Speed dating‎

A Tribute to Soul Sisters

girl friendsThere are different levels of friendship, ranging from
I Will Like Your Facebook Picture But We Probably Won’t Talk In Public For More Than Four Minutes”..   to..
I Will Text You A Three Line String of Emojis And You Will Clearly Know The Depth Of My Anguish At Watching The Parenthood Series Finale”.  

The deepest level of friendship: a soul sister.  The same person who knows the Social Media You and also knows what you look like twelve haircuts ago wearing retainers to bed.  They love you and they like you.  Most days.  Seasons of life have passed by with friends like this- walking to class together, buying the bridesmaid’s dress for her wedding, holding her firstborn.  And because life isn’t perfectly packaged, sometimes it means I will leave for my vacation three days late to be at your Dad’s funeral.  I will walk with you through depression, miscarriages, the messy and the baggage.  A friend like this is someone worthy of your priorities and deserving of your time.

A group of my college friends have gotten together the past five years for an annual girls’ weekend.  We find the cheapest (read: FREE-EST) house in a different city and go sit on that couch eating lots of food.  It’s awesome.  This year we had 13 girls staying steps away from the beach.  We’ve done mountains, lake, small town, big city, and now- the ocean.
Some highlights of those in attendance:
-preggo road tripping from DC with zero bathroom stops
-Chickfila owner/operator coming in HOT from Illinois
-chief resident of Emergency Medicine at a Nashville hospital (kinda important. humble brag on her behalf.)
-one wearing an engagement ring, months away from marrying a Brit and moving to The Land Of Fish And Chips, and another unknowingly about to be engaged two weeks later
-stay-at-home Moms raising precious little ones, past roommates and current roommates, saucy Gingers in abundance

Here’s the moral of that story: Spending time with these friends is life-giving, refreshing, and encouraging.
I was sitting among them, eating my ham biscuits, thinking: Yes. This.  People need more of this in their lives.  No drama, no toxic negativity, just a group of women who have memories spanning from flip phones to dating apps, who genuinely get each other and enjoy life together.  The blog post was already turning in my head.  (The poor people in my life now ask me, “Are you going to write about this?” like I’m the Taylor Swift of the blogosphere, poised to put all triumphs and angst to paper.  “Yes.. I will write about this.  And one day when my guitars are being sold on eBay and I’m feuding with Kanye, I will remember all of you little people.”)

You don’t have to collect an enormous friendship squad.. I honestly don’t even like 8 of those people that go on our trip.  (Just kidding. But seriously, it’s like at least five.)  I do think there’s such value in women having healthy female friendships that are deep, authentic, and energizing, whether with one person or several people.  Choose friends who are willing to come over and real-talk with you over Chipotle, but also look up YouTube videos of “people falling” before they leave.  They’ll tell you they’re praying for you and actually mean it.  They will back you up so hard when life gets messy and prank you so hard when you least expect it.

This post is a tribute to soul sisters- that person, those friends, your biffs- who have always been ready for an adventure and continue to be constant, perceptive, and thoughtful.  YOU DA REAL MVP.

A tribute to soul sisters

For Better or For Worse (or For Dishwasher Wars)

ImageChef Meme Maker - ImageChef.com

We were just babies when we walked down that aisle seven years ago.
Giddy and fresh out of college, starting our journey together into the world of bills and taxes and a mortgage.  (Also known as being an actual adult that doesn’t use your parents’ money when swiping a college I.D. card to buy Combos at 1am.)

We recited vows that are traditional and familiar, but no less meaningful and weighty.
For better or for worse- even when you have to hang pictures on the wall together.  (Lord Jesus, be near..)
For richer or for poorer- “Mo money, mo problems”, but also “Need mo money because we overdrafted”.
In sickness and in health- Truly so thankful for good health and minimal sickness.

Somehow, seven years feels both long and short.  It feels familiar.  I’ve memorized our comfortable rhythm and know him better than the lyrics to my Summer Mix CDs from high school.  (And I know my Summer Mix lyrics.)  Kind of like I know that he’s going to get a glass of orange juice every night around 10pm.  He’ll get home from work and kiss his girls saying “This is the best part of my day”.  When we hear someone talk about Martin Luther nailing the theses to the door, I’ll smile to myself because I know we both heard the word “feces”.  (By the way, we’re allowed to raise a child.)  I see the side of him that few people get to see, but I guess that’s because they don’t know to turn on 90’s rap music in the car.  He knows what time my favorite gym class is… my go-to lunch at home… the songs I can’t get out of my head.

