Riley Ann’s birth story

Monday 12/16 was like any other day; we went to my Moms house to hang out & do laundry. We came home, made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and then I was in bed by 8. I didn’t do anything strenuous and I had no inkling that labor was only a few hours away.

I’m not sure if it was a contraction that woke me up, or if I woke up and then had a contraction. Either way, I woke up at 12:30 and had a pretty good contraction. It wasn’t overwhelming – but it was different than the braxton hicks I had been experiencing for the last several weeks.

I tried to go back to sleep but I could not get comfortable; I continued to have contractions every 7-9 minutes (I never actually timed them, but this is my guesstimate and what I told my Midwife when I called her). I was having to pee every couple of minutes it seemed, and I was also have lots of bowel movements; which I had read or maybe I had heard on a podcast that having bowel movements in early labor is totally normal. It’s just one of the ways your body is preparing for labor. On my last pee trip to the bathroom there was some blood when I wiped (mucous plug maybe?). I literally laughed out loud and said, “Oh. yep. This is the real deal.” Until this point I was still unsure whether or not this was real labor.

By now it was 1:45am – I woke Chris up and told him what was happening. He agreed that I needed to call Rebecca (my midwife) and let her know what was happening. She lives about an hour away from the birth center so we needed to give her plenty of notice. Chris was not in a hot hurry to deliver another baby by himself at home (poor guy is slightly traumatized from Aubrey’s birth.)

He also text his brother to let him know what was going on. Paisley & Aubrey were going to be going over to Jeremy & Amy’s house while Chris & I were at the birth center. Initially we were planning on taking them over to their house, but my contractions were started to get a little stronger and I didn’t think I could ride that far in the car. Honestly it’s only 5.5 miles one way, but it was just to much for me to handle then. We opted to have Jeremy come and pick them up, and honestly it worked out for the best.

As soon as Jeremy picked the girls up Chris & I headed for the birth center which was a whopping 2.3 miles away. We strategically picked the campground & birth center based on their proximity from each other – Again, this proved to be a wise choice.  I had one contraction in the truck, one as soon as we pulled into the parking lot & another one as soon as we walked into what would be our birthing room. They were definitely getting stronger & closer together. Every 2-3 min, I think.

As soon as we got into our room Rebecca had me lay on the bed so that she could check my vitals and check Riley’s heart rate. This was just about the extent of any monitoring that was done. I did ask if she needed to do a cervix check and she said “No, this is your 3rd kid. You are in labor. We are good.”  After that was done she said we were free to roam about the cabin. LOL, kidding. She didn’t say that – but she did say that we were free to wander around because no one else was there. FYI: It was 3am.

Rebecca asked if I wanted her to start the tub? I said I would wait a little bit longer to see how things went.

I think I had maybe 1 more contractions before they really started to ramp up in intensity. I wasn’t feeling pressure but I wasn’t able to do anything other than breath and moan through the contraction. My preferred stance was leaned over the bed while swaying my hips. I went to find Rebecca and asked if we could get the tub started.

She said “yep. I heard you in there.” I’m going to break from the story here to tell you how much I LOVE Midwifery care. It is like no other care. Every single visit was like visiting family. I wasn’t just a patient number or a dollar amount.

It all starts to get a little fuzzy now – Rebecca go the tub going. At some point I got in. As I was getting in the tub Rebecca told me that I could absolutely deliver in the water but that I couldn’t bob Riley’s head up and down once her head was out. I would have to keep her head underwater. (I’m here to tell ya that this sounds much easier than it actually is!) (The reason for this, i think, is that as long as she stayed underwater she was still “breathing” through the umbilical cord – but once she came out of the water she would take a breath and obviously she couldn’t go back under the water.)

 Rebecca checked Riley’s heart rate and commented that my sacrum wasn’t opened up yet so we weren’t quite there yet. She also said something like it could be an hour or it could be 20 minutes. (click link to see what I mean about the sacrum. be warned, maybe not safe for work.) The very next contraction was crazy. I felt a ton of pressure and I could feel that I was going to need to push very soon. Rebecca said, “Oh, it could be 20 minutes then.”

Each contraction after that one was intense. I tried to remember to breath through them and to stay relaxed, which was quite difficult. I also tried not to scream. Later, after Riley was born, I commented to Chris that I tried not to scream. He laughed and said I was pretty loud.

