‘Tis The Season

It is such a busy time of year.  That isn’t news to anyone, right?!? I don’t know of any one of my friends that doesn’t have a list a mile long of things that need to get done between now and Monday….

Last minute presents to buy.  Stockings to stuff.  Stuff to wrap.  Laundry. Meals to cook. Shopping for food.  Entertaining littles while they are “enjoying” Christmas break from school.  Cleaning. Work.  Parties. Baking.  Cleaning. It goes on and on and on…. Does anyone really enjoy the Christmas Season?  Or have we gotten so far removed from what it SHOULD be about, that we forget to stop and just be…..

img_0342 I saw this image shared on Facebook this morning, and it gave me pause.  I really have been trying to scale it back, but really…. this is my Christmas bucket list moving forward.

I think the reason we drive ourselves crazy with making the holidays perfect, is for the right reasons.  We want everything to be perfect.  We want our kids to have these perfect, well wrapped, perfectly decorated holidays – the truth is, what will they really remember and cherish?  Will they remember ALL the crap you bought them?  Or would they remember when you got them a board game, and spent a few hours playing and laughing?  Will they remember the hours you spent in the kitchen, making the perfect turkey and all the fixins?  Yeah, the food was good – but were you even THERE, enjoying your family holiday?

When I think back to Christmas as a kid – I remember the time spent with family.  I don’t really remember any gifts.  I remember my Grandma and her siblings working hard in the kitchen all day, and us not getting to spend time with her until late – when she was tired and cranky… and didn’t seem to enjoy the day at all – it was like it was their duty, their calling in life.  BUT, we spent the holiday with an incredibly large extended family.  We laughed at how this well prepared meal (that literally took 2 days to cook), was cold by the time it hit the table… so, what was the point?!?

I miss the crap out of those big family holidays.  I miss my Grandma at this time of year, more than words can express.  If she were here, she would be 89, and she would be still insisting on working her ass off in the kitchen all day to serve a cold meal to anyone who walked through the door (sometimes the meals were warm, but it was always comfort food)…

Here is the thing.  My boys no longer believe in Santa, and that is okay.  It is sad, but our Christmas is still full of magic and fun.  We have talked a lot about giving this year, and both boys have cleaned out their rooms to make donations to those in need (without being asked to y’all #ProudMomMoment).  We put a lot of thought into their gifts this year, and tried not to over do it.  I have about 80% of my wrapping done.  There is still some work to do for sure, but I am trying to NOT stress about it.  I am trying to be in the moment and enjoy the people in my life amidst all the chaos.

This year we are not stressing about food.  We are going to order in…. go ahead and judge.  I cook my family some pretty darn good meals all the time.  For Christmas, I don’t want to spend my time in the kitchen (unless it is to refill my wine glass and grab another cookie).  I want to spend time with those I love.  I want to take pictures.  I want to play games.  I want to laugh and make real, solid memories.  My kids will spend part of their day with their Dad’s part of the family – I LOVE that they get to do that.  But I am going to be darn sure I spend the time I have with them, being present.

I sent Christmas cards this year.  A whole crap ton of them…. why?  Because who doesn’t love getting cards in the mail?  It is the only time of year I look forward to opening the mailbox!  And, I baked a whole lot of sweets… we delivered to several houses and yep, it was a lot of work and my kitchen was destroyed – but I REALLY enjoy doing it.  So then, it isn’t really like work, right?  AND… I take my time wrapping gifts, and making them all look beautiful with tied ribbon, and whatever extras…. I don’t care if I am giving you a stupid, cheap gift – It will look good under the tree damn it!  Again, I enjoy this part of the holiday, so it is what it is!

My house is a mess right now.  Just surface clutter, but still….  I was looking at it this morning, wondering when I will have the time to get it all done – tonight we have a pizza party for Nate’s travel baseball team (gifts and games all prepared last night), but there is stuff to clean!  Stuff to wrap!  UGH!!!!  But then I thought… who cares?  It will get done, it always does. I am going to enjoy my evening with our baseball family and not worry about anything else.

The boys spend Christmas Eve with their dad.  But when Jerritt called me yesterday and asked if we wanted to spend the day at a 49er game…. I almost said no.  Too much to do!  Stuff to get done!  It’s freakin Christmas EVE!!!  There is magic to create DAMN IT, don’t be ridiculous!  BUT… then I thought about it.  What better gift than a day with my love, watching my team (who has managed to start to look like a professional football team again)….  Shit will get done.  Or it won’t.  Either way, it’s okay.

It has taken a lot to get to this point in my life.  And I kind of love it.  I will be 40 in a few short months, and I am really prepared to make it the start of the best part of my life.

So to all the parents out there, who are losing their shit to have the perfect holiday – stop.  Just freaking be there and spend time with the family.  Let the mess wait, it will still be there.  Take pictures.  Be IN pictures (who gives shit what you look like)!  You don’t get this time back with family and friends, so don’t waste it being busy.  Let that be your gift, that you actually are ACTUALLY THERE, enjoying it all.


Know that my house is open for any friends, family, neighbors (who are like both)… Everyday, and yes, even Christmas.  We may be drinking in our pajamas, eating Chinese food, and playing games – but we always have enough to share.  If you need a time out from drama or grumpy people, please stop by.  We are embracing our crazy this year, and will be enjoying every minute of it.

#CrazyAsAMother #FrickAndFrack #SlowYourRoll #MerryElfinChristmas #AlwaysWelcomeAtOurHouse #CrazyIsOurSignatureColor #MakeMemories #EnjoyEveryMoment

Holiday Traditions, With a Side of Guilt

I love Thanksgiving.  Part of me misses the huge family gatherings with generations upon generations of family, cold food, and usually a dash or two of drama – but, they never were the same once we lost Grandma Millie.  But, I also really love our nice, quiet get together – where we eat what we want, when we want – we play card & board games, our home is open to whatever friends and family want to stop by.  No drama.  No stress.  A chance to truly reflect on the holiday and all that we have to be thankful for.