In case he hasn’t fully come to question what he’s gotten himself into by marrying me, I made sure to bombard his SnapChat with mature pics and filter choices on our anniversary.  Just to note, these were sent while he was responsibly working to provide for our family and I was sitting on the front porch looking like a Certified Millennial taking selfies.  Hayy neighbors.  In case anyone needs some MARRIAGE GOALS—

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I want to point out that his response to the “Check __yes ___no” snap was “If your dome was that big and your eyes were in the middle of your head, then absolutely not.”  So apparently one of us meant their vows and the OTHER ONE DIDN’T!!!  Awesome!


Our seven years have not been charmed and we are both far from perfect.  Many others have had to walk much harder and more challenging journeys in their early years of marriage.  And yet, all that to say, I am proud that we’ve survived- and by the grace of God, even thrived- in our seven married years together.  This post is simply a celebration of love, ending with a renewal of vows to recognize the commitment we’ve made and our future together:

BAE, I take you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become.  I vow to teach you the right way to load the dishwasher and will try my best not to be a backseat driver.  I promise to listen to you and learn from you, unless you start talking about baseball stats and pinch runners and earned run averages, and then I will have to think about other more interesting things like Anna Kendrick’s Twitter feed.  

I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as though they were my own.  (However I cannot mourn the loss of the shirt with armpit holes that I threw away.. but we can discuss this later.  “If you love something set it free.”)  I commit to being FOR you in every way.  As you pursue your passions and grow in godliness,  I will proudly stand by you and cheer you on.  When our journey leads us down painful paths, I will choose to continue fixing my eyes on Jesus first and on you second, because that is the most loving thing I could do.  

I promise to keep almonds in my purse to curb the hangry, to cheer for your sports teams (for better or for worse), and to love you as deeply, richly, wholly, fully, and completely as I love dropping ca$h in Target.  Here’s to many more! xo! 

For Better Or Worse

If Adults Acted Like Babies…

If I could have three wishes granted, I would wish for
1) a best friends necklace to share with the Duchess of Cambridge,
2) to anonymously win the Powerball (money doesn’t buy happiness but it does buy an island and a plane, MKAY?),
3) to know of a world where all the adults acted like babies for my entertainment.

Enter this world with me:

If Adults Acted Like Babies...

  1.  Our thigh rolls would be SO IN right now.
    Imagine the elation you would feel as an adult baby if someone commented on how chunky your legs and arms are.  “New favorite person, would you also please take a close look at my triple chin and speak a kind word to it as well?”  Trending: #FatRollsMatter
  2. I would swat at the iPhone with complete disregard and zero accountability for my swipes.
    This would explain how I ended up on the Facebook page of my college roommate’s ex-boyfriend’s wife’s photo album from their holiday trip to Cancun and accidentally liked a photo.  I just tried to FaceTime the Honda Dealership?  I downloaded four apps and agreed to their terms and conditions that supposedly forfeit my rights as an American citizen? I can’t help it guys, I’M AN ADULT BABY!
  3. Lunch breaks at work would be like:
    Eating carrots because I like carrots.  Smearing banana into my hair.  Wiping banana in your hair.  Throwing carrots because WHO COULD POSSIBLY like carrots?  Licking the table for three minutes.  Gazing longingly at your grilled cheese.  Suddenly stuffing all available food into my mouth at once.
  4. Pay our bills in Puffs, the currency of babes.
    “I’m sorry, I won’t be able to give you $45 for the electric bill, but I can afford to give you 45 Puffs because all of them are currently stuck to my high chair and the car floor.”
  5. Crawling is our CrossFit.
    All it would take to tone up the core is a few brisk laps crawling around the kitchen.  Additional perk: you may even find a snack on the ground while you’re working out.  Put me in, Coach!
  6. I would have permission to cry in any of these scenarios:
    -You’re making me eat your disgusting food.
    -Don’t leave me!!!!! Don’t you ever leave me!!!!
    -I just want to lick the remote control.  Is this too much to ask.
  7. We could nap anywhere without being judged or getting fired.
    It would be appropriate- even expected- that we would lay down on our work papers and fall asleep for an hour.  As a committed napper and borderline narcoleptic, all I can say is yassssssssssssssss.
  8. Conference calls would look like:
    Everyone say their favorite animal noise.  Discuss agenda item #1: Should we eat staples?  (Action Step: No, we should not.) Each person gets to do their loudest squeal.  Bang the phone on the table five times to signal the end of the call.
  9. You are weird, therefore I will stare at you for twelve minutes with uninterrupted eye contact.  
    Optimal locations to practice adult-baby-staring:
    -Walmart (Black Friday)
    -State Fair (Anyone with a turkey leg)
    -Airport (Stare at the outfits people choose to travel in)
    -Gym (Watch the Dudebros getting their cardio-crawling in on the treadmill)
  10. My Amazon cart: ordering a Sleep Sack for a size 5’8”.
    Also in my cart… a wipe warmer because WHY NOT.  I’ll take a pair of socks that look like ballet slippers and a Tommee Tippee for my morning coffee.  Put it on the tab, Prime!

