Sometimes I need a good, swift kick in the…

Butt… I was going to say butt.

I have been feeling especially overwhelmed for some time now, but this feeling of “overwhelm” has come into glaring focus as of late. I am always feeling like I am two steps behind and struggling far more often than I am functioning.


What I realized today after having yet another mini meltdown [with witnesses] is this: I am looking at things all wrong…

I have PILES of laundry.

I have laundry that needs sorting; laundry that needs washing; laundry that needs drying; laundry that needs folding, and laundry that needs to be put away AND those piles mean that we have clean clothes to put on our bodies. Seriously, how lucky are we?!!!!!!  To see those piles as anything other than a blessing is shameful.

My house is strewn with toys.

This one really makes me want to kick my own ass butt. I HAVE KIDS!!!! TWO OF THEM!!! I didn’t think I was going to have kids. Enough said.

I have a graduate assignment due on Wednesday and I don’t even have my text books yet. 

I live in a country that doesn’t in any way restrict  or limit my access to education, and beyond that, I live in a country that will give me a loan so that I CAN pursue an advanced degree! I’m a lucky duck.

I have to go grocery shopping tomorrow.

Oh my. How unfortunate for me [please use a highly sarcastic tone while reading that]. Tomorrow I am going to drive my healthy self to a store to buy fruits and vegetables and all sorts of [mostly] nourishing foods for my family. For goodness sakes, there are people who don’t have clean water to drink!! [Self talk: “Self, you are a dumbass.”]

I need to clean house. 

I have a house… I have a home. Within that home I have a family. It’s not huge, it’s not perfect, but it is MORE than enough.

The grass needs to be cut. 

I have a yard…  beyond that, I am healthy and I can run and jump and play out there with my family (daily if I choose). It need not be said, but I am going to say it again: how lucky am I?

I am surrounded by blessings and opportunity. I have everything I need and MORE! Sometimes, like most of us, I need a good swift kick in the…

butt. I was going to say butt.

Today I kicked my own, and told myself this: burdens only exist when you fail to appreciate the gifts.


I wasn’t going to skip pages…


Incredible highs









Before becoming “Mom” to my little Mr. and Miss, my pre-kid brain held thousands of “when I’m a mom…” ideals.

Just to name a few:

I was going to breast feed for one year. No more. No less.

I was NEVER going to yell… Curse? [GASP] Not me!!!!!

I would implement time-outs “by the book” and I would NOT give in. Mom is boss.

I would never, ever, ever skip pages of bedtime stories.

I would never ignore my child – I would listen whole-heartedly to every word spoken.

I would never be annoyed by them. Never.

Their father and I would never argue in front of them.

I would be a great mom!!!

Notice any trends? Yup – a whole lot of “I will never(s)”…

Truth be told:

I breast fed Rex for 10 weeks, gave up and bought formula. I nursed Sydney for 15 months and feared I would have to pump throughout her elementary years.

I yell… a lot… Sometimes I swear. It’s not easy to admit that.

Rex got time-outs in a consistent, systematic fashion… for awhile… Now I hardly follow through with them for either kid.

Bedtime stories? Every night :)… aaaaaand almost every night, I skip at least a few pages.

Sometimes I am convinced that if I hear the same question repeated ONE.MORE.TIME my head is going to spin and fall right off. It hasn’t yet, but I’m still not convinced that it won’t. I don’t “ignore” them per se, but sometimes I tune them out… that’s probably why my head hasn’t fallen off yet. Annoyed? Yeah, that happens a lot. I’m not proud of it.

Their Dad and I have arguments. You know why? Because marriage is hard and parenting is hard. Parenting+marriage sometimes seems impossible…

But, despite my failures, I do think I’m a good mom.

Let me explain…

I fed my babies when they needed to be fed. It didn’t matter whether it was formula or breast milk. They were nourished and they thrived.

I don’t yell all the time. Most of the time I speak calmly and quietly. When I do yell, I apologize. I take their little faces in my hands and I say, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled. I love you.” Thankfully, their little hearts are very forgiving.

I am trying my best to be consistent because I know they need and want boundaries. It’s a work in progress. I’m not above admitting that.

I read to them ALMOST every night. Sure I skip pages, but they don’t know that. They just know I snuggle them close and tell them stories.

