Talking About My Joys and Taking Back Motherhood


I have noticed a trend in parent world. We write about things that are tough. We write about how hard life can be. We write about things we find funny…. Gross things we find funny, but no one else does. Often, in our writing, we tend to leave out all mush and gush (for the most part). I mean if I tell you I think my boys are possibly the sweetest, kindest little beings on this planet with the faces of angels… you are going to gag. The thing is I actually do feel this way a lot, but it doesn’t really work for purposes of humor. And with all this being “real” and not “fluffy”… I have traumatized my sisters.

And I quote: “This is not making me want to have children.”

A feeling I think they should have for a while, but I mean, I want them to know it is not all diapers and being perpetually sleep deprived. Sort of. Furthermore, I have noticed that this sentiment is also found on the World Wide Web. On many public forums I have noticed that more and more people are getting a bad taste in their mouths for parenthood.

Sidenote: I actually think this is a direct result of our culture’s view of sacrifice and selflessness. Traits that actually make your life better and make you happier, but that is a topic for another day.

I think in an effort to be real many of us have focused so much on talking about the hard stuff that we forget to speak about our joys. So without further adieu:

A Few Reasons Why I Love Being a Mother

I love the tiny cuddles and wet kisses that will one day turn into big, strong hugs and quick cheek kisses. There is nothing purer then the adoration a child has for his mother (and father). Nothing. To be loved wholly and entirely as you are, Jesus is the only one that trumps that. And on the flip side, there is nothing stronger than the love a parent has for a child. Which brings me to my next point:

Children teach you to love. I remember giving birth to my first son and feeling completely overwhelmed. Never in my life had I been so flooded with emotion. I could not even feel it was so much. Too much of everything. Of joy. Of fear. Of pride. Of love. I couldn’t decipher one from another. But when I came out of my haze, I stared at a perfect little being. I wondered at all that he was. The mystery. The smell. The tiny toes. The smiles. And a strange thing happened. Flowers smelled sweeter. I loved my husband more. I loved my mother more. I saw beauty in the everyday. I looked at animals that I previously ignored (I know I am a terrible person), and I found myself making squeaky love noises at them. I grew so much as a person that first year. Yes it was hard, but it was also so good.

And then my next son was born. Whatever hard part was left in my heart melted into a puddle. I didn’t have the haze I had with my first son. I could decipher the feelings. I knew this love. With his birth my ability to love grew by two more tiny hands. Living a life that is not just about me has given me new purpose and made me happier. Learning when to sacrifice and when to take care of myself has made me stronger. I have learned to be a teammate with my husband. Loving and caring for my little ones has spilled over into my relationships with others. I find that I have more compassion and more empathy. I recognize that everyone is someone’s child. Children have changed my character. They have made me a better wife, a better daughter, and a better friend. I care about people because I care about my people. You can’t have love completely encompass one part of your life and not have it spill over into other areas of your life.

Joy. SO SO SO MUCH JOY. Joy that makes you a crazy person. Joy you cannot explain. Ridiculous happiness that makes no sense. Holden said “Mama” for the first time, and I almost cried. Watching them do anything for the first time is a tear jerk moment. I mean look at all these parents with their video cameras and phones. They cannot get enough. And if you don’t have a 1509650_10153378807330824_3729871436344178622_nkid, you don’t get it. Parents look absolutely ridiculous. But I tell you, you have not lived until you get home from being gone and a little face peeks out the door and takes off in a full sprint towards you with a big smile on their face. Joy people.

Forever friends. My kids are my people. Just like I am my parent’s people. We get to do life together. How awesome is that? We as people are made for relationships, and the family structure gives us that. I could travel the whole world, own my own company, own a country, and I tell you that at the end of my life all that will matter to me is my family.

I once heard it said that saying “Why have kids when you can just have nieces or nephews, and send them back?” is like saying “Why fall in love when you can just be friends?” Is motherhood all giggles and smiles? No. Have I always felt so optimistic? No. Do I think everyone needs to have children? No. Love is not always easy, but it is always worth it.

So my little sisters, my readers, and the skeptics online, do not fear having kids. Children bring unimaginable joy, growth, and love.

