangerous ways, and allow natural competition to break one another down. We certainly don’t get it right every time but we’re trying and we’re fighting the good fights.

From the battlefield,

Mommy Pigg




Grab & Go Snacks

Caden LOVES food…all of it! There have been a few times I’ve had my camera ready, just knowing he would make a hilarious, disgusted face when I introduced him to whatever new food it was (peas, green beans, sour apricots), but…nothin’! He’s enjoyed everything we’ve tried so far…smacking his little hands on the high chair tray for more and opening wide like a baby bird! We have pretty much gotten through the puree phase and we’re moving toward more solid foods! Watching him start to feed himself is so much fun…proud mama bird here!


So even though we’re still a ways away from needing it yet, I wanted to create a list of (mostly) healthy, easy, on-the-go snacks that I can refer to when it’s time! I love the idea of having a basket in the pantry labeled “Caden’s Snacks” that we can easily grab from when we’re headed out (and eventually he choose from the snack basket himself too)!

Here’s a list of 30 “Grab-&-Go” Snacks for your little one…I hope you find it helpful!! Feel free to leave a comment and add to the list!! I would love to keep it going!

1. Cheese Sticks/String Cheese – cut into small pieces
2. Apple Chips (I love to eat the Snapz brand myself, yum!)
3. Veggie Chips/Straws
4. Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

15. Wheat Thins with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge
6. Yogurt Melts
7. Granola Bars (Kashi, Cliff Z-Bars, Larabars, Nutrigrain)
8. Dried Fruit, coconut & yogurt covered raisins
9. Whole Grain Goldfish & pretzel pieces
10. Cheerio Necklace (make the necklace together…fine motor skill practice!)
11. Beef Jerky
12. Rice Cakes
13. Egg Muffins

14. Nut Mix-Up (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, shelled pistachios, shelled sunflower seeds)
15. Puffs (I like the Happy Baby brand)
16. Baby Dill Pickles – low sodium
17. Hard Boiled Egg pieces
18. Granola Trail Mix (2 granola bars broken up, raisins, Craisins, pretzels, & marshmallows for fun)
19. Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks
20. Fruit/Veggie Pouches (Favorites: Happy Baby, Plum, Sprout, Ella’s, Peter Rabbit)
21. Bag of Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.)
22. Halo slices
23. Fig Newtons cut into pieces
24. Grapes & Cheese cubes (halved or quartered)
25. Applesauce Puffs (love this recipe!)

26. Popcorn (throw in a few M&Ms for fun)
27. Olives
28. Veggies (steamed carrots, peeled cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, zucchini sticks, bell pepper sticks – orange/red/yellow)
29. Cheese slices with pieces of deli meat (turkey, ham, or chicken)
30. Kid’s Favorites Fun Mix (favorite pantry snacks all mixed together – animal crackers, teddy grahams, goldfish, pretzels, fruit loops, chex, etc.)

Now, go snack away…I hope your littles enjoy being on the go as much as this guy! 🙂


5 Reasons My Kids Have an Amazing Dad

My husband Eric and I have two little girls, Kinley, 4, and Khloe, 3.  Since the moment our first daughter was born, I saw a change in my husband that I could have never anticipated. As the years have passed with our daughters, he has transformed into the most incredible father I could have imagined for our children.

Father’s Day is fast approaching and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge all the ways that he is forever impacting our daughters and their image of a truly great dad.

1. He fills our home and their little hearts with laughter and fun.


Laughter is the number one sound our household is bursting with.  During playtime, my husband is willing to be silly and crazy and the ladies think he is the funniest guy on Earth.

Eric teaches the girls knock-knock jokes and they practice them each night before bed.  They blow bubbles, draw silly pictures with sidewalk chalk, name bugs, pretend they are hunting for monsters, chase each other around the house, and build forts,  all while giggling and having fun.


2. He shows patience and kindness.

Any time one of the girls gets fussy or throws a tantrum, my husband exudes the patience of Job.  While I instantly want to jump in and I get frustrated, Eric stays calm, relaxed and discusses the situation with them in a way that deescalates their tantrum and solves whatever problem caused the fussiness.  He is truly the toddler whisperer.