I’m human and I have very human moments in which I behave badly. I have ignored them and I have been annoyed by them… but I am their BIGGEST.FAN.IN.THE.WHOLE.WIDE.WORLD. Truly. I love them with every ounce of my being. Without them, I would cease to exist.

Their father and I don’t have a perfect marriage, but we’re a family and we are trying.

Pre-kid, I had ideals and opinions about everything, and I was convinced that there was distinct “right way” and “wrong way” to do everything.

If I could go back and tell my pre-kid self anything, I would say: There is no “right way” and the only “wrong way” is thinking you are doing it “right.” You are going to have good days and bad days, incredible highs, and frightening lows. It is going to be harder than you can even imagine, but it’s completely and totally worth it and you are going to love it (most of the time).

Oh, one more thing… It would be wise to eliminate the word “never” from your vocabulary… 😉

Summer Squash Casserole



1 box chicken flavored Stove Top

4 small zucchini (diced)

1 c. carrots (grated)

1/4 c. chopped onion

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 c. sour cream

2  chopped, cooked chicken breasts

Cook zucchini, carrots and onion for about 5 minutes (until veggies are crisp tender and onion translucent). Prepare Stove Top stuffing as directed on the box. Mix together soup, sour cream, and chicken. Add veggie mixture; S&P to taste. Stir in stuffing. Put into a buttered 9X13 pan. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Top with 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted.


If I was the type to give unsolicited advice to pregnant women in the baby aisle at Target…


When I was pregnant, I heard this more than once: “Being a mom is the hardest job you will ever love.”

True words.

Here’s the other truth though (the one I didn’t hear while super pregnant and browsing the baby aisle at Target): No one is good at his/her job all the time.

To be perfectly blunt, sometimes I straight-up suck.

  • I have cried over spilled milk…
  • sighed heavily [and perhaps cursed] when awoken multiple times in the middle of the night…
  • I might have once [or twice…who’s counting?] thrown a stumbled-upon lego…
  • And I have certainly yelled.

Seriously, this is no easy gig. Loving them is easy, but “parenting” is not.

  • They can make the simplest of tasks ridiculously difficult and time consuming…
  • Create HUGE messes in alarmingly small amounts of time…
  • Pitch ENORMOUS fits for HUGE alarming amounts of time [tantrum dots anyone?]…
  • And sometimes there’s JUST NO PLEASING THEM.

I sound like I’m bitching, I know. I sound ungrateful, but I’m not. I’m just a mom.

  • Being thankful for the blessings that they most certainly and absolutely are does not endow me with infinite patience…
  • And just because I love them, does not make me perfectly calm and all-the-time level headed.


  • Just because I mess up, does not mean I take them for granted…
  • Bad moments days do not make me a bad mom…
  • And sometimes I suck because I’m all-the-time human.

If I was the type of person who gave unsolicited advice to pregnant women in the baby aisle at Target, I would probably say this: Being a parent is hard, and the rewards are great, but that doesn’t make it easy. Do your best, celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes. You will make them. It is the hardest job you will ever love, and sometimes you will suck at it [that’s o.k.] because you are human. DON’T FORGET THAT YOU ARE HUMAN!

Pssst… And don’t forget that all the other moms and dads are too 😉






Laundry…commence “banging-head-against-wall”

Confession: I hate doing laundry. It is my Everest (and the piles in my house closely resemble it).

Ten truths about laundry [in our house]

1. When I strip beds for “linen day,” someone will inevitably pee through a diaper or throw up that night. “Wash when needed” is superior logic.

2. Sock baskets [by the door] work waaaaaay better than sock drawers [in a bedroom].

3. Dry clean only REALLY means either a) wear once and never again -OR- b) take my chances and machine wash on gentle. But, my best bet is to leave “dry clean only” items at the store, as they really have no business in my closet, let alone on my body.

4. “Line Dry” really means “lol – Tumble dry extra low”

5. White shirts and pants have no business in my children’s closet, let alone on their bodies.

6. Bibs are great when eating out or at someone else’s house, but “dinner in a diaper” is a superior choice when dining at home.

7. Dreft is a cute idea (laundry soap just for babies – how cute is that?), but most brands “Free and Clear” get the job done cheaper [and better].

