I was watching a comedy this week, and it’s killing me that I can’t remember which show…but the girl was writing a blog and somebody asked her why she did it. She said that bloggers are people that wish they could be what they wrote about. Most of them are bipolar hypochondriacs living in basements, or people that want to better their life but can’t so they blog about it instead. Do you think that’s true? I don’t. I write blogs in hopes of bettering somebody else’s, to give fresh perspective, and maaaaaaybe to vent from time to time. Writing is an outlet for me, and doing it publicly keeps me in check.

That being said, I find there’s no better way to reconnect with my writing than to kick it off with a random note full of word vomit and wild opinions and advice, or the begging for them. A lot of these are tidbits of inspiration from conversations I’ve had on Facebook this week, so I’m sorry if it’s repetitive. I want to remember them though.

I’m against “Wellness Coaches.” There. I said it. I think that everybody deserves that title that takes it upon themselves to be a good friend, to seek success and happiness – and share the things learned with those that are stumbling. I don’t think that because you’re good at advice, and have had the time to read all the right books to hand out that advice, that you should get a fancy title and come with a fee. Happiness and wellness is something everybody deserves and if you hold keys to that, share dammit.

Does going to church improve your life?If you’re going for selfish reasons, no. I don’t think so. If you’re going to learn something about your faith, morals, and to be tested on both? Absolutely. Having faith in something has saved me from myself more times than I can count – but it means surrendering your selfishness.

My first grader came home with the sight-words “Tough” and “Though”, and asked me to explain why they sound different. I told her even THOUGH we’d like it to, THOUGH isn’t TOUGH enough to make the FFFFF sound 😀 *takes a bow…falls off stage…lets teachers take over*

Is the word “bully” overused? I feel like we’re getting too sensitive. Too fragile. Too breakable. And because of my heavy involvement in a suicide prevention program, I see the affects of both the increase in fragility in our society – and the bullying. People are mean. Kids are mean because people are mean. It’s starting younger and it’s problematic because defending yourself is considered out line. I’m walking a fine line between telling my kids to be tough and stand up for themselves, and avoiding trouble by telling them to tattle. I gave a friend advice this week, encouraging her that we have to start from the ground up and teach them that love battles meanness, that self confidence battles humiliation, that a safe home battles a mean classroom. But when faced with it with it in my own kids, it’s an emotional trainwreck. My want to protect them tends to overpower my ability to follow my own advice. At what point do we call it “bullying”, and when do we know it’s the right time to tell them “get up, brush it off, and tell them to kick rocks.”?

I hate neglected friendships. Everybody says that losing friends is part of the journey. Everybody changes and a lot of friendships break because you change as people – blameless. I have a hard time with that. It’s sort of like saying that because trees get bigger and thicker and leafier and branchier that you have to cut it at the trunk at some point. If it’s groomed, it lives forever. It withstands droughts, neglect, change.
I’m at that point with a friendship, where there’s only so much of a void that I could probably continue to neglect it and we’d go on being buttom-rung friends, or I could cut if off and move on – plant new ones and learn from my mistakes…or nurture it back to health. It is amazing the pain that comes with limbo-voids. It seems fear driven, threatened by honesty. And too easily we take the easy way out.

I love my second “job”! On a much lighter note, my photography has really taken off, thanks to some incredible clients and friends! I can’t WAIT to start a section on this blog about some of my recent sessions! I hope I never ever get used to the fact that people like my work enough to pay me for it. It makes me feel all awkward and blush-y, but it also has me yearning to learn more, the most that I possibly can, to continue to deliver THEIR captured moments. It’s the most humbling thing I’ve ever done, and the first thing that’s really shoved me in a direction. What a thrilling ride, that. Here’s a couple of my favorites (and you can see the rest on my photography page: Rugged Grace Photography!

I feel like my writing just did a fancy yoga pose. It felt good to stretch these fingers across a keyboard again, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this stuff! It’s amazing how much we all doubt and stumble, it’s MORE amazing to see us all better each other.