Talk to me, Interweb… what’s missing from the list?


The Practice of Waiting Well

“Boys and Girls, please come to the carpet for story time.
Go ahead and sit Criss-Cross-Applesauce but not Indian Style because we don’t use that phrase anymore. 

Today I have a story to share with you called “Waiting” by Kevin Henkes.  He wrote some awesome picture books like Chrysanthemum, Lilly’s Plastic Purple Purse, and Wemberly Worried.  We love Kevin Henkes.

In the book, there are five toys that sit by the window and each of them are waiting.  The owl waits for the moon, the pig waits for the rain, the bear waits for the wind, the puppy waits for the snow, and the rabbit isn’t waiting for one particular thing- he just likes to look outside and wait….”

As I read this book, I started to envision not toys on the windowsill, but people.  The faces of dear friends all around me who were looking out their windows while I too sat at my window and waited.  We each anticipated something that was just out of reach, that next step of life that appeared brighter and better and more fulfilling.  The waiting didn’t discriminate toward any particular age or life season either.
Around me, I saw:

Waiting for a proposal
Waiting for a new job opportunity
Waiting for a positive pregnancy test
Waiting for the wedding day
Waiting for summer to start
Waiting for the adoption to be finalized
Waiting for the right person to marry
Waiting for the baby to hit developmental milestones
Waiting for your spouse to decide if they want to make the marriage work
Waiting for a house to buy
Waiting for retirement
Waiting for life to slow down
Waiting for life to speed up
Or maybe just waiting, like the rabbit, for the sake of waiting

It’s easy to focus on what we wait for, because we all have something that comes to mind. (hello- two, three, four things..) Rather, maybe we should spend some time reflecting on how we wait to determine if we are waiting well.

  1. What is the attitude of my heart and the focus of my mind as I wait?
    Waiting with impatience, anxiety, fear, anger, and even obsession means we are waiting with unbelief.  We wait with a high view of ourselves and a low view of God, when waiting well requires the opposite:  prayerfully submitting the attitude of our hearts and the focus of our minds to the One who created both and asking Him to help us in our unbelief (Mark 9:24).
  2. How have I believed the lie that “this next thing will be better and entirely fulfilling”?
    Often, “the next thing” that we’ve waited for (marriage, children, a new job) is a good gift and blessing.  When we determine that- fill in the blank- will finally satisfy us, we create a “functional savior”, meaning that we have attributed our identity and significance to something other than God and wrongly worship these good things as ultimate things (as Tim Keller says).Part of waiting well means that the hierarchy of our affections are ordered rightly.  If I believe that Jesus plus something will ensure my happiness, then I don’t believe that Jesus is enough.  Sadly, I embrace this lie far too often.  Expecting that “the next thing” will not be just a blessing, but a savior, is like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom.  It may be filling temporarily, but not for long.  I pray that my waiting submits to Jesus and finds rest and fulfillment in Him.
  3. Am I spending so much time focused on what’s ahead that I lose sight of the gift of right now?
    Looking back, I recognize times when I was so intent on moving my life forward from a particular season that I missed out on goodness that was happening around me.  In our waiting and anticipation, let’s resist having a fixed tunnel vision and choose to be present with thankfulness.