We had a super small group this year.  Just Jerritt, my mom, my sister, my nephew and the boys came by in the late afternoon for some desert and to play some games (and of course adventures of the new pup, Sophie & Cooper).  That’s it.  It was pretty awesome, and the food was delicious & plentiful.

After the big turkey day, we have a jam-packed weekend of tradition, kicking off the Christmas craziness….

  • Friday: Black Friday shopping with my sister
  • Saturday: Picking up our tree, Lights On Parade
  • Sunday: Decorate the tree & every freaking available surface in the house

I actually enjoy all the hustle and bustle.  It sets my spirits right for enjoying the next month of Christmas fun.  I didn’t buy a whole lot on our Friday excursion (except stuff for myself), but I did get some good deals, and enjoyed the day with my sis.  But buying for myself isn’t where my guilt came from, nor is it from eating entirely too much this weekend….  ugh. #FML

Remember how I told you about my Real Nightmare Before Christmas …. well, it happened.  I had the chance to spend a one on one day with Kevin before Thanksgiving.  We chatted about Santa, Christmas magic, tooth fairy, everything…. he was 100% certain that Santa was’t real – that it was all mom & dad.  He had caught Rich as the tooth fairy before (knowing where the money was stashed one morning when Nate couldn’t find it), and he had “scientific proof that the North Pole was nothing more than an uninhabited iceberg….” Well, crap.  Kevin is normally my sensitive soul, and I didn’t expect this from him.  But, he wasn’t upset.  He didn’t believe, and he is ready to help spread some Christmas magic of his own this year.  We did talk about him keeping the secret of Santa, and not telling people that he has “proof” he isn’t real.  This is OF COURSE after he has told his brother a few times this season that it isn’t real….

Kevin –  photo courtesy of Patty Schmidt Photography

So my Nate.  My cool guy, Mr. Popular, wants to be older, funny guy.  My Tater-Tot….. I sat down with him yesterday afternoon.  I told him what I believe as far as Santa, Christmas spirit, all the good stuff, trying to spin the positive, and not totally crush his beliefs – but telling him the truth…. He cried.  Like total, real tears, sobbing.  I thought I would die.  It is hard to try to cheer him up, when I feel like crawling in a fort with a bottle of wine and crying because I caused him pain.  He isn’t supposed to be my sensitive guy. He told me that he still believed, even though Kevin had done everything he could to convince him otherwise.  He told me he LOVED getting up each morning to see what shenanigans our Elf On the Shelf had gotten into.  I think he was more crushed about the elf than Santa.  I officially ruined the whole freaking holiday season for this kid.  And I feel like crap because of it.

Nate, my TaterTot.  (photo courtesy of Patty Schmidt Photography)

I know, I know…. several of you told me to let them keep believing.  The parental council (me, Jerritt & Rich) had all agreed that they were old enough (and we have had enough of the daily elf crap)… and I got to be the lucky person to break the news.  Well, it’s done.  Only one soul crushed.  No more nightly elf-escapades.  No more giving the big-guy credit for all the work we do.  Just disappointment and broken hearts….

Me & my boys! Photo courtesy of Patty Schmidt Photography…. look her up, she is awesome!

So, now I am on a mission.  I am going to make it the most freaking magical Christmas ever.  I am going to have them giving and feeling good about it.  I am going to show them the true meaning of Christmas.  And we will have fun doing it, damn it!

Now, if I can just get the new pup to stop eating all my Christmas decorations, we should have a freaking fabulous holiday….


P.S. The elf may make a few appearances this year – just some random fun surprises to brighten some days…

#CrazyAsAMother #ElfinRidiculous #MOTY #ThatDidntGoAsPlanned #MostWonderfulTimeOfTheYear


Be The Corn

I swear…. this is one of my favorite memories from this time of year.  It was a great teaching moment for my kids, and for me as a parent.

5 years ago, my boys were in Kindergarten… their first year at our amazing elementary school (this year is sadly our last).  We have had 5 years of awesome teachers, staff and volunteers.  Our Ladd Lane family goes above and beyond, and when people tell me how great my kids are, those folks played a BIG part in shaping their personalities.  I am so very thankful…

Each year at the school, the kinder classes learn the story of Thanksgiving, and craft costumes of either Pilgrims or Indians, and do a little parade around campus.  It is the cutest. The boys’ teacher that year, Mrs. Raper, asked each student what they wanted to be to represent Thanksgiving, and each child chose to be either a Pilgrim or an Indian.

Then, there is my kid.  I’m talking about Kevin. My sensitive, smart, crafty, sometimes moody little dude.  He has ALWAYS marched to his own tune.  He is an individual beyond measure – I think my twins really TRY to have NOTHING in common.  They have a lot of the same traits, that they show in their own ways – but never the same traits at the same time (can you say Gemini Twins?!?).

Kevin wants to be corn. In his 5 year old mind, corn represents Thanksgiving.

What Mrs. Raper did (or actually didn’t do) blew me away.  It might not seem like a big deal, but it really is.  She did not tell him that he was wrong.  She did not ask or encourage him to go along with the instructions and BE an Indian or a Pilgrim.  She let him be corn.  She went out of her way to help him make a “corn” costume so he could be himself that day.  Now, it WAS cute as hell…. but more importantly – it was Kevin.

Corny Kevin & Pilgrim Nate – 16 November 2012

I mean gosh – it would be so easy to make him go along with the class.  Do do what he was instructed to do.  To be who we want him to be.  But, who does it hurt if he wants to be corn? Think about it (I am talking BIG picture here people)….  


Yes, you should teach your kids right and wrong.  You should guide them to build their own moral compass.  But you should teach them that they can do it their own way.  They can be themselves and not be judged, but be supported.  Teach them that it is okay to stand out, and to stand up for yourself.  Teach them that there are times when the world will try to drag them down with judgement and ridicule – but to look for the good in people and use that to build themselves up.  You know what parents – you need to stick up for your kids.  You need to be their biggest cheerleader.  Know when they are faced with the hard stuff, teach and build and help them grow into strong & compassionate people.

