Tag Archives: motherhood

Reason to Celebrate

26 Jan

Wow! It has been one year since I started Life As I Know It. It’s a birthday, of sorts, for me. When I first started writing here, I just thought it would be a fun way for me to connect with other people. A good outlet when I was having a bad day. A way for me to have some “me time” throughout the week. And it has been all of those things. I appreciate each and every one of you who has shared in any part of this journey with me!

Today should be a day of celebration and good news! But, first, let me share a story with you…..

A year and a half ago, my husband and I decided that it was time for us to have another baby. We hadn’t been married for very long, but we are both in our early 30s and didn’t really want to wait. We each have a child from previous relationships and we figured it might take a couple of months, but it wouldn’t be too difficult, right? Wrong. I won’t go into all of the painful details but it was far from easy. There were doctors visits, test after test, invasive procedures, medications, and never a guarantee that any of it would work. There were tears, disappointments, negative pregnancy tests, insecurities, and fear. It put a strain on our marriage. It was one of the reasons that our marriage completely fell apart for a couple of months.

There was so much devastation. Broken dreams that seemed as if they would never become a reality. Each of us, without really consulting with the other, had all but given up on the possibility that we would be able to have another child. The sympathy that I have for people who cannot conceive, or struggle to do so, now knows no bounds. It is something that can never be explained to anyone who hasn’t felt it. I know people who have spent years and years wondering if they will ever be blessed with a child to call their own. And some never will. Our other two children are such immense blessings to us. We wanted to add to our family with a child we created together. A representation of the love we had found in each other. I cannot imagine the pain of never having a child. Secondary infertility carries its own hurt as well.

It is a very personal, very lonely, very painful kind of hell. It is a place where you can’t help but feel as if you are all alone. As if no one can possibly understand your heartbreak or provide comfort for your tears. As if there are no words to describe your disappointment. As if your dreams are laying, scattered, at your feet. You know that you’ll find a way to cope with it. You just don’t know when. Every week, every month that passes seems like forever.

imageAnd then one day, I woke up and realized that I hadn’t felt right for a few weeks. I was tired and I didn’t have much of an appetite. I was so nervous. I’d been here before. I’d been under stress, or just caught a bug, or something and thought to myself, “Maybe….” This time, I was afraid to go there. I waited a few more days. Still the same. So, I did it. I took the test. And then I sat it on the sink and walked away from it. And I prayed. I prayed for the strength to look at another negative. I prayed for peace. I walked back into the bathroom, took a couple of deep breaths and looked. Then there were no breaths. I couldn’t. Tears immediately fell from my eyes. I couldn’t even smile. I just stared. And blinked; hard. And stared again. Then, I believe everything was a jumbled series of laughing and spinning in circles and crying. Positive.

Telling my husband was a moment I hope I never forget. There was so much joy in that room. I’m surprised our home could contain it all. Our families and friends are excited. Our children are thrilled. I am on cloud 9. (When I’m not a hormonal, emotional, grouchy mess…… well, honestly, even then.) Our family will soon be complete. I have been blessed with a miracle. One that I will forever be so, so grateful for. And that is a reason to celebrate!

Lessons Learned

4 Jan

I’ve already written about how much I was ready for 2013 to be over. Because I was ready to move in to another year, a better year. I never go through anything  without looking back on it and reflecting on how it changed me, made me stronger, what it taught me. So, today I’m going to think back on the lessons 2013 gave to me. These are the things I learned throughout the year.

I learned that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone (not even yourself) fall in love, or out of love, with someone else. Why and how one falls in love is a mystery. It’s the most beautiful and most painful of emotions. And, if you’re lucky enough to be in love with someone who is in love with you back, nurture and protect that love. That is the most beautiful of fairy tales.