I really have no idea how many contractions or how long it took to get Riley out. I know that part of her head was out (OMG THE BURN) and Rebecca asked if I wanted to feel. I said yes & started to reach for her, but then said no – Rebecca encouraged me to feel her head.  THAT WAS WILD.

I also had to change positions from kneeling to laying on my side. I can’t remember why; maybe to help keep her head underwater. I feel like it took FOR-EV-ER to get her head all the way out. THE BURN. Lord have mercy, the burn.

and then the sweet sweet relief when she was finally all the way out. WHEW. We did it again! Riley Ann was born in the water on 12/17/2019 at 3:47am -A mere 45 minutes after we arrived at the birth center. Phew!

Just like with Aubrey, we did a delayed cord clamping. We let the cord stay attached until it had completely stopped pulsing. Per Rebecca, this is typically when the placenta has detached and is ready to be delivered. I hated this part with Aubrey & it was equally as awful with Riley.

After that was all over with I was able to get out of the tub and into bed. A BED. Not an icky hospital bed, A REAL BED! I loved being able to get into my own bed after Aubrey was born – but a nice cozy bed at a birth center was great too.

I realize this is getting lengthy – but I’m going to write it all out for the sake of my memory….. 
The one thing that we didn’t have, that we needed, was food. I did manage to throw some snacks and drinks into a bag before we left but I hadn’t planned on what I would actually eat after she was born. I knew I needed a meal, but I never made one. I was planning on making some kind of quiche and then just heating it up at the birth center, but I never go around to making one. SO, when the time came that I needed to eat I had a banana & a kids chobani yogurt squeeze thing. That was enough so that I could take some ibuprofen.
Because we were staying so close to the birth center Chris was able to run home and make us some breakfast. So he went home, cooked up some egg sandwiches and came back to the birth center. Best egg sandwich EVER.

When he got back the Midwives (Rebecca & her student, Mary) got to work taking all of Riley’s measurements. So by this time i think it was probably close to 530 or 6. So we were able to just chill and cuddle for several hours before they did anything with Riley. Again, Midwifery care is THEE BEST. 
As with Aubrey, I didn’t think Riley looked big enough to be 9lbs, but lo and behold, she was. 9lbs on the dot! Again, blew my mind! I guess I need to see an actual tiny baby to realize how big 9lbs actually is. 

Eventually everyone cleared out and Chris & I were left to relax. We had the option to leave at the 4hr mark, but we opted to stay and relax there for a little while. Chris had to leave again and go get our car from his brothers house since that’s where Riley’s car seat was. We ended up leaving the birth center around 9:30am – just 6.5 hrs after we arrived.

I went

I went to church today.

I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in a church that wasn’t for a funeral.

I could write out a list of reasons. All invalid excuses.

Is there really a valid excuse?

Illness, hospitalization, your own death. that’s probably it.

most Sunday’s I never even considered going to church.

chris asked me if I wanted to get out of the house (alone) for a while. at first, I wasn’t going to go. there are 10,000 things that need to be done around here – so I was just going to stay home.

then I remembered that my original plan for today was to go to church, as a family.  no one was anywhere near ready to go, and I didn’t have the energy to try and round them up and out the door in 15 minutes. so I got myself ready and left.

I felt like this was my chance. A chance to get my foot in the door with no resistance from anyone.

I went.

I liked it.

I’m planning on going again next Sunday.



I try to do a devotional every morning before the kids wake up. I would say I’m successful about 5-6 days a week. I alternate between the First5 App & Proverbs 31 Ministries blog. They are run by the same people & always have great messages.

This mornings message from the Proverbs 31 Ministry was about distraction, which is something I absolutely struggle with. I’ve recently deleted the FB app off my phone – but then I would find myself reloading it/deleting it a few times a day.


I was still active on Instagram – I like IG. It’s generally more positive & less drama… but then I realized that I was starting to pay to much attention to the “stats” or “insights” of my posts. “How many people liked” “How many people were reached” “How many people swiped away from my instastory.”

Totally meaningless stuff.  Why do I even care??? I don’t get paid. I have a small following, which was another thing I was getting caught up. “OH! Someone followed me.” “Oh, someone unfollowed me.” and that would be followed by “Hm, I wonder what I did to offend them or make them unfollow me?”




