Before & After: What Having Kids Did To Me

I recently came across an old picture of me from a few years back. Let me tell you…the world always has a way of humbling you.

I was in my early 20’s and about 50 pounds lighter. This was BEFORE I had my babies. I was skinner, well-rested & actually had the time to care about my appearance.  I mean, I actually had the time to selfie. Obviously, time & babies will change a person. I’ve lost a lot of sleep in the course of 2.5 years.

My before picture was taken in spring 2014. Since then, I’ve moved four times (two times internationally), had two healthy baby boys, and gained around 45-50 pounds.

I’ve seen something a little while back about parents posting their before & after photos detailing how parenthood has changed them.  So, I decided to take an after picture of myself; for sheer amusement and torture, and did a side by side comparison.

 

 

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2014 & 2018.

You guys. Time really sucks.

 

Granted, on my before, I was getting ready to go out and had my makeup and hair all nice…you know, because I didn’t have children to run after. And on my after, I was only on my first cup of coffee and my eyebrows haven’t been touched in like 5 months. Anyway, you can clearly see the difference that only 4 years have done. 4 years. 2 kids. And battling postpartum depression. This is what it looks like. #nofilter

Perhaps someday I will get back to my before picture…back to my before weight. That would be amazing. In reality, it will probably take years….so for now, I’ll enjoy my babies while they’re still babies. This is real life, you guys. No nannies, personal trainer or someone to do my makeup. It’s all me. Au-naturel. I better learn to embrace it because I still have many years of toddlering to get through.

 

 

80 Rules For My Sons

My boys are growing so fast and it’s no secret that one day, they will be men. I’ll be sending them off into this big & scary world and that is pretty terrifying.

I have so much to teach my sons and so much that I want them to learn. If I had to give them some rules, these would be it.

I know that I left out a lot, but here are a couple that I had no trouble writing down.

 

 

 

1. Live everyday with a full heart and open mind.

2. Remember that every choice comes with a consequence…and a reputation.

3. Always hold the door open for other people but especially a lady.

4. Open your girlfriend’s car door. Chivalry is not dead.

5. If she says that nothing is wrong…don’t believe her. Ask her. Listen.

6. You can catch more flies with honey then with vinegar.

7. Whatever you post on the internet is there forever..even if you erase it. Don’t be foolish.

8. Sit with the new kid at lunch.

9. If it’s something that doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. Always trust your gut.

10. Nothing good ever happens after 1AM.

11. Video games are not your life. Get outside.

12. Hard work is the foundation to a successful life.

13. Put the toilet seat down every-time. I don’t want to fall in the toilet at 4AM.

14. Don’t drink or drive or get in the car with anyone that was drinking. If you need a ride, call me. No questions asked. I just want you safe.

15. Always shake hands with a stranger when you meet them. And look them in the eye.

16. The women you choose to marry will be my daughter-in-law and holds the foundation for our relationship. Please, choose her wisely.

17. You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself. Work on that first.

18. Your teenage years will probably be the most awkward and dreaded of your life, but I promise you, they go by fast & there’s better stuff ahead. Hang in there.

19. Play at least one sport or extra-circular activity.

20. College isn’t for everyone and I don’t want you to feel pressured to go…trade-schools are amazing and there’s nothing wrong with working with your hands.

21. Save your money. You’ll be glad you did. You don’t need that new cell-phone or TV.

22. I won’t always be around to make your meals & clean your clothes. So learn how to do those things. It will also make your future wife happy.

23. A simple smile & hello go a long way. Be kind for no reason.

24. There’s nothing that a cup of coffee or a run can’t fix.

25. If you ever have babies, just change the damn diapers. You saw what she had to go through.

26. Treat your girlfriend/wife like the Queen she is.

27. If you’re bored, find me. I’ll give you something to do.

28. Your never too old to follow your dreams. Never say never.

29. Watch football with your dad, even if you hate it. You’ll be glad that you did one day.

30. Take as many pictures as you can. One day, it will be all that’s left of someone.

31. If you love someone, tell them. Never leave them guessing.

32. If you have more than one girlfriend at a time and bring them home, you better believe that I’ll call them the wrong name on purpose. Don’t be a jerk.

