Love So Hard

IMG_6563Somehow it’s that time of year again…we are en route to our annual vacation, this time to Punta Cana. This year we decided to mix it up a bit – Ella’s spring break isn’t until April 10th & we didn’t want to leave for someplace warm just as it’s starting to get nice (ignore the 70 day in February) in Wisconsin.

That means she still needs to get to school though, so for the first time we hired a nanny to stay with the kids for a few days. We feel very fortunate to have someone who 1) is willing, 2) we trust and 3) the kids like. Ms. Krissy works at our daycare and Will loves her, so it’s nice that our timid one will be comfortable.

That doesn’t mean it comes without worry & a whole lot of planning. I HATE asking people for things – even if I pay them, so IF I do so, I want to make it as convenient as possible for them. That means a whole lot of meal planning, cleaning & list making ahead of time.

Planning for Will was quite easy, just lay out clothes for each day & Krissy can take him to & from work with her. Ella on the other hand was a different story. Yes, there was laying out her clothes, but there were also check lists to make sure she packed her lunch, remembered her helmet (they’re rollerblading in gym class), got to Drew’s on-time and a list of responsibilities too – mostly all dealing with the pets. Feed the fish, let the dogs out, kennel the dogs, leave the basement door open for Mac, feed the animals, etc. You never realize how much goes into a daily routine until you have to write it all down – and that’s a lot to remember for an 8 year old!

By the time the planning was nearly complete, I was more than ready for this vacation. The kids were feeling a mix of emotions too – a bit or nerves, some sadness and a lot of excitement! They were so wound up yesterday afternoon that we wanted to murder them. They were driving us crazy! We couldn’t wait to get in the car and out of that house.

At the same time, saying goodbye is always hard. You’re re-running all of the lists in your head to make sure you told the nanny everything and checking to make sure you’ve packed everything you’ll need. We said our goodbyes & got into the car and immediately I felt…guilt & sadness. #momlife. How could I feel bad two seconds into the trip. I didn’t express my feelings but instead called my mom to make sure she had everything she needed for the second part of the trip. Continuing to plan kept my mind off of it, plus Ella & I were texting the whole time. We got to our hotel and as we laid down for bed I finally said out loud, “how can I miss the kids already?” It had been less than 4 hours. They were driving us crazy. We couldn’t wait to go. And yet here I was missing them.

How can you both love & strongly dislike someone so hard?!


Lay A Little Longer

Will is 4, Ella is almost 8 and yet…we still put each of them to bed each night. When I say put them to bed, I don’t mean read them a brief story, kiss their head and say goodnight. I mean an hour + routine of agony. Struggling to brush teeth, go to the bathroom, reading stories, watching videos, talking about the day, listening to music, snuggling, requesting quiet, requesting quiet again and again and again. You get the point.

Ella has always been pretty easy. As soon as we get to the requesting quiet stage, she goes right to sleep. It’s the best part of our day. We talk about things, we giggle, we relax and all is great! Will on the other hand is a different story. He’s the reason we have multiple stages of requesting quiet. He just doesn’t give up!

14642069_10101641969711926_5390678529526965122_nFor that reason, we felt it was time for some tough love and a new bedtime routine. Of course, the first night of the new schedule fell on my shoulders (we rotate turns between kids). Going in I had the best of intentions and I know I’m stronger than him. As we went through the entire routine, it felt like we quickly got to the requesting quiet stage. As soon as I said it was time for me to leave the room, he asked me in the sweetest little voice to lay with him for a little while. I knew I should stick to my guns and leave the room, but how much longer do I have? He’s only little for so long!

So for now, I’m not going to worry about it and instead I’m going to lay a little longer. I’ve got no where to be and I’m going to miss that sweet little voice before I know it.

*This happened in a blink of an eye.



Sealed by the Sunflowers

13652651_10101531827867066_354295257_nWhat do you see when you look at this photo? A perfect, smiling, happy family? Me too… somedays, but in this particular photo I see the backstory that forced us all to fake the smiles just to get the shot. #memories

For the past two years I have seriously contemplated whether or not we should have a third child. I have never felt like our family was complete and my desire to add another little one has grown more & more recently. At the same time, I’m an honest person who also realize that making that leap from 2 to 3 would be insane, for so many reasons.

Our current children aren’t what you’d call “easy” so the thought of adding another into the chaos, seems overwhelming. When I say that to most people, their response is – “no kids are easy.” While that’s true, after doing some soul searching I realized that every part of our daily routine is a struggle. Things that we have asked our kids to do every single day of their waking life, are just damn hard! Experts promise that if you set expectations, provide routine and remain consistent that you’ll see the results you’re hoping for. In our case, that’s just not the case. Getting ready for school, getting out of the house, going anywhere, dinner time, teeth brushing….all things that happen on a regular basis and yet no matter what, they’re still a struggle!