I recently closed my social media based Lularoe boutique – for many reasons, but primarily because I didn’t have time & I wanted to be more focused on my family.

Then I immediately replace LLR with IG obsession.

So the message this morning brought me back to reality and I’m feeling a lot of conviction when it comes to social media.

It is hard enough to be a parent without the constant onslaught of “advice” that is pouring out of every social media orifice. I see these posts about why I should stop getting frustrated with my kids & cherish all their temper tantrums because one day they won’t have temper tantrums – and I just want to scream, WHO IS WRITING THIS CRAP???

It’s just prettied up version of Mom-shaming. I can’t even read those “essay’s” anymore. All I feel is extreme guilt & frustration. I start to feel like there is something wrong with me. WHY do I get so aggravated at my kids? Am I doing something wrong? Do I need to see a Dr? Is there something wrong with me? I’m already on lexapro, maybe I need a stronger dose, or something different. It becomes a landslide of emotions – all from one post about how I should love my kids temper tantrum.

Yeah. No thanks.

Of course I can choose not to read it. But i swear 15 moms in my feed are sharing this post – which just makes me feel even worse.

I don’t know what social media will look like for me moving forward. I’ll still be here, writing. I think i’ll be on instagram – i changed my account from business back to personal so I no longer get insights on my feed.

But FB, I think I can live w/o facebook…. I still have messenger because that’s how I communicate with a couple of my friends.


Have you given up social media for any length of time?




All i want is a big milky latte

Hello!  I’m feeling inspired to write this morning, so I’m going to try to write out some coherent thoughts on Whole30.

Aubrey is in bed, so let’s all shoot up a prayer that she stays there for at least the next 2 hours – that would be AWESOME!


I started Whole30 on Monday. Today is day 4. I’m reallllly wishing I could have a big nasty milky latte. Oh so yummy! I would settle for a frothy coconut oil latte, but sadly my little blender thingy bit the dust last year and I haven’t replaced it. I have the big ninja, but it doesn’t quite have the same frothiness, plus, the ninja is cracked, and I’m not sure it can handle a hot substance… Hmmmm, maybe I SHOULD use it … ::evil laugh::

Day 1 sucked. Let’s just be honest, shall we. We planned a trip to Bok Tower so I packed all our food. The food part was fine. What sucked was the massive headache I had. I don’t know if it was the heat or ?????  Whole30 has a “timeline” for suckiness, and there is a day in the first week (usually day 2) where you feel hungover. I felt that way on Day 1.

I SORT OF feel like it was the heat getting to me – but I have NEVER had that kind of reaction being in the heat and I’ve lived in this heat box state (Florida) my entire life. I was drinking a lot of water, so I don’t think it was dehydration. It wasn’t THAT hot… I don’t know what the deal was, but it wasn’t fun.

Day 2 & 3 were somewhat better. Although, I did text one of my besties to ask her if being possessed by satan was a symptom of Whole30 because I was having a bit of a rough morning; and, indeed, it is. It hits around Day 4 – it seems my “symptoms” are rolling in a bit early.


Day 3 I’m starting to realize how much mindless snacking I do. A bite of this, a bite of that – handful of cheerios. A few pieces of cubed cheese. Taste test the tortellini (a few times). All which seems harmless, but all those snacks add up, clearly since I’m still 15lbs above pre-Aubrey weight. Also, I love sweets. Ugh. I’m constantly craving something sweet. I’m also a night-time snacker. Lord, I love me some snacks.

I’m pretty much convinced that the creators of Whole30 did not have toddlers when they created this. IF THEY HAD, they would have figured out HOW to make wine fit… amiright???


That brings us to today…  I’m fine. It’s fine. This is alllllll going to be fine. By the way, I made a coconut oil / nut pod latte, and it was DELISH.  I brewed Santa’s White Christmas coffee in my …. uhhh, what is that thing called..  Oh, french press (legit had to google “coffee brewer” to figure that out).

Poured coffee in mug, added a heap of coconut oil then some french vanilla nut pod creamer. Poured that into my ninja & ninja’d it on high for a minute or so. DELISH. No picture bc it’s in my belly!

