Thrift Stores and Their Could-Be Stories

Thrift Stores and Their Could-Be Stories

Thrift Stores: People watching in retail form

Oh the thrift store. Is there a better place to spend a leisurely afternoon perusing the aisles of assorted and organized randomness? There simply is not.

I love to rummage through the incidental knick-knacks and what-nots of other people. It is akin to a glimpse of the life of a random wonderful stranger. Thrift store shopping is people watching in retail form. And we all know how much I adore people watching.

What sent me to my local retailer of thrifted items? Another round of the Thrift Store Swap is upon us and I am excited! Last year we did wreaths plus one other item of our choosing. This year, it’s free reign and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

If you aren’t familiar with this particular swap, I’ll explain. The whole idea is to gather several bloggers who are each assigned one person for whom they must buy two items from their local thrift stores and ship to said person. Moreover, we must transform or upcycle our items into something fabulous.  The beautiful gal I’m sending to is Brenda over at Unique Junktique. She is the queen of repurposing and transforming. You really ought to check her out.

I simply had to share my rummaging escapades for Brenda with you. My fellow dessert dwellers do not disappoint when in it comes to fabulous and ridiculously random finds at the thrift store. Consequently I can’t help but imagine the stories behind a few of these pieces.

The Goods

Would you look at those shelves! They are stuffed with all kinds of glass and ceramic goods. Apparently my fellow dessert dwellers have a thing for shiny glass objects. Equally important to note, there were five shelves identical to this one. FIVE!

What is the story behind these little guys? Perhaps they once adorned the kitchen shelf of a middle aged woman with an adoration for all things piggy. One fateful day, as she dusted and polished her extensive collection of swine oddities a life altering revelation slowly dawned on her. Her true passion isn’t pigs! She’s been living a lie! No, her true passion has always been roosters!

So, her once comical and beloved piggy pile was donated, in hopes that one day, a true piggy lover will find them. Snatch them up. And place them in their new rightful place. Right alongside a sign adorned with a big fat pig that says, “Bacon”.

What about the budding heart surgeon? Was the pressure to slice into the flesh of a dying man, pull out his weak and diseased heart, and repair it to the best of his abilities simply too much? As the result of a massive mental breakdown he tears the diagram off the wall and careens through traffic to the local thrift store. Not even bothering to erase his failures, he unceremoniously dumps the board into the donate pile and drives off. With a stiff upper lip, he wipes away a tear of frustration deciding that perhaps accounting is his future now.

Although glass oddities and medical diagrams are a few favorites of mine, you cannot discount the massive piles of pictures and their frames. Perhaps a giant mountainous purple city scape will bedeck the walls of one lucky man-cave.

Was this the muff of a beguiled bridesmaid? One who, for the life of her, could not understand why the bride insisted on muffs for the entire entourage in the middle of June, in the dessert.  A muff lovingly transformed into a “rocket booster” by my four year old.

No, none of these fabulous items will do for Brenda. You’ll have to wait a little while longer to see what wonderful finds I sent her way.

Before I go, however, I must leave you with one last amazing find.

Honestly! Does it get any better?! It simply does not!



The Best Advice I Ever Received as a New Mother

The Best Advice I Ever Received as a New Mother

It’s 3:45 am. The babies are finally fed and asleep… again. I am exhausted. Hopefully I can fall asleep and get a solid two hours before one of them wakes again. I haven’t slept at all tonight. Tomorrow’s going to be brutal. I’ll just try to settle myself. I’m sure I’ll fall asleep soon. Wait. It’s too quiet. I don’t think I can hear anyone breathing. Are they breathing? They should’ve at least stirred a little. Neither of them has moved. Was that a small breath I heard? I can’t be sure. I’d better check. Ok. They’re fine. They’re both breathing just fine. I seriously need to sleep. It’s been two weeks of this insanity. I can’t function if I don’t sleep. Hold on a sec. I can’t remember if I propped them up enough. What if they spit up and choke because they’re flat on their backs? No, I’m sure they’re ok. I barely checked  on them… but I can’t remember for sure. I’d better check again.”

The best advice I ever received as a new mother to my infant twins came from my father and it might not be what you’d expect. Before I divulge this particular piece of advice let me give you a little background as to what was happening in my life during this time.

I was 29 weeks pregnant with the twins when my husband was deployed overseas to Afghanistan for a year. My 18 month old daughter and I hugged him goodbye outside our front door and he left. “Ok. I can do this” I thought. What choice did I have really? Giving up simply wasn’t an option, so I pushed forward the best way I knew how. I called my Mom.

