Thursday, August 23, 2012

And then he was three



My handsome little three year old. Happy happy birthday to you!


Three years ago you came into our lives and changed it all. Your Daddy and I were so young and felt so unprepared. And then we saw your face. We heard your cry. We held you in our arms. And then it was all so clear. We were meant to be together. Me, Daddy and you. We became a family and we became whole. God had this planned from the start and I am so grateful to him for that.

I realize now why mamas everywhere on their children’s birthdays say reminiscing things like “On this day X number of years ago, I was bringing you into the world.” It’s because it will always feel like it was yesterday, whether you replace that X with 3 or 33 years. Every year on this day for the rest of my life, I will relive the power and emotion of that experience.

Truly it feels like just yesterday I was holding your tiny, pink body against mine. I was delirious with love and a little shock that all of those months of anticipation and planning had come and gone so fast. You have changed everything about me, my little monster. I move and act and think differently since you were first laid in my arms. I have more purpose behind my reasons and more motivation to my actions.


I have watched you grow from an infant, to a baby, to a toddler in what feels like a single breath. Every new stage you keep us laughing and guessing and entertained. What a joy you are to your father and I as a son and to Aria as a role model and big brother.


I am so proud of your creativity and energy and the way you are already welcoming and engaging the world around you. You are so lovely in your smallness, in your brave spirit, and in the sweetness of your heart. Here’s to three years of this beautiful life, Noah David. On this very day three years past, in the bright summer afternoon, I was bringing you into the world - and it was the start of everything.


I can’t wait for the gift of this next year with you. and the one after that. and a lifetime of watching you become. The whole world is yours for the taking and I have no doubt that’s exactly what you’ll do.


I love you with my entire being,



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Work is making me even crazier if that is possible

I haven’t really found the time to blog lately. I haven’t even really been able to write that much in the past few weeks. My job takes up most of my time nowadays and when I get home all I want to do is be with my babies. So I write here and there and even keep a notebook with me at work.

Oh and speaking of work, Tim just called me on is break and informed me that in the middle of the night, Aria woke up and instead of waking up and getting her, I began to yell at her. Apparently I was instructing her to keep her eyes at the camera and after yelling “Eyes here” for the third or fourth time I caught myself and wondered out loud what the hell I was doing.

Tim thought it was hilarious. I fear that I may be crazier than I previously thought.

Oh well…Off to spend the day with my family at the mall. Tim and I both need to buy last minute things for Junior and Trish’s wedding and the kids are getting their pictures done at Picture People. Fingers crossed they cooperate and act like they like each other for at least one picture!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A few of my greatest hopes for you both….

1. That I can instill in both of you a love of learning. That you will pursue higher education. That you will devour all the books that you can. That you will never stop seeking knowledge in all its forms. An education is one of the few and precious things that can never be taken from you.

2. That you travel the world! Go, do, and see as much as you can. Soak up all that this beautiful world has to offer.

3. Find the things that you are passionate about and pursue them all your life. Be it sports, writing, painting, music, photography or a combination of things-fill your life with things that engage your spirit.

4. Never be afraid to speak up when you think that something is unfair or unjust. Doing the right thing may not always be the popular thing, but it will always be worth it.

5. I hope that one day you know what it feels like to love another person with all of your heart. Take your time (lots and lots of time!). Don’t rush any matters of the heart. Love is an amazing gift and I hope that you both find people that you love totally and completely and faithfully. And that they love you back in the same beautiful way.

7. I wish that I could spare you both all of the heartaches that life will deal to you. But I hope that you see the pain that you will be submitted to as a lesson in life. Think of it as part of your life story. Things happen for a reason. Even bad things. You will come through it all wiser and better as long you have the right attitude about it.

8. Pick friends wisely. Find people-good people- that will be around through the good and through the bad. People who will lift you up and enrich your lives. Never allow yourselves to be treated poorly by someone who calls themselves your friends.