Now I just need to work on adding in some exercise … baby steps, people, baby steps.

the beginning


I want to write. I have this urge to put my thoughts on paper; to clear my head in this space that I call mine. I’m not a writer. I am not eloquent. I don’t even know what I really want to write about.

My life is not pretty. It’s fairly mundane. There are no pretty pictures with perfect lighting. There is no perfectly decorated home. I’m not interested in doing things just for the sake of doing them & then writing about it. That’s not realistic at all.

My thoughts race around my head looking for a place to exit. The only time my mind truly stops racing and thinking about the next thing is when I’m on my yoga mat. I’ve always wanted to get more into yoga. I’ve tried. Several times. I always found it boring and I couldn’t clear my mind enough to enjoy the process.

Now I find myself wanting to dig deeper into yoga. I want to get better, get stronger, more flexible & to flow through poses with grace. To me, yoga goes hand-in-hand with a minimalist lifestyle.

2018-01-16 11.41.30-1

I yearn for simplicity. I crave it.

I yearn for something to call mine. The thing that I DO and that I do WELL. Not something that I half ass my way though. Something that I care about – something I’m passionate about. Something that challenges me & makes me a better person.


That seems to be the million dollar question ……..

The birth of Aubrey Lynn: An accidental, unassisted home birth story

I’m still trying to process everything that happened, and I really don’t have a great time line because it happened so fast – but this is my recollection of how Aubrey came into our lives in a super fast & furious manner.


Monday started like the last few days had started for me – extremely early because I was unable to sleep. I woke up around 3, couldn’t fall back asleep so I went in our guest room to read and to use the breast pump for nipple stimulation.

I should probably say now that if you don’t like details about labor/birth/boobs, then, exit now. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended.

I previously read that a breast pump could be used for nipple stimulation, which can help to bring on contractions. This needs to be done at regular intervals over a couple of hours time. I lasted an hour. 15 min on each side, rest for about 15 min then repeat. That was all I could handle. I went back to sleep for a few hours and then Paisley woke me up at 7:30 crying because she had taken all the slippers off her dolls and couldn’t find one of Belle’s. #toddlerproblems

After everyone was awake and fed we went over to the preserve near our house for a walk. I was having some braxton hicks type contractions after our walk; but nothing that I would consider to be a “real” contraction. When Paisley was born, my water broke at home and I don’t remember having contractions with her – I got an epidural before the serious stuff started. Everything I had read or listened to said that “real” contractions would feel like period cramps.. I mean, it’s been a while since I’ve had period cramps,but nothing I was experiencing felt like that.


Paisley laid down for a nap; Chris & I had some alone time…. you know they say sex helps induce labor. Sex at 40wks 1 day is about as awkward as it sounds. HA! Earlier in the morning I had found a recipe for “labor inducing” cookies, so I that was up next on my list of things to do. While I was making those cookies I was semi aware that my contractions were somewhat regular. I attempted timing them but I was having a hard time figuring out when they were stopping & when they were starting, so I gave up. At some point I laid down in bed to see if they would stop or if they continued. They continued – but with some irregularity and nothing that I needed to stop doing what I was doing to handle it. This went on for hours –  I was convinced that these were just braxton hicks and that they would stop over night, as had happened many times over the course of my pregnancy.


Again, my time line is fuzzy – but at some point I had started timing contractions and they were 3-5 min apart, but really mild in intensity. I needed to let the birth center know that I was in early labor, so I called them around 8:30pm just to give the midwife on call a heads-up. Chris was getting Paisley in bed so I grabbed some pillows and went to law on the couch. I was also doing an accupressure point on my achilles tendon which seemed to get my contractions going a little more. Again, nothing serious. I asked Chris if he would rub my feet and the pressure point. I also notified my doula around this same time that I was having contractions.

As I was getting up to move over so he could sit on the couch, I felt this insane pop and then instant pain. I stood up and I knew immediately something had changed. I told Chris to call his Dad because they needed to come get Paisley – this was at 9:45. That first contraction doubled me over. I could no longer talk or function through the contractions…and they were coming fast and hard.

I started to get worried because it would be at least 30 min before Paisley would be picked up – I got in the shower to try and slow the contractions down some. Failed attempt. I told Chris to call the midwife because we needed to be leaving ASAP. He called the midwife at 10:04 to tell her that the contractions had gotten really intense and we needed to come now. I made it out of the shower but a contraction hit & I fell to the floor on all fours. This was the ONLY way I could tolerate the pain. I started sweating like a crazy person and seriously wondering what I had gotten myself into. I think I also text the doula that we were getting ready to head to the birth center.