the practice (1)Waiting can be refining and stretching and wearying.  It’s not easy.  Waiting well means we’re trusting that God is wise enough to give us our food at the proper time (Psalm 145:15) and loving enough to fully satisfy us in this season and the next (Psalm 63:1-5).  We can trust God with our marital statuses, the people we love, the children we’re raising, jobs, next steps, moves, even the details of tomorrow. That’s good news, friends.
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Slow Clap For Teachers: The Saints of Society

I was once in your midst- copying papers, squatting next to desks, sitting through meetings, greeting students with smiles. I know about your long hours and I remember what it’s like to grade the never-ending stack of papers.

You had a year to remember, complete with triumph and a few tears.  Somehow in the middle of assessments and bureaucracy, you were given the gift of being able to sit back and quietly remember why you became an educator in the first place.  Now, summer is just in reach and you’ll finally get to sip your coffee and leisurely watch the Today Show.  But before you fling yourself too quickly out of the school doors into the summer break that awaits you, I hope you’ll take a moment and hear this important message.
Very simply: thank you.

Thank you for taking time to get to know your students’ personalities and interests, and sitting and listening to what they have to say.  You heard knock-knock jokes from the little ones, you heard all about an older student’s winter formal dress.  You went out of your way to pay attention to them and they noticed.

Thank you for keeping change in your desk drawer for the child in tears without lunch money.

Thank you for thinking outside of the box to reach your students, for incorporating technology when it’s easier to hand out a packet, for integrating art and music into your literacy instruction, for making a lesson come to life on the basketball court.  Thank you for going out of your way to be an excellent educator and fostering an environment that produces thinkers and learners.

Thank you for remembering that a standardized test score is a number on a piece of paper that cannot fully measure the growth of that English Language Learner.

Thank you for going to that student’s soccer game and hugging their sweaty neck afterward.  They’ll remember that, you know.

Thank you for keeping your chill while you deal with PENCILS.
“Can I borrow a pencil?” No.
“Can I sharpen my pencil?” No.
“Can I write in colored pencil?” No.
“Can I click my mechanical pencil a hundred times?” No.
“I forgot my pencil.” No.
“Can I take notes with this 2mm long pencil that has both ends sharpened?” WHAT. JUST NO.

Thank you for remembering that your students- whether 5 years old or 15- are still children.  As they grow and figure out the world around them, your influence will stay with them for years to come.

Thank you for keeping a straight face during your reading group when you received the handwritten note saying, “I was trying to fart and I pooped on my self can I get new pants from the office.”  Teacher, you deserve your summer.

Thank you for wearing all the hats of an educator: counselor, nurse, life coach, housekeeper, judge and jury, public relations manager, cheerleader, advocate, policeman, historian, technology troubleshooter, coach, and friend. You should be making a gazillion dollars, but you don’t need me to tell you that.  You already know.


When you look back on this school year, it could be easy to remember the heated conference you had with a parent or the kid who flipped over a desk or the IEP meeting that lasted until dusk.  Make the effort to also remember the parent who fought tears explaining what you’ve meant to their family.  Remember the kid who would barely talk at the beginning of the school year and bravely gave an entire PowerPoint presentation in May.  And remember those lessons that you knocked out of the ball park, observing students as they make connections and ask meaningful questions.

May your summer break include a lunch break that lasts longer than 20 minutes and quality time with friends and family without a broken pencil in sight.

You certainly deserve it.

