The Motherhood Milestone I Hoped to Skip

The seasoned moms told me it would happen and I cautiously waited. I waited, watched, and wondered when it would happen to me. But it didn’t. Months went by. Then my daughter turned one. Then two. Then three. Still nothing.


But then the unthinkable happened last night when I turned my head for just a second to check on her baby sister. My completely potty trained (or so I thought) three-year-old pooped in the bathtub. Not only did she poop, but then she attempted to clean it up which made things far, far worse.

I scratched my head, baffled. Where to begin the epic cleansing of the tub, toys, bathroom floor, and child. Meanwhile, the aforementioned baby sister began to wail. I pulled my older daughter from the tub and attempted to dry her off without smearing feces everywhere. Two really nice wash cloths we got as wedding gifts were lost to this cause, and many, many Clorox wipes were used.

My husband had picked the perfect night to work late and arrived home after the girls were both clean, happy, and full of smiles for Daddy. It was one of those mothering moments that seem like a complete and utter circus. And one I’ll be delighted to share with any and all of her future boyfriends.




Lessons from Three-Year-Old Girls

Three-year-old girls have it figured out. They can perfectly balance being glitter-covered, spider-hating princesses with being tree-climbing, nose-picking tomboys. The other day my nearly three-year-old daughter, fully dressed in Elsa of Arendelle princess attire, announced loudly and proudly “I have to go poop!” and ran to the bathroom.


While I am gently helping her work on discretion when it comes to bathroom issues, I love that she embraces her femininity while being oh so real. When do we as women lose this ability? It seems somewhere between three and 30 we start to pigeon-hole ourselves. Can I be feminine and still be assertive? Can I enjoy shoes and clothes and still be practical and grounded? Can I be kind and still be a strong business leader? Can I love my career and still be a great mom?

I have recently been trying to encourage this balance with my daughter. She enjoys being feminine and that’s OK, but when she wants to try on my lipstick I apply it while reminding her that she doesn’t need makeup to be pretty. I encourage her to play with her trucks as well as her dolls, and she’s never discouraged from getting dirty.

While I’m glad we all eventually grow out of the nose-picking thing, I think we can learn from the unapologetic, do-it-all attitude of our younger counterparts. Be who you are. Wear that crown. Climb that mountain. May our little ones keep that fire inside them.



The First Day Back is the Hardest

I left a piece of my heart in the daycare center last Thursday. After a blissful 12-week maternity leave it was time to return to budgets, workflows, and managing my fantastic team. Returning to work was good, hard, painful, liberating, exciting, exhausting, and strange all at the same time.


(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

I think all moms feel this pain at some point. Eventually we must leave our children, whether it be to return to the office after maternity leave, dropping them off at their first day of kindergarten, or leaving them in a dorm room at a university. We all must endure that feeling of our heart being down in our stomach.

I got through that first day with a lot of support from friends and coworkers, and especially from my aunt who is a working mom with two kids herself. And you know what? The next day was easier. Now, after just completing my third day, I’m feeling a bit more in the swing of things. I will spend a lot of time trying to balance my roles as mother, wife, friend, employee, and supervisor in the coming months. I know it won’t be easy, but, as with a lot of things, it’s the first day that’s the hardest.

In My House

To All the Moms

Happy Mother’s Day weekend. To me, the idea of this holiday is that, for one day, we are truly united in motherhood. The stay-at-home-mom is not pitted against the career woman. The Type A mom is no better than the one who sent her child to school with peanut butter in his hair. The truth is, we are all our own harshest critic when it comes to mothering our children. Why? Because the stakes are so high. We love them so much.


So this weekend, make sure you are pampered. If not by your children, spouse, or someone else in your life, pamper yourself. Take a little time this weekend to honor the mothers in your life, and remember those praying to become moms that haven’t yet. They’re already mothers in their hearts.

Motherhood is full of epic challenges and amazing rewards. It is simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating. When we are united in building each other up in this crazy adventure instead of tearing each other down, just think of how unstoppable we can be. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

In My House

Dogs in Hats, Christmas Sweets, and Zero Restraint

And boom, just like that, I’m more than halfway done with this pregnancy. Things are going well, I’m feeling a bit better, and the abundance of holiday goodies at my office is not helping me rein in my insatiable sweet tooth.


Aside from photographing Norm in his handsome chef’s hat, the highlight of my holiday season has been experiencing Christmas through the eyes of my two-year-old.


Having kids around at Christmas enhances everything. Despite the aches and pains of pregnancy, this Christmas season has been the best of my life.


We are gearing up for one more weekend of holiday celebrations before getting back to reality with the beginning of the new year. I am kind of a weirdo in that I love taking down the tree and getting life back to normal after the excess of the holiday. I feel that way even more as 2017 approaches because I have so much to look forward to in the coming year, including (obviously) having this dear little baby and meeting up with my best pal for a Stevie Nicks concert.


I hope you have some exciting plans coming up in 2017, too. And now please comment with your favorite healthy snack ideas because I need to get serious about axing the junk and sweets. STAT.


