They grow up so fast. Literally nothing else they can do fast. Putting on shoes. Picking out what they want for lunch. You know, walking. But growing up… I swear sometimes I look over at them and feel like they look more grown-up than they looked AN HOUR AGO.
So anyway, in honor of my mommy nostalgia I decided to make a list of cute things that I don’t want to forget about how they were at this stage of life.
#1 Jack refuses to call hearts by their real name, he insists they are “farts”
#2 Casey’s favorite song is “Skidamarink”. No matter how hard he is crying, he will immediately stop if you start singing that song.
#3 Jack calls grandma and grandpa “grampens”
#4 Every time we go out everyone comments on how happy Casey is
#5 Jack has a major obsession with hats
#6 Casey loves to put toys in his mouth and turn them into actual whistles
#7 Jack has to point out every single cactus he sees… and we live in Arizona
#8 Casey eats his entire weight in blueberries… every day… like at what point does he turn into Violet Beauregard?
#9 When Casey crawls around on the floor, Jack joins in because he thinks they’re “playing doggies”.
#10 Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes it’s just going through the motions and you don’t catch these little moments. But it’s always big love and big rewards.
It’s that time again! The time when I randomly throw you for a loop by changing the basic format of this blog. Yay! …
No, but for reals. 2019 is going to be WHAT’S UP!!! I am so excited for this schedule NO JOKE. You should be too! It’s basically a whole year of story time and a TON of craziness.
So each season has its own theme. Here they are as follows:
JANUARY & FEBRUARY: THEATER HIJINKS AND SHENANIGANS
What you can expect this season is lots of mishap stories from my years as an actress. I LOVE live-theater-gone-wrong stories, so I’m dedicating a whole two months to it. You might also see a cameo from a stage play writing sample of mine.
MARCH, APRIL, MAY: TALES FROM THE SCHOOLYARD
Basically what the name implies. Here you’ll get lots of childhood stories. I’m going to talk about my family and how I grew up. And I’m hoping to put in some writing samples from the single digit years.
JUNE, JULY, AUGUST: SUMMER OF LOVE
I don’t know why whenever I write “Summer of Love” I get “Jungle of Love” stuck in my head… like that’s not even the lyrics, but okay.
My five year anniversary is coming up so I felt like I wanted to be annoying and talk about that. To offset the cheesiness I’ll also throw in embarrassing stories, “Crush themed” of course!
SEP, OCT, NOV: ALL THINGS CREEPY AND CRAWLY
So next fall you’ll read about my experiences with ghosts and the paranormal. How I make a fool of myself by being scared of everything. Chilling writing samples (obviously!) And whatever crazy thrills I can think of.
DECEMBER: A SURPRISE…
This may or may not be a surprise to me too. But I have some pretty cool ideas…
This year is special because I’m gathering tons of outside crazy stories from others and hope to do a “collective storytime” at least once a quarter. And then regularly I will give you updates on my life, my little boys and my authorly efforts. Feel free to subscribe to be notified every time a new post comes out.
It was two weeks before my due date. I kept waking up all night to go pee like fifty billion times. I just had a TON of pressure. Daniel snoozed his alarm for work and as we were laying there I was like, hmmm… actually, these are contractions. Regular contractions.
I slapped Dan’s arm and was like “Hey, I keep having false labor contractions.” Haha, so let me go into this: when I had Jack he came a week late. So I FULLY expected to deliver much later. Like I was seriously looking into an elective induction if the baby was going to go longer than his due date. My mom had bought an airplane ticket to arrive ON his due date and then stay the next couple of weeks after. Soooo “denial” is going to be a strong theme here.
Because my mom wasn’t coming for another two weeks, I was majorly stressed out about who would watch Jack in the event I had to go to the hospital. My dad had GENEROUSLY offered to hop on a plane moments notice if it came to that but Hey Man… I had better been pretty dang sure I was in labor before telling my dad to drop everything and fly to Pheonix. So as you can imagine I was preggy stress crying about it. Dan talked me down. He texted my dad just letting him know what was going on and then I sent him to work, telling him that it was “probably nothing”.