I was also thinking there is absolutely no way on God’s green earth that I am getting in the truck and riding 45 minutes with these contractions. I stayed on the floor through a few contractions while Chris tried to persuade me that I needed to get up and get dressed because his Dad would be there soon. At some point during this my water had broken, and then I started to see some mucusy type stuff. No clue what this is, but I knew right then that this baby was absolutely not going to wait for us to drive to Brandon. I crawled to my closet to find some clothes, had another contractions. Rocked on all fours through the contraction. At this point Paisley was still home, in the next room, and I’m basically screaming. I think it was at this point that I was feeling like I needed to push – which REALLY freaked me out because there was no way that I already needed to push! I knew from reading some books that I needed to try and relax because being tense was making the pain worse, but I’m here to tell you that there was no relaxing. I tried really hard, but, the pain was incredible.

Paisley left at 10:17 – Chris tried to sneak her out in between contractions so I didn’t wake her up. I think he said she did wake up, he told her Mommy was okay and that she was going to go to Grandma & Grandpa’s house.

For the next few minutes Chris tried to convince me to get dressed because we needed to go. I kept telling him there was absolutely no way I was getting in the truck and that we weren’t going to make it. Finally I told him to take Paisley’s seat out of the truck and I could try to ride in the back seat. I started the walk towards the truck and had 3 contractions and with each one I just knew that this was not going to happen. Each contraction had me on the floor. I had a contraction right before I made it out the door to the garage and I could feel Aubrey’s head with my fingers. Again, I told Chris we weren’t going to make it out of the house.  At some point during all of this Chris had put water in Paisley’s tub. I guess maybe he was starting to realize that we actually weren’t going to make it out of the house & he knew that I was planning on having a water birth a the birth center.

I made it out to the garage – had a contraction fell to the floor and I felt Aubrey’s head come down and then slide back. I was seriously worried at this point – I had no idea how dilated I was but I knew that I needed to push. I’ve heard/read that your body just knows, and that is no joke. With Paisley I had an epidural so I NEVER felt that urge to push. This was an undeniable OMG IF I DON’T PUSH RIGHT NOW I WILL DIE urge. It was INTENSE.

I some how made it back into the house and into the tub. Chris called the midwife at 10:43 to tell her that we weren’t going to make it that Aubrey was coming now. She called back at 10:45 and Chris couldn’t answer because he was literally catching Aubrey. When Aubrey’s head was delivered she was already screaming – I can’t tell you what a relief that was for us. To hear her, and know that she was probably okay was a HUGE relief. Chris is telling me that I need to push one more time so that he can deliver the rest of her. It seemed like forever before I had another contraction so that I could get her out. Chris called the midwife back at 10:47 to say that Aubrey was born & she was crying. He asked the midwife for instructions on what to do next.


Cheryl gave him a few things to look for and a few things to do but to mostly just hang tight until she could get there. She had just arrived at the birth center when Chris called her to tell her that we weren’t going to make it there. My doula, Brandi, had also text saying that she was at the birth center waiting for us…. My response to her was a picture of Aubrey, HAHA!

Then our Midwife, Cheryl, arrived and got right to work. She & Chris cut the umbilical cord – We were able to do the delayed cord clamp for 39 minutes, no one was even there to do anything for the first 25-30 minutes!! Eventually, Aubrey’s placenta was delivered and then it was time for me to get out of the tub. My Doula, Brandi, also arrived at some point. Not sure when – She helped me get out of the tub and settled into my OWN BED! (this is so crazy!)


This part blows my mind because with Paisley I had an epidural and I could not move for hours, and then when I could move we found out I had nerve damage in my leg/foot so I still couldn’t really walk. So, to be able to stand up, rinse off in the shower, and then WALK TO MY OWN BED was CRAZY!!!

After I was settled in bed I got Aubrey back and we had some more skin to skin & nursing time. Aubrey is much different than Paisley in the nursing department! She latched right away – something that I really had a hard time with when Paisley was born!

