Life Lessons from Snapchat

My 14-year-old niece recently taught my how to use Snapchat after finding out that I’m neither as trendy nor as tech-savvy as she had previously assumed. I’ll be honest. I still don’t get it. Why am I sending a Snapchat and a text message to the same person at the same time? Can’t I simply text the image?! 


Anyway! A college friend added me and sends me pictures and videos of all the concerts, bars and events he frequents. The only thing I frequent is my refrigerator. 

I mean, c’mon! It’s a week night and he was sending me videos of bands I would like to know, but who has time for their own music when I’m listening to Fisher Price’s Little People CDs and Let It Go? (And yes, we are still listening to that damn song from Frozen.)

Naturally, I felt a little lame in comparison. I send pictures of my daughter, my cat, and my unruly hair. That is [most of] my life. 

In my best efforts to compete in this world of Snapchat, I sent a picture of my beautiful Charlotte and made a quip about her being my wild, and often times crazy, life. 

My friend conceded, but I still felt like I was missing out some how. 

Until I turned off my brain and really looked at my life. 

We, as parents, need reminders like these so we don’t go insane. Reminders that we traded in our nightlife (and everything else!) for something much bigger [to us] than a concert. 

There will be many experiences in this life that I will “miss out on” because I’m a mom. This isn’t the first time I felt envious of a non-parent, nor will it be the last. It is fleeting, though. I can handle missing out on things. I would be devastated if I missed out on Charli. 

Besides, we can hold a dance party as good as the rest of them. 😉   

So what’s the life lesson of my story? Be grateful for the life you have, and don’t expect any exciting nightlife Snapchat messages from me. I’ll most likely be sleeping. 

Mommy vs. TV

Charlotte’s obsession with television reached a level that demanded action. I ripped the TV from the outlet, hauled it to the curb and left it for the trash pickup!

I also took a sledge hammer to it, lit it on fire and ran over it with my car for good measure. 

… In my mind. 

I wouldn’t really do any of those things. I don’t know that I’m strong enough to carry it to the curb, and HOS would be livid if I destroyed his TV! 

I did take action, though! Of course, it was a little more rational than the imagined mental breakdown. 

Rather than trying to combat the TV with toys – and failing – I decided it was time for a different strategy. 

Last weekend, we went to the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library where Charli and HOS player while I picked out a number of books. Each book was about a different topic, one for each day of the week.

I teach on Monday night so I wasn’t home for activities, but we kicked TV’s butt the rest of the week! 

Tuesday – We went shopping for a little while. HOS and Charlotte read Bronterina and danced around the living room before bed. 

Wednesday – We read Mr. King’s Castle (no less than five times!) and we built “castles” using Charli’s imagination magnets

Thursday – We read The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse and Thump, Thump, Rat-A-Tat-Tat. We painted a blue horse, green dog, a pink sheep and a brown monkey before bath time. 

Friday – HOS and I went out with friends. My niece watched Charli. They played outside, read all kinds of books and played on the LeapFrog tablet. I was very impressed when I checked in via our security camera and saw a blank TV!

Charlotte isn’t feeling well today. She has a lot of congestion and a rough cough. Despite attempts to get her away from the TV, we spent most of the day cuddling and watching shows. I know a battle worth fighting. We already had enough meltdowns without forcing her to turn off the TV. 

All together, I’m extremely happy with how well the books paired with activities worked. Charli’s behavior was improved, and by Friday, she was hardly asking to watch a show. 

That’s mommy 1 and TV … Well, the important thing is we are on the right track! 

How do you keep your children entertained without TV? 

Beautiful, With or Without the Lip Gloss

Charli stood in my doorway this weekend begging for help with her “makeup.” I twisted her lip gloss open and gently applied the smallest amount of shine to her pink toddler smile. She grinned, smacked her lips and said,

“I’m beautiful!”

Without skipping a beat, I said, “yes, you are, but makeup doesn’t have anything to do with it!”

Even at two years old, Charlotte is aware of beauty. She watches me get ready in the morning – style my hair and put on my makeup. We read Sleeping Beauty, a story in which three fairies could give Aurora anything, and they give her beauty and great singing voice. (Gag) But Charli loves it.

She wants to put on makeup with me.

She wants to be the princess from books.

There is nothing wrong with Charlotte wanting these things. I refuse to worry about them. I could spend endless hours reading blogs about how one parent says to raise my child, or what psychologists believe caused body issues. I could become so obsessed with being the “perfect” mother for Charli.

But I won’t… Because the “perfect” mother doesn’t exist.

There is only me.

And I already received some awesome parenting advice on body image.

My mom owned one bottle of mascara and one blush. I don’t know that she ever wore either of those things during the 18 years I knew her. She didn’t need it. She didn’t define herself by clothes, hair or makeup. She was a mom, wife, friend, teacher, follower of Christ. Her actions, not her appearance, told the world who she was.

Now, I’m not naive enough to believe my mom was 100 percent happy with her physical appearance. She would go through slim-fast phases, not unlike my calorie-counting phases. That was the only evidence I had of any insecurities, though. She hid her feelings about her body or appearance from her children. Instead of focusing on outer beauty, mom taught me modesty and humility. She taught me kindness, love, charity, discipline, honesty and strength. I could go on… In essence, mom taught me the beauty of being an amazing person.

I’m not like my mom. Those are some big shoes to fill! I do things a little differently, and you’re very welcome for my diligent use of make-up! I absolutely have issues with my personal appearance. But I’m not worried about Charli.