When we first found out my husband was to deploy I reached out to my parents.  “Mom?” I asked. “I know this is a huge favor, but is there any chance I can move back home with Alisynne?” Without a moments hesitation on the other end of the phone I heard, “Of course sweetheart! We’ll get the basement ready for you.” This was HUGE for me. Without the help of my family I don’t know if I would’ve fared as well as I did in the long run. So, the very next day after my husband left my father came to collect my very pregnant self and my daughter and drove us and a small trailer of gear back to my childhood home for the year.

newborn 2

Six weeks later the twins were born. They did well considering they were 5 weeks early, but still had to do 2 weeks in the NICU. On the day they were both released they were so tiny. It was frightening. It was exciting. It was overwhelming. The days back at home were great. I had tons of help from my parents, sisters, and brothers, who were all home during the summer. I felt great during the day. Nights were a different story.

With my husband gone the care of my three children was solely mine. Every diaper to be changed, baby to be fed, and toddler to comfort rested squarely on my shoulders, and I was keenly aware of it.

newborn 1

Fear. Exhaustion. Worry. Anxiety. These emotions are very typical for a new mom. I’ve talked to many mothers out there and most would agree that these feelings are all part of infancy, along with unadulterated joy, ridiculous amounts of love, and elation.

During those first few weeks of my twins being home fear would grab me at night and refuse to relent. Fear of my babies dying while I slept. This particular fear is a common one. Many women have confessed to feeling this way. You may have experienced it yourself. I also endured this fear with my first daughter. Perhaps it was the fact that I was the sole caretaker, or that my twins were still so tiny, or the stress of a deployment in general. For whatever reason this fear became amplified.

I couldn’t sleep. I wanted to, desperately, but couldn’t. My brain wouldn’t stop tormenting me. Even through the fog of exhaustion I could come up with several ways my children might not survive til morning. I would be up and down several times in the night checking and rechecking my babies. Each time they were completely safe, but I wouldn’t believe it. My body couldn’t rest nor could my mind. You can imagine the toll this takes on a new mother. If, by some miracle, I  did finally fall asleep one of the babies would wake. It was a vicious, horrible cycle.

I didn’t want to tell anyone what was going on. It felt absolutely ridiculous. Here I was, welcomed back into my childhood home with open arms, with several younger siblings helping me daily, and I couldn’t get my act together. Not at night anyway. I wasn’t afraid to tell. I was embarrassed at the level my fear and anxiety had gotten to.

Several weeks of this mental torment continued until one morning my father entered the kitchen.

The end of a particularly bad night found me crying into a bowl of cereal. My father, with his tan briefcase in hand,  was on his way out the door to work. He spotted me at the kitchen counter and sat down next to me. As any dutiful and loving father would do, he asked me what was wrong. With tear streaked eyes and an exhausted soul I told my dad everything. I layed out all of my fears and unloaded all of my worry. He hugged me tight for a moment then let me go. He turned to me and gave me this counsel that I’ll never forget.

“Heather. If Heavenly Father decides it’s time to take your babies there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. No amount of worrying or stressing can change that if it’s meant to be. He has entrusted you with three beautiful children to take care of and raise. You cannot do that if you do not sleep. He needs you to sleep. You can only do the best you can. The rest is left to Him.”

Simple. Honest. Truthful. Powerful.

At first the idea seemed a little shocking.  Morbid even. What do you mean there’s nothing I can do?! I’m their mother! It’s my job to protect them, but as I dwelled on what my father had said the truth of his statement hit me right in the heart. He was right.

I was not as in control as I wanted to believe. The only thing I truly had control over were my actions in how I take care of and raise my children, and I was truly doing the best I could. The rest is left entirely up to our Heavenly Father.

There is a quote that I love by a man named Boyd K. Packer, which states, “Fear is the opposite of Faith.” I have come to cherish this counsel as well. I had let a runaway imagination and fear grab hold of me at night. I had completely forgotten to have faith.  Where there is faith, fear cannot be.

As odd as it may sound, this simple piece of counsel gave me permission to calm my thoughts, permission to breathe, and  permission to sleep, which I finally did. My fears were still in the back of my mind, but they ceased their torment. They no longer stole what I needed the most, peace of mind.

To you expecting, new, or seasoned mothers and fathers out there I hope if you find yourself in this very same position, or one similar,  you take a moment to consider what my father said. You too have a great responsibility to do your best with your precious gifts that have been entrusted to you and leave the rest for Him to shoulder. Have faith in yourself. You are marvelous. Don’t let fear strip you of your god-given strength to handle all the challenges and joys new babies bring. After all, you are His child too, which basically makes you amazing.





