Wednesday, November 9, 2016


thirty, i'm not afraid of you.

honestly, thirty feels new. and not because there's a new president on the horizon. thirty feels like a deep breath and slow exhale. blank pages waiting to be filled.

i hate to present to you just the highlight reel. like my life is made up of moments designed to make the rest of the world cringe in jealousy. because that's just so not true. the past decade has been filled with plenty of heartache and i'm sure this new decade will bring plenty of hurt all its own.

but my arms are so full of good things at this moment in time that it's easy to let the not so good fade into the background. through a cloud of tears i recently told G that he couldn't possibly understand the hurt of having two mothers walk away from him and never look back. but even the weight of that hurt can't steal my joy. my heart's been broken and mended and broken again. i've never been so tired as i have in the last 18 months of living. but still, i'm walking away from my twenties with much more than i've lost and i just want to be grateful.

we live in a world that says we're entitled to more. to easier. to comfort and safety and the "american dream". and while there are so many hopes and dreams yet unlived and unseen i want to start out this new decade of life content in what i have. which is already so much more than i can carry with me. a loving husband, a beautiful panda baby, a community of good friends, wine in the fridge which means i have a roof over my head and electricity, and love. i have a life filled with love.

i'm coming for you, thirty.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

mom jeans

at long last i finally understand why women of all shapes and sizes succumb to the black hole that is mom jeans. i used to be that girl that looked on in judgment and now i'm all like i'm with you. let my pants sit below the mom pooch and let the pooch dangle in the breeze OR pull those pants up over the pooch and maybe just maybe the stiff material of the jeans will act as some sort of tummy control. i choose the latter every single time.

this is serious business. i realized after birthing the #rowenugget that clothing companies worldwide should just give up on making pants with zippers and buttons and snaps and just stick to the elastic waist. elastic waistbands for president! mom jeans with elastic waistbands. even better.

the reality is that i lost almost all of the baby weight pretty quickly. and then life happened. a newborn who never slept more than 90 consecutive minutes. eating for convenience and comfort. zero time to exercise. and slowly, over the course of a year, half that "baby weight" came back.

listen. i am only 5'2'' and that's generous. i'm actually 5' 1.75". i'm short. i'm really short. i was also that twenty four year old that could eat salads for a week and lose 10 pounds. and i wasn't really paying attention to the fact that my mom pooch wasn't going away because i had just had a baby. and i kept thinking that time was all that food belly needed to let go and leave me in peace. cue summer 2016 and i realized that i was no longer carrying "baby weight" and had just gained weight. blame it on the looming 3-0, the french fries, the red wine (don't listen, cabernet. i'd never blame you).

she makes thigh rolls look so good, i thought i'd join her?

right before the panda turned one i started running again. like really doing my best and not just lamely jogging for 9 minutes until i thought i would pass out. but it wasn't enough. so in july i said goodbye to gluten AND dairy and i really thought life was over. now it's autumn and one season later i am finally finally finally 1 glorious pound under that pre-baby weight. i'll confess that i only had 15 pounds to lose but that seemed like mount everest in june. now there's a new problem looming and it's not the number on the scale or the mom pooch that won't leave no matter how nicely i ask it to.

it's not the number on the scale. but too many times i let it be about the number on the scale.

i have fought my butt off these past few months to get back in shape. i am going to keep fighting to stay in shape and stay healthy. because i deserve it and my family deserves me at my very best. but it's not the number on the scale. unfortunately, i've spent half a lifetime tying my self worth to that number. and the scale is a cruel mistress.

my husband tells me all the time i'm a toothpick but i can't seem to hear him. he reminds me that my panda deserves a mother who thinks she's beautiful at any number because she needs to grow up to see herself in the same way. and he's so right.

so lady in the mom jeans. join me as we enter this holiday season of carbs in remembering that who you are isn't defined by how high you have to hike those pants. whether you barely register on your scale or you're afraid the numbers don't go quite high enough. the number doesn't say anything about who you are. it can't contain you. just like the mom jeans can never quite contain my mom pooch. be as free as your mom pooch. wear those mom jeans with pride! hashtag i'm with mom jeans. hasthag make mom jeans great again.


Monday, May 30, 2016

eleven months

no. this can't be happening. it simply is not one month until your birthday. it can't be. it's too soon. i'm not ready. i want to stay a panda baby mom a little while longer. i'm ill-equipped to be a panda toddler mom.

you are gorgeous. we can't stop looking at you. your pale porcelain skin. your big dark chocolaty brown eyes. your full head of soft brown hair. the little gap in between your front teeth. every single thing about you is perfect because it's you. in a sea of pandas we'd know you anywhere.

the force is strong within you, young one. the force to be heard. you have such a strong little will. and any hope that you'd be mild mannered and quiet are long gone. instead of taming you i view my job as helping you learn the fine art of self-control. it will take everything you have to reign that will of yours in. but you can do it. be wild and free, little one. just don't run over people in the process.