33. You may fight with your brother and disagree but in the end remember, you two are all you have.

34. I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it. Your never too old for a whoopin’.

35. Please remember the important dates: anniversaries, birthdays, Mother’s Day,  Father’s Day. And a simple phone call goes a long way.

36. Don’t be cheap. Splurge a little. You can’t take it with you when you go.

37. Consent is a two-way street. Don’t be a jerk.

38. Put your phone down and take a look at the world around you.

39. Go on Sunday drives just because.

40. Little notes and compliments go a lot farther than chocolate and roses.

41. Nobody likes a cocky person. Get off your high-horse.

42. Nobody wants to be friends with the guy that talks about himself. Listen to other people, too.

43. Don’t get too high on the bottle.

44. A true friend is rare and extremely hard to find. Keep them close.

45. Brush your teeth every-day. Mouthwash and gum doesn’t count.

46. I want to hear from you, so call me. I might be missing you.

47. Never raise a hand to a women. I don’t care the circumstance.

48. Water is extremely important so drink it.

49. School doesn’t define you, but it will set the way for your future. Please try.

50. Life won’t hand you what you want. You need to work for it.

51. Money isn’t everything. Learn to enjoy the simple things in life because as you get older, that’s what you want.

52. Sitting home on a Friday night with your parents isn’t uncool.

53. Don’t do something to fit in. It’s pretty cool to stand out & say no.

54. Be nice to your teachers. They deal with you & about fifty other little turds.

55. Never let the gas tank go passed half.

56. Ketchup can go on eggs. Don’t listen to your father.

57. Whenever you get annoyed by me, remember that you used to always follow me in the bathroom.

58. Just wake up with the baby and let her sleep. She will be forever grateful.

59. Manners are still a thing- never forget them.

60. Listen to the stories of people older than you. They have a lot of wisdom & you can learn something from them.

61. That job that your killing yourself for- that company can replace you in a week. Don’t make it your life.

62. Clean out your fridge once a month. You never know what’s growing in there.

63. Reading for fun is possible. Make yourself get lost in a book. And women like smart men.

64. Bubble baths are not just for women. Learn how to relax. You’ll feel better.

65. Just let her shop and don’t roll your eyes. And carry the bags.

66. There’s nothing better than the love of a pet. Adopt, don’t shop. There’s plenty of animals that need a forever home.

67. There’s nothing better then a sense of  humor.

68. Learn to laugh at your imperfections. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

69. Stand up for what you believe in, even if no one else believes it.

70. Bring her coffee and breakfast in bed.

71. Communication is the key to a strong relationship. Talk.

72. If you see it happening, that’s just as bad as doing it. Stop it or walk away.

73. Your never too old to go on the swings at the park.

74. Have goals in life.

75. A man is as only as strong as his word.

76. Your heart will get broken and it will feel horrible. I’ll be here to pick up the pieces & to let you know: you’ll be okay.

77. Own at least one nice dress shirt, a pair of khakis & dress shoes. You never know when you’ll need them.

78. Clean up after your messes. Nobody likes a slob.

79. Your never too old to kiss your mother.

80. Spread your wings & fly…there’s a big world out there and you will do great things. But home will always be there for you. Always.

 

 

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It’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS! {and the boys mini-shoot}

It’s that time of year again!

This year, we get to celebrate as a family of 6 {of course we count our fur-daughters}. Last year, baby Bernie was in my belly and I was daydreaming of what life was going to be like with two small kiddos.

Beaux enjoyed his Christmas last year but he still didn’t “get” the whole Santa-thing {or unwrapping the presents…he was very gentle with the wrapping paper} so we are looking forward to what he will be like this year! The tree is up. Baby-gate included. Beaux helped by handing me the ornaments and saying “ooohh.” He really likes when the lights are lit and he helped Daddy put the Angel on top of the tree.