After answering some questions about her birth, and getting everything recorded in our chart, it was time to take Aubrey’s measurements! (look at her little foot sticking out! so sweet!)


She clocked in at 9lbs 2oz!!! THIS SHOCKED ME! I said ” NO WAY!” So Cheryl weighed her again! Yep, 9lbs 2oz !!! She is 21″ long! Head circumference is 14.25″Chest is 13.25″

And because people are strange, and always want to know…. I did not tear. LOL, let that soak in for a minute! I’m STILL letting that soak in. This is as crazy to me as having a baby at home in my bathtub with no one but Chris around!


The body is a powerful powerful thing, and thankfully my body did what it needed to do, and with the help of our Lord & Chris I was able to deliver a very healthy baby girl without any medical intervention.


Thanks for letting me share our birth story with you! This is not something I’ll ever forget but getting it down in writing is a great way to process everything that happened!


Preparing for Aubrey

I think I’ve almost set a record between my Grandmother, Mom, Aunt & my Sister…. for being pregnant the longest. Not really a record I want to set, but here I am, none-the-less. Still going strong at 39wks 2 days.. I realize I haven’t even made it to my “due date” yet, but no one thought I was even going to make it this long.

Every day is a challenging head game of wait & see; please note: I am REALLY NOT GOOD at these type of games that test my patients and have no end date. Sure, there is an end date, BUT WHAT IS IT???

So since I’m still pregnant, I decided that maybe I actually do have time to make a few freezer meals. I had kind of been putting this off because the task itself seemed really daunting. Planning & preparing multiple meals at one time!? I can barely cook dinner without a meltdown from a certain toddler I know – How was I ever going to spend hours in the kitchen? I had a few weekends where I planned to do it, but then I just never did it.


So Sunday afternoon I pulled out my Make it Freeze it cookbook and flipped through it until I had a few recipes. Then I went on Pinterest and found a few recipes for meals that weren’t in the book but that I wanted to make.

I wrote out my grocery list, and then text my Mom to see if she could come watch Paisley for a few hours on Monday so that I could knock out these freezer meals. I’m not a dummy, there is absolutely no way Paisley would tolerate me standing in the kitchen for hours on end. Naps are so hit & miss these days that I couldn’t really count on that either. Grandma to the rescue!


15577899_10209420675727286_9110571610914870032_oOkay, back to my freezer meal plan.. but Paisley is so cute, right? She had a blast taking pictures with Grandma! Lot’s of twirling & singing was involved.

I planned out 6 meals, and each meal would have 4-6 servings;

Upstate Minestrone (from the Make it Freeze it cookbook)
Rustic Italian Tortellini soup (MIFI cookbook)
Zesty Hamburger soup (MIFI cookbook)
Baked Spaghetti (MIFI cookbook)
Chicken Pot pie (pinterest)
Shepherds Pie (pinterest)


Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup: 

Prep: 20 min  / Cook: 20 min
Makes 6 servings (2 quarts)

3/4lb Italian Turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14.5 oz ea) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 3/4 c water
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (9oz) cheese tortellini
1 pkg (6oz) fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
2 1/4 tsp minced fresh basil or 3/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Crumble the sausage into a dutch oven; add onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic; cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, water & tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the tortellini; return to a boil. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; add the spinach, basil, pepper and pepper flakes. Cook 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted and tortellini are tender. Serve with cheese if desired.


Place individual portions of cooled soup in freezer containers and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth if necessary.


Let’s wrap this up, shall we? I’ll post the other two recipes tomorrow!



When you just feel inadequate

“Mommy, play with me.” She says as she grabs my hand and tries with all her might to pull me away from the stove.

It’s time to get dinner started, Paisley is bored and wants me to play with her. I have to start dinner. It’s not going to cook itself. I need to wash the dishes in the sink. I need to finish charting from today’s patient load. I need to put away the clothes from this past weekend. I need to hang the clothes that have been laying in a basket for a few days.

She pulls my hand again and asks me to play with her again. “I can’t,” I tell her, again.

My heart breaks. I feel like crying. My child wants my attention, and I can’t or won’t give it to her because so many other things also need my attention.

This scenario happens all too often around here. It’s been happening more & more frequently as she grows older and is less entertained by her current toys. Her attention span is short; it’s not her fault. She’s not even 3 yet.