Yours always,


Here’s the thing. Every parent, at some point, feels defeated, discouraged, and disgusted. In fact, I’m pretty sure admitting to any of those things, actually makes you a better parent. It’s just that some days, I’m not prepared for the rampage of emotion that comes with feeling all of those things, resorting me to the couch pouting with gelato in hand, asking my spoon how I was even allowed to be responsible for tiny humans.

I have a seven year old and a almost-six year old They’ve each spun me around through the twists and turns of their developing personalities, and this is most definitely the biggest time in my parenting career where I am the closest to melting into a six year old version of a tantrum on my living room floor – still spoon in hand.

My kids are angels in the grand scheme of things. Last night, in fact, they put my laundry away (in “surprise places!”), dusted, attempted to vacuum, swept my kitchen floor twice, and taught each other new words. They’re well behaved, they’re respectful, they go to bed when we ask and sleep for 12 hours without waking. I guess that’s why the new level of sass is taking me so off guard, making me realize that I don’t know how to punish.


The other night we were driving home from another busy weekend, and they were fighting in the back seat (shock & awe, shock & awe!). After, I don’t know, seven warnings or so, I finally told my youngest she’d have to go to bed early, alone, AND WITH NO BLANKETS IF SHE DOESN’T STOP. She replied, “and?“. So, as a follow up, I put her to bed early. And while she was slightly miffed maybe, she did it with little complaint and challenged me to try something worse.

I know the key to any strategy is consistency. But you tell me, after working 8 hours, cooking for 2, cleaning for 3, refereeing the kids for 4, and then being blatantly sassed – that you’re consistent and cool. If so, hi, can my kids come live with you?
My other problem is this: We want to encourage independence and self sufficiency, but we want to discourage both if they get out of hand. HI GREY AREA MUCH?

I also know I’m not the only mom out there with girls close in age, with independently sassy, brilliant little faces leaping into the world, and as a mom, feeling burdened with the responsibility of raising them right. It’s just that the weight of that burden some days is unbearable. That’s HUGE you guys, I’m supposed to successfully raise another human. Two, actually.

In any case, I suppose I need encouragement that it’s ok to love but not like sometimes, to lose my temper occasionally, and that my kids will turn out just fine – despite my overwhelming guilt of not seeing them enough, coming down on them too hard, nagging them constantly, and trying to find the gentle balance between love & logic (totally stole the L&L from my friend Christie, hiiiiiiiiiiiii Christie – & thanks for your brilliance and emotion this morning!).

I worry too much, really.

Le sigh.
& Ce la vi.


PS! – my friend posted this list on Pinterest the other day, and while some of them are a bit far-fetched for my toddler brains, I LOVE the idea of making our already favorite time of day – even better!

What do you like to dream about?
What is your best memory this school year?
Who is your hero? Why?
How would you describe your family?
If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
What are you most proud of yourself for?
Who is the kindest person you know? Why?
What do you like most about your best friend?
What is one thing you would like to learn to do well?
If you were an animal what one would you be and why?
When is the last time someome hurt your feelings? How did you react?
Do you know someone who is going though a hard time? How can you help them?
What is the scariest thing that happened this year?
If you could keep only one thing, out of everything you have, what would it be?
Who do you think is really successful? Why?
What’s the best thing about your teacher this year?
When do you feel misunderstood by grown-ups?
What three words best describe you?
What’s something that makes you angry?
What’s the best compliment you ever received

Silver Lining: Working Mom Guilt …rectified.

I work at an accounting firm. I thought about leaving that sentence out in case creepy stalkers are out there trying to find my location, but I figure it’s valid, and vague enough that I’m safe. ish. Anyway.
So, starting January 1st, and ending around April somethingteenth, my social life vanishes, my internet existence diminishes, and the hardest part, my time with my kiddos is minimal.

And I’m a whiner. That loves her job, PS.