 

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Beaux helping Daddy…

It will be neat to see how he handles the presents this year and what he will think of Santa! Also, he might be into celebrating traditions a little more… I think he will be way more interested in making ornaments and his night before Christmas box. What type of traditions do you celebrate? Every year will only get better and better….having kids around this time of the year is THE BEEEEST!!

 

{look who wants to get in on the fun}

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Someone is trying to explore this weird new thing in our living room….

 

It will be Bernie’s first Christmas!

These firsts our so special to me! Even though he will have no clue to what’s going on, it’s still a fun time.

And do you see those ‘Mistletoes’ hung up by the tree? The first canvas is of Beaux’s little feet done when he was just three months old {soooo tiny!} and now Bernie has one of his own, done at seven months.

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I wanted the boys to get Christmas pictures done this year {and totally knowing that I had no energy, time, or patience to do it myself…..} I found a nice lady here to do a mini-shoot with the boys. She’s a military wife and runs her little photography business out of her home and charged a reasonable fee for the shoot, so why not. Originally, the shoot was going to be done outside, but German weather had other plans for us {that day it was rainy & muddy} so she moved the props to her kitchen. It still looked really cute!

So we got to this nice lady’s house and the boys were all dressed up in their best for these pictures. We managed to get out of the car and into her house with no mud or wetness on us, and Bernie managed to keep the spit-up at bay {at least until after the shoot was over}. Every-thing was fine. Beaux was shy like normal and Bernie was bouncing along for the ride. And then it was time to actually do the shoot and things went south.

Beaux didn’t want to leave my side, so I suggested that we start with Bernie first. Well, my usual very social and pleasant infant had a weird case of stranger danger that day {or maybe he was just tired} and wanted NO part in being there on the floor, surrounded by Christmas decor and having a stranger point a camera in his face. So my plan of having Bernie test the waters to show Beaux that everything was fine back-fired. Oh well. I gave Bernie a bottle and in the meantime, Beaux was slowly warming up to the nice lady. She was verryyyyy patient for not having children of her own and she thought of a brilliant idea: she introduced her magic sled to Beaux. She told him that he could sit on it, and it worked. His mood instantly changed and the smiles came out! She got some GREAT shots!! {see below for my favorite}

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He looks way too grown!!  

After this, it got easier! Beaux was okay now with the nice lady taking his picture, and he was even more okay with this cool sled. He even wanted Bubba to get in on the fun.

 

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My favorite <3

I’m so happy she captured this one. I’m not sure how many she was able to get of them both on the sled, but I assume it was only a few since Bubba was still a little wobbly sitting up at this time and was only on the sled for a few seconds. But she got it. And it’s my favorite one of them all. And it’s even better that they are both looking AND have smiles.

We chose this one of the boys to go on our Christmas cards this year {designed by Shutterfly}

{hey, I hear they’re holiday cards are 50% off right now. you better check that out}

We got so many compliments about out holiday card. I love choosing Shutterfly for our cards. It’s December 4th and my cards are sent out. Done and done.

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 {one more time on that cool sled!}

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Then it was time to get Bernie’s solo-shots. He was warmed up now so we went for it!

And, he was way more cooperative!

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those big eyes!!!

 

and….

 

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too darn precious!{we even managed to get a little smile here} you wouldn’t know that fifteen-minutes ago he was on that same spot crying.

 

So overall, the mini-shoot was a SUCCESS! I’m so in love with the pictures. I want every one blown up on canvas, haha! I was so worried that the boys wouldn’t cooperate but they were fine.

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Karley from Timeless Image Photograph  was AMAZING. She was so patient and warm. Plus, her reasonable prices cannot be beat. I’m even thinking about going back in the spring when she offers her other mini-shoot. So, if you are in the Ramstien area you HAVE to check out Karley’s work. Other than mini-shoots, Karley offers newborn, maternity, family portraits and engagement photos.

