Random Acts of KID-ness

FullSizeRender (2)Random Acts of KID-ness

About a year ago, it was a crazy Saturday, and I mean a 3 birthday party and 2 soccer game kind of day.  A day only kids dream of, and parent’s dread.  It was between party 2 and 3, and Tripp started whining, “I’m soooooo bored!”  I’m pretty sure I turned into the devil for a hot second, and I yelled; “Are you kidding me?  This ENTIRE day has been about you.  It is not my job to entertain you.  Now, go find something to do!”  If I recall correctly, I went to my oasis, the closet, and said to myself; “When did my child become so spoiled and self-absorbed?” I thought, I’ve lost the ability to live in the moment and taught them to always live for what’s next?   This is the complete opposite of the values I’m passionate about hammering into them. At that very moment, I vowed to myself that I would make it a priority in our schedule for my kids to give back to our community.

Go ahead and say it, “The theory is great, but I don’t have time to do this, hell, I barely have an extra second to wash their clothes!”  But, who said making any sort of impact on one person has to take much time?  I’m talking simple acts of kindness that children, of any age, can do (roll the trash down for a neighbor, smile at someone, draw a “thank you for all you do” card, and give it to someone who is courteous, like a cashier or a teacher.  Parents spend an insane amount of money on over the top events for our kids providing them constant stimulation. Now is the time to teach them it’s in giving we receive, and there are people out there who need them.

Hours upon hours of our children’s lives are consumed by learning math, english, history, and science, but how much time do they spend learning how to be a good human being?  To care when others are in need, smile when others are in despair , or to give hope to someone who feels they have nothing left.  Seriously, aren’t those the morals worth teaching?  It’s our job, as parents, to teach them how to treat others…we are their best example.

In case you want some ideas, here are some things we’ve done in the past year:

  • Brought treats to our local firefighters with money they earned from their lemonade stand;
  • Decorated pumpkins for the elderly at the nursing homes;
  • Bought gifts for the children of the angel tree;
  • Contacted the Nature Conservancy and helped clean up litter at one of their parks;
  • Decorated birthday cards for children in homeless shelters;
  • Turner asked his friends to bring stuff for The Van, who helps our local homeless, instead of birthday gifts to his party.
  • There really are so many options that are easy and fun. To help, I’ve created a Facebook page where I’ll start posting ideas and things we are going to do, in case you want to get your kiddos involved or do the same thing.

My intent is to stop focusing on where my kids are going instead of where they are right now.  Once they realize contentment comes not from the outside but what’s from within, they will be able to handle any sort of feelings they have, even boredom.


Much Love,



The Recipe for Crazy


The Recipe for Crazy

“DANE!  DANNNNNE!” I yell.  Ugh, where is he?  Just forget it, as I carry on dressing the kids, packing lunches, making breakfast, feeding the mutant dog, and changing a poopy diaper (after I had just changed her, of course).   Suddenly, he leisurely walks in the door.  “Where have you been?”  I barked.  “I was rolling out the trash.”  Sweet Moses!  Am I the only woman in the world who does laps around her husband?  I mean, I’m talking snail.  Now, there’s a very good chance he was out there watching the sunrise, cleaning out his car, hell–maybe even taking a walk…anything to ignore the shit that has to go down to get these clowns to school.

C’mon, don’t get me wrong.  I love my husband, and I know he makes a ton of sacrafices for our family. My point is this:  Why is it that I can accomplish 6 things to his 1?  I realize that he’s just as busy as I am, only in different ways.  I guess I just wish he could really understand what happens in my world on a typical day:

  • 10 lbs of laundry
  • 1 load of dishes
  • 3 Whole Meals (6 if you have picky eaters)
  • 1 quart of work
  • 1 pint of planning summer camps
  • 100 miles on the car
  • 4 clean air filters
  • a trip to the doctor (wait 2 hours until next step)
  • 1 grumpy kid (let him simmer 5 minutes)

Stir together and throw in a few more needs, and you have a bowl of crazy.  Seriously, I’m talking, trying to call someone on a calculator, NUTS!

So, when Dane comes home and sees the look of insanity on my face, then proceeds to ask me, “What’s wrong?” I grumble, “I’m tired, damn it!”  Does no one notice the trash overflowing, the empty toilet paper roll, or the pile of newspapers on the front porch? I even take pictures of all of the ridiculousness and text it to him in a game I call:  “What’s wrong with this picture?”  Overboard?  Maybe.  But, I get angry and resentful assuming he’s ignoring it all on purpose.  I wish he would voluntarily do the chores around the house without me having to ask, but after several of our heated debates, I’m beginning to understand this is how he’s wired.  It’s not intentional, it’s just not something he recognizes.