It is a scary world.  I hate that there is so much evil to stress about in this world – maybe it has always been there – but technology has put it right in our faces 24-7. Sheltering your kids or trying to force them to comply to the social norm is (in my opinion) a big part of what is wrong with society today.  Y’all – the proper way to deal with bad feelings, bullying, disappointment, mental health issues… has got to be something other than a mass shooting.  That cannot be the answer, and yet it seems to happen EVERY DAY.  

So keep it simple:  Be the corn.  Or the tater(s).  Or whatever you want to be.  Do that. Be you.  Don’t let anyone tell you to be someone else. 

#CrazyAsAMother #FrickAndFrack #BeTheCorn #YouDoYou #Thankful #LaddLaneRocks #TeachersMakeAWorldOfDifference #BeTheChangeYouWantToSeeInTheWorld

Photo courtesy of Patty Schmidt Photography.  Kevin chose to wear some color while the rest of us wore black – because he is AWESOME!

Sometimes They Surprise Me…

Things are crazy as usual around here.  We are always, always, always on the go.  I have been doing pretty good with not complaining, and I have to say it feels pretty amazing.  No one needs that kind of negativity in their lives, and I don’t miss spreading misery.

As you know, I write shit down.  If I didn’t, we would all be lost.  Seriously.  I am the keeper of the calendar.  The meal planner.  The schedule monitor.  We have a lot of moving pieces in our family, and I use what tools are necessary to keep us on track.

I am always thinking and planning ahead…. how are we going to get one kid here for practice, the other up to a tournament?  Who is going to pick them up?  Drop them off?  Be home for dinner?  Plans are just plans, and they are thankfully VERY flexible – but I like to have a plan….

The meal calendar we have on our dining room wall, I update every Sunday.  Usually the end of the week and Saturday are spur of the moment (unless we have an occasion) – so I don’t usually plan much – but I also use it to write plans if we aren’t going to be home… more importantly, if I am not going to be home to cook dinner.

This week, I spied the cutest little update to the Menu board.  I don’t know for sure which little added it (I have my guess), but it sure made me smile & damn thankful for these amazing little humans we are raising….

the M is for Mom, because I don’t have an actual name, but the gesture is adorable….

#DateYourMate #CrazyAsAMother #MyKidsAreAwesome #WriteShitDown

The REAL Nightmare Before Christmas

Y’all…. I am stressing about the holidays this year.  Not for the normal reasons – this is a big freaking deal.

Our boys are 10 this year (well, 10 1/2 technically)….  I have my suspicions that AT LEAST one of them doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.  That means that the other has been told Santa isn’t real.  Ugh… twins suck, sometimes.  So what do we do?!? If we don’t come clean and tell them that Santa isn’t real, the one son will certainly torment and try to tear apart the magic for the other (little assholes that I love)…  So I guess this is the year that I tell my kids we are liars.


Parenting & adulting is the hardest thing – like ever.

In this day and age, I know they can look up whatever on Google, YouTube, or ask Siri….  In fact, they had me ask Siri a couple of years ago, thankfully she is shady AF and gives good answers!  Maybe they know, but not really know, you know?


So do I let them figure things out on their own?  Do I let their disappointment in us and our lifetime web of lies creep in and destroy their holiday spirit? Or do I find a way to break it to them gently, without breaking their hearts…. let’s face it, no matter how cool they act on the outside, finding out that something magic isn’t what you think , is crappy.

I don’t remember when I figured it out as a kid.  It obviously didn’t scar me for life – if I had to guess, my sister & cousin probably ruined it for me (4 years older).  But, I do not remember being upset.  I do not remember my parents worrying about it, and I turned out relatively fine (I think).  But, I feel like I want to give my kids more than that. I don’t want to be the Grinch who Stole Christmas….


So here are my thoughts – and I honestly would love to hear what you think.  I probably won’t go full-Pinterest mom and write a mushy letter about how much they have grown, and blah, blah, blah….  Let’s face it, my kids are smart and sassy (no idea where they get that), and also a little crazy (definitely not me).  But, I feel like I need to find the right way to tell them what I believe.

I believe in the magic of Christmas.  I believe that it is a time of year where people open up their hearts and are more thoughtful and giving than any other time.  I believe in going above and beyond to make lives a little brighter, and to keep the magic alive for everyone, but especially little ones.

I believe in Santa.  I do.  I believe that Santa is a lot of people, who keep the spirit of Christmas alive.  I believe he lives in our hearts – not at the North Pole.  I believe Santa is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others.  I believe that Santa teaches us to believe in something we can’t see or touch – and that is an important thing in life…  And I believe in the importance of carrying this magic on year after year, generation after generation.  No, we are not “the” Santa, but we are like his elves – Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness, we are just part of the team.

Yeah, I will explain that it was us that chose and wrapped their presents.  I will tell them that the gosh darn Elf On The Shelf was all us, doing our job to share the magic of Christmas (some very late and crazy shenanigan planning, that I will no longer stress about).  Seriously – I glued together Popsicle sticks last year to make him a freakin tree house….

Elf on the Shelf-Backlash

So, I know what I want to say…. I just don’t know how. It isn’t an “Oh by the way….” type of conversation.  But I feel like this is the year we need to tell them.  Rich & Jerritt are on board with telling them (because the elf).  And I actually KNOW that the elf will appear in some funny/inappropriate situations this year (because boys/men are gross & they share an odd sense of humor), but the kids will enjoy it on a different level.  And I am sure I will still have reason to be up until 3 am during the holidays, making some kind of magic happen – AND I AM OKAY WITH THAT.

It really sucks.  They can’t stay little forever.  I get that.  But I hope, beyond any other Christmas miracle, that I can tell them the truth and keep the Christmas spirit alive… I’m probably stressing over nothing.  They probably gave up believing long ago – but crap, let a mom hold on to their childhood a bit longer, okay?!?

So, what do you think?  How should this whole bombshell go down?  Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas?  Do your ideas involve wine, because mine do…. (for me, not the kids, I swear)! Help a momma out!!!