9. Always remember that your dad and I are here for you no matter what.  It is our job to care for you and guide you and support you. Never be too scared to tell us anything. Our love for you knows no limits and has no conditions and it will always be that way. We may not always have the answers but we are a family and we are in this together. There is nothing that we can’t do.

My heart can barely hold all the hope it holds for you both. You are still so small right now but time is moving faster and faster. I have no idea what your lives will hold, what you will do or who you will become. But I am certain that the best thing that I will ever do in my life has already begun. Whatever you accomplish, you will always be my lifes greatest work.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anxiety: My Old Friend

I love being a stay-at-home mom. It’s such a blessing that I’ve been able to be one for so long but with summer ending and the holiday season just waiting around the corner, I decided that I should find a job to make some extra money. The holidays were tight financially for us last year and this year we have two kids. That is twice the holiday magic and twice the money.

 In my head I figured that I would find a part time job and not have to leave the kids that much. Instead I got a job as a photographer with my old company and its 40+ hours a week. I’m trying to be positive about it and grateful for the opportunity because it really is a great job and being able to get a job in this economy is really a gift. It’s seasonal which means that I’ll be working from August to the end of November and then pick back up again in the spring. So right when the Christmas season really kicks in, I’ll be back at home with my babies.

The problem that I’m having is the thought of being away from my kids is freaking me out. I’ve always had an anxiety problem and this big change is scaring the crap out of me. I love being with my kids. Noah is so much fun to be around and I love watching him learn new things and play. We have a blast cooking together, reading, doing crafts, coloring and watching Disney movies in bed with a big bowl of popcorn. I’m going to miss having so much time with him but honestly, I’m not worried about leaving him to go to work. He is so independent that I can drop him off with either of his grandmas and he will barely say bye to me.

It’s Aria that is stressing me out. She is so attached to me and I don’t know how she’ll do without me for 40 hours a week. I don’t remember Noah ever being like this with me and I went to work when he was three months old.  I think that it’s different with her because of breastfeeding. I wasn’t able to nurse Noah but I am with Aria. That pretty much makes me numero uno in her world. Which makes leaving her a huge production. I pump as much as possible but it never seems to be enough. I’ve even  been drinking 3-5 cups of Mother’s Milk tea every day and taking supplements that also aid in producing milk so that I can build up a frozen supply. But when I nurse her for every feeding, it’s really hard to judge how many ounces it takes to make her full. I don’t even think that I have enough saved to make it through our first week.  Between that and her stranger anxiety, I’m a wreck.

Clearly I’m attached to her as well. She may be our last child and I want to soak up every minute of baby goodness. She’s days away from learning to crawl and she’ll be talking soon enough too. It scares me to think that I’ll miss those things.

It’s going to be a daily battle with this anxiety of mine and that ever present mommy guilt. But I’m hoping to just focus on the good of this situation because there is so much.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Noah Says

(We were driving on the freeway and Noah saw a car that looked exactly like ours)

Noah: Mama!! Look! Look!

Me: What baby?

Noah: (pointing) It's mama's car! Look it's mama's car over there!

Me: Oh yeah, that does look like our car huh?

Noah: Oh no! Mama's car got away!

He was sincerely devastated by this, thinking that someone stole the car that we were currently driving.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

6 Months And Growing

To Aria on your half birthday,

You know the old saying about looking at the glass being half full not half empty? Well I'm sure that applies in some way to how I'm feeling today. You are half a year old and as much as I love seeing you grow and change into the beautiful girl that you are, part of me is crushed that you are no longer our tiny little baby. Sure you're still technically a baby but girlie, you aren't that little anymore. 18 pounds, 3 teeth, sitting up, learning to are quickly leaving the realm of babydom (Totally made up that word. Don't use that in an academic setting, ok?) And you are so restless and impatient. We all think that you may just skip over crawling all together because all you want to do is sit up and try to stand. I’m sure it comes from watching your brother and AJ and Sophia running around playing together.