Am I doing her a disservice by keeping her home with me? Am I teaching her enough? Is she getting enough engagement? We don’t play with friends nearly as often as we should.

We can’t. I don’t have time. I don’t know that many people here.

Should we send her to school? We can’t afford it. Maybe I should get a regular job that pays more, No, not an option. I don’t want her to go to school yet. I want to stay home with her.

My house is a disaster. I’ll never be able to stay on top of it because I can’t even get ahead of it.

These are all my thoughts; the things that make me feel inadequate. I’m not a good enough Mom. I’m not a good enough employee. I’m not a good enough housekeeper. I’m not a good enough Coach. I’m not a good enough friend.

I honestly never realized how many of these, “I’m not good enough” thoughts I had in my head until just now.

It is hard to feel like you’re good enough when you feel like you’re drowning in the simple day to day life.

They say the days are long & the years are short. I know that’s true, but in the middle of a shit storm, everything feels neverending.

Today is a new day. All I can do is my very best.

We went to Disney…. I’m so tired

Oh my goodness, y’all. We went to the Magic Kingdom this weekend, and I am exhausted! We started the weekend with a Friday night visit to Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween.

Paisley’s first glimpse at Mickey & Minnie2016-10-21-20-39-00Here they come in the Boo to You Halloween Parade!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween. We’ve never gone before, and although I have friends that have gone, I never thought to ask what it was like.

The event starts at 7pm, although we were told that you could enter the park at 4pm with MNSSHP tickets. The pre-parade entertainment started at 8:15 with the parade starting at 8:30. The parade was pretty neat, there was quite an array of characters. Paisley doesn’t really know who the majority of the characters are, but she had fun waving and screaming HI to everyone!


After the parade, we were funneled towards the back of the park, and on our way to find candy and Ariel. What I didn’t know until the night of the event was that the candy stations are spread out through every “land” of Magic Kingdom. Needless to say, we did not get much candy (which I’m okay with, BTW). Honestly, I wasn’t super impressed with this aspect of the event.

I did like that most of the characters were still at the greeting areas, and plenty of rides were still open. Paisley got to meet Minnie, Daisy, Donald & Ariel on Friday night.


Paisley was a little shy with Ariel during her first encounter – a real live person in a mermaid costume is probably pretty intimidating to a kid! But her 2nd encounter on Saturday, while we were at the Magic Kingdom, was much better. (Waiting on pictures from that encounter, there is a super sweet one that my Mom took.)

The fireworks show was pretty awesome – Paisley hates fireworks, so this part was not awesome. She sat cuddled up on Daddy with her hands over her ears for the duration of the show. I can’t recall what time this was, I think it was around 10:15. I do remember that we were in line to meet Minnie, Daisy & Donald… yeah, still at the park.

We started our trek back to the front of the park, but got a little lost, and ended up getting stuck behind the final parade at 11:15. I don’t know what time we ended up leaving the park, but we didn’t get back to our room at Port Orleans – Riverside until after 1am.


30 weeks pregnant, and ready to do The Magic Kingdom with my Princess’ & Prince


My mother in law, Mary, scored us all an awesome breakfast reservation at Chef Mickey first thing Saturday morning. This was an AMAZING experience, but OMG, getting up at 5:30 after going to bed after 1 am was HARD!!

But the breakfast, that was super worth it! Chef Mickey is at the Contemporary Resort, which is amazing all on its own. We had 7:45 reservations and were seated pretty quickly. I don’t know if all of Chef Mickey is character dining, or if it’s all buffet style, but that’s how our breakfast was.

Paisley got to meet Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, Pluto & Donald! She loved every second of it!
The food was excellent. I’m not typically a fan of buffets but in Disney style, the food was excellent.

Shout out to Mary for this AMAZING outfit! She found this gem on Etsy! It is seriously adorable, and Paisley loved it!

I am planning on doing a Minnie themed birthday party, so we will be able to use the skirt again! I am all about dual purpose specialty clothing!

Next up was our first monorail ride to Magic Kingdom! As soon as we entered the park we headed to Ariel’s Grotto because Paisley wanted to meet Ariel (again).