I took a shower and ate breakfast *just in case*. I still wasn’t super convinced that they weren’t false contractions, so I decided to lay on my side for a minute to see if they would go away. They most certainly did not. They were ten minutes apart and every other one sucked worse than the last. I called my dad because I was about to have a friggin’ panic attack on whether I should tell him to fly to Arizona or not. He said he had already looked into flights. (He was obviously more convinced than me.) My dad told me to call the doctor to see what he thought. I was super unsure about doing that, because OBVIOUSLY the doctor would just say, “Yeah? How about wait until they are five minutes apart lasting one minute for a whole hour and then just go to the hospital. Why are you bothering me with this?”
I decided to call the doctor and waste his time anyways. At first I got the emergency answering service which I thought was really odd because it was past nine and that’s normal business hours. The conversation went like this:
RECEPTIONIST: And what’s the purpose of this call?
ME: I’ve been having contractions all morning. They’re ten minutes apart. I just want to know what the doctor thinks I should do.
RECEPTIONIST: Okay, but is this an emergency?
ME: … … Um, I’m in labor?
So they send the page out and my actual doctor’s office calls me back. I told them I was contracting every ten minutes and they countered with hey, go to the hospital. I was floored. They told me it was likely I was laboring during the night since I had pressure. My doctor was already at the hospital doing a surgery so they told me I might as well go in and get checked.
I called Daniel at work like Hey I know you’ve only been there for an hour but come home and drive me to the hospital. Then I called my dad and told him we would soon know whether it was real or not.
So we get all checked in. I’m totally calm and like whatever, not even in any pain or anything. I was totally sure I was only a one. I packed my bag SO half-a$$ed because I was like oh, they’re just sending me home anyways. Like I didn’t even pack underwear or a hairbrush. So when they told me I was at a three, I was like… wut?
Me: Am I having a kid today?
Nurse: Let’s just keep you for a while and see…
At 12:30 she came back in to check. I was still at a three which was like, oh good, send me home I want lunch I’m friggin starving. But she kinda hesitated and was like you know what let’s just have you walk around for like an hour and see what happens.
(I should also mention that we had Jack with us this whole time. He was such a good kid! I was really impressed with him. I thought that he would be somewhere between being bored or traumatized, but he was super excited to be out of the house and playing with Daddy.)
We were given the green light to walk around the hospital and I immediately waddled my fat butt down to the cafeteria. Look. When you are at the hospital in labor, they don’t let you eat anything for a long time… and that’s rough because I’m a pig. So oink, oink. That’s what I chose to do, okay! I was SUPER big and pregnant in nothing but my flimsy hospital gown and socks walking through the cafeteria trying to decide what I was going to eat. It’s fine, I’m sure everyone knew why I was there and that I didn’t have anything contagious. I mean, only my husband could have given them what I had. ANYWAY I chose to eat a fruit cup, because even though I was starving this labor thing was getting pretty real and I knew that things would get intense later that night.
But I was wrong. Not about the fruit cup, but about things getting intense much later. Things got intense RIGHT THEN, REALLY FAST and REEEEEALLY painful. The walking just like dropped him down or something I don’t know, because it hadn’t even been ten minutes out of triage before I was feeling like I was about to die.
We ate quickly and I could barely even make it back to the room. The labor was insane. When I was in labor with Jack, I was having contractions that lasted five minutes a piece instead of the conventional ONE. Well. Yeah. That was happening again. When the delivery nurse came in to transfer me she took one look at my face and walkie talkied for the anesthesiologist to meet us in the delivery room. Which I was super glad about… well sort of.
WARNING!! If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you may want to skip this section of the birth story and just start reading onwards from 5:30. Horror story ahead.