I learned that people can be cruel. Over the last couple of months, there have been an influx of visitors to Life As I Know It. And I am so thankful for each of you that take the time to read the words of my heart. I am thankful for the people who lift me up and tell me I’m doing something right. I am thankful for the people who disagree with me, but do it politely and with respect. I am thankful for the people who think I’m right and those that think I’m wrong. But there are a few who have left words that I refuse to give light to. People attacking me for my thoughts. People saying hurtful things about my children. People who left me questioning whether continuing to write was something I could do. And I came to this conclusion: we are all beautifully different. We all have different parenting styles. We all have different belief systems. We all have different outlooks on life. We all have different lives. I celebrate that! I read every comment written on this blog and some of you have made me rethink some things. I appreciate people who challenge me to think outside of the spot I live in. I appreciate people who have differing opinions than mine. But, as you post on my blog, as you live day-to-day with other human beings who may see the world differently than you do, please remember this: Honesty is never a good excuse to be cruel. We should all be more kind to one another.

I learned that lip gloss will never come out of clothes after being in the washing machine.

I learned that, eventually, those old favorite jeans need to be retired for new favorite jeans.

I learned that, no matter how far away your mom is, you always need to go running to her when your life turns upside down.

I learned that I am not as breakable as I thought I was.

I learned that, when your child is hurting, it is amazing the amount of personal pain you can set aside to be a rock and a safe place for them to be.

I learned that there are people in this world whose hearts are bigger than any disease they may be fighting.

I learned that children are far stronger, and far more resilient, than most of us adults.

I learned that life is far too short to take one minute for granted.

I learned that red wine, music I can dance to, and an empty kitchen are the perfect environment to cook in.

I learned that God works in ways far more mysterious than I ever realized before and that when His plans unfold slowly and you can’t figure out where life will go from here, it is the scariest, yet somehow most peaceful, place in the world.

I learned that people will take any opportunity they can get to jump on opposite sides of a cause and belittle and demean one another in the name of defending their beliefs.

I learned that watching my son turn 6 and become more and more independent brings about more feelings of pride, and sadness, than I expected.

I learned that the stomach flu has to have been created by the devil and is an effective and horrible method of torture.

I learned that chronic back pain is not something that can be explained to anyone who hasn’t lived it.

I learned that infertility seems endlessly painful.

I learned that the right set of underwear brings about an unexplainable confidence; even if no one else ever sees them.

I learned that movie nights are better with comfy pjs, popcorn, and far too many people smushed onto one couch.

I learned that the internet is a fantastic resource for fantastic new recipes.

I learned that some things never change. Some things are constantly changing; sometimes for the better, sometimes not. And some things, and people, need space and time and opportunity and patience to change and grow and become better versions of their awesome selves. And that if I can continue to allow myself to grow and change and become better, it will be an amazing ride on this ever-evolving Life As I Know It.

Make Me Great

18 Dec

Author: Bagande

 

This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me Series. The topic….. Something I wish I was great at.

 

There are many things I want to be good at. I would love to be able to play the piano and the guitar. I’d like to be able to bake something from scratch. I wish I could dance. There are several things I’d like to be better at. I strive every day to continue to be better at my career. Writing, singing, car mechanics, and computer skills also come to mind. (And I’m certain my husband wishes I were a better driver.) But if I could choose one thing to be great at, the choice would be an easy one. I want to be a great example.

 

I want to example a great wife. I want my husband, my daughter, any other girl watching me, and even my son to see grace. To see humility. To see selflessness. To see forgiveness. Purity. Partnership. Kindness. Passion. Gentleness. I want to show them that a woman can be independent and strong, to stand up for herself,  and still be an effective member of a team that compromises and gives when it’s needed. I want to example a love and respect for my husband that will leave a legacy of successful and happy marriage for my children and grandchildren.

 

I want to example a great mother. I want my children, my nieces and nephews, my students to see sacrifice. To see unconditional love. To see boundaries. To see structure. Fun. Laughter. Openness. Memories. I want them to learn to prioritize the people in their lives above the things. I want them to learn all of the personality traits it takes to be a great parent and I want them to be able to apply them when they have children of their own.

 

I want to example a great friend. I want my friendships to be great examples of love. Of laughter. Of sharing. Of fellowship. Of loyalty. I want to show how important it is to have people in your life who challenge you and make you better. People who will support you and lean on you. People who laugh and cry with you. People who listen to you and trust you. I want my children to learn how precious true friendships are and what to look for when finding those people they can count on.