He shows our children how to be kind to one another, not only by how he treats them and myself, but when they are arguing he steps in and mediates the situation and teaches them that they will both feel better if they can be kind.

3. He gives them his time and is there for them daily.


My husband is always there for our children.  It doesn’t matter what he is doing, if they ask him to play or they tell him they are hungry, he will drop what he’s doing in order to give them the attention they are craving.  I have seen him come home from work exhausted, and he still makes time to play and laugh with the girls.  He shows them each day that they are the most important aspect of his life, and that spending time with them is what he values.


Eric takes turns taking each girl on a daddy-daughter date each weekend.  They will go see a movie, grab ice cream, go to the pet store to look at animals, sit on the town square and listen to music, go to the library, or whatever else the girls can think of that they’d like to do with him.  This time is truly special to the girls, where they get his full attention, and in turn he has developed stronger relationships with each of them, and this aspect of their relationship has made them fall even more in love with their daddy.

4. He educates our children.

Our children are always asking questions.  ALWAYS.  Eric and I are both educators, and from day one my husband has turned each experience he has with the girls into learning experiences.

He teaches them that every good thing is from God, and shows them how incredible life can be.

He shares music with them by playing guitar and singing with them, or turning on music so they can all let loose and dance.

He teaches them how to be kind to animals, and which animals are nice to look at but not touch.  Eric has investigated the wonders of insects with them by catching bugs, holding them, feeding them and discussing how they contribute to the world around us.



He reads books and teaches them lessons and morals through stories he tells.

He has them eat different foods and has taught them how to get creative with food and make cooking fun,

5. The most important factor of a good dad – HE SHOWS THEM LOVE.


My children are growing up understanding exactly what love is, and what true love looks like.  Eric shows the girls how a man is supposed to treat a woman through his relationship with me.  He shows the girls how a man should treat them by his interactions with them.

He hugs and snuggles with them each day and tells them how much he loves them. I’m not sure they will ever understand the depth of his love for them, but I think they have a good grasp on it even as toddlers.


Each day I find myself falling more and more in love with my husband as I watch him raise our children with me.  I know that I am truly blessed to have married a man with such a big heart, and I am so pleased with the way he is with our daughters.

I know that having such a great father will mold them into great women, and I can’t wait to watch all the new adventures they will have with him as they grow older.




Do you also have someone in your life that’s an amazing dad? What are some other qualities you see that make a father truly great?

The Best Daddys Make the Best Grampys

Growing up, I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl. Mom and I would butt heads and I would run to my dad, bat my eyelashes, and get what I wanted. Every. Time. This could be because my dad wasn’t around a whole lot. He worked long hours and when he came home he was usually too tired to play; however, his opinion was the one that mattered the most to me. He was the one I always wanted to impress and never disappoint. We always shared a very special bond and I would NEVER have it any other way.


My dad is a quiet soul. He observes a lot and doesn’t talk much. When we were younger, many of my friends would make it a challenge to get him to talk more; however, over the last several months I’ve seen a huge change in him. He’s developed a deeper relationship with Christ, doesn’t work nearly as much as he used to, is more present than ever before, and has never smiled so much or so big in all my 31 years! He has been the most amazing Grandpa Geoff to Malcolm and Addison and the best Grampy to Bruce.


Before Bruce was born, my dad wrote him a letter that I want to share with y’all. I was given this letter at our shower only 2 weeks before Bruce made his surprise appearance. I refused to read it in front of our guests, because I knew it would make me ugly cry! My dad has always had a way with written words, but this letter took my admiration for him to a whole ‘nother level. This letter encompasses who my dad is and why we are so very blessed to call him ours!

“Hey there grandson, Bruce Geoffrey, this is your Grampy here, counting the days until your arrival. Not quite six weeks more until we get to see you in person, to hold you, to love on you, and to welcome you into this world. I’ll be there when you open your eyes, the gray haired one… Your Grandma and I are so excited in anticipation of your arrival. We talk about you everyday!

I have a couple of areas where I can provide you guidance as I am a very seasoned veteran of this world and have had my share of life experiences.