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Welcome Home Wednesdays

1 Year Bloggiversary = 1 Awesome Giveaway

1 Year Bloggiversary = 1 Awesome Giveaway

One year you guys! I have been writing, compiling, creating, and complaining on this wonderful little blog for an entire year! Just launching this thing onto the internet took more research and trial and error than I’ve had to do in a very long time, but boy was it worth it. I’m sure you’ve witnessed several crazy mistakes I’ve made (like the time all you could see was part of an elbow for my featured image, or the time I published a post about 4 times in a row on accident, or how about the time I accidentally hit Publish instead of save on this very post!), but you never left and for that I am incredibly grateful.

It’s been so much fun to see what you guys have liked the most. I took a gander at my stats and here are the top three posts you guys loved.

  1. Shopping with Toddlers is Like Being a Contestant on a Terrible Game Show
  2. Heaven Did you Know
  3. Adults With Braces

You guys are pretty much awesome. Enough with all that, lets get to the good stuff!

I am so excited. SO EXCITED! To say thank you to all 10 of you who have stuck with me,  I’d like to do my first ever giveaway! If you follow me on instagram (we should totally be friends) you may have noticed a picture or two of me donning some awesome power tools.  Well, this is the end result!

Love Always pallet sign

I would be thrilled to give this to one of you!

Angled love always pallet sign

Let me tell you a little about this project. This Love Always sign was repurposed from an old pallet so it has a rustic feel, but is also very clean. I hand painted the design and the “always” with a beautiful white acrylic. There are some subtle hints of gold in the design to accent the large gold panel. What I love most about this sign is the fact that it could be hung all year round. It isn’t necessarily a Valentines Day decoration (though you’re totally welcome to use it as such. It is your sign after all.) Let this simple yet charming piece adorn your bedroom, mantle, or living room wall.

Hung love always sign

The sign is  19 1/2×33 1/4″ and can be hung or propped up. I’ll post how I made this sign a little later too, in case you’re feeling like revving up a few power tools of your own (seriously, they’re so much fun).

Here area few ways you can gain more entries into my awesome giveaway:

  1. If you haven’t already, like me on either Facebook or Instagram, or heck both! I’d love to get to know you more.
  2. Share this post with others.
  3. leave me a comment on my blog

Make sure to log into the rafflecopter box below and click your entries! If you click to enter and it says “fill in the box” simply write in which site you shared to or liked, then it will accept.  That’s it my dear friends. Thank you for being so awesome. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fresh Fall Mini Makeover

Fresh Fall Mini Makeover

It is time you guys. Time for a little something new, different, and fresh. It is time for a fall mini makeover!

What fun is life if you can’t play around with your look every now and again. Am I right or am I right? I was in dire need of a new haircut and thought, “Well hey, might as well kick things up a notch.” It has been a solid year since I last sat in a salon, let alone got anything done! I made the decision, phoned my little salon, and set out for something exciting. I scrolled through Google images looking for inspiration and found it. With pictures in tow I turned the ignition key of my sporty light blue mini van and headed for my new look.


As you can see, my hair wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I was at that, do I keep growing it or do I cut it phase. I’ve generally gone for long hair and almost always opt for just a trim. I’ve had it down to my waist several times in my life and rarely have gone shorter than my shoulders.


I arrived at my destination and bounded in to see my stylist.  She took one look at my ideas and said, “Are you sure?” “Yup!” I answered and away we went. I love when my stylist comes back with the color in tow. This specific color was a combo of three types and the result was a raspberry sorbet colored mixture. I mean just look at my hair here! There’s always a little apprehension, but I was determined. “Take no prisoners! Let’s do this thang!” is what I kept muttering to myself to keep myself psyched instead of worried. Can you blame me? The goop was raspberry colored! Not that I’ve an aversion to pink hair. I’ve rocked a few pink strands in my day, but a full head is a little much for me. The specific color we were going for was a mix between a deep red with cocoa and deep violet. Sounds intense I know. Here’s the result!


An A-line bob with Merlot coloring! It’s a bit harder to see the purple in the sunlight. The red really pops outdoors, but once you’re inside the violet comes shining through. You guys, it’s AWESOME! I just love when things work out! So, if any of you are thinking of a change, I say go for it. Live a little and embrace some color! Hooray for mini makeovers!


Hallelujah I’m Free!

I cannot contain the excitement any longer. My braces are off! Removed! Finished! My mouth is in a state of ecstasy only rivaled by the decadent cheesecake of ’05. I can talk. I can chew. I can bite into things people! I just had my first piece of gum in two years (not that I was a big gum chewer before, but the fact that I can is so exciting.).  Flossing takes a mere 30 seconds now. It is joyous. Oh and did I mention that my teeth are razor straight now and I now have a mouth full of adult teeth just like all you other grown ups out there. Does this make it official? Am I officially an adult now? Or does that ever actually happen? Perhaps if I take a picture with my mouth full of adult teeth and my taxes…. Anyway, they are off and I’m just a little stoked.