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Here’s the last of my boys! They are so adorable {if I do say so myself} and they are growing too darn fast!! 

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Now that the decorations are up and the cards are sent out, it’s time to finish shopping and to wrap those presents. It’s also time to watch a ton of Christmas movies and listen to way too much Christmas music! I love this time of year!

I hope the rest of your December is filled with happiness, memories and endless amounts of hot cocoa!

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Drop me a line below… what are your Christmas traditions? I’m always looking to do more with the boys around this time of year.

 

 

The 8 Things Not To Say To A Toddler Mom{by a toddler mom}

toddler [n]:

a young child who has started walking but not fully mastered it, typically between the ages of 1 and 3 years old; a time of great cognitive, emotional and social development.

see also: demon-spawn, terror, emotional basket-case, asshole.

I HAVE A TODDLER and my life may never be the same again. GOOD-BYE are the days of restful sleep, quiet dinner outings, reasonable conversations, clean floors, and a moment of peace. IF YOU ARE rolling your eyes at me already, then I advise you to exit this post now because the rest of it is truth BUT if you are a toddler mom, then you will feel me on this!

I NEEDED TO shed some light on the funnier side of raising a toddler, and what I have heard from people. It’s all in good fun. I love my kiddos and wouldn’t trade ’em for nothing. {well maybe i’d trade them for a day at the spa. no i’m kidding}

So if your an overly tired, stressed out to the max, patience thinning toddler mom {like hello,me} here are some things you are so freaking sick of hearing from other people about your toddler.

 

“OH, IT’S NOT THAT BAD!”

uh-huh. uh-huh…. okay, Susan. Are you dealing with the 89 tantrums a day over simple things such as the having the wrong colored sippy-cup or not being able to smell the color yellow? Are you waking up five times a night because your toddler STILL DOESN’T sleep through the night? Yes, I know that my kid could be setting frogs on fire or in the neighborhood baby gang but telling me “it’s not THAT BAD” is like telling a sleep-deprived new mom that it will “get better”.. which brings me to my next one.

 

“IT WILL GET BETTER SOME-DAY!”

Oh great. I’m glad you are here to tell me that, just like the 20 people before you. You see, hearing that “it will get better some-day” reallly doesn’t help me NOW- because NOW I am overly-tired and thinking of those days when my toddler was a sweet and cuddly newborn that didn’t scream at the top of his lungs then proceed to hit me. And when is ‘some-day’? That phrase is literally so vague. Some-day can mean tomorrow, next week, next year, in five years. I NEED TO KNOW WHEN.

 

“IT’S THE AGE!”

Well, Thank You for confirming this. Now I can be sure that my kid isn’t an a-hole to me just for the fun of it. BUT SERIOUSLY. Why is this even okay to say? I understand that kids go through “phases”… BUT AGAIN, IT DOES NOT HELP MY SITUATION. Because from what I have been hearing, there is a phase for every age until they are 18. SO. Just bite your tongue and don’t mention it. It irks me.

 

“BOYS WILL BE BOYS!”

THIS BOTHERS ME. Just because I have boys doesn’t give them the right to “ACT LIKE A BOY” {some-one tell me what this even means} NO. My kid will act like the well-respected young man that I am trying to raise him as. No pushing. No throwing dirt. No acting like some back-yard hooligan. He will be held accountable for his actions no matter of his damn gender. People that say this, please STOP.

 

“YOU HAVE YOUR HANDS FULL!”

Do you think that I don’t know that? One time I was in the grocery store….with my screaming newborn in a baby carrier and my toddler hollering in the cart because he couldn’t eat “just one” GRAPE and an older-lady looked at me with this look {a look of pity? sarcasm? understanding?} and said the words “oh sweetie, you have your hands full all-right!” I just wanted to break down right there. EVERY-DAY OF MY LIFE I have my hands full! While I can’t say that toddlers make it EASY, they sure don’t make it BORING!

 

“YOU LOOK TIRED!”