 

I want to example a great woman. I want everyone who crosses my path to see joy. To see faith. To see courage. To see freedom. To see strength. To see hope. I want people to see that, despite life’s struggles and disappointments, there is One who offers strength when we are weak, comfort when we are broken-hearted, and a safe place to land when we fall. I want people to see God’s love when they look at me.

 

That is the wife, the mother, the friend, the woman I want to show my children. Those are the footsteps I want to leave for them to follow. I want to be a great example so that I may leave them a great legacy.

 

My Wish For You

30 Sep

This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series. The prompt…. my hopes and dreams for my children.

To my children,

I want so many things for you. There are so many dreams inside of me that awakened because of my love for you. I know that there are great things in store for your lives. And I look forward to watching you fly.

I hope you laugh. Find reasons every day to enjoy being alive. Surround yourself with people that make your smile meet your eyes. Don’t take yourself too seriously. There are very few things more beautiful in this life than someone who is truly happy. Be beautiful.

I hope you dream. And dream big. Never let someone tell you it can’t be done. If you find passion in something, pursue it. You are capable of great and wondorous things. Believe in yourself. Never give up. Follow those dreams, wherever they may lead you.

I hope you love. Fearlessly. Recklessly. Once you find someone worthy of your heart, don’t hold back. The greatest loves are founded on the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, love yourself. I assure you, you are someone worth loving.

I hope you cry. Emotions are not to be hidden. In fact, it takes strength to be connected to your emotions. To feel so strongly that your heart can break. Shed tears of sorrow without feeling weak. And shed tears of joy without feeling shame. Allow yourself to be passionate. Allow yourself to feel.

I hope you pray. Realize that your strength does not come from within. But from a God who loves you beyond logic and expectation. A God who’s love for you is infinitely more beautiful than any other love you’ll know. A God who will speak to you, you need only to listen. Follow Him.

I hope you are kind. Truly care about others. Be polite. Reach out your hand to help where you are needed. Give of yourself. There are people all over this world considerably less fortunate than you. Not just because you have things, but because you have love. Give freely to them.

I hope you are happy. It is easy to worry and be afraid. It is easy to let the trials of this life beat you. Be strong. Be courageous. Look yourself in the eye each day and decide to smile. Decide to laugh. Decide to dance. Decide to sing. Whoever it is that makes you happy, be that person.

I hope you live. We only get one chance to change the world. Don’t waste it. Live freely. Without regret. Make your mark. Make a difference. Make your life beautiful. Fly.

A post of posts

15 Aug

I found a very interesting idea the other day…. A list of posts. A legacy of sorts.  Something to leave for my children to look back on some day. The things I think they should know about me. I have decided to tweak it and make it my own. As I finish each post, I will link it here and it will eventually become an interactive list of posts. I’m pretty excited about it and I hope you enjoy!

Thirty Things My Kids Should Know About Me

1. 20 Random Facts about myself
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears and how they came about
3. Describe my relationship with my spouse
4. The 10 things that make me most happy, right now
5. If I had 3 wishes…..
6. My dream job
7. Five things I am passionate about
8. Ten people who have influenced me
9. Embarrassing moments
10. Pet peeves
11. A typical day in the life
12. The hardest part of growing up
13. Weaknesses and strengths
14. When I knew he was “the one”
15. My 5 greatest accomplishments
16. What I wish I were great at
17. What people love the most about me
18. How I felt the moment I became a parent
19. Memories from my childhood
20. Favorite holiday
21. Parenthood: likes and dislikes
22. Dinner party from history
23. Favorite quality of my spouse
24. Hopes and dreams for my children
25. Ten things I want to be remembered for
26. My favorite things about me
27. Best advice I ever received
28. Best advice I can give
29. Where to go from here
30. What faith can do

The Love of a Little Girl

8 Jul

When I found out that I was expecting Isaiah, I knew immediately that he was a little boy. I was certain. No doubt in my mind. One day, just before my ultrasound to confirm what I knew, someone said to me, “If they tell you that baby’s a girl, you’re going to be disappointed.” In truth, I wouldn’t have been disappointed. I would have asked them to look again, because I would have been shocked. Mostly, I would have been terrified.