Last day of braces

I walked into my orthodontist’s office with the hope that they’d be taken off, but not too hopeful because that joy can be dashed across the jagged rocks of a raging sea rather quickly when it comes to a perfectionistic orthodontist like mine. After a quick look around my tech was given the thumbs up and away she went, ripping off brackets with the steady hand and pressure of a seasoned warrior in the fight against jagged dentition. Within minutes my teeth were freed from their two year bondage and hard labor sentence. I could hear the exclamations of delight from each tooth as if they were seeing the sun for the first time after being locked in a dungeon.  The removal of the brackets was a little unnerving I must say. The clear ones tend to shatter as you remove them. The cracking sounds plus the odd pressure made it appear as if my actual teeth were cracking, causing a slight amount of panic. All is well however, obviously.

and they're off

Not too many people talk about what it’s like to actually get your braces off.  Well, I’m here to share with you all just what it entails. After the bracket removal comes the glue removal. That damn glue is intense friends. It has held those brackets onto my teeth through countless meals, snacks, and fizzy sodas consumed in a two year span. Yeah, I’d say it’s intense. The only way to abolish this tooth cement is with our favoirte tool. The drill.  Out came the ever-loved and adored drill (sarcasm! Sarcasm everywhere!) complete with high pitch whir sounds. I laid back and let my tech do her thing. Clouds of fine mist started pouring out of my mouth. It was as if I were in an icy winter cave and with every exhaled breath can be seen the vapory swirls of CO2. Instead of arctic temperatures, however, it was a pleasant 75 degrees inside and the swirling mist went up my nose and adhered to my mascara making me runway ready for an extreme fashion show featuring winter couture. Glue removal takes a while dear friends. It’s on every single tooth and most of it is extremely close to your gums.  You must sit and endure.


Once the glue is gone, however, your teeth feel amazing! Your gums, not so much. I went to the sink, brushed my brand new teeth, and flossed with extreme ease. Heavenly. I returned to my chair only to be greeted with a huge blob of pink goo a little unceremoniously shoved into my mouth gagging me. It was time for impressions! Many of you have probably had experience with this, but I was an impressions virgin. I didn’t understand the urgency when my sweet tech came racing around the corner with the tray of pink goo. It turns out the medium that makes up this compound activates quickly and you have to get the impression in before it sets too much. I tried to be cooperative the second round  but I ended up being anything but. I tried to help my tech guide in the bottom tray, but instead I helped her smear it all over my mouth and cheeks, thus making a face impression too.

Before and After

After all was said and done I walked away with a fabulous new smile (that I’m still trying to recognize as mine) and a baggie full of delicious gooey treats. What a great day.

Adults With Braces: A Few Things You Can Expect.

me with bracesMany of you may not know this about me, but I have a full set of braces. I am 30 years old and have been sporting these bad boys for 22 months, 9 days, 14 hours,  17 minutes, and 53 seconds precisely. These things are the WORST! They fill your entire mouth with metal….METAL! There is zero comfort here people. I even opted for the “less noticeable” (that is probably the biggest lie you’ll ever here) clear brackets to hide my shame, but alas, it is futile. What is most infuriating for me is the fact that my smile was just fine before the braces. Why would I ever opt to put them on then you may be asking. It turns out I have a super power. Well, had is probably more accurate. At the ripe old age of 28 I still had two baby teeth. Canines to be exact. These superbly kept tiny accent teeth were starting to die but not fall out. As it turned out I did, in fact, have my adult canines just hanging out upstairs in my gums. I guess they never received the memo regarding their promotion. Either that or they were just too lazy to be bothered to make an appearance when I was 8. In any case, they had to be forcibly ratcheted down into place and in order to do that I needed a full set of braces to make room. Ugh.

If you’re an adult whose getting ready to take the plunge let me give you a list of a few things you can expect from your new braces.

1. Money money money.  Get ready to make your wallet cry. The average set of braces costs between 5 and 6 thousand dollars! You heard me. And if you’re older than 25 you can simply forget about the idea of insurance covering floss let alone braces. You will be sporting some shiny new bling, just not the kind you want anyone to notice. And that doesn’t even include if you have to get your wisdom teeth removed or any other completely awful massacre to your mouth. I personally had to have two separate surgeries for the removal of my wisdom teeth AND the removal of two baby teeth while simultaneously attaching medieval torture devices to my lazy adult canines. I can still hear my bank account whimpering.

2. Clear vs. Metal. Once the choice has been made to take the plunge you must now decide what type of torture devices to glue to your chompers. Something with a little added pizazz, such as the full metal jackets with bright pink elastics might be up your alley, or you could opt for the ever so subtle “clear” brackets. And by “clear” I mean opaque plastic with metal bits and pieces. Metal or clear, there’s just no hiding these bad boys.