So here’s another comparison to my first labor and delivery: with Jack my epidural was AMAZING. I didn’t feel it at all. It worked perfectly. It was like the golden standard of epidurals, really. With Casey. Holy balls. This was the worst thing about the whole entire delivery and when I say horror story, look, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
By the time the anesthesiologist came in, I was in full blown labor. I had escalated from a 3cm dilation to a 5… IN HALF AN HOUR. Things were nuts! I was like hysterical. It was crazy. I mean, ME, I was crazy. Daniel had left to take Jack to a babysitter out in the parking lot and I was bawling out of control saying stuff like, “Please don’t do anything until my husband comes back. I want my husband, I’m so frightened. I just want my husband!” He came back in, but the hysteria didn’t go away. I felt delirious. Like, I felt like I wasn’t even myself and I was trapped in this painful body watching myself go bonkers. They were trying to give me specific advice on how to sit and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell right from left, the pain was just so overwhelming. I even remember yelling at the nurse, “I’m hurting so much that I can’t even comprehend what you’re telling me right now!”
They attempted to put the epidural in but it DIDN’T GO. I actually felt it stab me in the spine. Like I know what it feels like to have your spine STABBED from the INSIDE. It was a horrific pain… on top of an already horrific pain. Looking back, I don’t think that it was the doctor’s fault. I think it was because I was so out of it with the labor and like having a panic attack and stuff that I just couldn’t sit well enough for them to do it correctly.
It took 35 minutes for them to get my epidural in. They may not seem as bad as it is, so try to imagine this: You are having one of the most generally recognized worse pains in the world cramping your body for full minutes at a time and making you hysterical… while at the same time someone is behind you, literally stabbing you in the spine the same area where most of your nerve endings are. Okay, THAT is what it was for 35 FREAKING MINUTES. Like… an entire episode of The Office is 20 minutes. You could finish watching Diversity Day and I would STILL be getting poked with a needle on a hospital bed for ALMOST ANOTHER EPISODE MORE with tears dripping into my husband’s helpless arms.
But I will say this… Even with how painful that medieval spinal tap was… IT WAS STILL WORTH IT BY FAR. So I hope that tells you something about how hard it is to deliver a baby. And I also hope that you give your mother a phone call today.
After I got the epidural, things were calm, borderline boring. Jack was gone and well taken care of. My dad was on his way from the airport. Dan was working on projects, of course, because residents ARE SLAVES. If I had been delivering at his hospital, they probably would’ve made him do some rounds while he waited. Nothing too eventful happened here. I took a little video and hung out. I was basically paralyzed I was so numbed up, my back was still sore though.
At six or maybe even later, the doctor came in and broke my water. I was at a nine by then. The nurse said that they were going to wait until I could absolutely no longer take the pressure anymore and then they would have me push. She said it would be worth it to hold out as long as possible because then I would have to push less. So I just kinda sat there wondering if I was going to be able to feel it if a baby started coming out of me.
I felt the pressure pretty soon afterwards. They checked me, I was a ten. I remember the nurse said, “Yeah, there’s no more cervix.” Gnarly. I had the shakes so bad. They were like violent. I wasn’t hurting, but I was shivering like crazy.
MORE SEMI HORROR MOSTLY JUST GROSS DETAILS HERE. You can skip this paragraph too if you want. So I had to puke so bad. And this exact same thing happened when I was pushing with Jack. I was told that the before the baby comes out, his head rests on a nerve that makes you super nauseous. You don’t feel the pain of it because of the epidural, but the pressure wants to make you barf. Well I was trying so hard to hold in my DANG FRUIT CUP. And honestly, you know when you are trying not to throw up like you can’t even move or talk or breathe or anything. Finally, my nurse said, “Just go ahead and do it, it will help push the baby out anyways.” Hahaha! So I was like, yup, I’m there, and I let it all out. And she was freaking right, dude! I literally felt the baby get pushed down when I puked. You use the same muscles to throw up / push a baby out. ANYWHO. Not sure why I felt the need to include all that, but there you go. All the honest and disgusting details of birth.
So they get me ready to push. They basically had to hoist my BUM LEGS into the stirrups because I was so dead down there. I did three sets of pushing during contractions. (For your information, in between contractions is hilariously awkward. I was sitting there all spread eagle while my doctor stands at my hooha, hands on his hips talking about “how he knew I would beat the gal in nine because it’s my second time.” It’s all casual and every day for them. For me, it’s all naked and life-changing and this big medical trauma.)