Now excuse me while I go clean up the absolute destruction my kids caused while I was writing this. I did not want those DVD’s in the shelf anyways. Oh… joy.1779704_10153378806535824_4037883357466843504_n

The Day I Got Whistled At… At 38 Weeks Pregnant

Before my story, we must go over the different stages of pregnancy. So without further adieu I give you the 3.5 stages of pregnancy cuteness:Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 1.21.49 PM

Early Stage- So we have the early stages of pregnancy where you have a glow and no visible belly. It is in this stage that although you are probably struggling through morning sickness, someone might appreciate that glow and hit on you.

Halfway Point– Midway through your pregnancy, when you are rocking a cute baby bump, it is possible you will run into a guy who is weirdly attracted to pregnant women, and he will hit on you. You will be a little grossed out, but feel a little pride that you still got it. Maybe.

End of Pregnancy– It is a sad truth that you must know, but in the last few weeks before birth… everyone starts to look like a balloon full of water. Everything swells. EVERYTHING. Your face starts to look squishy, smooth, and round… ironically like a baby’s bottom. This is a universal sign that the baby is about to make it’s appearance. It happens to everyone. Small, medium, large… doesn’t matter… every lady looks nice and bloated.

***Special Unicorns End of Pregnancy- But there are the chosen ones. Women like me. We take this Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 1.20.12 PMend of pregnancy look to a whole new level. Forget cute little bellies… most people who do not know us are convinced we are having twins.

We are the ones who rock the elephant limbs. At the end, we say hello to massive swollen ankles, swollen feet, and swollen legs. We take off our wedding rings for fear we will have to go to the emergency room and have them cut off because our fingers have gotten so big. While your ballooning might resemble that of a child’s party balloon, genetics has blessed us with the ability to balloon to proportions not unlike that of a hot air balloon. No stretch marks all pregnancy? BAM. We only have two weeks left until our due date, but due to the fact that we have gained 15 pounds of water weight in the last week… we get the blessing of the tiger stripes.

We are the proud. We are the few. We are the swollen.   Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 1.15.57 PM

Story Time:

One day during the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I was attempting to go into labor by walking around my neighborhood. As I waddled back to my house with my toddler in tow, I heard someone whistle at me. “Whew wheeew” I immediately stopped. There is no way. I heard it again. “Whew wheeew” Like a penguin, I waddled in a circle trying to figure out who was whistling at me. “Whew wheew” I figured out which house it was coming from, and I glared at it. Seriously? What kind of creep whistles at an enormously pregnant woman who is pushing her toddler in a stroller? Gross. “Whew wheeew” Someone has some problems. I strutted away from the house and into my home. I was indignant that a man would dare whistle at me when I was with my toddler son and pregnant with another.

Over the next few days I told my family and friends about the creepy man who lived on my street. Every time I told the story I began to think that maybe I wasn’t such an awful looking end of pregnancy lady. Although it was still gross that I got whistled at (I honestly don’t think it is ever OK to whistle at a woman), I began to feel a little more confident in my XL men’s tees and sandals my feet fat stuck out of.

Then one day as I was getting out of my car, I heard it. “Whew wheew” But I was no where near the creepy man’s house?

And that was when I realized… that the creepy man who thought I was cute… was actually a parrot.

The end.



Photographing and Documenting Your Child’s Childhood- The Nightmare Continues

I am writing this post as I sit waiting for my phone to download approximately 6000 photos, dating from last August until this June, onto my computer so that I can print these photos out and put them into photo albums.  I want to print all of them, but I must go through them and pick and choose which ones will make the cut. I didn’t do that with Holden and now I have two photo albums with 700 pictures stress-memechronicling the first six months of his life.

Plus, I still have the photos on my camera and the all the special occasion photos to print up as well.

Does this seem a little excessive to anyone? I sometimes wonder if having cameras on every device imaginable is actually a good thing. I stress so much about capturing all the precious moments of my little ones that I wonder if that stress is causing me to sometimes miss out on these precious moments?

Question: Is a baby’s smile still as cute even if you do not capture the first ten times he does it?