I didn’t know how to raise a little girl. (I must have been crazy, because I didn’t know the first thing about raising a little boy either.) I couldn’t relate to very many girls I knew. I had had very few girl friends throughout my life. At that point, I didn’t know how to be a girl and be comfortable with it myself. Girls are complicated. They’re emotional and irrational. They cry. They grow into teenagers. There was no way I was cut out to be the mommy of a little girl. In fact, I had it all figured out. I wanted three children…. and they would all be boys. I was destined to be the mommy of a little boy.

And, I was right. I was destined to be the mommy of a little boy. The most beautiful little boy I have ever seen. A little ball of energy and excitement. A firefighter, a police man, a truck driver. He likes to wrestle and play sports. He held my heart from the first moment I saw his face. But….. he’s a child. So, he’s emotional and irrational. He cries. He will one day grow into a teenager; which terrifies me more than I ever thought it would. He’s exactly perfect for me.

imageI was also wrong. I fell in love with a man who came with an added bonus. A little girl for me to love. And while she has a mommy who loves her, she’s mine too. A little girl. And she is emotional and she’s irrational. She cries. She is quickly approaching those teenage years. But she adds something to my life I didn’t even know was missing. She adds a softness and a sparkle. We do our nails and our hair. She talks to me about clothes and likes to read the same books I used to read. There are Barbies in my house now and more craft kits than one person needs. Things I never thought I’d see in my space, but somehow they seem just right. We watch princess movies and play dress up. She has brightened our lives and our home. And she, this little girl I never thought I would have, is exactly perfect for me.

Some days, I’m still terrified I won’t get it right. But, I have learned, that just comes with the motherhood territory. Because the worries I have for her are no different from the ones I have for my son. The dreams I have for her are no different from the ones I have for him. They are my children. And loving them gives me so much joy. My sweet sweet boy that I just knew would fit into my life perfectly. And this spirited charming little girl, who brought a new type of love and laughter to us. My loves. My life.

Motherhood

19 May

English: Motherhood by Leah Michlson, Arad, Is...

 

Mother’s Day came and went recently. It was a great day and I enjoyed spending the day with some of my favorite people. I had every intention of writing a Mother’s Day post sooner; however, my computer crashed and I lost everything. And at this point, I’m glad I didn’t. As I was perusing through Facebook a couple of days ago, I came across a status update explaining why Mother’s Day was unnecessary. The writer basically said that a day meant for thanking someone for doing what they were supposed to do anyway was asinine. They felt that it was a Hallmark holiday meant to boost card sales in an off month. It was a very interesting opinion that I’ve heard about other holidays (Valentine’s Day mostly) but never really about Mother’s Day. So, I would like to pose an argument as to why Mother’s Day is important.

 

Firstly, simply being a mother does not make you someone worth celebrating. If all you have ever done for your child is give birth to them, you don’t even deserve the title, in my opinion. And there are plenty of people like that in this world. Maybe that’s the only form of a mother this person had in life. Otherwise, stating that mom’s are only “doing what they are supposed to do” and don’t deserve any thanks…. I simply don’t understand that.

 

I suppose, technically, that “what I’m supposed to do” is feed and clothe my children. Provide them with a house to live in and make sure they get an education. If that was all I ever did for them, I still wouldn’t feel myself worthy of appreciation. It’s everything else, the things that truly make me a mommy, that I hope my children, and husband, feel are important. Mostly, I want them to know that it is all a manifestation of how much I love them. I don’t feel that I should necessarily have some big celebration. However, knowing that they are thankful for all that I try to give to them, makes me feel like I am succeeding in loving them.

 

The following words were read at the church I attend, on Mother’s Day. I thought they were beautiful and I couldn’t possibly say it better. This is the perfect explanation of why I feel Mother’s Day is worth celebrating.

 

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
To those who are foster moms and mentor moms– we celebrate you
To those who kneel in prayer for the next generation – we need you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children or your mother – we believe with you for restoration

 

To those who are raising children on their own – we honor you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we believe with you.
To our spiritual moms – we honor you
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To all those who are stepmothers – we applaud you

 

To those who are caring for their aging mothers – we appreciate you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To all of our grandmothers who are leaving a lasting legacy – we are blessed because of you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. God bless you!