4. You will become an Ibuprofen popping fool. Oh heaven have mercy on your poor mouth the week after you get these applied, and every 6 weeks after you’ve been adjusted, oh and after every surgical nightmare you may have to endure. Your teeth are going to hurt, ache, and silently curse your name. The advice your new found sadists (otherwise know as orthodontists) will instill is to eat soft foods like spaghetti noodles, ramen, or rice while you adjust to your new braces or new settings.  You’d better just dump all that in a blender and press puree because there is no way you’ll be able to bite down on a damn thing, let alone attempt to chew it.  Grab a straw, pop a pill or two, and settle in for a week of weight loss magic.

5. People will awkwardly notice. It’s not as if you’ve had a terribly misspelled tattoo etched across your forehead, but the reaction seems to be the same. Once you open your mouth and expose your new accessories people take notice. Some people try to hide it but you can’t help but notice as theirs eyes widen and eyebrows elevate. Others flat out ask you about them, which is fine. And still others try their best not to stare stupidly at your shiny new additions. It’s unexpected to have an adult flash a set of braces. The best is when you come across a fellow adult brace face. It’s an instant bond forged in the fires social awkwardness.

6. You will sound slightly drunk….always. None more so than when they are first applied. Your mouth is trying desperately to figure out what the hell you’ve done to it and in the process you will slur your words. Your lips keep trying to move to their original positions during speech, but it’s no longer an option, and so they fumble around your braces the best they can. The result is you sounding slightly drunk with a minor speech impediment. Sexy no? It does get better, but you’ll always have that slight weirdness to your speech pattern. Embrace the slur fellow brace patron! After all, you’ve paid good money for it.

7. A great way to re-live your awkward phase. I cannot think of too many things that can fling you back  in time to your most terribly awkward phase than strapping on a pair of metal braces. I could feel my skin breaking out with each bracket they glued on. After the whole process was finished I was suddenly in the halls of junior high, skinny, short, and desperately trying to relate to my more “mature” classmates. Can’t you just sense the hormone surges? Who knew braces were secret time portals.

8. Flossing will become an Olympic sport. I honestly had no idea what it would entail to floss my teeth after my braces arrived. It is something akin to a circus performance or professional sport. This takes practice my dear friends! You must limber up before each attempt, thread the floss ever so nimbly through your small bracket gaps whilst holding your mouth open as wide as you can for visual reference, try desperately to grasp the tiny sliver of floss that made it through with your now slimy/slippery fingers, and pull without getting the string stuck on any protrusions, shredding it as you pull, thus rendering it worthless. Rinse and repeat about 30 times. May the odds be ever in your favor.

It’s not all terrible. You will eventually get used to the suck that is having braces and some days you won’t really even notice. They tell me there is an end to this madness, and my time is nearing. I’ll keep you posted.beach babes

UPDATE:     Oh my gosh you guys they’re actually off! If you’d like to see the before and after pics and what you can expect when they come off (the legends and stories are true you guys, they do actually come off!), click this link to Hallelujah I’m Free!

Kindergarten Calamity

Kindergarten Calamity

It has begun my dear friends. The dreaded shopping for schools has commenced.  I don’t mean school shopping (for whatever reason I love buying pencils, pens, and blank sheets of paper and I’m sure I’ll have a special post all about that weird joy).  I mean the actual running around town, touring schools, stressing over different criteria offered, and all the fun that comes with enrolling a kindergartner.  It is finally time! Alisynne will be going to kindergarten in the fall.  It’s exciting, as she is my first, but I have never felt so stressed about where to enroll her!  Where I grew up it was simple.  Whichever school district your house occupied is where you went to school. Period.  Where we currently reside is not like that all!  It is free range baby.  All the schools you could possibly want within a 15 minute commute.  Heck, if you were willing to drive 45 minutes to a school you loved you could! This is where my stress comes in.  There is every variety of schooling you could possibly imagine over here.  Public, charter, private, dance and arts, school of science and math, music, etc.  You name it, they’ve got it. It’s a smorgasbord of intellectual learning and I am at a total loss. I have no idea where to place my little Alisynne.

It is my personality type to want to know the facts about every option available before I narrow them down (I’m the same way with crafting ideas. Don’t even get me started on what type of glue works best with what).  Do you know how much homework that actually is? My brain has just gotten up and left me after hours of searching , reading criteria and rankings, scrutinizing parent comments, or deciphering what a “lighthouse school” even is. Honestly! My brain got up, wiped her hands of this mess, and left me staring at a computer screen, blank expression, with a small amount of drool hanging from my lip. It is maddening I tell you! I should probably be more thankful for the vast amounts of options there are, but quite frankly, too much is too much!

kindergarten featured image

There are a smattering of questions to consider as well. What are the benefits of public vs charter vs private?  What is the cost? What is the curriculum like? What is the teacher to student ratio? What do they expect of me if I am to enroll my daughter there? Is volunteering required (I know, the oxymoron kills me too)? Is there a bus available or do I have to drive every morning? Do they offer half day or full day (8 hours of kindergarten seems a little much to me)? We’ve all heard the horrors of common core. Do they implement that (ummmm, no thank you!)? And on and on and on it goes!  Did you know that most schools, at least in this area, give their kindergartners homework? I mean honestly, how ridiculous is that? Choosing a kindergarten class is more involved than choosing which college to attend!