#CrazyAsAMother #IDontWantToBeAGrinch #ChristmasSpirit #TherapyForChristmas #HelpMeNotScrewUpTheirChildhood #GoodbyeElf

For Reals Though…

This morning, as I was snoozing through my alarm (for an hour or so), I was in the midst of a super annoying dream.  If you have read a post or two of mine, I am a pretty straight forward kind of gal.  If I want you to know something, I will tell you.  If it doesn’t really matter, I won’t go out of my way.  I don’t like to cause friction, but I won’t sugar coat life.

I actively avoid drama. But, this annoying dream made me realize something.  Maybe I AM guilty of complaining too much?

Here is a snapshot of the crappy dream (which may be based on some real life events)…  Jerritt was bitching at my mom about the garbage can in the kitchen being too full, and the dog getting into it.  Then I started bitching at both of them that the garbage is always too full, and doesn’t get taken out, unless I do it.  So as I was mumbling at/about both of them who are talking about the garbage, I grabbed the bag to take it out.  In my dream, I walked past Kevin in the kitchen, who was making chocolate milk.  There was so much chocolate in there, that it hardly looked diluted…. so I made some sort of snarky comment to him about NEVER having chocolate milk again, and he just gave me a sly smile and said sure mom, while Nate laughed and encouraged him to add more chocolate….

That is all I remember (I don’t often remember my dreams, and I may need therapy – but that isn’t the point).  And I am NOT going to say that these conversations have taken place in our kitchen. But I can’t fully deny it either.  But – here is what stuck with me (when I hopped out of bed in a panic, because I was running behind)….  In my dream, I didn’t do anything to make anything better.  I didn’t fix anything.  I bitched and complained, and hinted at things that bothered me – and NOTHING CHANGED.

Crap.  Maybe I am falling into a trap, where I am expecting folks to live up to expectations that I don’t tell them I have.  Seriously – how can I expect a house full of males to KNOW that they are pissing me off, if I don’t explicitly tell them.  We all know that waiting for them to pick up on the signals will lead to a lifetime of disappointment.  I have even had whole conversations with Jerritt how it annoys me when I see this in other houses. Damn it!!! I hate when I realize that I have been a hypocrite!


So starting today…. I am going to make a very conscious effort to not complain.  For reals… it doesn’t solve anything.  I am not going to excuse it away, saying I am “venting”, not complaining.  It is the same thing.  Bitching about things, but not contributing a single effort to change things is a waste of time.  A waste of life.

Take a minute and think about the last thing you were complaining about…. did your words and attitude do anything to make your life better? Let’s take my dream for an example…. I can either mutter things under my breath about the garbage not being taken out, and end up doing it myself – OR – I can simply ask – “Jerritt, will you please take out the garbage?”(and possibly end up taking it out myself anyways… but hey, at least I tried).


My mom (I love her to death), is famous for making snarky comments and expecting change….  Really, I do love you mom! It drives me bananas.  I find it passive aggressive, and solves NOTHING.  And yet….  I think I have been falling into this rabbit hole lately, and it has been causing a strain on the whole house.  Think about how much easier life would be, if there were not a cloud of misinterpretation and misunderstanding?!?!

If I really want you to DO something – I can either make hints about it, or directly communicate my expectations or request.  I’m no genius, but if I were a betting girl, I would guess that the “hint” would miss the mark MOST of the time!

I will take it a day at a time…. then a week at a time.  I am going to replace my habit of complaining into a habit of changing.  If something doesn’t work – I can take steps to make it better, or adjust my expectations.  But – I no longer want to waste time with negative fillers.  Life is too short for that crap.  It will be a hard habit to break.  And, if I start bitching to you without offering a solution, please call me on it!  


Anyone else want to give it a try?  I expect to see some big (positive) changes in my life to come from this….  Come on – what have you got to lose?!? I challenge you (whoever read this to the end) – 24 hours without complaining.  Let’s do this!!!

#CrazyAsAMother #QuitYourBitchin #ForgetSubtleHints #BeDirect #NoComplaints





Hustle & Heart

This morning (just like yesterday morning), I did not want to get out of bed. I showered, got ready & snuggled back down for a minute…. I could have stayed there all day. I had slept just fine.  In fact, both the past couple of nights, I got a solid 6-7 hours of sleep, and that is pretty darn good!  And yet, I am just too tired to “adult” any more this week.

Why I am tired isn’t a great mystery.  I have been running around the past few weeks like a chicken with my head cut off!  People ask me how I get it all done, and why I push myself so hard.  The short answers are: I don’t get it all done (especially not alone), and I push myself because I can!

We have had a lot going on… I’m not talking about the job I am paid to do (which is busy and wonderful).  I am talking about all the volunteer stuff, kid stuff, life stuff.  I love being such an active part in my kids lives and activities.  I have already told you about my village that helps to get it all done in an earlier post called I Love My Tribe .  Seriously, I would have had to cut way back on my volunteerism without them – or I would die trying to do it all…. Either way, thank goodness they are here and have my back.

Here is a snapshot of the past couple of weeks for me….

First – I ATTEMPT to keep things organized.  I tote around this big ol’ planner, where I write everything down – color coded based on what or who the activity is for.  I also meal plan and try to keep the week organized based on what I think is going on that week. Sometimes the plan is just that, a plan – we go with the flow for the most part….

My planner…. a side note – I failed my goal of getting to the gym, but I drank wine 2x that week!

School Stuff – I have been a part of the leadership for Ladd Lane Parent Club for a long time.  Now, I only have twins, and they are in their last year at this beloved school – but I have been volunteering since the year they were born.  My sister is a single mom, and I was by her side, helping in Parent Club for 5 years before my kids started going there!  This is my tenth and “final” year volunteering with these amazing folks.  I have a few projects and events I am heading up – and help when and where I can with it all!  There is no slacking off for our final year – we will go out with a BANG!