And a planner, so I’ve been dreading my time away from home since December. I’ve been tucking them in at night, squeezing them longer, apologizing for coming home late and leaving early in the mornings. I cry about not getting to volunteer at their schools, or even pick them up from school. I worry that they’re going to feel neglected and end up being those really sad kids with messy hair, iffy wardrobe choices, and slippery grades.

The weirdest thing is happening though. They’re surviving.
I’ve taught them to be self sufficient, and I’ve showed them that while mom will always be the favorite person (riiiiiiiighthahahahaha), but it takes a village. And I have one. And they’re amazing, and my girls are thriving. I’m not fine, but they are.

I have so much guilt about being a working mom. Like I’m missing out on all of the good stuff. And opportunities to hug them.

And THEN I was watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent last night, where one of the characters had a wife in the military. She got about a day and a half with him and their five year old girl before being deployed again. I realized that things could be a lot harder. And while I’m not necessarily being heroic at my job (save for handing out taxes with good news, 50% of the time), I do get to be the first to see them wake up for their day, and the last to snuggle them before they’re back to dreaming for the night. They’re brilliant, they’re loved, they’re supported, and there isn’t a bit of guilt worth holding onto about it.

With this madness comes bliss, with this whine comes silver lining. I absolutely bow to all working moms doing everything they can to keep their family both afloat and loved enough, and I’m near tears over the women out there serving our country first. Your strength is astounding, your perspective admirable.

And to my village especially, thank you. For the hours put into their schoolwork, preparation to get them to and from school, healthy meals fed, cute outfits bought, sturdy shoes adorned, beds made, dishes done, vitamins given, car seats secured, and mom comforted. Brandon especially, I could not make it even day to day without your support.

Thus beginning a new blog series. Silver Lining…to be continued.

Nightmares on Colorado Boulevard

*insert six-year-old wailing at 3:34am*
“Moooooooooooooooooooooom, THERE ARE SNAKES ON OUR PORCH AND I’M SCARED!!!!!!!!!!!”

I leapt out of bed, kicked the dog, knocked over my water glass, checked to make sure I didn’t ruin my bedside iPhone, fell on my laundry (organizing laundry – a blog to come), slid on the wood floors and fell into the arms of my crying six year old girl.

“Baby, there are no snakes on our porch, it’s just a bad dream! Go back to sleep, and try to stomp on them, use your stuffed elephant (*hands her one of the 3409 stuffed animals on her bed*), and you can take her to your dream to help!”

“I don’t waaaaaaaaaant to go back to sleep. I just want it to be morning!” *insert cutest pout ever*

In our house, nightmares are fairly uncommon. The girls sleep soundly. And we’ve always had the rule that they have to stay in bed and we’ll come to them, rather than them coming into our room (not only for our own privacy, but plz see above path of destruction).

It made me think back to my childhood, when I’d go find my parents, they’d kiss me on the forehead, tell me to get a drink, and go back to my room and pray about it. It always worked, I mean prayer + water = magic. And I developed this habit to go back to sleep trying to dream the same dream and logically work out my own happy ending, thus, my elephant stomping idea.

Apparently it worked for her, because she didn’t wake again.
What do you, as parents, do for your kiddo when the nightmares come? Do you try to tell them to think happy thoughts? Do you have a magic spell to help them feel comforted and safe? Do stuffed animals or water bottles full of monster spray help them feel like their room is the safest place in the house? Do they get to get up and snuggle with you?

My five year old swear dreams come from the walls, so we covered them all up in pink decorations and pictures. I mean if you’re going to dream, dream in pink right?

Tell me your stories!

I realize I’m an adult when…

I use the term adult lightly. I think by claiming to be one, you’re immediately held to this expectation of maturity. At 28, there are still days where I have room to work on that. I mean I still do things like this:

So, I’m not necessarily an adult, but growing up, and getting to the age that…

*Curtains and Mixers are exciting! For Christmas this year I got a new mixer to decorate my countertop and inspire me to learn to bake, and curtains for my windows, and I was more excited about those two things than, say, a LeapFrog learning center, a Pillow Pet, or the latest Spice Girls album. It was actually the day I asked for a vacuum for Christmas a few years ago that gave me the “OMG WHO AM I” moment.