The wait was 40 minutes, and we explained to her that we would have to stand in line and wait for a long time, but she insisted on meeting Ariel.

and then she fell asleep on Daddy while we waited. 2016-10-22-10-49-34

We stopped for lunch at Pinocchio’s Village Haus . Decent food for a decent prize. As with all things Disney, food is extremely overpriced, but I didn’t find this place to be horribly ridiculous. Except for water still be $3. That is crazy. I drink a lot of water. Chris said I spent his monthly beer allowance on water this weekend. #sorrynotsorry


The carousel was our final ride at The Magic Kingdom – of course there is so much more to do, but we were all so tired. Paisley was barely staying awake, and her attitude was starting to show just how tired she was. Actually, we did do the train ride that goes around MK, but she AND Chris fell asleep. So we headed back to our hotel for a little down time before we had to venture over to Disney Springs for our dinner reservation at The Boathouse.

We took the boat from Port Orleans – Riverside to Disney Spring Market Landing. When I inquired as to how long this would take, I was told plan for 45 minutes. It took about an hour. The ride itself didn’t take that long, but the boat is only so big and quite a few people had the same idea we did. So we had to wait a little bit longer for a boat.

It was also a little bit of a walk from the Market Landing to The Boathouse – we arrived just a few minutes after our reservation, but all was well. Thankfully we had a reservation because people were looking at 2 hour wait times!!! YIKES!

I had a super delicious pasta dish. It was called Vegetable Pappardelle, so good! I’m currently looking for a similar recipe on Pinterest. Chris had shrimp & grits, which he said was great. My Mom had coconut shrimp, I think she liked it. Paisley had a cheeseburger & fries, which she ate without having to be asked 700 times.

We sat outside on the deck; it was perfect. We had such amazing weather this weekend! We really lucked out with the weather. Florida is so temperamental in October!

We called it a night after dinner and headed back to our hotel via bus.


Sunday morning we “slept in.” Paisley woke up around 7:30 requesting to get in bed with Daddy. So we lounged in bed for a little bit before getting up to go get breakfast at the Riverside Grill on the Port Orleans property. It was a fairly simple process – self-service kind of thing. Again, the food was decent & not astronomically priced. I think the prices were pretty similar to what you would pay at a regular breakfast join. 2016-10-23-09-58-33

After we packed up the truck we parked in the main parking lot at Port Orleans and then got on a bus to head over to The Contemporary. I wanted to take Paisley on one last adventure, and I knew she would enjoy riding the bus & monorail one last time.

When we were at The Contemporary on Saturday morning for the Chef Mickey breakfast, I noticed that they had quite a few of those machines that smash pennies and put designs on them. You know the ones I’m talking about, right?

Paisley LOVES these! Sadly Disney has done away with the crank machines, but she still enjoyed putting in the coins & pushing the button. So we let her choose a few designs that she wanted to do, and then I did two different 2016 designs. We ended up with 7 smashed coins, and one coin book to keep them in.


It’s interesting how much a child’s perspective can change your own perspective. I have never been into Disney. It has always blown my mind that people travel from all around the World and spend tens of thousands of dollars to make these trips happen.

Now that I’ve experienced Disney through Paisley’s eyes, I can totally see how that happens. Self-control is hard in that place, and those crazy magic bands with your credit card information do not help that situation what-so-ever!

I’m already planning our next trip! HA! It’s not for a while, like December 2017. I think we will go for the girl’s birthdays (and mine)! Isn’t Chris lucky that all his ladies birthdays are in December? (that’s sarcasm).

Until next time, Jena

Waiting for something, but what?

From my prayer journal this morning,

“It seems that we have been waiting on “What’s next” since we moved to Lakeland. I don’t feel settled here. I don’t know why, I just feel like something is missing. I feel like we are here, but we are waiting on something else – waiting….. I don’t remember feeling this way when we lived in Hernando Beach. Am I waiting on our next adventure/trip? On a new job? On the next move? I’m feeling totally unfulfilled, like there is just something missing from our every day life – but I have no idea what it is.”


It is hard to wait when you don’t know what you are waiting for – What would I even do to make the waiting stop?

Am I anxious about what is to come in the next 7-9 weeks? Probably. But the feeling of something missing has been going on much longer than just the 8 months I’ve been pregnant. So here I am, waiting. Praying over the wait, reading while I wait, and learning more about our God while I wait.

I love these verses from Psalm 139

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous ways in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24