Last week I finalized plans for our Mother/Son Halloween Dance, put together 700 copies of a See’s Candy fundraiser packet to send home with every student, put together a concise list of instructions for the See’s fundraiser – since I won’t be there next year, posted several social media reminders about school events, created tickets for the Mother/Son dance, purchased bags for the dance/dinner pre-sales, distributed the 700 copies to teacher boxes, counted the dance pre-sales to get our food order placed, and purchased costumes for the dance…. whew!

This week just finalizing the dance plans… Our Mummys & Monsters Dance is going to be a blast! I will be decorating on Friday and ready to enjoy my last dance with my kiddos at that school.  The boys (not just mine, but most of the male students), have been complaining for years that the girls’ dance is bigger & better – and it has been… we always try to cram these in after the holidays, the middle of baseball season.  My friend and fellow boy mom has been working with me this year to make our last boys’ dance the best one they have had!  We are leaving a legacy behind for those who follow…

Baseball – So you know…. we just started our own Travel Baseball team with a few other families.  It is so much fun!  We have just finished our second tournament, and we have such an amazing group of families!  I never do things half-way.  There is the potential (hope) that we will have this travel ball team for years and years to come. So that means I have been filing for tax id, preparing to file for tax exempt status, chasing sponsors, setting up fundraisers, setting up the bank account – creating an “executive board”, articles of association, a roster of parent “booster” members….  A lot of stuff.  But, once it is done, and we get through the initial craziness, it will be smooth sailing!  This past week, I have been wrapping up organizing our first fundraiser!  I have been chasing donations for a raffle, selling dinner tickets for/with my kiddo, chasing families for their money/tickets to be turned in, finalizing our banking, paying for our event in advance & gathering orders for sweatshirts and hats for our families to rock! That event is tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it!


Don’t forget we also have Soccer, Art Class, Scouts, Advanced Band…. so many kids activities and so little time.  Thankfully (sometimes regrettably), they don’t have the need for volunteers to help run things, but I do what I can when I can.  Sometimes we struggle just to be everywhere we need to be, when we need to be there!

And… last week Jerritt was out of town for work from Thursday through Sunday night.  That threw a wrench into our well-oiled machine!  While it did mean I didn’t not have to feed anyone for a couple nights, it meant that I had to figure out how to be everywhere for everyone – baseball in Santa Cruz on Saturday, soccer in Hollister Sunday morning, and then baseball again on Sunday….

My weekend kind of went like this….  I packed lunch for the kids and I and went to Santa Cruz on Saturday for 2 baseball games.  Get a call from Jerritt that he lost his ID and credit card in New Orleans. Home at a decent time, made dinner for the kids and had to wash uniforms & send Jerritt pictures of the ID stuff we had at the house.  Of course – Nate had a dirty uniform from 2 weeks prior (he forgot to wash at his dads)… It needed to soak, but we didn’t have time for that.  I went to wash Kevin’s soccer uniform – only to find he left it at his dads house.  After dinner, I decided to make up a big batch of my famous pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for the team and families on Sunday.  I let Rich know he had a dirty soccer uniform that needed his attention, and finally crashed out!  Up early Sunday – feed kids, pack lunches again, load up the car and go.  First to Rich’s house to drop off Nate (in his sorta clean uniform), and have Kevin change into his soccer uniform.  Off to soccer – which started 15 minutes late because the refs were not on time… I gave Jerritt a play by play of the game, because the coach hates missing a game!  Finish the soccer game and hop in the car to Santa Cruz.  Wouldn’t you know, they started early (of course), so we missed the first couple of innings…. but we made it! Both baseball games this weekend were intense (like the most stressful I have ever been to) – but we squeaked by a win with both and got first place (after losing 2 on Saturday)!



The only thing that allowed me to keep my sanity this weekend, was the glass of wine with good friends/team families when we got back to town on Sunday – without that, I am sure I would have taken a little longer to unwind!  That, and knowing that Jerritt’s flights had landed safely, and he was coming home.


Right now it is hard for me to imagine weekends without all the running around.  And evenings where one organization or another doesn’t need some of my time….  For now I will just give it all I got and try to not stress about the small stuff!

#CrazyAsAMother #VeryBusy #LoveMyTribe #CaffeineIsMyFavorite #IMayHaveBribedTheTeamWithAPromiseOfMoreCookies #LoudAndProud #MoreWinePlease

I Am A Serious Sleeper

I love sleep.  I really do.  It is my chance to reset, rest my brain, be still.  Being still is a challenge for me….

I sleep like a rock.  I fall asleep fast.  I sleep hard.  I can sleep anywhere – lights, noise, whatever…. most of the time at least (I will tell you about the things that do wake me in the middle of the night, and I am not very gracious when I am woken up)!

Last night, after work I ran all over town to take care this volunteer gig, and then another… When we finally sat down, ate leftovers for dinner, and watched TV – I was DONE.  We watched one recorded show and then decided it was an early bed night.  We don’t have the kids on most Wednesday through Friday nights… so I didn’t need to stay awake to adult!  By 9 pm, I was tucked into bed to read for a bit.  Half a page later (and before Jerritt ever walked into the room), I was OUT! I slept solidly through until my alarm started at 3:30 this morning.  I hit snooze at least 3 times before I could convince myself to start the day….  I need to be getting my ass up and going to the gym – but we will talk about that some other time!

My life is crazy busy – by my own design.  I hustle hard. I love my job, but going to work is work.  I am helping start a non-profit travel baseball team for one kid.  I do what I can to support soccer for the other.  I volunteer at school (it is our last year in elementary).  I take pictures at every event.  I do yearbook.  I help drive kids to practices, art class… wherever.  Fundraisers – for different things – ALL YEAR LONG! I do the grocery and other shopping.  I cook meals – for at least half the week (thank goodness for kid-less nights & leftovers).  I fold and put away laundry (Jerritt usually helps get it washed and dried).  The family helps me keep the house clean.  I am trying to figure out how to get stared with my advanced education….. I have a million things going on in my head at any given time – so when I am done, I am done.  And just like that – I am able to turn it off & get the rest that I need.  Pretty sure if I didn’t, I would die.