I get to choose when I get up to pee. Kid you not, I will lay in bed and try to decide how bad I need to go, or if it can wait until morning. I no longer have a rule that I have to go brush my teeth, hair, and use the bathroom before clammering into my warm bed and refuse to move. And I can stay up as late as I want.

I’m tired. All the time, at THE most embarrassing times of the night. Like, 8:30 for example. *shutters*

If I don’t want to eat my vegetables, I don’t hafta. I can actually pick through my plate and leave them tidely off to one side, without a single “only three more bites and we’ll have a deal.” deal.

I can throw tantrums. Granted, it looks even more ridiculous than when my six year old does it, but still.

I like coffee. And whiskey. And candy. Sometimes all at the same time. AND I get to choose my limit.

I can sleep in! Well, actually I can’t. Which is an even greater point. My time clock literally JUST starting occurring and thinking it can have a routine all it’s own; ironic, now that I don’t HAVE to get up on Saturdays.

I can watch Zombieland and eat chili and hot dogs and tatertots at 9pm. Granted, the suffering induced (See: Bad dreams, indigestion, stomach pains from LOLing too late at night…) brought back a really cute “I tollllllllllllld you so” mom voice in my head.

I have THE best arguments ever against my toddlers. “Because I’m an adult that’s why. When you’re my age, you can too.”

I can cuss! Point & case.

And while these are all really, really great things…I sure do miss the days that I didn’t have to work. That I could blame my mother for everything. The days when my breakfasts were made before my feet hit the floor, my bills were paid for me, and I didn’t know what anguish, brokenhearted and betrayal felt like.

I sure do love feeling life though, don’t you?

In the middle we’ll play. Divorce, single motherhood, and the honesty of a child.

Like most of my stories, this one starts in the middle. Someday, I’ll have the courage on this blog to write about my past life and how far I’ve come because of it, but for today, the middle is where we’ll play.

I’ve decided that the most difficult thing about being the mama in a broken family, is deciding the difference between truth and, well, untruth.

I could write you novels on the pain and emotion that comes from gossip, rumors, advice, assumptions, and lies that circle around the choice to get a divorce, and moreover, the choice to move on. But the emotional inflictions that come with that, is nothing compared to the truth asked of you when you least expect it, in your own home.

Since the day I chose a different life for the three of us girls, my goal has always been to lead an exemplary life for them. While I hide them from little truth, I protect them from the ugliness of it. But the questions are starting…

Questions like:

“Daddy won’t answer his phone, is he ok?
Does he miss me?
I think daddy wants to come our house for Christmas, can he?
Why didn’t daddy come to my school program?”

Of course, at this point, I respond with things like:

“Of course your daddy misses you.
Your daddy is just too busy right now, he’ll call as soon as he can.
Daddy probably found a job that keeps him from coming down too often, I’m sure he’ll make it when he can.”

But the problem I’m facing lately, is that I feel like I’m lying to my kids by making excuses for his absence. They’re walking around like little sponges, and while I may be telling them something to temporarily bandage the moment, they’re soaking in emotions and lacking phone calls, and weekends spent away. They eventually will face the music that’s playing, whether I’m ready or not.

Integrity in this brokenness is and will always be present. But as a mama (with her wildly supportive, protective support system) doing her best to preserve that, and protect her girls, it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever faced to not shield them entirely from the person hurting them most.

We all make mistakes. I’m not the perfect role model either. I’m just asking him to lead a life that he’d want his girls to someday find a man to model just that.

I want those girls to know that I did my very, very best to preserve what’s theirs for as long as possible. I want them to only have good memories of their daddy (ones that when he wants to, are really good!).

Thank everything, their little lives are surrounded by the world’s greatest, most incredible men. They have the best sort of examples in their little lives (men, that if I were to write novels on, would totally outnumber the novels about everything else…Brandon, Daddy, Grandpa(s), Uncle Ben, Darrell, Uncle Scooby, Gustin, and the list goes on, and on…), and even on my most bitter days, the gratefulness overwhelms and wins that battle.

