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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To the mom….

To the thirty-something year-old women that is childless and has suffered three miscarriages and always gets asked?: “when are you having babies?”

To the mother of four with another on the way that constantly gets those looks and questions of: “did you really want all of those kids?”

To the mom that only has one child and constantly gets hounded with the question: “when are you going to give him/her a sibling?”

To the mom with the awful postpartum depression that desperately wants another baby but can’t imagine going through that again.

To the mom that has all girls and gets asked: “when are you trying for that boy?!”

To the mom that has all boys and gets asked: “when are you trying for that girl?!”

To the mom that ate healthy and smart during her pregnancy.

To the mom that drank coffee and gave into her McDonald’s cravings.

To the mom that chooses to birth in her home with no drugs and a doula. 

To the mom that chooses to birth in a hospital with doctors and nurses around and gets that epidural. 

To the mom that has a well-thought out birth plan and three names picked out for each gender.

To the mom that just wings it and has no idea what she’s naming her baby.

To the mom that breastfeeds and nurses her baby out in public with no cover.

To the mom that formula feeds her baby.

To the mom that uses a pacifier to soothe and is in no hurry to wean after age 1.

To the mom that’s in no hurry to wean her baby off the breast after age 1.

To the the mom that lets her baby cry it out.

To the mom that co-sleeps.

To the mom that pushes her baby in a stroller.

To the mom that wears her baby in a carrier.

To the mom that feeds her baby Gerber baby food.

To the mom that baby-led weans.

To the mom that prepares healthy, organic and gluten-free meals for her kids.

To the mom that feeds her kid chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and the occasional Happy Meal.

To the mom that puts Huggies and Pampers on her baby.

To the mom that puts cloth diapers on her baby.

To the mom that keeps her home spotless.

To the mom that lets her kids eat off the floor.

To the mom that buys brand new clothes.

To the mom that relies on Goodwill and second-hand stores.

To the mom that reads to her kids and doesn’t allow any screen time.

To the mom that turns on the TV to Dinosaur Train to get a few minutes of peace and quiet.

To the mom that documents every milestone in the baby book.

To the mom that has no time to write it down but swears that she will get to it someday.

To the mom that rear-faces her kid’s car seat until age four years old.

To the mom that rear-faces until her kid is two.

To the mom that plans the most well thought out birthday parties with a special theme and spectacular cake.

To the mom that has a small celebration with a store bought cake around the kitchen table.

To the mom that stays at home with her babies and is there for every moment and milestone.

To the mom that works outside the home to provide for her babies.

To the mom that gifts her kids books, blocks and dolls.

To the mom that gifts her toddler an iPad.

To the mom that enforces a solid bedtime of 7PM.

To the mom that wings it on bedtime.

To the mom that chooses not to spank as a form of discipline.

To the mom that does choose to spank as a form of discipline.

To the mom that has a million pictures of her kids hung up on the walls of her home.

To the mom that still doesn’t have pictures of her second born even developed.

To the mom that decides to give her son only gender-specific toys.

To the mom that doesn’t care if her son plays with dolls.

To the mom that watches her kid tentatively at the park.

To the mom buried in her phone at the park because she desperately needed some “me” time.

To the mom that home-schools.

To the mom that puts her kid in a public school.

To the mom that makes crafts, bakes home made cookies and attends every PTA meeting.

To the mom that barely remembers to fill out a school permission slip and can’t sew to save her life.

To the mom that has never-ending patience and kindness.

To the mom that loses her shit way too easily then feels incredibly guilty.

To the mom that censors her kid’s music and TV shows.

To the mom that sings Eminem songs right along with her kid.

To the mom that holds everything together when she feels like falling apart.

 

 

This is for all the moms out there that do their best every single day.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation. 

We’re all doing what we can to get by. Please stop being hard on yourself.

You’re pretty badass.

<3

 

 

 

 

Why Grocery Shopping is my Hell

Out of all my adult-y responsibilities, the one which I loathe the most would be grocery shopping. Ugh.

It’s kind of funny though (or ironic) because when I was a kid, I would LOVE to go to the supermarket with my mom or dad. I would hang on the back of the shopping cart, pick out the best goodies like Dunkaroos and colored fruit juices shaped like barrels, and pull out as many coupons from those red coupon machines. It was bliss. I also loved to sneak those little candies that were set out- surprise- that is actually illegal. Moving on.