That was a tangent. Hi! Okay, back to Casey.
Three sets of pushing and he was out. POP! It was like ten minutes of pushing. Maybe five. With Jack I remembered sobbing and being SO melodramatic and yelling, “My son! My son!”. With Casey, I was still in so much shock at his early arrival that I just stared at him with a stupid look on my face, feeling super confused at how the whole day went.
He was so pink and had lots of hair and chubby cheeks. He is this easy-going lovey-bug! And I couldn’t be more thrilled to have him as an addition to our family.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but… I think I might have just stepped over to the Pinterest side of me that I didn’t even know I had. I started doing something new with my son, not having any idea of how it would turn out. And let me tell you, it was a BIG HIT.
Let me introduce you to “Sensory Bins”.
My sister has often mentioned the importance of sensory play. She’s a preschool special education consultant, so any advice she has to offer in way of cognitive development is going to be pretty valuable. It kept coming to my mind because I’ve been dying to try to find things for Jack to do. It’s too hot to play outside (other than swim) and this toddler NEEDED something new. BAD.
I started looking up sensory tables, knowing how ridiculous I was being since 1) I cannot afford to buy a sensory table and B) where the heck would I even put it. After some research, I found a new love. Which is sensory bins. And OH. MY. GOSH.
They are SO easy. You can find EVERYTHING you need at the dollar store. The only expensive problem is that I have too many ideas and I wish I could put together one for every week of the year. Seriously. I love these things. And not only do I love them, but you know who else does? MY TWO-YEAR-OLD.
He asks to play with them Every. Single. Day. As soon as he’s done eating breakfast he’ll walk over to the hall closet and point. “Bin! Bin!” When he plays… honestly, it’s actually quiet. Like NAP TIME QUIET. I am so obsessed with these, I don’t even know where to begin…
I guess I’ll start with the bins themselves. What the heck is a sensory bin? Basically, all it is… is a shoe-box sized container filled with some kind of material that a kid can just stick their hands in and feel! Texture is important. You can also put little treasures and toys in. Scoops, funnels, anything that will let them play around and experiment. It’s basically a miniature sandbox. (Actually, you can totally use sand!)
Is it messy? Yes. But isn’t everything else that a toddler does? Yes! In my experience, it hasn’t been bad at all and YOU are the one who controls what kind of a mess it is. YOU are the one who decides what kind of a bin it will be. You don’t even have to do it inside if you don’t want to!
So with that, let me show you what I put together, so you can get an idea:
I found these colorful packing peanuts. So fun. Despite the fact that he was the one who picked out the Styrofoam peanuts, this is actually Jack’s least favorite bin. I’m not too worried though because I think he’ll like it more as he gets a little older. I’ve hidden wooden numbers in there, which will be fun when he starts to learn how to count.
3 bags of packing peanuts: $6
Plastic shovels: $1
ALL IN ALL: $9
I reeeeally love this one. BECAUSE IT’S FREAKING DINOSAUR THEMED!
Red kidney beans $1
White beans $1
Dinosaur play set $1
Plastic shovels (shared with the other box!)
ALL IN ALL: $4
This is my most recent one, I put it together for the fall time! Take note of the messiness in the background.
Corn Kernels: $2
Fabric leaves: $1
Set of Dump Trucks: $6
ALL IN ALL: $9
This one is the holy grail of sensory bins for my toddler. Honestly, he’s kind of obsessed… THE WATER SENSORY BIN. And okay, I know what you’re thinking. Yikes! But here is what I do. Knowing that I was going to try out a water bin, I got a towel from the dollar store (bonus! This one is a cool round shape!) I set it out in the kitchen and put a bath mat ON TOP of that. Double protection. Then I have Jack sit with the bin on the bath mat. We’ve had a bunch of spills but it was no big deal with this set-up. I will say though that the first time he did this, he got pretty soaked himself- so that’s something to think about!
As you can see, I started to switch it up by putting in a tiny droplet of dishwashing soap and giving him one of my slotted spoons. He adored it. He likes to throw in glass aquarium pebbles, stir them around with the spoon and scoop up bubbles. This has been a massive hit at our house. In fact: Tantrum Warning – may cause a lot of tears when putting away!