I think in addition to just being tired from all the crazy – I sleep well, because I am pretty darn content with my life.  I don’t stress over things that aren’t perfect.  I let things go and know that things will work out – one way or another & I have great people around me to help me through any challenges.  I’ve learned over the years that you aren’t going to “fix” anything by letting it keep you awake at night.  Being over tired leads to more stress.  More stress leads to more sleeplessness…  It is a viscous cycle, and if you are in it, you have to find your way out!

I have had insomnia before.  It sucks.  I am glad it only happens once in a great while, and I feel sorry for those who suffer from it for long periods of time.  Jerritt has a hard time falling asleep – so I am sure I drive him crazy.  Luckily for him, losing 100 pounds mean I snore a lot less!

Now don’t get me wrong.  I spend a lot of late nights working all all the extra in my life (and still have get my ass up for work). Don’t even talk to me about sleep around holidays or special occasions…. I’m the mom who will stay up all night to make sure Christmas morning is perfect – and usually the first one awake (damn it – wake up and appreciate all the hard work I did to create magic)!!! And I can (usually) stay awake in social situations. Occasionally I will stay awake watching something good on TV, or finish a really good book.


But USUALLY,  if I am sitting still, and especially there if our dog is snuggled up next to me – most of the time I am going to fall asleep.  It can be the most interesting thing in the world playing out in front of me, and I will crash out.  As soon as I stop working on one thing or another, I am gone.  It is kind of ridiculous, and totally awesome at the same time.

You can have full on conversations with me in my sleep.  I will have no clue.  I can sleep sitting up.  I can lay on the ground or couch and not complain.  I can usually sleep through the kids getting up at night – Kevin can be a sleepwalker…. and why we put a hotel lock on our front door when he was little.  I can sleep through whatever action movie or wrestling Jerritt puts on the tv in our room.  We have a huge, comfy sleep number, dual adjustable bed.  It is amazing.  Pair that with a lovely diffuser and some amazing essential oils – and there is no way not to sleep….

EXCEPT – I literally sleep on the very edge of the above mentioned large and comfy bed.  The VERY EDGE.  I hold on to my blankets for dear life, so I don’t freeze – thankful I don’t roll off.  While I do fight Jerritt for the covers, it is not him who puts me to the edge of the bed…. It is the damn dog that we love so much!

This pup loves him some snuggles… his sleep number is 35, by the way.

Cooper looks pretty small.  He shouldn’t take up much room, right?!? Apparently, my sleep number works so well for him, he has decided it is his side of the bed.  This dog LOVES to sleep under the covers (usually with his head on my pillow – ridiculous, I know).  He stretches out as long as he possibly can, his back right up against mine, and his legs out to the other side.  I am convinced he is trying to push me off, but he just hasn’t succeeded yet.  I can’t even move to push him over!  He has me stuck unless I get out of bed and pick him up and move him…. And then he will growl at me!  I wish I was kidding.  I have woken up to cuss at the cute little shit more than once – as my back was completely cramped up and I was freezing with no blankets….  It is a good thing he is cute, because the nights his shenanigans keep me awake, I am not a happy camper.


Speaking of middle of the night shenanigans….  Jerritt.  When he does sleep, he also sleeps pretty hard.  He is one of those that will roll over and take ALL the blankets with him.  Ugh.  But that isn’t even the worst part.  He freaking steals my pillow!!!  Right out from under my fucking head!  I instantly wake up – so mad!  Sometimes I can grab it before he can pull it all the way out from under me.  Sometimes he steals it and throws it on the ground on the other side of the bed!  One night, I grabbed it back so fast – I knocked over my lamp, diffuser, oil stash…. the whole thing went flying.  And then… in the morning he asks me how I slept….. I get sooooo mad!  He has NO RECOLLECTION of torturing me the night before. I want to punch him so hard when this happens – I really do.  I am not a violent person, but this about pushes me over the edge.  Oh, and did I mention that he sometimes sleeps diagonally across the bed?!? Its a good thing I love him, because some nights I feel like killing him…

These two often need a nap to recover from their middle of the night torment….

I am so crabby when my precious sleep gets interrupted.  It is very much not like me.  But damn it – leave me alone when I am sleeping!  This is a tiring season in life.  We have so much good going on, and not enough hours in the day to make it happen.  At some point this season will end, and I can catch up on sleep then….

For now, I will keep attempting to sleep hard when I get the chance!   I’m thankful the boys are reaching the age of sleeping in (not that our schedules allow us to enjoy it), but hey – there are occasions!  I will take the elusive lazy weekend days that we spend in bed and order food in.  Make every restful minute count!

#CrazyAsAMother #TiredAsAMother #CoopersSleepNumberIs35 #LeaveMyPillowAlone #IfYouLoveMeLetMeSleep


I Love My Tribe

We aren’t your average family.  And I love it. It works for us.  People comment all the time, in awe that we all get a long so well….  Jerritt and I have been together almost 5 years.  We own a home that we love.  We have the kids with us half of each week, and every other weekend.  We have 3 dogs and 2 cats.  We are crazy busy with sports, school, work, volunteering…. but we try as often as we can to spend time as a family.

Last year’s Family Photo – taken by the wonderful Patty of Patty Schmidt Photography!

Fourteen years ago – today, I married one of my best friends.  I really did.  About 6 years ago, we separated and eventually divorced – but we are still the best of friends.  We are still family.  And even if the marriage didn’t work – we grew up together, we are raising our boys as a team, and have never lost sight of being a family.

lins richCopy

In addition to having Jerritt & Rich by my side, raising these pre-teen monsters we call our boys – we have my mom, my sister, my nephew and my brother – not to mention Rich’s girlfriend Kim and her son…. All of us come together to celebrate holidays, to get the kids to and from sports, school, scouts, band, special events. We are their cheering section.  We are their coaches. We are their guidance counselors.  We discuss rewards, discipline & punishment – we make sure we are all on the same page.  We talk about all the big stuff.  We laugh about all the embarrassing and awkward stuff that comes with raising 10 year old boys.  This is my village, my tribe – I couldn’t be the mom that I am, without them.