Boy or Girl?

Happy Friday! Earlier this week we found out the gender of our newest addition.


(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

I’m thrilled to announce that it’s a girl! I grew up with a brother and he’s great, but never having a sister makes me so excited to see the special bond my daughters will share. I cannot even think about it too much or I’ll burst into hormonal tears. Earlier this week my daughter said “Mommy, we’re friends.” I said “yes we are.” Then she said “and Baby Sister will be our friend.” I nearly fell apart at the seams from raw pregnancy emotion.

Every part of me was saying “Girl! Girl!” but my instincts were off with my first daughter, so I truly didn’t know what to expect. So far this pregnancy has been exactly like the first in that, at 15 weeks along, I’m still feeling nauseous and exhausted most of the time. I believe it is subsiding a bit now, though, and I’m sure before long I’ll be fully embracing my need to eat 37 times a day.

My husband will be the most amazing father ever to two girls. He’s patient and so kind. I look forward to watching him share his hobbies of hunting, fishing, and sports with our two daughters, while also participating in tea parties or coloring sessions at a moment’s notice.

In My House

One of My New Favorite Blogs

As a mom and a blogger, I truly love reading other blogs created by busy moms, especially when the content is written by a fellow South Dakota girl who tells it like it is. Trish at The Optimistic Duke shares honest, funny, and touching anecdotes along with plenty of photos of her adorable son.

Here is one of my favorite posts from her blog. Be sure to check out The Optimistic Duke!




“Why Is This Sticky Again?” Five Phrases I Never Said Before Motherhood

I am a huge advocate of the philosophy that one mustn’t completely lose one’s self to be a good parent. That being said, there are some things that legitimately change and one is the abundance of new phrases I say on a regular basis. Sometimes I find myself giggling at these things because as a parent of a toddler, you wind up saying the most ridiculous things in the most serious of tones. Here’s a sampling…

Fourth of July 2016 (4).jpg

“Why is this sticky again?” Something is always sticky. I just get finished mopping floors and wiping down the T.V. stand and two seconds later my bare foot is sticking to something on the floor. Why? How?

“Stop climbing on the dishwasher.” Every. Night.

“You have to wear pants or we can’t go bye-bye.” This is usually said as the most adorable little bare butt goes streaking down the hall. And it’s not my husband’s.

“Is that a turd or a raisin?” Seriously, dear readers. Last week my husband and I found ourselves standing over something in the hall that could either be feces or a raisin. It turned out to be a raisin. I won’t tell you how we found that out.

“You can’t eat just ketchup for dinner.” The girl has mastered the double (triple, quadruple) dipping technique with any and all condiments so I won’t be taking her to any cocktail parties anytime soon.


Confession: My Three Silliest New Mom Fears

My girl will be two in a few short months, and although I still face the regular challenges of motherhood, I feel like I have a pretty decent handle of taking care of the little ball of love and energy.

Once, in a talk-show interview, I heard Drew Barrymore perfectly sum up what those first moments of motherhood feel like. She said: “They hand you this thing that you love more than anything else in the world and have no idea how to take care of.”


(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

Now, almost two years in, I feel like some of my new mother concerns were absolutely insane and hilarious. Here are three of them.

1. Blow-Outs: Not the kind you get at the salon. The messy, gross, poop everywhere kind. Before I had my daughter, I thought these were a daily occurence for new parents. Hearing more experienced parents talk, it seemed like I would be resigning myself to a life of being covered in feces on a daily basis. Maybe it’s just dumb luck or maybe it’s because she inherited her mother’s love of cheese, but my girl has never had a blow-out.

2. The Belly Button: I was really nervous about tending to my newborn daughter’s belly button. In the months before her birth, I researched online, polled numerous friends, and obsessed over it. It turned out to dry up and fall off on its own within a matter of days with absolutely no intervention on my part.

3. Recognition Issues: While still pregnant and making daycare plans, I confided in my best friend that I was terrified I would drop the baby off and then not recognize her among the other babies when I returned to pick her up. God bless her for not laughing in my face.

Other parents: What were your silliest fears? Expectant parents: What scares you the most?


Meeting Milestones Head-On

What is it about being a mom that makes meeting our children’s milestones so bittersweet? On one hand, I love seeing my daughter learning and growing into the independent person she will be. On the other hand, it just happens so fast.

On Monday my daughter will transition from the “baby” room at her daycare center to the “toddler” room. You might be saying “so what?” But to me, her mother, it seems like a big deal.


I think about things like: Will the bigger kids welcome her? Are her self-feeding skills sufficient for this step? Will I still receive an informative sheet at the end of the day telling me when she napped and what she ate?

Fortunately the staff at her daycare center are great at communicating and have taken care to transition her properly, making sure she and I are comfortable with the new step.

When we really think about it, all of these milestones are exciting. They mean our children are progressing as they should be and we are blessed. They cannot stay babies forever, as much as we sometimes wish they could.

So on Monday I will embrace this new step with excitement and no tears. (And make my husband drop her off at daycare that morning.)