I try to focus on the amazing new things that you do every day but I can’t help but feel a tug on my heart every time I look at the pictures we took the first few days that you came into our lives. It’s a constant reminder that you and your brother are growing up no matter what Daddy and I want. And right now little princess, all we want is to soak up every delicious moment of your and Noah’s childhoods. And imprint every giggle, every good morning smile, every cuddle, every family walk, every late night drive and every sloppy kiss into our minds and hearts because one day, you and your brother won’t sit still enough for cuddling and you’ll be too embarrassed for kisses. And that day will be here sooner than any of us are prepared for.

I can’t wait to see you laughing as you crawl after your brother. And Daddy and I are placing bets on what your first word will be (Fingers crossed for Mama!). So keep on growing and learning my girl. We love watching your personality develop and change. I already see that you have a beautiful, old soul. And the joy that emanates from you all day and night is one of my favorite things about my life.

Mama loves you so much. Happy half birthday, my girl.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Artsy With A Side of Fartsy

Noah has more energy than any child I know. His energy knows no bounds. From the moment he wakes up in the morning and bursts in our room asking for "cereals", to the time I lay him in his bed at night for the seventh time, praying that he will finally fall asleep.

The kid is bonkers I tell you.

So I am always looking for new ways to get him to release some of that energy in a positive way. Right now our favorite way is to make up a big batch of sidewalk chalk paint and let him paint the driveway. He loves it! He thinks it's the coolest thing since..well, chalk. And it is. It's cheap. It's easy. It doesn't stain the sidewalk. And it's a great way to get kids out of the house to play.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to Potty Train Your Stubborn Toddler

It’s happened. You didn’t even see it coming but here it is. Your precious little baby is not a baby anymore. I feel your pain. The phrase Time Flies doesn’t truly click until you are a parent wondering what happened and where your tiny, compliant, little angel went. There are so many milestones to look forward to when you first learn of your impending parenthood. First smile, first laugh, first steps, first word….So many beautiful moments of growth. And then there is potty training. See the beauty in those first milestones is that the only thing you need to do is take tons of pictures to show off to anyone and everyone (even if they do not care to see anymore cute baby pictures) but potty training is a whole new ballgame. It would be magical if one day your toddler turned to you and said “Mommy, I think that I may be too big for diapers now. I’m going to the bathroom to use the toilet now. Then I’m going to wash my hands and put on clean underwear. Okay?” Magical indeed, also really creepy if your toddler just started conversing with you out of nowhere. But I digress. What I’m trying to say is that going from diaper changes to toilet time is work. For you and your kid. It takes teamwork to reach that porcelain trophy of toddlerhood. Remember when I shared your pain about missing that compliant little baby? It is because you and I both know that little stage lasts for a minute before kiddo decides independence and defiance are fun. You get to the potty training age right around the time your toddler reaches the “no” stage and the “I don’t want to stage”. Also known as the “Mommy- is- losing- her -mind –and- just- wants- to- cry alone” stage. The independence comes with stubbornness and that means if they are not interested in this new potty concept you present them with, then you will be promptly informed. But don’t give up and stock pile the diapers just yet. I have gone through all of this with my son Noah and I live to tell you the tale and all the tricks.

1. Make sure before beginning the process that your child is ready. You can’t force them to understand the concept; they need to be able to get what you want them to do. Signs that they are ready include: waking up with a dry diaper, being curious about the toilet and how you use it, not wanting to wear diapers anymore, having predictable bowel movements at the same time of day every day and announcing that they are going pee or poop. So be sure to look for some sign of readiness before jumping in.