For all you moms who feel unappreciated, tired, and crazy, I salute you and celebrate you for all you do:

  • smiling when you want to cry
  • listening when you want to yell
  • rocking when you want to sleep
  • cooking when they don’t eat it
  • remembering countless appointments and shoe sizes
  • knowing where every single object in the house is located
  • planning vacations, birthday parties and holidays
  • loving when you want to feel loved

YOU ARE INCREDIBLE….you really are!  You’re amazing, and there’s a huge tribe in this with you.  In the meantime, there’s always hope.  If there’s life after death, we’re coming back as men

Much Love,


#parentingishard #justbeyou #hanginthere


Bless His Heart

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Last week, the boys’ school was having their annual book fair as part of the Catholic School’s Week festivities. As we’re scrambling that morning, I told them that I would be at the school during their respective book fair times to help them decide and pay for the goodies.  Turner immediately started jumping up and down with excitement as Tripp fell silent.  I asked him what was wrong, and he gingerly said:  “Mom, I really don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you can just send the money with me, you don’t need to meet me there.”  DAGGER–Right through my heart.  I mean, I knew this day was coming, but in 2nd grade?

I quickly reassured him that my feelings weren’t hurt, even though my heart was in my stomach.  But, here’s the thing, I often fail to realize my kids have feelings too.  How courageous of him to tell me how he truly felt and even consider mine while doing so?

So often, I get caught up in wanting to control every situation and emotion in this household, but I’m realizing I’m going about this the entirely wrong way.  My kids are teaching me much more than I can teach myself, but I have to open my eyes and acknowledge their words, behaviors and feelings.

For instance, last Monday, Tripp hopped in the car after school with a sour look and an attitude from hell.  I found myself getting extremely irritated and defensive with him.  I began thinking:  His dad and I work so hard to give him a fulfilling life, and this is how he treats me?  I mean, really, what could be so bad in his world?  Did I forget to pack his snack?  Did he not have P.E. today?  WHAT?  I ask myself.  

Now, I’m not condoning the ugly behavior, but who am I to diminish his day or how he’s reacting to it.  When I’m having a bad day, I can guarantee you my kids know it.  So, even though he’s a kid, he’s still a human being.  He’s entitled to feel shitty, or happy or scared.  It is not my place to judge those feelings, but rather accept them, be present for him, and remind him that he’s an amazing kid.

The problem is:  WE MOMS ARE FIXERS…it’s in our DNA.  So, when our kids come to us and are anything but happy, we turn into crazy-ass ninjas.  But, we must remember it’s THEIR problem to figure out.  We are just their spiritual guides that are here to listen without judgement and love without conditions.

I’m learning to quit taking my kiddo’s behaviors so personally, and stop, for the love of God, expecting them to be happy and carefree all of the time.  Their feelings are no different than my own.  They hurt and they laugh for far different reasons than me, but for very important reasons to them.

Believe it or not, our children’s spirits are immensely wise and will evolve exactly the way they’re meant to.  I feel like the most valuable lesson you can teach your babies is that life is about the discovery of your authentic self.  And what better way of allowing them to do so, than by letting them express all of their feelings, whether good or bad.

How will you be remembered?

Much Love,



That Damn “F Word”


img_3243That Damn “F Word”

By this time, you know I’m pretty candid with my words, and this nasty little four letter “f word” isn’t off limits in my vocabulary.  In fact, I feel like it’s a necessity when I’m uncovering who I am and who I want to be.  FEAR.

Why is this word so taboo, yet that other four letter “f word” is standard English these days?  Being human, not a day goes by where I’m not afraid.  I believe that our deepest fears is not that we’re insufficient, but that we are actually powerful beyond measure.  It’s our strengths not our weaknesses that scare us most.  It’s easier to live with what I know rather than risk something unknown, which could enhance life.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be talented or gifted in anything, but the larger question is:  Who are you not to be?  You aren’t serving the world if you aren’t fulfilling your purpose.  When you follow fear instead of your inner voice because it’s safe and easy, you’re insulting God…HE is that inner voice you are neglecting.

As a wife, mom, entrepreneur, friend and so much more, my mind overflows with apprehensions of judgement, failure, and second guessing myself.  I’m scared

  • my best won’t be good enough;
  • of losing control of the situations in my life;
  • of loving without reservations;
  • of making the right decisions;
  • of what others might think of me

But what if I just let go and let life lead the dance?  Acknowledging my fear is one of my biggest powers.  No longer will it suppress my curiosities and dreams, because I’m taking a stand.  Now, when I’m fearful, I can say:  Fear, I know you’re there, but I’m doing this anyway.  You can decide to pester the shit out of me, or you can come along for the ride.  I won’t let you control my purpose any longer, so get on or off the bus. I’m telling you, it has changed who I am.  Acknowledge your fear, and it will become afraid of you.