Slow Clap For Teachers

9 Insights About Motherhood For My Pre-Baby Self

Dear Pre-Baby Self,
You’ve heard that life is going to change when you have kids and you think you understand. Well, that’s cute.
I’m here to tell you that you’re not prepared at all. I know what life will be like on the other side. Your new normal will be challenging and special and perfect and busy. Listen closely and take notes.9 Insights About Motherhood

  1. “Wheels on the Bus” is about to be your heartbeat song.
    You will officially know everything that happens on that bus, just like you also know all the animals that live on Old MacDonald’s farm. Even some jungle animals will make cameos on the farm if that means your child will not cry in her car seat for six minutes. (What? The song is about animals, not ecosystems and habitats. Maybe Old MacDonald really wanted a gorilla on his farm.)
  2. In addition to having a child, you will gain another new roommate named Bacterial Colonies.
    You will think your house is relatively clean until your little one starts shuffling around with tufts of pet hair pulled out of the carpet and leaving sippy cups of milk in the play kitchen, only to be found days later. Food will be heartily flung to the floor from the high chair and unless you invest in a dog or a Roomba, it may live there for awhile, at least until company comes.
  3. Motherhood is a delicate balance between dying to self and making time for yourself.
    You will realize that you can’t be the center of your universe anymore. There are little feet that need shoes, little bellies that need filling, and little cries that need soothing. You are going to tend to everybody, but make sure you get a cut of that TLC too, starting with a pedicure with a girlfriend.
  4. You will soon understand there’s a reason why sleep deprivation is commonly used as a torture tactic.
    Lean in, Pre-Baby Self. You’ve already heard that in the beginning you won’t get much sleep and it’s true. But I need to prepare you now for the things you will do while sleep deprived including, but not limited to: discover a dirty diaper under all the covers at the foot of your bed, try to cradle and rock your cat, and put DVDs in the freezer. One day the baby will actually start sleeping through the night! This will last until Daylight Savings when you get to wake up at oh-dark-thirty and start sleep training all over again.
  5. Invest in a U-Haul. You will need it for all the baby gear that accompanies a weekend trip.
    When you plan a weekend away, it will seem necessary to pack every baby shower present and furniture item that your child owns. If you want to drive down the highway with an inflatable duck tub crammed across your lap, then buy the minivan. But if you want to travel comfortably with all sixteen hundred lovey blankets, then go with the U-Haul.
  6. It takes a village to raise a mom. Be brave and accept help from your village.
    Let me just say Pre-Baby Self, you are going to be such an awesome Mom. You will work really hard and dole out kisses, Band-Aids, and snuggles. You might feel frustrated when you don’t know all the parenting answers or feel helpless if you experience Postpartum Depression, but you have a whole crew of people who love you and your family. Be willing to let them into your world.
  7. Many tasks of motherhood require speed and stealth: Opening and closing the diaper pail is one of them.
    It won’t take long for you to realize that leaving the diaper pail open for longer than 0.001 of a second unleashes the underworld. Change the diaper, dispose of the diaper- open, close, done. Be quick about it. Trust me on this.
  8. Your pre-baby body and post-baby body are not friends on Facebook and they probably never will be. And that’s okay.
    You will have moments where you look down at your new belly button, turn on Boyz II Men, and sing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”. You’ll work out, you’ll eat healthy, and still- everything will sit differently than it used to. Bathing suit season will get you all hot and bothered, but you know what? You rearranged your organs to grow and birth the most precious human. Treat those stretch marks with respect… they actually tell a beautiful story.
  9. The love for your child will be very real- deep and strong and even a little overwhelming in the very best way.
    You will look at these little people that you’re raising and ache because the love you feel is so powerful. Sure, you will have moments made of utter chaos, but even after the hard days, you’ll still tiptoe into their room at night and think to yourself, “That child just about killed me today. But I couldn’t love her any more.”

Pre-Baby Self, we both know you don’t have a clue what you’re getting into. Soak up every moment with your babies. You won’t believe how quickly the time will pass. For now, though: travel, sleep in, binge watch Netflix, eat out, pee by yourself. These days are numbered, but truly, the best is yet to come.

Would You Rather: Lick the Open Surfaces of an Airplane Bathroom.. or Have to Set Up a Pack ‘N Play Alone?

pack 'n play

If I had to choose between setting up a Pack ‘N Play or wiping down an airplane bathroom with my tongue, I would make sure I was up to date on all vaccinations, pop some Zicam, and set up an appointment with Delta.