Like any true family, we drive each other crazy.  We annoy each other.  We get sick of each other.  But…. we laugh (a lot).  We know that no matter what – we will be there to support each other.  We respect each other. We do family dinners.  We do game nights.  We go on adventures.  We love each other loud and proud.   We have zero cares how the rest of the world views our very functional, perfectly imperfect family.

It doesn’t matter if people think we are strange.  I didn’t plan to get married and divorced, and to have this blended family – but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.  Our boys sure are loved. They are lucky to have so many people who are invested in their happiness and growth.

Can I also point out, that we have some amazing, close family friends that are a huge part of what makes life so good….  Seriously, the “tribe” is not complete without them.

Don’t let anyone tell you what your family should look like.  You get to choose your tribe, and they should make your burdens less, and your joy more.  When the world is falling down around you, make sure you have the right folks surrounding you to help build you back up. 

The View From My Soapbox

I don’t do drama.  I really, truly, honestly don’t.  I am easy going, but honest.  I don’t sweat the small stuff.  I don’t hold grudges.  I don’t say anything behind your back that I won’t say to you directly.  I go with the flow, never losing sight of who I am and what really matters.

Sometimes, it is my fatal flaw.  It drives Jerritt crazy sometimes, because it seems like I don’t care – which is the furthest thing from the truth.  I care too much, about too much – but I do my damn best to not let other people control my happiness.

That being said….. If you deliver drama to my doorstep, and worse – drag those closest to me down in drama – I will stand my ground,  say my piece and make sure that you understand EXACTLY where I am coming from.  I am not intentionally hurtful or mean.  But I will go momma-bear on ya, if the situation calls for it.

Today’s shitshow was sponsored by 33 year old drama.  I wish I was kidding, but seriously….. This is going to be a long one, because it has been made clear to me that certain people NEED to hear certain things, so that maybe we can let go and move on. It takes a lot to get me fired up and on a rant…. but here you go:

buckle up

This is totally lame.  As you all know, my dad is sick.  He isn’t doing well at all.  He has been in the hospital since June, but he has been in and out of the hospital for the past 10 years.  I have been posting about him, when there is something to share – because I know that he lost contact with a lot of folks over the years, and people do care.  Including his siblings and my cousins and other friends and family.  I am an open book!!!  I share what I can, when I can – I am not hiding anything, I am not keeping anyone from reaching out or asking questions.  My siblings and I would be happy to have anyone visit or call my dad.  Our Aunt and Uncles have the code to call and get updates direct from dad’s care team – or they can talk to him.  I made the plea to his siblings to set aside the old drama that has kept them apart, and show up – because even now I am not sure how much more that guy can take, and love is supposed to show up.  But I am choosing to share, NOT Pops.  He would likely be pissed off at me for it – but what else is new (it is my special talent).

You are welcome to come, but check your fucking drama at the door.  There is no room for it here.  Not in my life.  Not in his.  Not anywhere near me.  Certainly don’t call me out on Facebook and act like the victim.

Before I give whole long stupid history, I want to tell you what caused me to climb up on my soapbox tonight.

My aunt tagged my sister, brother and I in a post on Facebook – basically calling us out because we haven’t updated about my dad lately and it is hard for “her” to keep updated and his friends and family members “would really like to know”.  Now, here is the thing…. she knows she was stirring the pot, because she already had a conversation with a distant “family member” because she knew she would “be attacked for it”.

So, I did NOT attack.  I responded.  There is no update.  We are dealing with the same stuff.  He is still in the same hospital – with the same phone number and code that they all have.  He is confused.  He has good days and bad.  Communication is still hard.  There are days where he is angry and violent.  There are days where he seems better.  Every day we deal with the guilt of not being able to do more.  Every time we see him we deal with the heart ache for how far gone he is from the dad we know and love.  We don’t know if we will ever get him back all the way.  He doesn’t remember the big picture, so we have to continuously break the bad news to him about his current situation.  Y’all, this is not easy.  This is not pleasant.  This is hard, scary and horrible and sorry if I don’t want to continue to post the same helpless, hopeless thing over and over again.


Early in this hospital stay, my aunt came and visited with him.  We were grateful that she was able to put things aside (for the moment) and spend time with him.  When he started to communicate he told her to fuck off.  So she left.  She hasn’t come back.  We were sorry for that.  We told her we hoped she would come back and try again – because we do, no matter how bad it was the time before.  Getting hurt feelings from being treated poorly by the illness, isn’t going to help him – so we square our shoulders and keep going back and hope beyond anything else that we will see some glimmer of the man he really is.

This little Facebook post alone wouldn’t set me off (the comments though…..).  No.  It was the messages that we had previously gotten, taking digs at us for “having fun” with our kids, but not providing an update on how he is doing.  Another time (I was at a freaking wedding), she was telling us about a friend of a friend who knows something about a  nursing home, that maybe she can help our dad – but “why are you guys ignoring me”…..

Okay.  This is where I start to nut up a little. Our dad being sick is horrible and tragic.  The ONLY victim in this our dad.  He is the only one really suffering, so please don’t tell me how hard this is for you.  Every single member of his family has been invited to step up and help and heal.  If you are not hearing what you want to hear, when you want to hear it, how you want to hear it – that is on you, not me.   Pick up the phone.  Get in your car. Show up.

Let’s take it back now.  My dad has made a lot of mistakes.  He hasn’t been proud of the things that are in his past, but we have made the best life we can.  We have learned, we have gown, and we have moved on.

My dad and his siblings stopped talking much when my Grandpa Bob & Grandma Norma passed away.  It was hard on them.  It was hard on us.  It was devastating. Rather than leaning on each other, they let all the little stuff become big stuff, and it drove wedges between them.  I was 7, and even I could see what was happening.  My aunt is worried about what we think she did wrong all those years ago, but she will be disappointed to learn that I don’t blame her.  They were all adults and they all made their choices.