Look, feeling scared or nervous doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough to do what you’re trying to accomplish.  Actually, it probably means you’re doing exactly what you should be doing. Life isn’t about being perfect.  Nor does it require you to be fearless and without self-doubt, but it does require you to show up and play.  You see, although society is really good at convincing us we can’t do things, don’t believe it.  Stay encouraged, work hard and let your fear propel you into greatness.

How will you be remembered?

Much Love,


Let’s Get Real

Turner car

It was like EVERY other morning, and we’re rushing around as if the house is on fire.  “Mom, don’t forget my snack!”  “Mom, tie my shoes!” “Mom, where’s my jacket?”  AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It’s not even 7:15 a.m., and I’m about to lose my S#%T! We finally get everyone loaded in, buckled up, so now, cue the fighting.  Then, Turner, my middle, screams “YOU FORGOT MY MILK THIS MORNING!”  I nearly snap, but instead, crank up the music so loudly to drown out the whine.  I ignore him, as I’ve mastered the art of with each additional kid.  He continues to yell “YOU”RE FIRED!”  My first thought:  Can I draw unemployment and head to a tropical island?  We roll up to the carpool line, and I feel like I can’t screech out of there fast enough.  WHEW, not my problem for 7 full hours, so let the race against the clock begin.  I head to the store, as I do every other day, because my ankle-biters like to raid the kitchen about 6 times a day (and hide their trash under the couch, that’s another story for another day).  So, I’m at Kroger enjoying the silence and oneness.  You know it’s bad when Krogering feels like a Hawaiian vacation.  I’m running through my “to do” list in my head – scrub the ring around the toilet, get rid of old clothes (I think Turner might still be squeezing into 3T stuff–he’s almost 5), get Ophelia a grooming appointment–once again, she’s a story for another day.  Then, mid-thought, it hit me…like my boys hit each other-GUILT.  

Oh yes, you know the kind I’m speaking of that continually rears it’s ugly head-mom guilt.  Erica, you really should be more patient with them.  I need to interact with them more…hell, they’re learning more from YouTube than me.  I need to cook more, make them laugh more, love more.  

Every night, when I tuck my sweet peas to bed, I tell them:  You can be anything you want to be as long as you are kind and trying your best.  I care about this more than any grade, any score, any award or certificate.  As long as they are giving life everything they can give, that’s more than enough for me.  But, why isn’t that enough when it comes to me, personally?  If I feel I’m doing the absolute best I can do, why isn’t it enough?  It’s because I compare myself with other moms and feel inadequate when I don’t add up.  The truth is, none of us have it all figured out.  I have unique strengths and weaknesses that make my journey different than anyone’s else’s.  I’m learning when I give myself a little credit, I receive a sense of okayness.  At the end of the day, if I’m giving it my all, that’s sufficient.  Heaven knows, the only thing my kiddos want is their mom, unapologetically.  

Much Love,


When Did Our Children Lose Their Dreams To Our Own?

Kids Christmas 2015 2

How often do we, as parents, sit down with our kiddos and REALLY listen to them?  Do we know what they love doing?  How they think they’re talented?  Or even, the things they dislike?  We tend to push our personal agendas on our children for our own self-fulfillment, but what about theirs?  Do their wants, dreams, and desires not stand a chance?  And, if their passion is to become a doctor, a mechanic, or a business owner, will we foster that dream or try to deter them from it due to our own ego and insecurities?  Little do we realize, but when we dictate their lives, we are insinuating we don’t trust their judgement.  But don’t they know themselves better than we do?  And if our kids comply with what we want because they think it’s the only way to make us proud, will they resent us later for forcing our own ideas down their throats?

Why in the hell do we think all kids should be in a competitive sport, playing an instrument, learning another language, or going to an Ivy League school?  Everyone is different.  We don’t all need the same things to help us thrive.  We listen to each other, and it’s like a rat race of who can push their children the furthest.  Are we afraid to step away from the crowd, and let our little ones take their own journeys?  To me, we’ve become so focused on how everyone else perceives our kids, that we’re forgetting to instill some very important life lessons.  Let’s start by teaching them how to make wise choices, encouraging them to discover their OWN purpose in life, and be a living example of how to treat others with kindness, love and respect.  Fostering a safe environment of unconditional love is how I want to be remembered.  Letting them flourish and discover their own beliefs, convictions, and passions is our most important job.  In giving them our trust, we receive them, just how God intended them to be.

How will you be remembered?