you love to give hugs and kisses to everyone and everything. except mommy and daddy. we try not to take personal offense to this. until that one day you repeatedly kissed the picture of the african american lady on the junk mail flyer. i mean, she was smiling and looked so friendly so i kind of understood. but seriously. i'm yo mama. doesn't that count for anything around here? maybe?

your favorite things are: ming panda. your blanket. strawberries. toys. walks outside. music. taking selfies. trying to walk (by yourself because ain't nobody got time for holding mommy's hands).

the truth's taken every bit of sanity and grit your mom and pops have to get you to this point. we've made a lot of mistakes. we'll make a lot more. but i want you to know, i'll always tell you i'm sorry. i'll always get my hands dirty to help you learn. i'll do my very best. and it won't be perfect and sometimes it will be hard and messy. but it'll be doused in love.

for the next thirty days let's soak it up. let's cuddle til we can't any more. let's rock to sleep and drink as many bottles as you want. let's give one more kiss and then one more. because i'll never regret holding you a little longer or kissing your chubby cheek one more time. i'll never regret filling myself so full of the baby moments because i know i'll never get these days with you again.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

ten months

it just doesn't seem real, little panda, that we've known you for ten months. you are so very different from that squishy screaming bundle we brought home from the hospital. i miss her all the time. that little tiny thing that i could scoop up with one hand. the one that never wanted to be set down. but not your daddy. he adores this new and larger you. the one who crawls and babbles and laughs at her own jokes. the one who reaches for us and gives us slobber kisses.

this month you seemed less like a baby and more like a toddler. you understand when we tell you no or that you're being naughty. you make a big sad face at us or throw a toddler sized fit. you like to tell us when you want something by pointing and babbling. you mimic sounds we make and you seem to understand the beginnings of real language. you can drink from your straw cup like a champ and you finally finally can get food bits from your tray to your mouth.

early in the month you decided to break the winning streak of healthy and fall prey to the awful stomach virus. puke for days. literally. but in the midst of lysol-ing every surface and washing errrthing we snuggled and mommy got a taste of that little baby. silver linings. by nature, you are not super cuddlesome. but sick panda? she's all about the snuggles. and we were happy to oblige. daddy followed your lead and also got all the sickness. it was a tough little stretch. but even in the hardest moments i was so thankful to know what you would get better and we would have healthier days soon.

you are just incredibly spoiled. we've really tried to work on this but hot dang it's so hard. you are just so stinkin' cute to us and it's so easy to give such a beauty her every whim. but for real. no one wants you to grow up and be the entitled rude bratty child. least of all me. so we're working on it. slowly.

little panda, you are just so loved. you are beautiful and funny. you laugh at all your own jokes. you are so very sassy and so very sweet. you love your mommy and daddy most but you're also quite fond of your aunt joni and aunt sara. i could eat your entire face because it's just so delicious looking. and baby girl, you'll never have to search farther than my arms for love and acceptance.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

nine months

nine months. this past month has been such a big growing and changing month for you, little panda. i can't believe what a big girl you are. i still miss that squishy newborn face and the tiny cries that were so loud i didn't understand how they came out of such a small body. but i'm so proud of you and all the things you've learned recently.

you started crawling at the beginning of march. i truly thought you'd crawl sooner but you're so spoiled and me and daddy still carry you around the house most of the time. but you started at a new daycare and the two babies there were on the move when you arrived and i guess you're not one to get left behind in the fray. a few days after you started crawling i noticed that you could pull up to your knees. and a week after that you started pulling up to stand. standing. i can't even bear it.

you are opinionated. like your daddy. (side eye). or like me. but i like to think you get all your glowing personality traits from me and your stinkerness from him. it seems only fair. you've always expressed your displeasure at activities that are not to your particular standards. but now you throw fits when you don't get your way. like real temper tantrums. i pity the fool that has to live with toddler you. oh wait. that's me.

the truth is your daddy had like one hundred teeth as a boy child and looked like a shark with rows of teeth. rows, girlfriend. every day i'm afraid that although you look just like me, you're going to get all yo daddy's teeth. at nine months you already have 4 teeth. three on the bottom and one of your front teeth. and you're working on your second front tooth. sweet little #rowenugget, i hope that all these early teeth isn't an omen. but if it is, we won't leave you looking like a shark. i promise.

panda pup, you are so fun to be around right now. i'm not going to lie. it's probably due in large part to you sleeping a little better and a little longer. happier family members all around. including you. you are constantly laughing, smiling, and hamming it up for anyone who will spare you a glance. your daddy is especially in love with you right now. there are daily arguments over whose turn it is to carry you around or play with you. apparently sharing you isn't our jam.

in harder news, we got a taste of our first real "stank face" as a family. and mommy's all messed up over it. mommy is really really proud to be from such a diverse family. and i hope that you grow up to be proud of your biracial beauty-ness. because dang honey, you are beautiful. just know the mean looks and whispers aren't about you. it's because people don't understand that love doesn't have to stick "to its own kind". you are so worthy of love. and it doesn't have anything to do with how beautiful you are.

