Last night, I painted ten little chubby fingers and ten little chubby toes the perfect shade of Sofia purple.  I brushed her long blonde hair, and she picked out her favorite pink dress, pink headband, and “pretty” shoes.  I led her to my jewelry box and she giggled as I pulled out my pearl necklace and fastened it around her neck. She waited not-so-patiently for her date to arrive, talking about what fun things she and her beau might do.  She had never been on a date before, and she was a bit nervous.  She danced down the hall and clicked her fancy shoes and waited for the moment. Then the doorbell rang, and she poked her head around the corner.  Is this it?  She opened the door slowly, and stood in shock. Her daddy was standing there in his nice clothes holding a bouquet of beautiful flowers. He hugged her tight and told her how beautiful she looked, and she grinned and smelled her flowers. After a few photos, they left for a magical evening at Chick Fil A, dessert at Coldstone, and a trip down the princess aisle at Target. When they returned home, she all but floated into the living

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I have too long neglected this blog of mine.  I’m going to try to be better.  Regular life consumes you, you know?  My kids are insane, my job is demanding, and I have to have some peace.  Writing used to be my peace, and now I’m going to make it happen again. As of recently, I’ve been a bit outspoken about the current political and social climate.  Ok, so that’s not actually “recently.”  I’ve always been this way. My poor mother.  I think I’m slowly killing her.  I’ve apologized multiple times to her because she unwillingly gave birth to an activist. For those of you who I am friends with (and my equally poor family) who are starting to believe that I’ve gone off the liberal deep-end, I want to explain how I arrived at my certain set of conclusions. Disclaimer:  I’m not baiting anyone with this post.  If you respond to this with anything other than civil discord, please use the backspace button liberally.  I am simply offering an ideology that explains me, my viewpoints, and my beliefs.  I’m not trying to change your mind about anything.  There’s this cool thing about the internet:  you can see something you disagree

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Dear John Paul, You’re two years old today. And you are every bit of two years old. You are into everything, and you never ever stop.  You are constantly at open speed, zooming around the house leaving a trail of destruction behind you. You love to make a mess.  You think it’s hilarious to turn the tv off while people are watching it, and you also think it’s funny to play in the dog bowls.  You splashed so much in the tub one night I had to hang the bath mat up to dry.  My walls have beautiful art at knee height from the night you found a permanent marker.  You broke my fantasy football trophy, and I’m waiting for you to fly through the glass panes of my grandmother’s china cabinet.  For a long time, the play pen was no longer for play – it was “baby jail.” You also throw things.  A lot.  And very well.  Your aim is spot on.  While I spy baseball and football in our future, I wait with baited breath for you to launch a milk cup through the tv. You’re always dirty.  I don’t know what you get into, but your face

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It’s been a year since my post To My Husband in this Weird Phase of Life went viral. And by viral, I mean it has had over 500,000 views on my blog alone, not counting the over 1 million views on other websites that picked it up.  I would love to be able to know exactly how many Facebook shares it has had, but I can only guess that it’s over 300k.  It was the most shared and viewed post on For Every Mom for 2015. That’s mind-blowing. I’ve never painted myself as a perfect person.  I make mistakes.  A lot of mistakes.  I’ve never painted my marriage as perfect.  We have to work really really hard for our marriage not to crumble and fall to pieces.  It has not been easy for us.  By no means do I believe I am any sort of expert on marriage, parenting, Christianity, or life in general.  I’m just me, writing words down as I feel them and life as I experience it. It’s amazing what honesty will do for a person.  In conversation with a colleague one day, I said something to the effect of that I don’t really care what people

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Sometimes motherhood can make you really raw. This kind of raw hurts.  It exposes parts of you that you didn’t know existed, and if you did know about them, you fought really hard to keep them quiet.  But they all come out when the mothering starts. Maybe it’s your bear side fiercely protecting your children in ways that your friends and family might feel are a bit wigged out. Maybe it’s your crazy side who popped up when you stepped on the third lego this morning. Maybe it’s your scary side that appears like a werewolf with gnashing teeth when your kid screams for an hour about eating pork chops. Maybe it’s your lazy side that cuts corners with baths and vegetables and hair brushing. Maybe it’s the realization that maybe you just don’t like parenting very much.  You like your kids.  But you just don’t like parenting. Whatever it is, we all have it.  There’s not a mother around who can honestly say she’s never lost her ever-loving mind with her kids about something really stupid like losing doll shoes that you told her not to take off, or soaking his shirt in the dog’s water bowl five seconds before you need to