I couldn’t ask for anything more, really.

Living, learning, sighing, and preparing for the next stage in our journey.

Aichmophobia – PTSD – Me Being Dramatic

Aichmophobia (pronounced [īk-mō-fō′bē-ă]) is a kind of specific phobia, the morbid fear of sharp things, such as pencils, needles, knives, a pointing finger, or the sharp end of an umbrella

Actually, reading that definition, I know it’s definitely not that. THAT is sort of funny, not to be insensitive to those afraid of pointy umbrellas. I know phobias are real and alive and ruin people’s lives daily. It’s funny to me, because Google always gives me dramatic answers for what I’m looking for. So when I searched for “is my daughter afraid of needles?“, I got that. When all I really needed to hear, was “no”.

July 3, 2009

It was Brandon and I’s first family style trip. 7 hours one way in a car with two kids that were fairly new to his life. One for the memory books in ways we weren’t prepared for. Both awesome, and not-so.

Kyanne was playing on the playground in my hometown of Cody, Wyoming. I was visiting with an old friend nearby when I heard her scream. I ran over, to find one of her teeth missing, her lip split open, and blood everywhere. I actually didn’t overreact. I held her on my lap in the park, trying to stop the bleeding to see how bad it really was. It was me that suggested we wait it out, and the friends of mine that suggested we walk across the street to the emergency room. Once there, I knew they were right.

Kyanne needed stitches. Being the less than graceful mama, I knew from several experiences that it wouldn’t be too bad. What I wasn’t prepared for, was her inheritance of both my lack of grace, and my immunity to novacane. While Brandon took LeynaBug to get the car (8 blocks away, thank everything…they missed most of this), I had to hold Kyanne down on top of me, both of us laying on our backs, while they tried to give her 5 shots of novacane. She felt every stab, and then got 3 stitches with no numbness. It scarred, but more emotionally than physically.

Kyanne, in all of her cowgirl fashion, "dusting it off" for July 4th, the day after her fall.

As you can see, not only did she get back up, she looked gorgeous in spite of our spinny little adventure. AND it cured her of her need of a pacifier.

A month later, it took my mom and dad stepping into the hospital and holding her down to get the stitches back out, because she was so absolutely terrified of doctors, anything sharp, and anything near her mouth, that she refused to lay still, and my physical and emotional strength was zapped.

Everybody says that the experience was harder on me than her, and that she was so young that she’d eventually just get over it. She remembers every single detail about that day, including the fact that it was a “blue airplane” that bucked her off.

To this day, she fears dentists, doctors, and needles. She calls them “pokes”.

That being said, today is the first time since that experience that she’s going to have to be “poked”. We have doctor’s appointments this afternoon to get three vaccinations. And after talking to two of my best friends this morning, we’ve come to the conclusions that I’m likely being dramatic and panicky and over-reactive. While I’ve definitely worried that she has PTSD, I’m pretty sure I’m actually the one with the “disability”.

She’s got this adorable scar on her lip, especially when she smiles.

And so, I write this blog not for your sympathy, but for your strength and understanding. I’ll be near tears this afternoon I’m sure, because all I can picture is both of us strapped to a backboard to keep her still while we prevent something as simple as chicken pox.

My mom always went with me to get shots. And I don’t remember much of it, except the stickers afterward were totally worth the trip. 🙂

I know that today will be fine and that we’ll walk out of that office in the same condition we walked in…only with a smaller chance of chicken pox. I know I’m being emotional and crazy. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell when it comes to my parenting (see: routine nazi, germaphobe, google master, and unnecessary trips to the doctor for flus and colds). BUT, today, I need you to bare with that, and offer up every bit of advice you’ve got. I need your success stories. I need comments that tell me if you remember getting shots when you were younger, and what YOUR parents did to better your experience!