you are the bright spot in our day. the apple of our eye. so squishable and cuddly and yet so strong and adventurous. you smile and wave and say "bah bah" ("bye bye") and almost every old person has to resist the urge to touch you all over your face. we are so proud to be your mama and papa.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

eight months

panda babe,

lately, i can't help but constantly think about how blessed we are that you have had such a healthy little life so far. even though teething has been really tough for you, you've been a champ. the only sickness you've suffered is a minor cold. you've yet to have a fever and other than your super sensitive skin you are just the healthiest little chub ever. there are so many other mommies and daddies out there with babes that are desperate for healing. sometimes the only cure is heaven. your health is a gift from God, little one. don't ever take it for granted.

you are finally a mama's girl. you say mama and beg to be held. you continue to be the most highly co-dependent baby, which your daddy says you get from yours truly. but i don't care. it just means we get all the snuggles while daddy has to sit by his lonesome. you also say dada and it's pretty obvious that you actually understand that those are our names. i think you also make a tsk sound to mean #jamesthekitty. but let's face it. mama is finally your favorite and that's all that matters.

knock on wood. it is getting easier to take you places. for a long time, adventures in public turned into epic disasters where we'd have to leave early and then hole up for weeks for fear the uncontrollable screaming would recommence. this is not an exaggeration. but recently we've been getting comments like, is she always this good? which just feels like we've reached the pinnacle of parenting success. keep it up, #rowenugget! i still like to keep us on our toes with the random fit to remind us that you are a diva. but in general, you're happy and sweet.

we are so in love with you. the way you laugh at yourself. your fear of beards. morning smiles that make us feel like we've just seen a shooting star. how you try to contribute to conversations with your baby babble. watching you zoom in your walker and splash in your bath. slobber kisses and neck hugs. you are the best person in our family.

Monday, February 15, 2016


now that i'm on the downward slide toward one year as a human mommy i feel i've departed from the newborn sleeplessness enough to share the one to two nuggets of information i've gleaned during these last few months.


boobs. why does everyone want to talk about your boobs right after your birth a human? i know breastfeeding is a hot topic right now. but it is just startling that so many people (men included here) feel the need to start a dialogue about boobs in general conversation. are you breastfeeding? followed up by how's it going? or why not? has your milk come in? gross. tmi. and etcetera.  if you really want to start a conversation about my body parts post partum, how about asking me how my lady bits are holding up after the bomb called natural birth went off. just kidding. in reality i don't want to talk about my body parts at all. pleaseandthankyou.

beware of the desire to compare. in the very beginning i worried all the time that i was a complete failure at life if my #rowenugget didn't do the same glorious things as all the other babies. i'm learning it's okay that she does things in her own time. she's a crappy sleeper but has defined emotions. she rolled early and is going to crawl late. she waves and high fives and says dada but still doesn't have a strong pincher grasp. truthfully i'm finding that it's a reflection of us as parents more than it is about her development. i see my own success and failure in her. and that's just too great a burden for one tiny baby to bear. she's her own person with her own story to tell. so back off, mom.

please don't judge. nothing makes you feel like the best parent in the world more than someone else's kid losing it in a public place while they look on with sheer terror and defeat. i get it. but i've also been that mom with the baby that has attempted to redefine the term public humiliation. that is not the time for you, mom with perfect child, to make snide comments about how your children NEVER act like that. nor is it the time for you, mom holding it together with screaming child, to listen to such graceless remarks. just go home, pour another glass of wine and enjoy the bach. everything is better in the light of the tv as roses are handed out in a completely arbitrary manner.

snuggle that baby all you want. or don't. but either way keep your mouth shut. pre-baby i had all of these ideals i thought were non-negotiable. i believed all those newborn training people that say it's a disservice to coddle your baby...that they'll grow up to be entitled and co-dependent. and then all my psychology training came back to me and i actually met the #rowenugget. as it turns out she doesn't have an independent bone in her body. she's fearless and full of adventure. but she wants to experience all of that from the comfort of her mama or daddy's arms. so we snuggle her and tote her around and don't let her "cry it out". if you do the opposite that's amazing and i'm glad you're also doing what you feel is best for your smallest person.

and finally and perhaps most controversially, working moms have it harder than anyone on planet earth gives them credit for. there's a big resurgence in the belief that working moms don't love their kids as much as SAHMoms. and i get it. because i wish i could spend my days with the panda doing panda activities and watching her sleep and all those other awesome things. but i can't. and it seems grossly unfair to her. and i feel guilty all the time. but listen. i'm doing what's best for our family as a whole. and it seems pretty harsh that i have to live in a defensive posture because i work and every other family with a stay at home parent sees me as the villain. you do your thang and i'll do mine. but don't say my life is easier than the stay at home mom. it's not. i promise you.

i may never get a full night's sleep again. i may really start to believe in the healing power of yoga pants and large gulps of wine. i may be THAT mom who thinks my baby is cuter, smarter, and way more fun than any little human you produce. but what i've learned the most, what i'm holding to tighter than so many other things is that we've got to cheer each other on. parent, someday parent, or i don't ever want to be a parent. let's speak encouragement and lift each other up. mmmkkkk?