She comes from a long line of beautiful women. Lip gloss or not, mascara and blush or not, her actions will demonstrate her beauty.

Granted, we have a little while before we get there. She is only two!


That’s Some “Shit”

I know it’s wrong. I know I shouldn’t even put it into writing. I definitely know I will be judged by many, appreciated by some and laughed with by most.

There is something adorably hilarious about a toddler saying curse words.

C’mon!!! You know exactly what I mean.

Let me set the scene…

Last night, Charli, my ridiculously cute toddler, walked into the kitchen. Her arms were wrapped around a bottle of Life Water and her sippy cup filled with milk. I hardly noticed as she passed behind me, walking on her tip-toes. As I was jabbering away at HOS and browning the ground turkey for dinner, I heard my daughter’s first (confirmed) curse words.

“SHIT! Oh, shit!”

She stomped her little foot and looked around with utter exasperation.

I probably looked like a moron. My mouth had fallen open, but I was smiling/choking back laughter.

Without thinking, I asked what was wrong. She furrowed her brow and point at the counter top saying, “Rabble, rabble, rabble. Table.”

I asked her to put her drinks on the dinner table instead of the counter. She walked toward the table and accidentally dropped the sippy cup on the floor.


This time, my shoulders racked with laughter, but I hid my face. She placed the drinks on the table and tip-toed back to her toys like nothing had happened.

My sweet baby girl with a precious toddler voice that can’t form the sounds for l, r, or y is now competing for swearing sailor of the month.

Fast forward to today…

As funny as it was the first couple times, the cuteness quickly wears off.

Charlotte slipped climbing the ladder to her slide. I caught her bottom in my hands. I apparently didn’t move fast enough…


There it was again.

She couldn’t open the door.


She dropped her baby doll.


She tripped.


We tried ignoring the word in hopes it would go away because it didn’t invite a reaction.

That did not work.

I have moved into the stage of timeouts. How do you tell a two-year-old she is in trouble for saying “shit.”
And that “shit” is a bad word she shouldn’t say. If she says “shit” again, then she will get a timeout. Super scary punishment!

Oh, and you don’t.

For now, we are in a curse word Cold War. Any one who drops one of those bombs goes straight to time out.

Moms of the world, how can I win this war?

Early-Year Indifference

At the end of the day, I spend 2.5 hours with Charlotte each night. And that breaks my heart.

Lately, this 2.5 hours have been filled with distractions. I may be physically with Charli, but I’m not there mentally and emotionally. Work is getting busier and busier. Charlotte isn’t sleeping well. Volunteer hours. Friends. Family. Events….

Somewhere in the last few months, I lost site of my real priority.

Last weekend, I hit a point that I will refer to as “Early-Year Indifference.” I no longer care about the board I sit on. I don’t care that my inbox is constantly overflowing with emails. I would rather stay at home than attend anyone’s anything. No offense. It’s not you; it’s me.

I want nothing more than to pass the time with my daughter. I want to enjoy every precious second I spend with her without being filled with guilt that I’m not doing something else. I want to be surprised and proud when she says a new word, and I want to revel in it. I want to feel the excitement radiating from her. I want to dance around the kitchen, sing while giver her baths and watch her sleeping in her crib.

I want to be moved to tears when Charlotte reaches her arms up to me and says, “Pwease!” because she wants me to hold her.

And I’m tired of missing out on these things because my mind is elsewhere.

I am indifferent to almost anything unrelated to my daughter.

I am not sorry for that.

Maybe this “Early-Year Indifference” will give way to “Mid-Year Motivation.” Who knows? For now, I’m going to be grateful and take advantage of every possible moment.


I Exercise Because I Love My Daughter

I hate exercise.

I hate the sweat rolling off my nose and into my mouth while I attempt a walking plank.

I hate the tightness and soreness in my muscles.

I love seeing the number decreasing (instead of increasing) on the scale.

I love seeing and feeling the changes in my body.

Most importantly, I love my daughter, and I hate the thought of missing any part of her life.

If you’ve read my blog, you know that I attribute a lot of my goals for mommyhood to things I learned from my mom. One of the greatest lessons was taught the hardest way. My mom is my motivation for losing weight and being fit because she was too busy selflessly caring for her three kids to take care of herself. I believe that played a large role in the cancer that took her life.

I love my mom more than words can describe. I miss her very deeply. And it is because of that love and that aching that I want to do more than she was able to do in terms of health. I want to instill the importance of physical health, as well as spiritual, emotional and mental health. The only way for me to do that is by first instilling it in myself. That is no easy feat, my friends!

I enjoy playing volleyball and basketball, and I used to love running sprints. I do not enjoy 50 minute workout videos that leave me trembling and sweaty, curled up in a ball on the basement floor. Not that I have ever done that. …

I exercise because I love my daughter. I want to be at her college graduation. I want to show her friends embarrassing photos from her youth. I want to take her for drinks when she gets her first big job. I want to help her plan her wedding and watch as she walks down the aisle. I want to hold her babies in my arms and teach them all the things my mom wasn’t here to teach Charlotte. I want all of these moments and all the little, forgettable moments in-between. I want those things because I didn’t get to experience them with my mom.

I hate exercise, but I do it for me and for my daughter.

I hate sweating, but I will count every drop as an extra hour with her.

I hate feeling sore, but it is a mere pinch in comparison to the pain she will feel when I am gone.

This is what I remind myself on nights like this, when I want nothing more than to crawl into bed and forgo the workout. What’s 50 minutes of my time after Charlotte’s asleep?

Oh, just a couple more hours of life later on.

I love the sound of that.