2. If they are not ready don’t stress about it. It will make it that much harder for you and your child. Every child is different and will be ready at different times. It says nothing about your child or your parenting if your kiddo is a late learner. My son was almost three when he finally got it done and become a pro. A lot of my friends would brag about their 18-month- old being fully potty trained and that’s great for them. But I made sure that I didn’t let that affect how I saw my child and his abilities. (I also struggled to make sure I did not let it affect how I viewed myself as a mom. Some moms see motherhood as a completion and love to brag about how they are better or how their kid is smarter. DO NOT LET IT GET TO YOU! Brush it off and focus on you and your child. It is not a competition. More on this in my next hub.)

3. Go on a potty preparedness shopping spree. Buy a big girl or boy potty for them and put it next to the toilet. Explain to them that it belongs to them and they can use it whenever they want. Sure it seems weird to get excited about a toilet, except those magical ones where the seat warms up. (Hey, a girl can dream.) But they are in the midst of their terrible toddlerhood glory where everything is “mine! Mine! MINE!” and having something new and exciting is, well, new and exciting. Next buy them underwear with their favorite characters on them. Noah nearly fainted when I presented him with big boy undies featuring the Avengers. They will love to pick out the undies and they will be so excited to wear them. The catch?

4. Put on the undies and no diaper. Yes, no more diapers cold turkey style. I warn you now, it will get messy. There will be accidents but I tell you now, they will loathe the feeling of being wet and dirty. It will not take long for them to decide the potty is where it’s at.

5. To avoid accidents as much as possible invest in a potty watch. It’s a watch that your kiddo gets to wear and it goes off as often as you like letting you and him or her know that it’s time to go sit on the potty. Proceed to the bathroom and have them sit and do their best to go pee or poop. If they go, great! If not, that’s perfectly fine too. The watch will go off again soon enough for another try. If you can’t find a potty watch or just know your child well enough to know that they will not keep a watch on (*cough* Noah*cough cough*) then there is a fantastic app for smart phones called iGo Potty by Pull Ups. You set how often you want the timer to go off and the “I’m a big kid now” jingle rings to let you know when it’s time. You also set the times your child is awake so that it doesn’t go off while you or they are sleeping.

6. Celebrate their accomplishments! Hugs, high fives and praise go a long way to boost the morale of a kid learning a new skill.

7. Patience is a virtue. Like I said before, accidents will happen and it’s ok. Keep calm and be encouraging. If you’re frustrated, chances are so is he or she. Lead by example and don’t get discouraged by the setbacks.

All in all it took about two days for Noah to go from diapers to underwear with no accidents. It was messy, stressful and at times just plain hilarious. But isn’t that the definition of parenthood? Wishing you lots of luck and Avengers undies!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dear Discouraged Breastfeeding Mama,

photo courtesy of

Dear Discouraged Breastfeeding Mama,

It’s late. Or early. Though you are so tired right now you probably don’t even know what year it is. Try and spell your name. I’m sorry that was mean. Don't worry though. Eventually the sleep fairy will pay you a visit and you will once again be able to do things like spell your name and tell time and laugh at lame jokes made by silly bloggers.

I’m  guessing that you are beginning to feel like a cow, yes? The new baby high is wearing off and the parade of visitors is dwindling and you are starting to feel the effects of choosing to stare at your baby in awe instead of sleeping. All of these factors can make it that much harder for you to see the light at the end of the nursing tunnel. The first few weeks are hard for everyone. Your nipples are cracked and bleeding and every time your baby latches on you cry out and tears run down your face. All that Lanisoh cream that you got at your baby shower and from the nurses at the hospital doesn’t even have time to do its job because as soon as you delicately apply it on, all the while silently praying for some nipple miracle, it’s time to feed the baby again. And in between feedings you can’t even relax the way you so desperately need to because you spend your time staring at the clock and dreading the agony of the next feeding.

If it all that isn’t enough, the time will eventually come when you get to navigate the joys of nursing in public. Those big nursing covers come in handy until your baby decides that they like to eat their meals with a view. Then you get to fight a freakishly strong mini human to stay covered up which just gets that much more attention. And when you are tired, sore and grumpy-any look thrown your way could be the straw that breaks the mama camel’s back.