8. The more clothes purchased: the greater the laundry pile… Less is more

9. If we have no plans to leave the house, changing out of pajamas is completely optional… and kind of silly.

And last but not least [and certainly the greatest truth in my house]

10. The laundry will never be finished. Ever.

Love Thy Neighbor

In my 31 years, I have experienced my share of “trials.” Since my 25th birthday alone, I have had 4 miscarriages, 2 c-sections with complications, thyroid problems, melanoma, and lost my job TWICE.

I learned a lot during those difficult times. Just to name a few…

1. Even when they don’t have anything nice to say, people still talk.

2. People love to hear bad news, but…

3. it ends there. They would much rather ignore your grief/problem than get personally involved in any way whatsoever

4. Self interest almost always trumps “doing the right thing”

5. People will downplay just about anything that isn’t happening to them

Last night our basement flooded. Well, part of it. Just the laundry room. In the grand scheme of things, it was small potatoes. I’m sure it will result in a decent bill, but it definitely wasn’t disastrous.

While I laid in bed, (not sleeping and jumping at every noise) I started thinking. I am sort of ashamed to say this… but, I have always been very dismissive about flooded basements. It certainly has never been my intention to be unsympathetic, but I always kind of figured “It’s a basement. They flood.” It wasn’t a lack of compassion. It was a lack of perspective. Ok, It was both. Since it wasn’t happening to me, I didn’t have much of an opinion…or reason to care.

Ignorance is was bliss.

When the water was rushing to every corner of the room, threatening to jump the threshold and enter the finished part of the basement, and I was surveying the impending, colossal damage, I kept thinking, “This is awful. Everything will be ruined. Cleaning this up will be a nightmare.” I then immediately felt many years worth of guilt for all the times I have dismissed “just a flooded basement.” Shame on me.

I am sure there has been a loooooong list of other things I have dismissed as well. I’m far from perfect.

Confession: While I have been very quick to judge people for their lack of empathy/compassion/kindness during various phases/periods in my life, I completely overlooked the times that I did THE.VERY.SAME.THING.

Ask yourself this. Have you ever made a statement ever that started with “It’s just…” -OR- made a statement along the lines of “It could be worse?”  (i.e. It’s just a miscarriage. Just skin cancer.) I certainly have. (i.e. It’s just a flooded basement).

Ignorance isn’t bliss. Ignorance is ignorance.

Last night was eye opening for me. I am glad our laundry room flooded because ignorance can very easily become a way of life if we never learn to see we are never shocked into seeing beyond our own noses.

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

I used to think that empathy came ONLY from shared experiences. It really doesn’t need to. Really, all we need to do is “Love Thy Neighbor.” If it is a big deal to someone/anyone, it is a big deal. Period. We need to look beyond our own noses, see past our own front doors, and get out of our own damn heads.

We council kids to “worry about yourself,” but I think we have taken that to an extreme. Maybe If we spent less time worrying about ourselves, we could think about others and help others a little more. I don’t know. Maybe this is just a sleep deprived, caffeine fueled rant about nothing in particular, but I am changed woman after my little flooding fiasco last night. From now on, I am making empathy and kindness a greater priority.

quote 2

Words to live by, friends! 🙂



Confession: I am a Series of Contradictions

A few months (weeks? days?) ago, I wrote a post – A Type A Housewife’s Thoughts on Cleaning. I stand by that post, but today I NEEDED to clean. Seriously clean. Not just pick up and wipe up. I needed to dust, scrub, shine and polish. Not because it was dirty (it was filthy), but because I needed to feel in control of something.

Sometimes things get too crazy. Too chaotic. Too loud. Too fun. Yes, I just said sometimes things get too fun.

There are times that I feel like the ONLY thing I am accomplishing is entertaining and engaging my kids. Such an upbringing is sure to spoil them, right? Turn them into entitled little creatures that require immediate gratification? They have to learn (at some point) how to entertain themselves or be complacent with a little boredom, right? Maybe not. But today, that was my theory.

Today, I let my kids wander, tinker with toys, watch TV, and spin in circles while I almost completely ignored them and cleaned house. Not to worry, I made sure they were safe, fed them when they were hungry, and changed their soiled diapers, but I also did my own thing.