Honest to blog, this storytelling is the type that makes me feel vulnerable and silly and exposed.


Kids, Sleepovers….guns?

It starts like this….

A friend of mine and I were discussing sleepovers last week. See, both of us have little girls that are five, going on sleepover age. Both of us are on the verge of paranoid and overprotective, and we were trying to decide what age is best to start allowing them (if ever, omg) to happen, what questions to ask your child to make sure their ready, and what questions are appropriate to ask the parents. As the conversation progressed, she admitted that one of her biggest fears is that other parents will be gun owners, when they’re strictly against them in their household.

So the questions arose:

How do you ask other parents if they have guns in their home?
How can you be assured that they’re the responsible type, and not the crazyass type?
Can you request to see a permit, or a gun safe…or a demonstration (
no no no not really)?

Here’s where it got fun…

I responded, telling her that I was raised around guns from a fairly young age. We learned how to clean them, shoot them safely, leave them unloaded unless they were ready to use, use the safety, carry them right, the laws around them. Some of my fondest memories involve my daddy and his guns (that sounds insane, right?), the smell of the gun oil and his pipe while he cleaned and walked me through caring for them. I’ve since been in trap clubs, been hunting, and shoot them for fun. We don’t currently have them in our home, but I’ve been trying to convince the guy for a while to have at least one, not to shoot a person necessarily, but to feel protected, and you know, to shoot an animal should it break its back or leg…

And it was at this point in the conversation that she shrieked, “YOU’RE THE TYPE TO SHOOT AN ANIMAL?! *falls over in chair*.

I guess so. I mean, that’s the way I was raised. Better a bullet than a $1,000 vet bill + hours of suffering for the critter. Then again, maybe the vet is more painless for both parties. Hmmmmm.

My girls aren’t around guns at this point. But I admittedly, am so comfortable around them that it never even dawned on me to ask other parents what their thoughts were on the issue.

So the questions remain:

How do you ask other parents if they have guns in their home?
How can you be assured that they’re the responsible type, and not the crazyass type?
Can you request to see a permit, or a gun safe…or a demonstration (no no no not really)?

What age do you start sleepovers?
What questions are you afraid to ask, but more afraid to leave left unsaid?

How do you feel about guns in your house? Around your kids?


PS- no joke, Miranda Lambert’s “Gun Powder & Lead” randomly came on my Pandora just now. It’s the little things.

When did showers get so HARD?

You know how storms appear in Colorado? The way it goes from 90 degrees and sunny, to 60 degrees and pissed off? That’s bath time in our house. Well, shower time, because I’m OCD and having my kids bathe in their own soot freaks me out.

In our house, bath time happens only three times/week. I get that kids are filthy, but they also have dry skin and dry little hair and don’t need to be bathed every day. So three days a week, immediately following dinner (that happy medium, where it has to happen early enough to let their hair dry, but late enough that they can’t get re-dirty) to shower time. My house begins clean and uncluttered, and ends a soppy wet mess, clothes littering the hallway, bathroom, bedroom. Pajamas (I have girls, so at least four sets are laid out to pick from and fight over) are laid out, dresser drawers are left open. If you weren’t a mom and happened across our home around 7:30 pm on a Tuesday, you’d think we let the apes come in and throw a house party.

While I’m letting them establish some independence, if I don’t supervise shampooing, they forget to do the front, they use body wash on their heads and shampoo on their pink loofas, and more ends up on the dog than them. By the end of a shower, I’m more wet than the girls, and my bathroom is drenched.

It’s not that their wild or ill behaved, it’s that showers are fun, and they’re toddlers with giant supply of bubbles + water.

Lately, I’ve been wondering if I bathe them enough though. I’m not worried that it’s so infrequent that child services is going to knock on my door, but I do wonder if I’m slightly neglectful. Some nights, the thought of adding in a showertime storm to my already long day seems more of a chaotic and crazy idea than climbing one of Colorado’s 14ers.

I’m curious, moms of toddlers…how often does this planned chaos happen at your house?

Yours Truly,