And then there are all the comments you get from family, friends and even strangers. I’ve had people make comments to me about how breastfeeding is gross, that it’s going to make my daughter a lesbian, asking how long I plan on nursing and many other rude comments or questions that are none of their concern.

 Oh, the pleasures of breastfeeding.  Kind of sounds like a nightmare, huh? Well for all of you mamas that are at wits end with your breastfeeding journey, I have a message for you….

 You are incredible.  You are a beautiful, strong, super mama and you are sacrificing yourself over and over for your child’s nourishment, bonding, emotional security and peace. You are going through a hell of a lot and soldiering on for the sake of your baby and you are AMAZING.

 Trust me, I know it’s hard.  I know it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done.  I know you burst into tears on days because you just don’t think you can take it anymore.  But you are stronger than you know. 

You are going to be so proud in a few months when you look back on your journey and see what you have accomplished.  You are giving your baby not only the best nourishment possible but also an incredible bonding experience that you will cherish for life.

And it DOES get easier. The swelling and fullness that weighs you down now will go away. The cracking nipples will heal. Your baby’s latch will get better and the soreness and bleeding will disappear. What you are left with is an easy and peaceful and comfortable and snuggly and lovely way to nourish your baby while developing an emotional bond that will be a firm foundation for his or her growth in life.

By no means am I trying to make formula feeding or pumping mamas feel guilty or inadequate. Any feeding method can be lovely and an amazing bonding experience. I have two kids and was not able to nurse my first. Because of that I carried a horrible sense of guilt with me for his first year of life. I didn’t feel like a good mom. I felt like I was cheating my baby boy out of something and I felt like I was a failure. Do not EVER feel like that. I don’t whether you nurse until you feel your baby can be weaned off, if you formula feed from day one, if you pump and supplement or whatever. As long as you love and care for your baby to fullest of your abilities, YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOM. Motherhood is not measured by your choice to breastfeed or not. This just happens to be a letter directed to women who are pursuing breastfeeding but are feeling discouraged and need some encouragement.

You can do it! There is hope and it gets better.  Talk to your partner and ask them to encourage you.  You need people cheering you on!  Get ahold of a copy of The Nursing Mother’s Companion, it will also be a great source of encouragement and advice. Take time for yourself as well. A shower or a Target run can be lifesavers. Don’t be too proud to ask your close loved ones for help with the baby or the house work or with food. It takes a village. Women have been doing this thing for years and years but no one can do it all and keep their sanity. Take it one day at a time. Take it one feeding at a time. It gets better. You can do this.

You CAN do this.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wordless{ish} Wednesday

Twenty years ago, the world lost a beautiful and kind-hearted woman and I gained a guardian angel. I love and miss you Grandma <3

Friday, June 29, 2012

When I Would Actually Prefer To Watch The News

Children’s shows drive me banana sandwiches. Every time we watch one I can feel my soul slowly slipping away, desperately trying to save itself from the hell I have subjected it to. I do my best to direct Noah in picking the least horrible shows but really that’s like trying to pick out the least offensive public bathroom stall. At the beach.  In July. There is no winning that battle and no matter what you are left with a nagging urge to take a scalding shower to wash away the stank. Yes, that is what children’s television shows feel like to me.

There just are no good options in our home. Noah has horrible taste in shows. I love the kid but he really needs to work on that. We watch the same things every time we have our TV time.

Headache 1: Pingu
 I don’t even- I can’t even explain this one. Umm it’s about a penguin named Pingu. He lives with his penguin parents. In a penguin house. Yet he is unlike all the other penguins I have ever encountered in my life. He speaks this weird language which is a blend of French and speaking in tongues. He dances a lot and while dancing he does all kinds of weird contortionist moves that make me uncomfortable. Now you may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Where did they find such a gem?” Well I will let you in on our joy; this little piece of viewing pleasure is available on Netflix. There is a whopping total of three 45 minute Pingu adventures. I can’t even tell you how many times I have seen each one. Let’s just say that if there were coherent words spoken by anyone in Pingu-land, I would probably recite them in my sleep.