 

A Place Where I Belong

19 Mar

I remember, several years ago, wondering where I would fit. What my calling in this life would be. Dreaming about that moment when my heart would suddenly find the place that it was meant to reside. I wondered where I would be, what I would be doing. I wasn’t sure what career that would mean or the people that would be in my life at that moment. I didn’t know what the future held, and I didn’t know how I would ever figure it out.

 

Today, I can tell you exactly where I fit.

 

I can tell you what my whole purpose in this life is. I can pinpoint exactly where I should be and the people that should be surrounding me. I still don’t know what my future holds, but I can tell you one thing. I know exactly who I’ll be when it gets here.

 

I was made to be a mommy.

 

I was made to experience that feeling of falling in love instantly, with no hesitation or reservations. I was made to know a love so strong that it can’t be explained with ordinary words. I was made to completely understand what it means when someone talks about your heart walking around outside your body. I was made to look at a smile, a face, and feel like my heart might literally burst with more love than it can possibly hold inside.

 

I am supposed to be the one to create a home out of an ordinary house. I am supposed to be the one to make a safe place to land. I am supposed to make meals and create an environment for conversations over them. I am supposed to plan family game nights, fun activities in our town, and memorable vacations. I am supposed to teach lessons on taking care of things by cleaning and doing laundry. I am supposed to be the example, and then divide up the responsibilities.

 

I know the feeling of helplessness when this big bad world rears its ugly head. I know the intense need to protect when someone threatens what’s mine. I know the pain when I must let a hard lesson be learned. I know the fear when I have to let go. I know the sadness when I see tear filled eyes. I know the feeling of incompleteness when part of me isn’t near. I know the feeling of failure when I realize I haven’t done something as well as I should. I know what real love is.

 

I am the one who can calm fears in the middle of the night. I am the one who can repair broken hearts. I am the one who can ease anxieties over doctor’s appointments and shots. I am the one who can build strength simply by holding a hand. I am the one who can create a whole new world out of bed sheets and dining room chairs. I am the one who can be a bank robber or a princess, a customer or a dragon, a super hero or a damsel in distress. I am the one who can wipe away tears and find a smile. I am the one who knows the answer to all questions. I am the most beautiful woman in the world. I am a mommy.

 

 

imageAnd that is where my heart belongs.

 

Pieces of my heart

18 Mar

I used to believe that there was no more challenging job on earth than being a mommy. I also believe that there is no job more rewarding. I used to think that nothing could stretch my limitations, test my strength, or ask more of me that being a parent. And then I fell in love. I fell in love with this beautiful, spirited, silly little girl and her daddy. I became a step-parent. And, with that, I realized that being a mommy wasn’t the most challenging thing I would ever do. Being a step parent was.image

My views of parenting were much different that her father’s. My views on discipline were much different from her father’s. Ultimately the decision was his, but I also had a child that was effected by those decisions. We had to work very hard to come to compromises that both of us could be happy with. We had to evaluate everything we thought we knew in the context of our combined family. Both of our children had to go through some changes. We are still learning and it is, and probably always will be, a work in progress.

For Isaiah’s whole life, I had been working with his father to schedule holidays, special events, and visitation times. We had, for the most part, gotten things down to a science. We still have days where all of that is difficult, just not very many. Now there was another parent to schedule things with. There was another set of family members and special events. We now have to schedule holidays with each of our families, plus each of our children’s other parents. I love Christmas, but it certainly gives me a headache now.

Then there are many of the same challenges that each of our children present me with. Am I making the right decisions for them? Am I modeling marriage well enough? Am I teaching them how to be individuals? Am I teaching them to stand up for themselves? Am I showing them how much I love them? Am I being fair? Am I giving them memories they will cherish? Am I fulfilling this call of parenthood the way I’m supposed to? Am I helping to raise little people who will grow up into successful adults?

But then there’s the other side. The part where I love that little girl just like she were my own. The part where I miss her so badly when she’s not with us. The part where it is so important to me that she knows how important she is to our family, even though she’s not with us as much as we would like. The part where I am so thankful to get to watch the sibling relationship develop between her and Isaiah. The irreplaceable laughter and light that she brings to our family. The beauty and magic that she brings to our home.