I mean the memory books, the photo albums, the photo books, the scrap books, the picture frames… Am I the only person overwhelmed here? Holden is almost two, and I have not printed a picture since he was six months old. I feel a panic attack coming on every time I think of how I need to keep up with preserving all these memories.

I know this stress is nothing new.

I just have to take one look at the stacks of photos that have yet to be put into photo albums at my Mom’s house, and the way she cringes when she looks at them, to know that mine is not the first generation to be swallowed by the monster that is personal family photos.

But at this time, with the internet, it seems we have this whole new level of crazy. The internet is a wealth of information that unfortunately can show us exactly how we do not measure up. One look at Pinterest and all the crazy, cool ideas and ways to preserve memories for ourselves and our children, and you realize that you could make a full time job out of the art of photo preservation.

AND.I.JUST.CAN’T.KEEP.UP. h6T6Fvcongrats-baby-photo-albums-facebook-upcoming-pregnancy-ecards-someecards

Maybe I am not organized enough? Maybe I am not artsy enough? Maybe my children will be so sad that they are not able to see a photo of themselves from every day of their lives?!!!!!


Or maybe I should focus on capturing select, beautiful moments in their lives? But how do I even do that when every moment is beautiful and perfect? (Insert nervous twitch.)

What in the world will they do with all these photo albums anyways? At this rate my children are going to have like 200 photo albums to go through when they are older.

I have decided that the picture insanity needs to stop. In order to stop the insanity, I have come up with a resolution for myself.

First, I will give myself grace. I am raising two beautiful boys and the world is not going to end if I do not properly document every second of their childhood.

Second, I will enjoy my moments with them rather than constantly pausing to photograph or digitize the moment. I will remember to pause and take mental pictures. I will keep my focus on them and being there for them in that moment. I will push away thoughts of needing to share the moment with the entire world.

Reminder: Shelbi, it is OK to have private moments that no one will know about. stress

Lastly, I will continue to do my best to pick and choose the photos I cherish to pass on to my sweet ones. I still believe it is important to capture memories. I just do not need 100 pictures from each event or moment of their lives. One or two will suffice in most circumstances.  Less is sometimes more. Plus, those little moments will add up to a lot at the end of the year.

So today, dear friends, I just want to encourage everyone to let go of the photo obsessing and stress. I encourage you to embrace life in the present without any technology. I am doing my best to do just that.

We are all in this together. We will survive this messy world of immense pressure, immense responsibility, and immense love… this world known as parenthood.

And we will survive the demonic force that is the photo album.

I promise.




Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 2.08.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 2.08.26 PM


Brotherly Love

11391676_911787972216986_426202011465667517_nRiddle me this:

How does one protect their baby from their toddler?

Granted I live in a tiny house so it is much harder for me than most to hide the infant from the walking terror/love machine that is my toddler Holden.

Many-a-time I have found Holden laying on top of my baby smothering him with kisses. Poor baby Hudson has had many incidents of secondhand chocolate hair or leftover dinner from Holden’s mouth smeared on his head.

Tummy time is rough because I cannot take my eye off of Hudson. Last time I did I looked over to see Holden laughing hysterically while he dragged his flailing infant brother on a blanket around the room.

Once, I narrowly escaped having to preform the Heimlich maneuver on my 2 month old because the toddler decided he wanted to share his gummy bear vitamin.

Do not even get me started on the baby’s naps during the day. Heaven forbid the baby get some uninterrupted sleep during the day. Holden practically forbids it.

Holden for whatever reason thinks it is important that he sit on his brother while his brother lays in his infant swing. No matter what I do, the kid likes to cuddle up to his brother in that tiny chair. Do you know how horrifying it is to look over to check on your little baby and all you see is the butt of your toddler as he tries to keep his balance on a moving infant swing?

The toddler is omnipresent. He is everywhere. Hudson has no where to hide from the almost-two-year old tornado who can scale any bed and climb any crib.

imgresI spend most of my days telling Holden that:

“Brother’s face is not a race car track.”

“We do not cover brother’s head with the blanket.”

“We do not watch movies on top of brother.”

“Brother doesn’t like pillow fights.”

“Niiiiceee brother… gentle… good job… NO HOLDEN NO!”