1. Always follow the rules, even the little one as they are typically there for a good reason. You might not always agree with them, but rest assured that someone before you has already chosen not to follow them and suffered the consequences.  When you follow the rules, life usually works out okay…

2. Choices you make will create your successes as well as your failures.  The point being is that you need to consider the territory ahead and decide which pathway to follow.

3. Follow your conscience in determining what is right from wrong.  You may not understand now, but you will quickly learn to be mindful of your inner voice.

4. Be advised that if a situation arises where your Mother calls you by your first and middle names, that you have probably done something wrong and will be held accountable.

5. Seek the advice of your parents and grandparents, too. They have been around a lot longer than you have and are more than willing to share their journeys. Whether you believe it or not, they ARE smarter than you for many, many years to come.

6. Pay attention to what is going on around you and in your heart to create opportunities for good things to happen in your life.

7. Respect your parents as they love you and only want what is best for you.

8. Remember, Grandson, that Grandma and Grampy with always LOVE YOU too, because that’s what grandparents are made to do, just as your parents will.  We will always love you unconditionally, through the good times and the, let’s just say, the more challenging times.

There is no doubt in my mind that you will have the opportunity to teach me a thing or two as well.

One last thing for now little fella, I want to thank the Good Lord for blessing us with the opportunity to do one of the most fun jobs in life’s mature years; being a grandparent. I can’t wait to meet you, hold you in my arms, and rock you!”


Crying ALL the tears… How did we get so lucky?! This year on Father’s Day, I can not wait to celebrate the man who has been the BEST Daddy to me and has become the BEST Grampy to my son! I love you all the way to my back, DADDY!


Dining Out Just Isn’t The Same

Do you find yourself *secretly* wishing that eating at a restaurant could be as peaceful and relaxing as it used to be? Going out to eat just isn’t the same with baby in tow! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE showing off my handsome boy and I LOVE that my friends still invite us to dinner cause they want to see me him! But, those nice, “take your time” meals at a restaurant are few and far between.

dining out with kids


Last night, I met my girl Chelsea at Chuy’s for dinner (creamy jalapeño, please!). It was nice to catch up and do some girl talk…that is, in between Caden’s happy baby pterodactyl screeches. Our dinner went a little something like this:

Step 1: Get all of our shit out of the car. Without Nate around, Chelsea offered to help…I’m sure I would have thrown some stuff her way even if she hadn’t offered! Diaper bag, check! Caden’s lunchbox, check! High-chair cover, check! Toys for distraction, check!

Step 2: Realize there is a long wait…that’s okay, we both want salads so we can sit in the bar area! GET ME A MARTINI, STAT! 🙂

Step 3: Ask for high chair…”you’re out of high chairs?!?!” Waitress brings a booster instead, with NO BUCKLE…for my 6 month old. He may have rolled his way out of that thing and landed on his tummy in the booth while I was taking a sip of my Texas Martini. #momfail

Step 4: Now I can have a conversation with my friend, in an adult voice, while stuffing pureed veggies into my little piggie’s face! Today is summer squash & sweet potato with carrots & applesauce. He downed it!

Step 5: Ok, Caden is out of food…let’s finish eating, QUICK! Distract Caden with toys. When I’m out of that “ammo”, I put some ice cubes on the table for him to push around.

Step 6: Caden needs a diaper change…I have to pee too, but I’m pretty sure I can hold it till we get home (sorry not sorry, bladder). Throw everything in the wet bag and get out!

Step 7: Gather everything back up and Chelsea escorts us to the car. Give hugs and kisses bye! Chels says, “Let’s do this again soon” and I think “Absolutely”, and I mean it.

Auntie Chelsea's first time holding Caden

Auntie Chelsea’s first time holding Caden

Going out to eat may be a totally different (and faster) experience, it may require extra “prep” and it may be a total pain in the ass at times, but it is still SO much fun! I love every experience and every stage I get to walk Caden through, and we are very lucky that he really is a laid-back little guy. I’m grateful that my friends, his “aunties”, love us so much that they will join us for dinner, even though they know that Caden will probably sneeze his carrots on them! We have quite a bit of time before he learns some real table manners, but until then we’re just goin’ with it! Cheers!