Until I met her, I never knew what we were missing. She is one of the best parts of my world. I thank God every day that I get the opportunity to love her.

To all of you who are good step-parents – I raise my glass to you for stepping in and choosing to love a child that isn’t your own as if they were.

17 Things Girls Need from their Mothers

9 Mar

I write this from the aspect of a woman who is a daughter. I write this from the point of view of a woman who has a step-daughter that came into my life when she was 7 years old. I write this from the stance of a woman who wants to have a daughter some day. I write this from the aspect of a woman who wants to see some change in the way little girls, and women, view themselves in society.

A girl needs:

Mother holding girl.

To be told she’s beautiful – every day. When she’s wearing her fanciest dress and her dirtiest jeans and tennis shoes. Tell her she’s beautiful, but then make her understand that she is so much more than that. That her beauty is only evident on the outside because of who she is on the inside.
To play make-believe – Barbie’s and princesses and ponies. Let her stretch her imagination as far as it will go. Let her dream of far off castles and unicorns and princes.
To know her self-worth – Show her that her worth is not in her body. Show her that she is so much more than what people see at first glance. Teach her that she should be smart, kind, someone worth knowing. Teach her to dig deep to find out who she is and who she wants to be.
To wear your make-up – and your jewelry and your shoes. Let her pretend to be you. She looks up to you and wants to be just like you. Make sure you are someone worthy of her aspirations.
To sing into your hair brushes – in the bathroom mirror, at the top of your lungs. We spend so much time being a mom. Don’t forget to spend some time being her best friend, too.
To do her nails – and her make-up and her hair. Don’t teach her to be vain, but teach her to take pride in her appearance. And to have fun doing it. Show her how to make herself feel beautiful, without being provocative or disrespectful to herself.
To be shown how to love – recklessly and without reservations. Teach her, by example, that her husband will need to feel respected. Let her see what unconditional love looks like, so that she will know how to show her children.
To be gentle… and tough – she will need both. Show her how to speak with kindness and nurse animals back to health. Then show her how to beat her brothers at football and stand her ground when she believes in something.
To be her own person – with her own ideas. Show her how important it is to take time for a cup of coffee and a good book, or a sky-diving lesson; whichever she prefers. Show her that taking time for herself and forming her own identity will keep her satisfied and content in life.
To see her mother love her father – show her what loving a good man can do for a woman. And what the love of a good woman can do for a man. If you aren’t married to her father, let her love him anyway.
To talk about sex – she needs to understand the passion and heart that goes into it. She needs to understand what she is actually giving when she gives her body. She needs to understand that it is more than ok to say, “no.” She needs to know that she can talk to you and ask you questions; when she’s 17 or 37. She also needs to know that she should be careful. There are boys whose hearts can be broken too.
To believe in herself – but when she can’t, assure her that you always will. The world is a scary place, full of uncertainty and pain. Make her believe that she can overcome anything, that she can accomplish anything, and that she can’t be stopped. If she believes that is true, it will be.
Her mom to cry with her – when her first pet dies, when her heart gets broken, when she puts on her wedding dress, and when she delivers her first child. Share her pain… and her joys.
To respect – and teach her that she can demand the same thing. Let her know that a boy should respect her before he is given the chance to love her and that girls who don’t respect her, don’t deserve her friendship. She also needs to know that if she doesn’t respect, people won’t respect her.
To appreciate the things she has – and work hard for the things she doesn’t. Let her decorate her own space, and save to buy the latest gadget.
To be herself – even if it’s not who you had envisioned. Let her be quiet and shy, or loud and outgoing. Let her wear clothes you don’t understand and listen to music you can’t connect with. Let her experiment with nail polish colors and hair styles, but not with drugs or boys. Let her be herself and get to know who that girl is.
To know she is loved – and has a some place to come home to. Let her come home from the sleep over early. Let her come home from college for the weekend. Let her come home for a cup of coffee when her own children are asking too much. Let her come home. Love her. And then send her back, knowing she has your unending love and support, to live her life again.

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