The best way to set up a Pack ‘N Play is to find someone who’s been a parent for awhile and act like you have no idea how to do it.  Really play up the fact that they’ve always been there for you, how much you respect their parenting skills, and mention something about how you never thought parenting would be so difficult.  Meanwhile, they are so moved by your flattery and filled with compassion, that they’ll set up the whole thing while you Snapchat their Mom jeans in the air.

Okay, but if you HAVE to do it by yourself, here’s the best approach, in my humble opinion:
1.  Start off with prayer and meditation, think happy thoughts (i.e. babies wearing Halloween costumes), breathe deeply for the task ahead.  Setting up a Pack ‘N Play will require enormous amounts of physical and emotional strength, so you will need to make sure you are in a spiritually healthy place.

2.  Unfold the instruction page and stare at it.  This will not help.  Ok, now go online and look at websites giving advice.  You will end up on Facebook.  Ok, now watch a YouTube tutorial video about setting up a Pack ‘N Play.  Your thoughts while watching the video: “I wonder where she bought those gold sandals.  Why is she talking to me like she knows me?  She does NOT KNOW ME.  When can I go back on Facebook?  I think it’s time to pray again.”

3.  Get all the pieces out from the Pack ‘N Play travel bag- the crib, the mattress pad, the bassinet that goes on top next to the baby jacuzzi.  You essentially registered for the Ritz Carlton Portable Crib and now you’re contemplating if CPS will come to your door if you let your child sleep on that dog bed over there.

4.  This is the playpen when you get it out:

Carefully choose two of the opposite railings of the playpen and say sweet, gentle, kind words to it while you pull it into locked position.  Then make sure you speak tenderly and lovingly to the other opposite railings when you pull them until locked, so they don’t feel disrespected.  I have memories I’m still actively trying to repress of the railings getting salty and pinching my hand skin.

5.  Once all locking mechanisms are activated, take an Intermission and treat yo self to one episode of Friday Night Lights on Netflix.

6.  Following your Intermission, return to the Pack ‘N Play and sway a little bit whispering, “CLEAR EYES FULL HEARTS CANT LOSE”.  Lower the floor of that Pack ‘N Play the best way you know how.  Maybe you push it with the palm of your hand, maybe you channel your energy into a sloppy judo kick, or maybe you just start crying until the playpen feels very, very sad for your adult tears and straightens itself.  I don’t care how you get there, just make it happen.

7.  Once the mattress pad is laid onto the floor of the Pack ‘N Play, congratulations!  I’m happy to tell you that your baby has a legitimate place to sleep and you’ve now officially graduated from Hogwarts.

Author’s Note: I don’t advise disassembling the Pack ‘N Play once you’ve finally set it up.  The playpen is designed with wheels so that you can attach it to your car’s trailer hitch and travel to your destination with the Pack ‘N Play rolling behind the car.  Kind of like an RV Travel Trailer without the skylight and sleeper sofa, but with all the swag.

Good luck to all of you setting up your Pack ‘N Play, however if you need my child, she’ll probably be sleeping on a dog bed.

Raising Girls to Be Strong, Confident Women


When we found out we were having a girl, I loved daydreaming about the pink hairbows and the frilly princess costumes.  I couldn’t wait to brush her hair and braid it into pigtails.  Smocked dresses! Mommy/Daughter manicures!  Dancing to Beyonce!  (WHO RUNS THE WORLD? GIRLS.)  Oh the joys!

It wasn’t until later that my daydreaming slowly transitioned to a growing panic… Having a girl also means lots of tears and all the drama.  Mean girls.  Conversations about maxi pads.  Fragile self image.  Twerking.  (Dear Lord, please let twerking stop existing as a thing by the time she is of age for school dances.  Amen.)  Thankfully I was able to sidestep the full-fledged panic attack and gradually embrace the challenge of having a daughter in the era of selfies.

Now I realize in the raising-a-daughter department I’m no expert, considering I’ve only been a Mom for a hot minute and my parenting expertise is limited to conquering nap time and saying Peek-a-Boo at different pitches.  The thoughts here are a collage of observations, realizations, and aspirations, a collection of ideas that formed as a result of attentively studying the amazing mothers around me and deciding I wanted to do this as well as they did.  