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I want to write about fun things again. But I simply have no motivation with the way things are right now. Maybe one day I can get back to posting regularly and it will uplift your spirits in the way my words used to. But my heart is sad and my fingers just can’t seem to find the right words to give you much anymore. I had to excuse myself from the end of a family gathering this morning. I had held it in as long as I could and I couldn’t hide it anymore. Ben came to wrap his arms around me because he knew what was happening and I fell apart as soon as I smelled his cologne so close to my nose. I begged him to not ever let it be him. It can’t be him. We need him too much. Yet again, three more brothers in blue won’t ever walk the streets again. Three more brothers lost in this endless game of us versus them and them versus us. At first, I say to myself that I don’t know what we are doing to each other or how we got here. But then I realize that

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I was angry yesterday.  I woke up to the news of the 5 Dallas police officers killed and the 6 others wounded, and I was stunned. Anger ruled me for a good hour as I wept in my hotel bed and through my shower. I had to shield my children’s eyes from the newscast when they began to show the chaos from the night before. JP screamed, “DA DA!!!!” when he saw the flashing blue lights. No one was speaking during continental breakfast, and I noticed the black woman leaning over her eggs and bagel as she seemed terrified to make eye contact with anyone in the room. I had the urge to go hug her, but I didn’t want to draw attention to someone who really looked like she would rather disappear. Luckily, I had a seven hour drive ahead of me, and I was able to tune out the news and think. I thought about how easily this could be my husband or his best friends. No amount of training or confidence could have saved those officers. It was an ambush, plain and simple. I thought about how easily my children could be without a father, and how

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I am absolutely horrified by the reaction of the internet to the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub on Saturday night. When I woke up on Sunday morning (just like Hillary Clinton did, what a shocker) to see the news of this tragedy, my only thoughts were of how horrible this was.  Yet another shooting in our homeland.  Americans were killed.  They were gay?  Oh gosh.  This was obviously a targeted attack.  Why do we all have to hate each other so much? Places my head didn’t go:  How can we make this Obama’s fault?  Or Trump’s fault?  Hillary’s?  CNN?  Islam?  Christianity?  LGBT?  Guns?  Assault rifles? But you – your head went there. And then you went to Facebook.  And Twitter.  And you filled it up with horrible things. Things about how this was due justice to the LGBT community.  Or you tried to make it not about the LGBT community, and only Islamic terrorism.  Or you decided that Christians were obviously to blame since we’ve been so vocal about our bigotry towards the LGBT community.  Or that God has left the country and this is what we’re left with.  Or religion is the downfall of modern society.  Or you

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I know you’ve seen the news story by now of Stanford swimmer, Brock Turner, who raped an unconscious woman laying behind a dumpster after a party. If you’ve heard about that, you’ve also heard about how he’s only receiving 6 months in jail as punishment because the judge felt that a longer sentence would have too serious of an impact on him, as a 19 year old boy. If this doesn’t make you physically sick to your stomach, you probably won’t like the rest of what I’m about to say. Because I am disgusted. Before you read anything else, I suggest that you read the victim’s statement here. It’s powerful, it’s poignant, and she deserves to be heard – for herself and all rape victims. I am not a rape victim. I’ve never been sexually assaulted, save the one guy who decided to try to stick his hand up my dress on Bourbon Street, to which I promptly had him and his friends kicked out of the bar. I don’t pretend to know how rape victims feel or how they live the rest of their lives permanently scarred from an unwelcomed encounter, and the subsequent unwelcomed criticism about their situation. Because

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Today is June 6th. As the Greatest Generation passes away rapidly in front of our eyes, I wonder if we’ll be able to give them their deserved honor to future generations.  I’m not so sure that the ages after me will feel the emotion and the respect that has always been felt on this day, having never sat at the feet of these men and women and listened to their stories. Stories of hard work, determination, and love of country.  Stories of incredible heartbreak, loss of life, and grave sacrifice.  Stories of a simpler time when tragedy brought the world together, instead of dividing it.  Understanding that the sacrifice of one life meant the salvation of so many more.  Knowing that fighting for the rights of freedom from dictatorship and tyranny meant fighting for all people, not just Americans.  Serving your country any way you could – going to war, going to work, buying war bonds, gathering scrap metal. Not only were they the Greatest Generation because they lived through the Great Depression and served through World War II, but they saw so much more.  They returned home to deliver the United States from financial ruin.  They raised children with morals and

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