Holden finds all of this so painful. His little boy heart is full of so much love for his brother he can hardly contain it. He hunts for Hudson. When he sees his brother, his face scrunches up and he coos at him, right before giving the baby a nice open-mouthed kiss. Unfortunately, after this is usually when the smothering begins. I have to be very careful when I intervene because Holden panics and hurries away… often elbowing or kicking the baby in the process.

I imagine in his toddler gibberish Holden is asking me why brother cannot play with him yet.

Brotherly love is not always so awesome, but somehow Hudson will survive the immense love of his brother…

And somehow Mommy will survive this without developing an anxiety condition.


Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.34.13 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.33.32 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.33.20 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.32.33 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.40.04 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.39.46 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.32.18 PM

The Tiny Thief

There is a tiny thief in my house.

He is 11 months old.

He is quick.

He is feisty.

And he will hide yo’ stuff.

Today I was trying to make a doctor’s appointment. Holden was singing (yelling) in the background and joyfully throwing the football against the floor repeatedly. All was well despite having to strain to hear the nice lady on the

Kids-loud-on-phone-funny-parenting-ecardother end of the phone.

She proceeded to ask me for my new insurance card. And that would not be a big deal… except that when I went to bend down and grab my wallet out of my purse aka diaper bag… it was missing. Frantically, I tried to search for that dang wallet. I felt so stupid for calling before I had that dang card in hand. Phone calls are precious things in Mom world, as is being productive, and I needed to get this dang appointment made. I tried to answer other questions for her so that I wouldn’t be wasting her time, but between searching for the wallet and Holden yelling… I wasn’t doing a very good job. Finally, I had to concede defeat. I told her I would call her back and then proceeded to tear apart my house looking for that wallet.

Now I am known to be forgetful so losing things is not new to me, but Taylor had just put my card in my wallet the night before so I knew it was there. Naturally, I called Taylor with an accusing tone and asked him where my wallet was. He had put it back in my diaper bag. Taylor never loses anything. Fine. Great. Dandy.

I thought I was going to lose my mind.

I looked in every pillow, crevice, and blanket knowing that Holden had to have taken off with it. I had already thrown in the towel this morning when I couldn’t find his bottle, but I refused to give up on this wallet. I refused to give up on being productive and making that dang appointment.Frantic-Checking

And then I remembered.

Holden has this new fascination with throwing EVERYTHING in the toilet. When I lost my shoe yesterday, I found it in the toilet along with a bottle and a onesie.

With a sinking feeling in my gut, I check the toilets. Not there. Good. There is one last place that Holden has been putting things recently.

The trash can.

I open up the trash lid and lo and behold what do I find? Two pairs of sandals, a shirt, a onesie, a flour sifter, and MY 10517497_10152166522250824_8614683437792491522_nWALLET. Thank goodness I caught that before the trash got taken out. The picture on the right is of Holden and his loot from the trash can.

After this event, I watched his process of throwing away shoes and clothes. He does it when he doesn’t think I am looking. He walks right over to that trash can, and I watch this tiny little person heave.. with all his might… any object he can find… into that trash can. He is so pleased with himself for managing to get things into the trash can. And randomly when, for whatever reason, he decides enough stuff is in the trash… he moves on to a new activity.

I seriously don’t get it. I had tried to teach Holden how to put clothes INTO the drawers, and for some reason, he came up with taking things OUT of drawers and throwing things into the toilet and trash can.

Sometimes I will catch him in the act. He will be standing next to the toilet holding up his bottle when I see him. I yell “Holden.. NO!” He looks at me… smiles… and as soon as he sees me run toward him… he turns as quickly as he can and throws his bottle into the toilet.


This has happened numerous times. I try to keep doors shut, but that doesn’t always work. I may need to invest in a new trash can and toilet locks.

The other thing he loves to do is wrap himself like a mummy in the toilet paper, and then throw the rest of the toilet paper in the toilet. Toilet paper is not cheap people! Not to mention my nice makeup that does not do well sitting in toilet water…

This is the image that pops in my head when thinking of Holden and his destructive exploits:


Here is to hoping that his fascination with the bathroom and the toilet will lead to early potty training. And maybe eventually I will turn his throwing everything away into a productive activity. Hopefully. Prayerfully. Ugh.