Why does adult life need to be so hard? Decisions like these should be easier! At this point all I can I hope is that our family fate wasn’t sealed by the sunflowers.

Back to the story – on this particular day I had to carry Will to the car, kicking & screaming, spitting snot at me for 1 mile – all while the other smiling families passed by on their happy hike to the sunflowers. #kids


Keepin’ Up

Last week we celebrated St. Patrick’s day. Even though I’m Irish (no clue on what percent) I didn’t grow up celebrating that holiday. I mean, I celebrated in college, but I’m pretty sure there’s more to the day than donning your favorite green attire & drinking copious amounts of Guinness & Jameson.

So as I was planting evidence of a sneaky leprechaun throughout our house at 1:30 a.m. the night before, I wondered how I got here. In fact when I posted the evidence of Sneaky Sam’s (yes our leprechaun has a name) arrival on Facebook the next day, I caught flack from one of my most honest friends (which also makes her one of my favorites).

stpattysIn fairness I saw the comment coming, because as I was toilet papering both kids rooms, I knew how ridiculous it was to 1) be wasting two roles of perfectly good tp and 2) to be making a mess I’d have to clean up. And even more to her credit – she knows me & knows I hate “stupid” things like that. In fact, I’m the mean mom who refuses to do Elf on Shelf.

So why did I do it and what does this have to do with keeping up?

St. Patrick’s Day is just one of MANY holidays and events that have changed from when I was a kid. Valentine’s Day this year did not consist of a handmade card & a piece of candy. Instead Ella got Will an oversized, robotic dinosaur. In return he got her a large beanbag chair for her room…plus the card, candy, etc.

Easter is in one week. My mom called to ask what she should get the kids! Ella wants a new bike (note: that does not say says wants). She has been told she’ll have to use the money she’s saved to buy it herself. When I was discussing it with my mom, she suggested maybe we could get it for her for Easter. What?! It’s Easter. You get jellybeans & hunt for Easter Eggs, you do not get a $100+ bicycle.

Everywhere you turn, there’s pressure to do more. Go bigger. I HAD to decorate for the leprechaun. He goes to every kids home and if he didn’t pitstop at our house, the kids would wonder why it was different for them. “Why doesn’t the leprechaun like us?” It’s expected..and not just by our kids. Our teacher emailed a reminder ahead of time. Everyone asked our kids if they saw the leprechaun and what tricks he pulled and treats he left behind.

Right now as my aforementioned friend is reading this, I can hear her thinking something like, “life’s not fair. Kids need to learn that they don’t get everything they want. If you hate doing it, why do you?”

All valid points and again, things I whole-heartedly agree with (it’s why we’re friends)! However some battles aren’t worth fighting and if it only takes two rolls of toilet paper to make our kids happy, then I’m going to do it because…it’s easier.

And please don’t be mistaken, I’m still not doing Elf on the Shelf, because ain’t nobody got time for that!



I grew up as a tomboy in small town Wisconsin. Rough & tumble and needing no favors from anyone. I was hell bent on showing everyone I was just as capable as all the boys I was raised with and could hold my own in any situation.

I’ve carried that mentality throughout my whole life and until recently I’ve always valued & appreciated it. When getting a flat tire, I change it myself. When a house needs shingles, a fence needs built, a heavy object needs moved… I’m right there. I have defied gender stereotypes and always been proud to do so.

Along with the free feeling of independence, comes another set of side effects. When a female is trying to defy the norm, it requires a tough exterior. There is no crying when someone wrongs you because you’re not supposed to. There is no asking for help, EVER … because it admits defeat.

That makes the people around you begin to think that you don’t need anything from them. That was the point of being so stubborn all those years, right? However, that also means they think they can treat you a little bit differently because you’ve shown them that it’s ok.

Your coach is always harder on you because, “you can take it.” Your boss always has the highest expectations from you because you consistently meet them. People in general aren’t as sensitive to your feelings as they should be because they think you don’t have them.fierce

Now that I have a daughter of my own I think more about things like this. Who do I want her to be? How do I want her to be treated?

I am still proud that I can do things on my own, however I don’t like that I’ve trained those around me to expect it.

I absolutely want her to be independent and strong & she’s already fierce, but I don’t want it to come at the cost of how she’s treated by others. I want her to feel valued & appreciated and not get walked on because she’s trained people to think that it’s acceptable.