Now that I’m an adult that’s nearing 30 and a mom to two toddlers, I have realized one and true thing: grocery shopping is my Hell.

There is hardly anything cute or fun about taking a trip to a supermarket with toddlers. Heck, even when I go by myself it’s a struggle! Once again, my faith in society gets lost when I realize how rude people are over a $1.99 CHIPS AHOY sale. It’s also such a daunting process of making a list, actually driving to the store, finding your groceries, checking out, loading up your car, then driving home and unloading it all AND FINALLY putting it away. I’m tired thinking about that.

My late-Grandmother {bless her heart} used to get her groceries delivered to her. She was a genius. Sadly, not every grocery store offers this AMAZING luxury {but uhm, why not? they could make A KILLING. Because I know a lot of tired and overwhelmed mamas that would devour this option.}

Ok. Ok. So getting to my point here. My recent grocery trip inspired me to compile together the reasons why I loathe doing the weekly grocery-thing.

You want to make sure to read to the end so you could score a free grocery shopping checklist that will save you mega-time in the store with your tiny humans.

 

 

The car shopping carts for kids.

Those things are like GOLD and in the rarity that there is one available (and you better pray you can get one), it’s anything but fun to push around a crowded store. But it keeps my kids sane…for the first ten minutes. Soon enough, all hell breaks loose because they’re sitting too close to each-other and a screaming/fighting battle ensues. O, and did I mention how SMALL those car carts are? Can’t plan on buying too much that day or one kid will end up walking beside you so you could fit your Charmin Ultra-Soft in.

It’s not possible to just get in and out.

I ALWAYS vow to myself to buy what’s only on my list….to go straight to what I NEED to get out of there fast. That never works because nine times out of ten, I can’t find what I’m looking for (stop changing your shit around!) or my oldest is begging for cheese at the deli and now I have to wait twenty-minutes for freaking cheese.

The never-ending begging from the tiny people.

Now that my oldest can communicate fairly well, he ALWAYS points out stuff he wants at the grocery store. He will say please..I will say no…he will say please again…and whine and I will cave. I’ve gotten tired of constantly telling him no, so we agreed on “one treat per shopping visit” and that lasts for twenty seconds…until he sees a dog toy soccer ball and wants it. Good lord.

My realization that people are oblivious is mind-numbing.

I can be a real people-person….but if you’ve seen me in a grocery store, then probably not. My anxiety is at an all-time high when I’m food shopping and my kids aren’t the only humans that set it off. PEOPLE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, you do not need to stand in the middle of the aisle. Also, Alice, can you please let me squeeze in there to grab a box of Kraft? Your five-minute meandering over which flavor of cup o’ noodles you should get is a little overboard.

STUFF ISN’T WHERE IT SHOULD BE.

So this one time, I was on a never-ending quest for sun-dried tomatoes and I looked ALL OVER supermarket land. Much to my dismay, I became impatient and frustrated, and left the store without them. The next time, I was determined to locate those freaking sun-dried tomatoes. I finally did. And they weren’t where {I} assumed they would be at. THEY SHOULD BE NEXT TO THE PASTA SAUCE!

CHECK-OUT HELL.

Most of the time, waiting in the check-out line can be just as worse as battling off my kids from the cookie aisle. There’s about 10 people behind me in line YET only ONE register is open. This is when the tiny people begin to melt-down because, bless their hearts, they don’t understand the concept of time and waiting. Self-checkout has become my BFF.

BAGGER HELL.

Ugh. Ultimate pet-peeve right here. MY CHICKEN DOES NOT GO IN WITH MY VEGGIES. This should just be baggers-101 or something but I KNOW I’m not the only person that feels strongly over this. There’s also a very fine line of putting way too many canned items into ONE plastic bag OR putting one, single box of granola bars into a bag by itself. I don’t get it. Again, self-checkout. BFF.

Arguing with the self-checkout machine.

Ok. I know. I said that the self-checkout and I were BFFs, but only up until the point when it repeatedly tells me to move my item to the bagging area. I DID!! And that’s when I find myself arguing with a self-checkout machine that I know I need a mental time-out.

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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.