In the very same way that we, as women, faced important questions about our identities, our daughters are going to grow up and wonder:
How do I make sense of the world’s messages about who I am?
What defines beauty?
Am I enough?

child-1127087_640 girl-789868_640 small-child-945784_640 portrait-962654_640 little-girl-958419_640

In a world that values skin complexion, the numbers on the scale, and the tucking and tightness of all body parts, my daughter will have her fair share of insecurity.  She will come downstairs in inappropriate clothing and will promptly be told “Girl, I know you are not leaving this house in booty shorts.  Thanks for playing, TRY AGAIN.”  As we fight she will think I know nothing and have zero life experiences.  But I hope, at the end of it all, she learns that developing the beauty of her character deserves just as much attention as her hair products and Pinterest boards.

Raising my girl to be confident in who she is needs to first start with what she sees in me.  If she watches me stand in front of the bathroom mirror incessantly primping and fixing and curling, or commenting on the imperfections of my appearance, then my underlying message appears to be “This is the most important.  You’re beautiful and valued because of all of this.”  Don’t get me wrong- we all gotta take care of our Money Makers.  All I’m saying is these little girls are watching the women in their world to understand what beauty is and we have the responsibility and privilege as Moms to shape this part of who they are as we raise them.

Moms of girls, together we strive to raise our daughters well and instill values that will help them grow to become strong, confident women.  Keeping in mind that perfection in parenting is out of reach, we accept grace daily.  We recognize the terrifying yet freeing reality that even when given the very best model, our girls will grow up making their own choices, endure many mistakes, and battle unique insecurities.

Choosing to start somewhere to build our daughters up, let’s balance our compliments about their physical beauty with equally sincere compliments about their creativity, intellect, and inquisitive spirits.  Let’s first be committed to loving and accepting who God created us to be as women so we can raise our girls with an authentic model of inner beauty and self confidence.

And if that also brings about manicures and Queen Bey dance-offs in the kitchen, then so be it.

The Truth About Co-Parenting With Google

My daughter is currently being raised by me, my husband, and anyone who contributes to a parenting web forum on Google.  No shame in our 2016 parenting game.
google-1018443_1280I’ve always been in awe of Google.  (It’s a noun and a verb, you guys!) I can Google search how much you paid for your house or the menu at Chili’s, how to fix the garbage disposal or photos of Courteney Cox’s plastic surgery, review my Internet trail from the past decade or discover a dozen ways to make a meaty lasagna.  I can spend ten minutes viewing search results for “unlikely animal friends” and an additional ten minutes wishing I knew a fawn and a puppy that would snuggle together on a hammock.

Google searches were the worst enemy of my pregnancy and the best friend of my entrance into motherhood.  When I was pregnant and thickly spreading peanut butter on top of my peanut butter, I’d feel the slightest twitch of a “symptom” and- against my better judgment- end up at Google.  A midnight search for “my neck is sore” would confirm that I clearly had bacterial meningitis and it could only be cured by whisper waking my husband, arguing about going to the ER for 45 minutes, and going back to sleep with five added pillows.  (This feels like the right time to sincerely apologize to all of our trained Medical Professionals who have to deal with the WebMD hypochondria of the general public.)

Once I became a Mom, my relationship with Google started innocently but evolved rather quickly.  Initially, I’d type in a few keywords like “tummy time” to quickly get some info on infant care.  Then, it’d be complete questions to tell me answers to specific scenarios.  Reasonable questions like:
-What are the signs of reflux in babies?

-When do you start solid food?
-Can you sleep train an overtired baby?

Somewhere between the delirium of five hours of nighttime sleep and narrating my day to an infant, my searches became stream of consciousness and Google basically became my Pen Pal.

-“hey google whats up with you nmh.  Should a baby’s pajamas fit when you put her down at night but then be too tight in the morning?  Get back to me ok?”

-“google please pull up all internet forums related to getting a baby to nap. Literally pull them all up because im going to sit here and read every single forum post to get this right”

-“it’s me again google.  Just checking in to see the best way to treat diaper rash so let me know what you find but don’t pull up that one website that talks about “finger painting” the rash cream because I felt really weird about that one.”

-“so hey goog, today my baby acted like she didn’t want to eat sweet potatoes but most days she loves sweet potatoes so did this happen because she’s teething, ornery, tired, allergic, or all of the above? Write back soon love u so much.”