I think they actually enjoyed it. They played together, fought a little, found toys they had forgotten, and let their momma clean house (translation: reclaim a small piece of her sanity).

Windex makes me giddy. Crumb free floors make me want to dance (albeit badly), and polished furniture makes me feel brand new.

The kids are now napping, and I am sipping a cup of tea in a CLEAN house. All is right in my little world. What can I say, sometimes I just gotta scrub something.

Knoephla Soup

Pronounced /ˈnɛflə/

I am paying homage to my home state of ND with this recipe – a German soup perfectly suited for chilly, rainy days like today.



1 3/4 cups flour

1 egg

1/2 cup water

1 tsp salt


one small onion diced

2 cups potatoes (peeled and diced)

2 cups precooked ham cubed

3 chicken bullion cubes

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups milk

1 cup cream

Combine dough ingredients to make a stiff dough. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. Roll dough out on a floured surface and cut into small pieces (I use a pizza cutter).

IMG_5494  IMG_5495

Cook dough pieces in a kettle of boiling water for 20 minutes, stirring often. Drain and Reserve.

In a dutch oven, saute onions in 2 T. butter. Add potatoes, ham, and bullion cubes. Add enough water to cover the ingredients and cook for 25 minutes (be sure to fork test your potatoes to make sure they are done).

When the base is done, add the cooked knoephpla, milk and cream. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes.

We like to serve ours with buttered french bread. Try it! You won’t be disappointed!


Small Changes Add Up

When we moved into our home, there were a TON of updates I wanted to do. A few projects in, I realized my to-do list needed to become more of a wish-list. Let’s face it, renovations are costly and time consuming. But, that has not stopped me from making small updates that make a big difference [without inflicting much damage on the budget or monopolizing entire weekends].

For example…

1. Painting our millwork instantly made our entry feel lighter and brighter.


2. Painting our mantel instantly modernized an otherwise dated fireplace.


3. Painting our cabinets black completely changed the look and feel of our kitchen.


Those are just examples of what paint can do, and proof that you don’t have to make drastic changes or spend a ton of money in order to update your space. Small changes can really add up :).

On Caving…

Every book, article, and pamphlet I have read on parenting says the same thing: consistency is important – children thrive within boundaries, and routines are essential.

It’s not that I disagree… it’s just… well, sometimes “caving” is just as necessary. I have yet to read any literature that endorses “caving,” but I’m going to say  SHOUT it: SOMETIMES GOOD MOMS AND DADS GIVE IN!

Today I took the kids to the mall. Rex had won a prize pack in a drawing and we went to pick it up. Exciting stuff for an almost three year old! Not so exciting for his little sister. The nice lady who gave Rex his prize offered Sydney a sucker. Let me be clear, this was not my “caving” moment. While a sucker is not something I would have allowed Rex to have at 16 months of age, she is my temperamental second child and I am not no longer one to scoff at a treat that guarantees 15 minutes of contentment. She squealed and started sucking happily. We then decided to go to the indoor play area…

I couldn’t fathom allowing her to toddle around with a sucker so I decided it needed to go ba-bye. I took pried it out of her little hand death grip and the shrieking started. She threw herself to the floor and screamed in a way that frightened other mid-trantrum toddlers.


I felt other parental eyes searing into my spinning head. I could “hear” the questions conveyed by their eyes. “What’s she gonna do? Is she gonna stand her ground? Is she going to march that little tyrant out of the play area, strap her flailing, screaming body back into the stroller and go home? Who is going to win?” 

I wrestled with these questions for [what felt like] 5 minutes [though I’m sure it was closer to 22 seconds].

Here’s the thing. While I wrestled with my choices [stand my ground or cave], I felt myself escalating. My face felt hot, my shoulders were up around my ears, and my hands were clenched. My choices weren’t so much “stand my ground” or “cave”…they were more like “stand your ground now and later explode in the car” or “cave now and NOT turn into scary mommy later.” Honestly, given the two choices, the latter seemed the lesser of two evils.

So, while I acknowledge that consistency is important, I also feel [with great conviction] that sometimes “caving” is just as necessary.

Sydney got her sucker, I kept my sanity. We both won :).