Fast forward 7 or 8 years…..  My parents had divorced.  My dad had a drinking problem.  He went to recovery for the first time.  During that process, he had to come to terms with a lot of old feelings and fears.  He HAD to face the fact that his dad very likely had a drinking problem.  That was more difficult than you can imagine.  His dad was gone.  He loved and revered that man – and he did not want to admit there was a problem, that he wasn’t perfect.  But he did what he needed to do to heal and get sober.  None of his siblings were a part of this process.  None could agree that their dad wasn’t perfect.

Not too long after his new found sobriety, my cousin Jenny was getting married.  We wanted to go, but there were some things that kept us from going.  Our life was busy, as it can be with 3 teenagers; but there was also fear of how it would be to be at a family function.  The Russell Family gatherings always had beer.  There was always laughs and funny stories.  We always enjoyed being with the family and we had so many great times with all the cousins.  But, my dad didn’t know how he would be able to handle being there, with beer and his brothers & sister – and not being able to drink.  And not being able to address the fact that it may be a problem.  My dad not only had to face the fact that the man he adored wasn’t perfect – but that he, himself was far from perfect.  Rather than ANYONE trying to understand the big picture, everyone made assumptions.

Battle lines were drawn, and hate was strewn, and for years we were pretty much extracted from the Russell Family.  My dad was in a bad spot, and he was too proud to share the whole story.  No one seemed to care enough to bridge the gap.  I was 15. What was I supposed to do?

In the years that followed, my dad had more struggles.  He had an unhealthy second marriage.  He had a horrible addiction to prescription pain killers, that put him in a really dark place.  Marriage ended, he turned back to drinking.  Now, to be crystal clear, I am telling you all this, so that you have a small understanding of how we got to where we are today.  I am not a victim, don’t feel sorry for me.  During these dark days – he came and went from our lives.  I got called by the DEA to testify about the prescription drugs.  I would get calls that he was going to kill himself, that we need to come get his stuff.  He cut himself off from my sister, and I think he has always tried to protect my brother.  But they went through this with me and we stayed strong.  There is a lot more in these years that I would be happy to share another time – but clearly, he has been fighting demons for some time.  During all this time, he not only further distanced himself from the family, but most of his friends.  But WE have been here the whole time.  Including my mom (his ex wife)…. We have always been here to pick up the pieces and do our best by him.  It was HIS choice who to have in his life.

Shortly after my boys were born, he got sober again.  It was the only way he was going to get to be a part of his grandson’s life.  He had met Trevor, but didn’t have a real connection.  He needed to get his life together to be a part of theirs. I am proud to say he has been sober for about 10 years.

He has lived his sober years at Sun Street Center in Salinas, where he got sober.  He worked there and helped with the programs, and they helped keep him on the right path.  We spent time with him in Salinas, or would bring him to Hollister for holidays, weekends of kids sports, and just to hang out.  During these sober years, health problems seem to be compounding.

We have been by his side through countless seizures.  We have been in the emergency rooms with him more times than I can recall.  We worry and ask the doctors as many questions as we can – because it seemed to be getting worse and worse.  We have gotten calls that he has pulled out his IV and walked out of the hospital.  We have driven down to Salinas and searched for him.  We have had days after seizures where we couldn’t reach him, and we would have to go down and have someone help us unlock his doors so we could take him in for care.  I have driven him to the hospital without him knowing who I am.  We have sat by his side when he doesn’t know where he his, or what is happening – and seen him bounce back to “normal”.

All this time (even to this day), he is in charge of his care.  We have no legal control over his medical or other decisions.  We have more questions than answers.  We don’t know what will happen next.  So please, explain to me how any of this leads to other people creating drama…..  

Obviously I have skimmed over a lot – I could write a book with all that we have helped our dad through.  But, we love him.  He is our dad.  We are his family.  His choices made his inner circle small – and we have tried to invite people to try and work their way back in.  But, it is not MY responsibility – or that of Michelle or Adam, to make anyone feel better about their lack of space in his life.

As an adult, you have the POWER to make choices and NOT be a victim of life.  Don’t post something to garner attention or sympathy for yourself and drag me into it, please.  Do what you want, whatever makes you feel good.  But don’t try to take me down that path.


It makes me sad.  I am sorry if you have a hard time.  It certainly isn’t a walk in the park for us.  We had managed to build relationships with our cousins and even some of our Aunts and Uncles through Facebook.  We have even connected in person from time to time.  I LOVE being part of a big family.  I LOVE sharing in their lives.  But I accept that I cannot heal the relationships between them.  That is their job, not mine.  I fear that this latest drama will lead to another freeze out, and my kids will never really know anything of the Russell Family.  We don’t have pictures. We don’t have history.  And we surely aren’t going to get them from our dad.  But, the keepers of the Russell & Roux family histories will likely freeze me out for not meeting their expectations.

I genuinely hope that hurt feelings can be put aside.  But I can’t lose sleep over it.  I don’t do drama, but I won’t stand to be personally attacked when “family and close friends” don’t have any clue what we are dealing with.  I am an open book – if you have an issue, I ask that you act like the adult you are and deal with it.  I choose to surround myself with true friends that focus on building each other up, not tearing people down.  They say your vibe attracts your tribe – that seems to ring true based on the strangers (who are somehow “related” to us – though I have NEVER heard their names) making snarky remarks about something they can’t begin to understand.

So yeah.  I am completely pissed that I got dragged into this drama today.  But you know what – I won’t hold a grudge.  I’ve said my piece, I’m hopping off my soapbox, and I will set fire and walk away.  Whatever it is about our life struggles that make you feel like you are somehow being targeted – I suggest you reflect and revise your approach, because clearly this drama did absolutely nothing to help ANYONE, least of all my Pops.

If you really want to move forward and heal, you have to ditch the baggage. You can’t “fix” the past, so let it go and choose your happy. I have a place in my heart for ALL my family, but a place in my life for only those that want to be here.

#ThatISAllIHaveToSayAboutThat #AtLeastForNow #FamilyIsAChoice #NoDramaMama #CrazyAsAMother #PerfectlyImperfect #BuckleUpButterCup