Welcome to Toddler-hood


Ok I have to write this post fast. Holden is playing by himself nicely in his room, and it is only a matter of time before he finds a way to destroy something.

I thought toddler world began at age two.


Holden is now 11 months, and it feels like we have been in this stage forever. The kid started army crawling at four months and full on crawling at five months. He was walking unassisted at ten months. I now understand why when I proudly told seasoned mothers how early Holden was hitting these movement milestones… they all responded with phrases like “Oh I am so sorry”, “You’re in trouble” or “Poor you”. I remember thinking “Why are you pitying me people!? I gave birth to an athletic prodigy!” 1458571_10151757142750824_509009564_n

I understand now.

By the time Holden was six months old I was longing for the days he just snuggled in my arms and cooed at me.

I mean how could a four month old will up the strength to attack a christmas tree? Seriously?

Now when people are telling me about their child prodigy’s movement milestones all I can muster up is “Just push him down. Do NOT let him get up. PUSH HIM DOWN.”

And then I cry. I may just keep my next baby in a swaddle all day until he/she is six months old.

With mobility came craziness, for example, by 9:15 the other morning Holden had:

Submerged himself in the toilet.. because the water in there is awesome.

Dumped all the baby cereal on the floor. (May the wrath of Zeus come down upon the person that put the cereal so low.)

Decided he wanted to feed himself… so he dumped yogurt bowl on his head.

While he was naked waiting for a bath, he picked up any item he could find and would slap his man parts on it or bang said object against himself. He plays the toy blocks like a drum if you catch my drift.

And then… he claimed his bathroom as his territory. He pooped on the floor.

After his bath, he decided it would be awesome to pull all his clothes out of the drawer. Because you know… despite my best efforts… the only time it is ok to put things away is when Holden decides it needs to go in the trash can or in the toilet.

All this before 9:30 am. I have to tell ya… on days like this I can get pretty tired. So tired that I have seen Holden eat some of his puffs Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.50.53 AMoff the carpet that had fallen off his high chair earlier that morning, and I did nothing. In fact, I may have poured some more puffs on the ground for him so that I could finish doing my chores without being attacked or worry that he is drinking the toilet water.

Yes. I have fed my child off the carpet. Don’t judge me. People do desperate things sometimes.

We may have some crazy mornings like that one, but don’t get me wrong, Holden is an awesome kid. He is inquisitive, active, kind, ornery, and sweet.

10406991_10152138788075824_8379895507644947704_n 10462695_10152138788660824_4581260644770878493_nHolden spends his days wielding hangers, sticks, any long object… like a sword. I shudder to think what will happen when there is some strength behind his whacking of the “sword”. He gets so frustrated when his “sword” or what I like to call a “hanger” gets stuck on his diaper or on his foot, and he can’t get it free to whack things with it.  Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.10.51 AMScreen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.10.31 AM

He also gets very frustrated when he gets stuck under chairs, ottomans, and any other tiny place he decides to crawl under like a little mouse. These moments are hilarious.

He likes mud and squishing anything between his fingers. He loves to kick balls and throw them. He loves bubbles. He loves wheels. He likes to flip toy cars over so he can spin the wheels. He loves wheels so much that he takes off after any person pushing a stroller or in a wheelchair. His new thing is trying to roll off with other peoples strollers. And yes sometimes said stroller has a baby in it.

Holden’s first word is “da” for dog. God must have a sense of humor to allow my child’s first word to be dog. He sounds like he says “mom” or “dada”, but he rambles at everything. Only when he sees a dog will he consistently say “Da”.


He loves his Daddy. I have never seen a child light up the way Holden does when Tay gets home. Sometimes it brings Holden to tears because he is so happy his Dad is home. Whenever Tay cooks breakfast Holden stands right by him.

He loves his Momma. If he has been playing away from me too long he finds me and asks to be held. Or if I am sitting 10419584_10152118721530824_3412618301591432108_nhe will climb up on the couch and throw himself on top of me for some cuddles and kisses. I may or may not have almost gotten a bloody nose from one of these cuddles.