One option I’ve looked at is a school that focuses on building leaders for our communities.  This sounds wonderful in theory. Their goal is to teach children how to give speeches in front of large groups, how to approach strangers, what it takes to lead others, etc.  I think you get the gist.  What’s my hang up? Alisynne does NOT like to be in the spotlight.  She loves to interact with others and is actually quite the social butterfly, but it has to be on her terms. So, will this school actually benefit her by teaching her how to overcome her shyness with public displays? Or will it stress, terrify, and upset her to the point of hating school from the get go? I have no idea!

I think it’s similar for most parents.  We want our children to enjoy learning not just spit facts back to us. And we want them to feel safe, encouraged, and proud of their accomplishments as they go.  I’m not saying they have to be babied all through their schooling careers. They’ll never learn that way, but they also won’t learn if they are stressed to the max about performing at school.  Whether that’s actual physical performing or grade performance. I think that’s my #1 issue.  Which school will challenge Alisynne without breaking her?

Preschool pics

I have to try hard not to interject my own fears into the equation.  I know how awful school can be for kids. I have taken several tours of possible choices and during one particular school excursion I was roaming the halls with my tour guide and I started to get nervous.  I walked by cute kindergartners dressed in navy blue and khaki uniforms, engrossed in a story their teacher was telling and I felt a little panicked! I perused tiny cubbies and glanced at cork boards filled with artwork, gold sticker charts, and a “featured student” section with the beaming face of a 5 year old and I almost wanted to cry. The idea of letting my incredibly sensitive, yet strong willed little girl experience the “real world” (as real as kindergarten can get) makes me anxious! I know this probably sounds like the ramblings of a woman who needs to get her hormone levels checked, but honestly, it makes me a little upset. What if she is bullied by another child or gets excluded from an activity? I don’t feel ready to have to explain that sometimes people can be just plain old mean.

And who’s to say that’s even going to happen.  This is kindergarten after all.  Chances are she’s going to be just fine wherever I put her. I just want to set her up for success the best I can. I want her to make friends, learn something fabulous and get really excited about it, or come home with a huge grin because s0 and so liked her painting. I want her to understand that even if she doesn’t know the answer right away, there are different ways of figuring it out and I want her to know what those ways are and how to use them. This all sounds a little heavy for kindergarten doesn’t it? I know. I need to lighten up a little.  I mean how hard can colors, letters, and numbers be? If push comes to shove I can always yank her out and teach her myself (oh lord help me if that is to be the case). What I truly want is for my daughter to succeed.

I guess, at the end of the day, all we really can do as parents is set them up as best we can, take a deep breath, mutter a prayer, and hope for the best. The rest will have to come from them

10 Ways raising toddlers is like being on the Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones: Toddler Edition

As I sit and watch the Game of Thrones I can’t help but relate some of it to my life.  I know that sounds odd because if my life is anything like the Game of Thrones I’d better duck and cover and hope George R.R. Martin has no idea who I am let alone where I reside. However, the daily insanity of raising toddlers and a preschooler has surprising similarities to a world full of war, underhanded scheming, magical/mythical creatures, and family devotion.  Here are 10 ways raising toddlers is like being on the Game of Thrones.

1. Our official title is:  ( Insert name ) of the House Toddlaryen, First of Her name, True born queen of the Vandals and the First Toddler, Khaleesi, Breaker of Cheetos, The unkempt, Lady Regent of the seven tantrums, Protector of the Breakables, and Mother of Toddlers.

2.  Toddlers too, can lay waste to a city or, at the very least, a living room. Have you ever seen the destructive powers of a toddler on the rampage? It is an awe inspiring sight. Toddlers have no sense of honor, nor do they obey direct commands.  Releasing them onto a population of slavers and slaves alike would prove disastrous for all. If we were to unleash a sea of toddlers against the unsullied, I’m fairly certain toddlers would win.

3. The Rains of Castamere can be heard in your home as your toddler destroys things you love, out of nowhere.  Have no doubt that toddlers are secret ninjas and murderers of all things precious to you.  They will manage to find a way to destroy something you once valued.  That one dress that makes your waist and legs look amazing? Beheaded by smears of peanut butter.  Your nice stereo system hooked up to your brand new receiver? Slaughtered by  insane amounts of button pushing.  A beautiful piece of furniture you’ve had in your family for years? Massacred with permanent marker that you honestly have no idea where they found.  Mothers of toddlers never know which beloved item is next or when the execution will be carried out.