Headache #2: Barney

Oh the flashbacks this obsession has ignited. I used to love Barney. I wanted to be one of those dorky kids in the non-brand specific solid colored clothing going on adventures with Barney. It never seemed weird to me that Barney would take these kids places without notifying any parents or teachers. My parents raised me to not speak to or go anywhere with strangers but if that big old purple bastard came up to me and told me we were going to the farm when I was a child, I would not hesitate. He wouldn’t even had to have bribed me with candy or ask me to help him find his lost puppy. That dinosaur has some sort of weird hold over kids that I never really saw until the first time Noah found an episode on Netflix. He is all into singing and dancing along to every song that comes on. He actually has learned quite a bit from this particular headache and he has so much fun watching it that I put up with it. However I will draw the line if he ever wants to dress like the kids on the show. No overalls or calf length socks on my son, thank you very much.

It could be worse. I could have kids old enough to want to watch Hannah Montana. The thought itself gives me heart burn. I’m doing my darndest to instill a love of reading into my kids so that one day we can all lounge together as a family and read our books together. Stopping every once in a while to share a line that was touching or funny and bonding over how blissfully nerdy we all are. Such a lovely thought shattered by my three-year-olds manic yelling as he shakes his butt in the air and calls to me ever so lovingly, “Hey Mama! Look at my butt!”

A girl can dream though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Mom That I Am

I secretly hope that the words movies (moobies), cereal (cerolls) and love (yove) are never pronounced correctly.

I crawl into a toddler sized bed that leaves my back and neck aching for nighttime cuddles while reading Goodnight Moon and breathing in his just bathed smell.

I make up ridiculous songs and sing them painfully out of tune just to see her little round face light up with a smile that melts my heart.

I sometimes need to choke back tears when I hear him say “That’s pretty cool, huh Mama?” because hearing my baby excitedly say those words to me is a constant stinging reminder that my baby isn’t a baby anymore.

I forget all about my messy hair, under eye circles and extra pudge when he smiles up at me and says “So pretty Mama”.

I put all the criticism out of my mind when she cries and I pick her up and cuddle just because she wants too because I know soon enough, she won’t sit still long enough for hugs and kisses.

Even at my weakest and most exhausted, I am never at a loss for words when defending my children.

In my heart, my babies will never be too heavy or burdensome to carry.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Noah Says

Noah (in an adorably excited sing-song voice): It's almost my birthday!!

Me: It is almost your birthday baby! What do you want for your birthday?

Noah: Presents!!

Me: Good choice. What about cake? Do you want a big Avengers birthday cake?

Noah: No Mama! I want presents!

Me: Baby, you get both for your birthday.

Noah: Yeah! Nummy cake presents!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Meet The Kids

My Noah David. My first born. He started me on my life’s greatest and hardest adventure : motherhood. This boy has the biggest personality and a heart to match. He’s a few months away from turning three and he amazes me on a daily basis with the things he says and does. He may look just like his daddy but he is his mama’s son. And I kinda love that.

This little bundle of lovely is my Aria Joyce. She’s named after my grandma and in this picture is the total embodiment of her. She is my sweetheart and my dream come true. This girl has the most beautiful soul. Always smiling. Always laughing. Always watching everyone and everything with those big old eyes that I love.

Life Lessons For My Babies

"There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm. Never. Ever. Never."

I Was a Very Strange Child


Most nineties kids were into Britney, NSync and the Backstreet Boys. It was the height of the pop sensation and boy bands ruled over all my friends’ ear buds. But I would go home afterschool and put in my Celine Dion tape and have a solo sing along. It’s as weird and sad as it sounds and I’m not going to try and make it sound better. I loved that nutty Canadian.