Aquarium rocks $1
Spoons and dishwashing soap: On hand
ALL IN ALL: TWO FREAKING DOLLARS
Today he also decided that he wanted to “wash” everything in my baking drawer. So prepare yourself for this kind of discovery/shenanigans.
I’ve been having way too much fun. I found an easy recipe to make fake snow. I think I’ll be putting together a winter bin in a few months!
In between sending out queries and waiting, I’ve been factory producing short stories. Now I have a small pile on my desk that I need help evaluating before I try to send them to any magazines… do you think you could help a sista out??
I have a ton of options. Lots of different genres. If you could spare anywhere from two to seventeen-page reading minutes. Oh my goodness, that would help me out SO MUCH!
HISTORY-LOVER FOR AN ACCURATE STORY ABOUT THE TITANIC
Quick Synopsis: Edith Russel was an American fashion designer and journalist. She was also a first-class passenger on The Titanic. This is her story, compiled from her own accounts of what happened that night.
4,640 words. Reading Time: 16 minutes
A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR FOR A QUIRKY RETELLING OF TAMING OF THE SHREW
Quick Synopsis: Raven hates everyone at school and does a great job keeping them away… except for overly-confident jock Tristan Dolton who won’t stop asking her to prom.
Disclaimer: I tried to translate the language from its Shakespearean predecessor as closely as I could realistically… that being said, the most ratchet dirty jokes survived into this draft. (lol) PLEASE Do not sign up for this story if you can’t handle a heavy PG-13 level of crudeness, language or an insufferable male character who doesn’t understand the word ‘no’.
2,110 words. Reading Time: 7 minutes.
OVERWORKED PARENT FOR A MOMMY STORY ABOUT BRUNCH
Quick Synopsis: Rather than go to a prestigious restaurant with her friends, Melissa stays home and battles her daughter over a peanut butter sandwich.
1,136 words. Reading Time: 4 minutes.
THRILLS AND CHILLS SEEKER FOR SOME SERIOUS TWILIGHT ZONE WEIRDNESS
Quick Synopsis: Lauren believes she has met the perfect man, until he spontaneously combusts on the floor of her apartment.
2,240 words. Reading Time: 12 minutes.
Here is the Google Form where you can sign up for any and all stories that you would like. Just be sure to drop your email and we’ll be in touch. Thanks!
Hey, did you fall for the clickbait? Good for you! Curiosity is one of the most powerful traits of humanity. So just by clicking on this proves how naturally intelligent you are. Also you’re looking super good lately. Did you do something with your hair?
If you haven’t already scrolled down to find out the gender, you can. It’s intertwined with some funny stories and sappy stuff, which you’re welcome to read if you have the time.
Basically, I didn’t want to announce the gender until it was a FOR SURE thing. I was told my first born was a girl. Definitely a girl, the doctor said, 100% sure. So I immediately went to announce it the best way that I know… with some really lengthy written prose of course!
I wrote this super flowery Facebook post about how hard it is to be a girl and live up to society’s unrealistic standards. Everyone loved it. And shared it and everything.
And then I go to my next ultrasound.
Technician: Did you want to find out the gender?
Me: Oh, we already know it’s a girl.
Technician: Are you sure?
So then I had to go and retract my announcement like the over-eager failure that I am. Cool. That wasn’t embarrassing at all. We cut our losses and went out to Dickey’s to celebrate. THANK YOU, INTERNET! I’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK! *drops mic*
Soooo anyone about to do one of those fancy reveal parties? Learn from my mistake!
But this time we are very sure, pretty convinced, saw a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ on the ultrasound, almost positive that we are having…
So since it’s official that I will be very much a “boy mom”. I wrote a different sappy prose, this time addressed to my two darling boys.
You have come into this world two (devastatingly handsome, probably) white boys. With this comes a lot of privileges, but a lot of pressures and responsibilities. The world will expect that you try to make yourself a superhero… but what I’m telling you is that the world doesn’t know what a real superhero is.