4.White walkers have nothing on us.  If you’ve ever experienced a particularly challenging day with your toddler, you will be able to relate to this one for sure.  A toddler has the ability to turn us into demonized frost creatures of myth who roam the woods looking for something to slaughter or maim.  There comes a point, after the umpteenth tantrum over the wrong sippy cup, the soul shattering screeching, the destruction of yet another room you just finished picking up, or the  300th cry of “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom!”, that your mind will snap, your eyes will frost ice blue, and your countenance becomes ice cold.   After this phenomenon has occurred all bets are off as to whether anyone who crosses your path lives or dies.  Your sour mood infects all who are in proximity thus making your house a haven for all beings arctic, dead, and disastrous. True Story.

5. Our banner that we fly into battle (aka bedtime)  looks like this:  The silhouette of a woman with two children clinging to her legs holding high a hair brush and a mixing bowl. The background is a beautiful gold fabric smeared with jelly, mac and cheese, and applesauce.  To complete our banner, our silhouetted woman is scribbled over in pen.

6. We love our family.  No matter what insane things our toddlers throw at us, and despite our complaining, we will always love and protect them, murder for them, plot for them, and overthrow kingdoms for them.

7. Some days facing the day with toddlers is a lot like being paralyzed from a long fall out of the window of a high tower.  Before we had children life was full of possibilities. We could frolic and play.  Climb whatever vertical obstacle opposed us, and carry on with a summer child-like countenance.  Then came the toddlers.  Our summer quickly turned to winter as our precious babies transformed into those adorable, hell raising toddlers. Our once carefree existence came crashing down on us and we find ourselves confined to the structure, needs, and demands of our little ones. It can feel paralyzing and suffocating at times. To those of you with young babies in your arms, just remember, Winter is Coming.

8. Valar Morghulis. I am almost certain that all toddlers have secretly been trained by Jaqen H’ghar (if you don’t know/remember him, he’s probably one of the best assassins ever and he can literally change his face).  They can murder and destroy something in seconds without a second thought, and then completely change personas into  sweet, loving, and adorable cuddle machines.  What the hell Jaqen!

9. Wildfire seems an appropriate cleansing agent.  After a long day running around chasing your little ones, you will turn around and actually look at the state of your house.  It is true that you did, in fact, pick up all day long, but it looks as if you just sat around all day eating bon bons and binge watching Netflix while you let your toddler run amok. I’ve been there (I reside there still) and I’m fairly certain that instead of trying to continue with the insanity of cleaning with children we should, instead, just throw a pot of wildfire on it all and watch the beautiful green flames cleanse the hell out of our house.

10. We too, live at The Wall.  Harsh conditions, demanding superiors, exiled from life itself, sentenced to a life of hard labor with no conjugal visits?  Sounds like a typical Tuesday to me.

There you have it!  Life with little ones can be exhausting, gruelling, and jaw droppingly surprising, but we soldier on in the face of daunting challenges nonetheless. And we can’t imagine life without them (ok, we can, but it doesn’t last long).  Now, time to binge watch the last 4 seasons at 9:00 at night while the little ones sleep don’t ya think?


The Twinkle Diaries

Shopping with toddlers is like being a contestant on a terrible game show

Shopping with toddlers is like being a contestant on a terrible game show

Supermarket Madness

Have you ever looked through your fridge or pantry and realized that you desperately need to go grocery shopping, but the idea of hauling your little ones to the market is worse than that tuna fish and peanut butter sandwich you’d be forced to eat if you didn’t?  I have!  Trying to go grocery shopping with toddlers is much like being a contestant on a horrible game show. There are always obstacle courses, an audience, and horrible announcers in your head that sound a lot like the hosts of Wipe Out:

BUZZ BUZZ (the starting alarm)

“And she’s off like a shot! All three kids are crammed into that shopping cart, but where will the groceries go Bob?”

“I don’t know Mac, but it looks like one of the kids is already squirming to get out.  She’d better reign those little ones in or it’s a penalty.”

“She’s made it to the fresh produce and it looks like Alisynne, the resident 4 year old, wants to be mommy’s little helper. Can she pull off putting in only 5 apples?  Yes! She does it!  5 Bonus points for the correct amount.  But wait, are you seeing what I’m seeing Bob?”

“Oh no Mac.  One of the twins has escaped their restraints while mommy’s back is turned.  Will she notice in time? NO! He’s off like a rocket dodging carts and running to the pickles.  Nice moves little man.”