I think I may have a toddler. I think I may be raising a rambunctious little boy.

And I love it.

Transition and Grief: The Mom Experience

559756_10151542658100824_1731661354_nTransition: a synonym for change

Being a mother has been the greatest transition of my life thus far. Nothing has changed my world more than being a mother. It changed my dreams. It changed my present. It changed my future. It changed me.

And that is ok.

But it didn’t always feel ok.

Why does no one talk about that? I have an idea… they don’t talk about it because it feels like a betrayal. A betrayal of your precious child(ren). I couldn’t even begin to express to you how much I love my son. It is one emotion that I can’t even begin to describe or I will start crying. It is completely all encompassing. So how could I ever tell someone that with becoming a mother… with that change… some of my dreams died? How could I ever say that becoming a Mom was/is wonderful, but sometimes the process hurts?

How awful does that sound?

But it is true.

I had everything planned out. I am a planner that’s what I do. I still do. I plan and replan my life over and over again. The funny thing is that no matter how hard one tries… you cannot control everything in life. After I graduated from college early, I was going to spend a year abroad as an intern and then I was going to go to law school.


On the day I graduated from college I got engaged to the man of my dreams. Six months later we were married.

Best decision I ever made.

He had one more year left of college football so after we said our “I do’s” we loaded up my stuff, and I moved from sunny California to sometimes sunny South Dakota. Getting married and moving across the country to be with my husband… but not around anyone I really knew… was quite the adventure.

Change. Adjusting. Growing.

Almost a year later and I was almost done perfecting my law school applications. My personal statement was almost perfect, but I couldn’t quite press send without a few more adjustments. I never got to push send. Two pink lines and a tiny heartbeat on a monitor later…


We packed our bags and headed back down to sunny California to be by family and have support while Taylor builds his career. On July 21, 2013 the most precious blessing entered our lives. And I was forever changed.

Taylor and I have always agreed that one of us would be home with our children so it wasn’t even a question that I would be staying home with Holden while my husband works and does his Master’s program.

So I found myself in an entirely different place in life that I had imagined myself being at this age. And it hurt. I couldn’t express it properly, but for the first time in a long time I felt very insecure. In the space of less than two years I had gone from being an aspiring, world traveling, professional student to being a stay at home Mom, and it was a lot to process. I guess being so young it was hard because the Moms I met that had babies were older and more established than me… and the people my age… who are in the building part of life… didn’t have kids.

It is a confusing feeling. Loving your baby.. loving motherhood.. but trying to ignore this whole other part of you that all of a sudden had to be put on hold.

I rode this wave of emotions for awhile until I finally confessed how I was feeling to an older Mom. And what she told me set me free. So now… I want to tell you… just in case you have felt this way too.


It is ok to admit that you feel a loss of some of your dreams. When the woman first said this to me… I felt defensive. I was so consumed by the idea that it was bad to admit that I had to give up some things as a mother. Within our culture, we are inundated with the idea that we can have it all… that everything is supposed to be about us. But we can’t have it all, and having everything be about ourselves is such an empty way to live.

After that first wave of feeling defensive, I realized that I was afraid to admit that some of my dreams and plans for my future were gone. I am a mother now so the way I had planned some things can never be the same.. and sometimes that feels like a death.  And fellow Mama… it is ok to acknowledge that… to grieve it even.

But… she told me… after you allow yourself to grieve it.. you need to move on.

You can’t stay stuck in your grief. Acknowledge the loss and let it go. I don’t know why it felt so freeing to have someone tell me it was ok to admit that sometimes it hurts that things had to change. Change hurts sometimes. But that doesn’t mean that the change isn’t the most wonderful thing ever.

A death to one dream only means the birth of another. Does being a mother mean I will never accomplish my goals? No, the path will just look different. Does choosing to stay at home make me any less ambitious? Not at all. I am just in a different season of life right now, and someday my children will grow, and I will enter another season of life. Change is constant. Me, my goals, my aspirations… they will all continue to change and grow.

So I did it. I cried. I grieved. I let it go.

And I felt FREE.

Transformation- Innovation- Metamorphasis: synonyms for change 


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