I have no idea how people parented prior to the Internet.  Did you send out a pigeon to your cousin to ask her about nap schedules?  Or like… did you just follow your heart?  Didn’t it take a ton of time to pick up the phone and twist all the numbers around and untangle the cord and ask your list of questions to your best friend?

Every now and then, I get the giggles when I start to Google search something and the auto-fill lists other popular questions that may match what I’m typing in.  I’m just trying to find out “Will babies go (to sleep after crying for an hour)” and it pulls up “Will babies go (in the rapture)”.  Or I wanna know “Is it ok for babies to eat (table food at x months)” and it brings up “Is it bad for babies to eat (baby powder)”.  WHAT????? You had to Google that?! Who are you?  The best was when I started Googling “Do babies have (allergies)” and I got three winners to choose from:
-“Do babies have (kneecaps)
-“Do babies have (tastebuds)
-“Do babies have (gills in the womb)
Y’ALLLLLLL.  Really tho.  I’m just gonna leave that right there.

If Y2K shut down the Internet years ago, who knows where we would all be today.  (Y2K #neverforget #alwaysinourhearts)  I’m fully prepared to Google my way through my kids’ todder-lives, elementary years, adolescence, probably even into their adulthood.  “hey google talk to me about adult children trying to move back home.  can i charge inflated rent to cover the tuition she drained on sorority tshirts. do I have to share my cookie butter.  if she cancels my DVR recordings of gymnastics can i cut her off emotionally. let me know, lylas”

2To all the parents who contribute to the web forums I’m reading, thank you for being my mentor and guiding light.  To all the parents who will come after me, my best advice is:
1) Never leave home without your diaper bag.
2) Don’t be afraid to utilize Guess-and-Check Parenting.  Also known as Regular Parenting.
3) Google will be your constant friend and Pen Pal.  Maintain a solid WiFi connection and treat her well. She’s the closest Parenting Manual you’re gonna get.

Thank You Notes: The Hunger Games, Kale Chips

thank-you-515514_1280Thank you, Hunger Games, for being an impressive foreshadowing of the current GOP Presidential Race.  In the Republican’s quest to conquer the Capitol, over a dozen candidates entered into the Nomination Arena with Donald Trump standing center stage bellowing “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUUUUUUUTE!!!” (and probably also mentioning “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich”).  The parallels all seem to be there: protests and demonstrations, big spending sponsors, and high entertainment value- although I admit I would’ve enjoyed seeing Fiorina with a crossbow or Carson twirling around to make his suit catch on fire.  Hunger Games, thank you for reminding us that sometimes things get worse before they get better and that there are always nightlock berries if this whole thing goes down sideways.  May the odds be ever in your favor, America.

Thank you, Grocery Store Kale Chips, for giving me a pretty accurate idea of what it’d be like if I put some tahini and cashew butter on a bunch of dryer lint and left it in my mouth to disintegrate.

I’m already envisioning our future together: just you and me in an underground bunker during the End Times, since all of the other food has already been looted off of the shelves.  (Our future together assumes that Waffle House is no longer open 24/7 and all the wild berries and edible plants have also been scavenged.)  By putting “Chips” in your title, I thought we would be besties for the resties, but imagine how surprised I was when I opened the bag and didn’t smell the comforting, familiar scent of sodium.  Instead, it was like a combination of old fish food and Vitamin A and retirement home.  So I guess what I’m trying to say, Grocery Store Kale Chips, is although we won’t hang out often, I’m thankful to know there are other people in the world who enjoy eating you so I don’t have to.

And thank you for allowing me to enter into your busy days with this weeklong Thank You Note series.  Hopefully something you’ve read has given you a soft chuckle or, if we’re both lucky, perhaps even an LOLOL moment.  Back to our regularly scheduled program next week where I’ll be doing some #realtalk entitled: Co-Parenting with Google.

Need some more Thank You Notes in your life?  I thought so.
Thank You Notes: #NationalSiblingsDay, Strangers Commenting on My Pregnancy
Thank You Notes: YouTube Workout Videos, Aveeno Advertisements
Thank You Notes: Infants, Pinterest Crafts
Thank You Notes: People of the Gym