“It looks like Heather has finally noticed and takes pursuit with Alisynne, clutching a partially bitten apple, dashing close behind.  Will she make it in time before the pickle loving 2 year old pulls the giant glass jar onto the floor…….Yes!  But only barely.  5 points for speed, but a penalty of 8 for a runaway toddler.”

“It looks like she’s got everyone back in place and is actually grabbing a few items that are on her list.  That’s worth 10 points. She’d better watch out though…..”

“She’s pulled a classic mistake there Bob.  She’s let her cart slip too close to the stocked shelves and Emma, our resident 2 year old,  is now piling in massive amounts of chocolate chips.  Oh it’s a double whammy!  Ethan, the other resident 2 year old, is now dropping the chocolate chips onto the floor while Emma continues to maintain speed. ”

“It just goes to show that you can’t take too long to check prices, or you’ll pay a penalty.”

“She’s gracefully maneuvered around the seasonal aisle full of brightly stuffed bunnies, colored eggs, and abundant supply of all things sugary and colorful with everyone none the wiser.  Well done.”

“She’d better hurry Mac, the children seem to be fidgeting even worse.  She’s pulled out her emergency baggie of pretzels, but she only brought one bag!  That’s a terrible oversight and it’s gonna cost.”

“Ouch Bob! That screeching has gotta hurt. It looks like we’ve got some annoyed shoppers trying to peek at the disaster that is unfolding in the cereal aisle while the trio argue over who gets to hold the baggie.”

“The timer is running down now Mac and she hasn’t even come close to getting everything on her list.  It looks like she’s going to have to checkout before the tantruming trio create an even bigger scene.”

“Heather is coming up to the gauntlet now.  Can she maneuver her toddlers away from the brightly colored and easily accessible candy bars, lighters, gum, and chapstick that little hands just can’t get enough of at the checkout aisle? Or will she pay another penalty for the destruction of grocery store displays as she tries to unload her cart?”

“It’s a disaster Mac!  The twins have both managed to grab handfuls of gum packets and are trying to rip into the delicious yet sticky nightmare while Alisynne, the apple loving 4 year old, asks over and over and over if she can have a candy bar for being so good.”

“Oh no Bob!  We’ve got a wild card in play! Ethan has spotted the balloons from the florist section and desperately wants one.  He’s trying to wiggle away toward the floating wonders while Heather continues to try to unload her cart.”

“Heather has 10 seconds left Mac, can she swipe her card and dash for the door in time?”


“She’s done it Bob!  She’s made a grocery run!  What has she won?”

“A $250 grocery bill, a half completed list, and an anxiety attack Mac!”


Image courtesy of Buzzfeed



Dear Lord of Laundry

Dear Lord of Laundry

If I could write a letter to the Lord who controls my laundry, it would look a little like this:

Lord of Laundry pic(Oddly enough, he looks like Ares, Greek God of War)



To the Lord of Laundry,

I am writing this letter to inform you that I am quite displeased with the way you have been running things.  I have several inquiries that I wish to be addressed.  First off, why is my laundry on an eternal loop?  Is there a glitch in the system that you have overlooked?  Has your foreman, Mr. Snuggles,  forgotten to adjust my mode to moderate instead of torrential downpour?  I ask you these questions because, for the life of me, I cannot get caught up on my laundry!

I understand  that mankind should have at least some laundry.  Everyone knows it is written in the Tablets of Tide, and so it must come to pass, but why have you burdened my tiny washing machine and I with so much?  I have trudged through countless miles of spaghetti splattered shirts and  hiked mountains of soiled sheets. I  have fought against your enemies with potions of Gain and bricks of Baking Soda, and wrestled with the oil stain demons in a pit of Borax!  And what is my thanks for my gallantry? Another massive gathering of dirty laundry!

Have I offended you?  Does my pitiful attempt at folding a fitted sheet cause you such grief that you must punish me?  I have suspected for quite some time that you have cursed  my dryer for it does not matter what mode I put the clothes on, regular, delicate, or air fluff, I WILL shrink something.  Usually something brand new!  It is a cruel curse to endure!   And why must you pilfer my socks?  I need those!  Is there a shortage of socks in the Downy Heavens?  Are you funding a relief effort for one legged soap sprites, and so must tax me one sock? I hold onto the other sock hoping against hope that its mate will reappear, but it never does.  Does your cruelty know no bounds?   At this point I will donate the mate to your cause just to get rid of my giant basket of unmatched socks!

I do not mean to offend you Lord of Laundry, but the madness must end!  I would be eternally grateful if you could let up a little (or a lot) and just let me be. My family cannot endure anymore wrinkled shirts, shrunken pants, or mismatched socks.  Thank you for your consideration in these matters.


One exhausted mom


The Twinkle Diaries