Well I look tired because I AM TIRED. I’m not sure, but it might be because I haven’t had a full well-rested night’s worth of sleep in over 2 years. I also haven’t been able to put on make-up in months, style my hair longer than 5 minutes, shower in 3 days and I don’t remember if I brushed my teeth today. #sendhelp

 

“JUST GET A BABY-SITTER FOR A KID-FREE NIGHT!”

Yeah, okay. That is easier said than done. Try being in a different country and not knowing too many people you trust to babysit your kid. No family around. Also, your toddler still wakes up for you at night and is going through some serious separation issues. PLUS, throw in some mom-guilt for being away from your baby and that’s a recipe for never having a date-night. Netflix & chill it is.

And then I had to save my absolute favorite for last…

“JUST WAIT!”

I hear this. Just wait. “3s are way worse. 4s suck, too. and ages 10-18 are no cake-walk.” Jesus. This literally gives us parents no hope for sanity. Like ever. Thanks for the, er, motivation?

With all that being said, raising a toddler IS ACTUALLY FUN! They are imaginative, silly, and beginning to emerge into tiny little people with their own personalities and quirks. They are going through some serious shit, with trying to cope with their feelings and emotions and expressing themselves. It’s hard on them, but it’s hard on us, too. Don’t sell yourself short on your bad days. Go with the flow & know that you’re doing the best job you can with these tiny terrors!

 

Yes, I’m A Mom. And Yes, It’s All I Post About

I’m a mother, hear me roar. And my social media feed is proof of that.

If you are on my friend’s list, it’s no secret that I post a lot of pictures and status updates about my son. I think I probably post a picture every other day but I know I definitely do at least once a week…and I basically have that right to, because my son is my world and the cutest little minion with blonde hair and blue eyes. (so i’m a little biased.) I love posting things about my son, he is all I really post about…oh and the occasional recipe and sappy quote about being a mom and how much I love my son…. that too. I’m a mom and my facebook feed is living-dying proof of that. From the profile pic to the cover photo to the daily jargon of teething and crankiness, it’s all on display. I spend all my time with my son, from early morning wake-up to 7 pm bedtime, it’s us, 24-7. To trips to the beach, outside in the pool, taking a walk or simply doing an art project or trying a new food, it will be posted. And I have zero shame. I don’t really care if you think I’m annoying; if your non-kid self rolls your eyes every time a picture pops up of my kid scarfing down a helping of green beans, or you think it’s over-kill how much I declare my love for my son. Tough shit. I think your constant posts about how drinking too much beer made you oh so drunk that you couldn’t see straight are lame. Basically, I feel like there’s an option to this, and it’s called the delete button. I’m sorry if you get annoyed at the cute pictures and videos but I have family that lives out of town and this is our way of sharing our son with them. It’s also a cool way to keep the memories together that possibly someday, he will get to see what he was doing on July 5th, 2016. I am a facebook mom and I live up to that.

I’m not cool anymore. All I post about is how awesome this diaper is and how much Dr. Brown’s bottles saved my life. The only selfies I take are photo-bombed by a little guy that just loves to play with mommy’s phone. I don’t take pictures of me and my husband anymore because frankly, I’m too exhausted to even try to look decent in them. My instagram feed is 95% my son- with hashtags such as: #mommasboy #myheart #momlife. I don’t post pictures of date nights (what is that?) or post pictures bar-hopping or vacationing without my son…you won’t find that. Sure, all that would be lovely, except that it’s not my realistic view of being a momma. This life, this mom life, is pretty damn cool. It’s tiring, but cool. And I can’t help but let the world know that- to basically want to shout it from my lungs. To want to show every body I come across that HEY- MY SON IS SO FRIGGEN AWESOME!

So if your like me and share your child’s life every step of the way on social medias, I’m here to tell you to keep it up, momma- because there’s nothing I LOVE more than pictures of cute and cuddly babies and toddlers and pre-schoolers and 5th graders splashing in puddles or taking a snooze on daddy. Keep posting. <3