A real superhero doesn’t have this perfect beach body. He cares less about what others think of him and more about how he thinks of others. A real superhero doesn’t have to throw the last punch. He turns the other cheek. A real superhero doesn’t always have to get the girl in the end. He respects her as a sincere friend (even when that girl is really cute and you kinda lowkey wish you were more than friends). A real superhero doesn’t wear a mask. He isn’t afraid to be himself, and have emotions and be a REAL PERSON. A real superhero doesn’t have unbelievable super strength. Sometimes he gets up in the morning and faces the battles that people don’t talk about… and it’s okay. He’s still a hero.
When you stand up for someone, you’re a superhero. When you embrace your uniqueness, you’re a superhero. And when you understand your weaknesses, you’re a superhero.
And no matter what, you will always be a superhero to me. So you can just go ahead and trash what the world thinks.
But hey! You don’t have to be a boy or a girl to want a SUPER EPIC PARTY. If you’re looking to throw an event to top all other events, let me point you in the right direction. Epic Party Events brings an unforgettable experience right to your front door. They have a trailer that hosts 8 4k TV’s and 15 Game consoles. Not to mention photo booths, virtual reality, and yard games.
You stay at home with your kid all day? Liyke, what do you EVEN doooOOOOoooOOOoooo?
Alright, well, this is what my average day looks like:
8:30 Get him up and dressed.
Sometimes if I’m lucky, he’ll want to cuddle into me for a bit. I give him breakfast (which is usually waffles and cereal) and I put on Sesame street. While he’s distracted and buckled into his high chair I RUN, take a shower and get dressed for the day.
This is usually the second most exhausting time of the day. It involves a lot of going up and down the stairs, opening and slamming doors, jumping on the bed… I have to SECURELY HIDE my phone and remotes to pull off no screen time.
11:00 Probably caving into more screen time
Around this time I’m usually like, okay… let me destroy you with more TV. Jack LOVES music videos! So he’ll usually go for that. He likes Coldplay, OK GO, Fun, Fall Out Boy, selective Taylor Swift (he’s really picky about her stuff), weird viral music videos like Gangham Style and that Pineapple Pen song.
By now I’m usually giving him a hot dog or a sandwich OR BOTH. (He eats a lot). String cheese, veggies, maybe a cookie 😉 😉
Finally! The glorious nap time! Jack is a good sleeper, so I can count on at least two to three hours. Sometimes he’ll fall asleep right away, sometimes I have to put him down like three or four times while he laughs at me.
This would be a good time to get cleaning done… you’re right. It would. BUT I try to reserve this time for writing. That way I’m working on it everyday and it’s just a way to ensure that mommy gets time for herself.
4:00 snack / hobbit dinner / outing
Like I said, he eats a TON. Dad doesn’t get home until later and I know that he won’t make it until then so I feed him when he wakes up. After he eats, this kid needs to GET OUT. Lately, it’s been freezing outside so it’s been hard finding things to do. Sometimes we visit someone. Sometimes we just straight up go to a toy store and run around. The afternoon outing is interchangeable with the morning playtime and I do that sometimes especially if grandma invites us out to lunch or something.
5:30 starting dinner, trying and failing to do a last minute clean before dad gets home
This is the hardest part of the day. I’m running around like a zombie while Jack is pawing at my legs and crying because I’m not playing with him. Aaaargggh! Sometimes I leave my phone on the floor at my feet so he can have a go, but then he usually tries to video chat random contacts in my phone.
6:30 Dan is home and we have dinner together
I’m so glad when daddy comes home. Glad as I can be. We all have dinner together (including Jack whose hobbit dinner is wearing off by then).
7:15 Mommy needs to freaking LAY DOWN
Dad usually plays a game of Hide and Seek with Jack, (his favorite thing). When Dad is exhausted we have family time by watching a couple of Fail videos on YouTube which our little one year old is all about tbh.
8:15 Bedtime routine
Jack gets a bath. Jammies. A book that he picks out. His teeth brushed while he tries to push you away. Family prayer. A song. Tucked in.
Now Mommy and Daddy can binge watch Catfish and eat the ice cream that we didn’t want to share with our son.