Believe it or not weird obsession had nothing to do with the Titanic craze. In fact I hated the movie. My best friend at the time tried to make me watch it all the time. Considering the fact that I had to go to his house before and after school every day, I saw that movie a lot. It didn’t grow on me either. Really it just pissed me off. In my humble eight-year-old opinion Rose was a greedy whore that could have easily slid her rich ass over a few inches to make room for the “love of her life”. But noooo, she let him drown and then cried about it like she didn’t play a part in it. Then she throws that giant rock into the ocean at the end which kills me. Every time I saw her do that I just thought about how much her kids could have sold that for.  Like I said, didn’t like the movie.

So where then did this intense devotion come from?  If it was a particular moment I do not recall it. All I know is that I listened to that tape every day until my tape player refused to open one day and I was separated from my life’s soundtrack. A sad day in the Heller household indeed.

But now thanks to the glory of Youtube I can once again indulge myself in some good old Dion balladry. Ahh, nostalgia.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Aria Joyce: Month 5

....Then Comes Marriage?

Me and my guy in 2008

Marriage isn’t exactly an eyebrow raiser. Most people are raised with the belief that marriage is a rite of passage. What makes my marriage seem crazy to so many people is the age at which I said I do. A typical eighteen-year-old spends the summer after graduating high school packing for college and going to party after party. I spent mine planning a wedding and moving into a condo with my fiancĂ©. Marriage is a social norm but there is a universally acceptable chain of events that must precede a wedding- college, a career, and a few years of dating around are all things that people believe that I should have done before becoming a wife. As touching as the unsolicited concern and comments of others is, it’s getting old hearing the same reactions time and again.

Typically when someone finds out that I’m married and that my husband and I have a son, they become visibly smug. Clearly it’s very hard for people to wrap their heads around the fact that I would choose to get married at such a young age. So when they find out that we have a child, they feel justified in their belief that there was a reason (besides the whole being in love thing) that led us to get married. In their eyes we become a typical young couple who messed up, got pregnant and decided marriage was the solution. The problem with that theory is that we had our son after we chose to get married. We had our son, Noah, a year after our wedding. Did it all happen a little fast? Yes. Was our child the reason we said “I do” or the reason we are still together? No. My husband and I dated for three years - longer than most couples – and were engaged for another year on top of that. I think it’s safe to say that after all that time we just liked being together.

Another usual reaction I get is the one that comes from my age group. It’s the question of “Should- I- have- dated- around -like –crazy- and had- some- fun- before- I- tied -the knot?” This is a fun reaction to deal with because frankly when discussing this with someone my age, what we’re really discussing is whether or not I should have whored it up for a while when I was still young. You know, because that’s what youth is for. Anyways, I’m still young and I do have fun. I happen to be married to my best friend and we have a blast together. And the best part of it is that I didn’t have to spend years of my life looking for him in all the wrong people.

The last reaction that I get is really just ignorance. It’s the thought that because I’m married and have a family, my life is over. I should have kissed all of my goals and dreams goodbye on my wedding day, tied on a pretty pink apron and put my baby making face on while climbing into a little domestic hole. That’s fine for some women because there is no shame in being a housewife and a mom, but I’ve had big plans for myself since a was a little girl and I read that marriage certificate and nowhere on it did it say I was signing over those dreams.  I just get to do them with an amazing support system by my side. My husband knew me and what I hoped for my future as soon as we started to get to know each other. That’s the beauty of real love, not only do you accept the other person’s dreams, but you take them as your own. You gain a whole new set of goals that become just as close to your heart as your own. And those sets of goals and dreams come together to build up a future even better than the one you imagined years before.

Marriage is a choice made by two people who for one reason or another, want to join their lives and futures together. The age that that decision is made is a personal one and it’s unfair to judge a relationship and a family by the age at which it was founded. Getting married at a young age was not a choice that I took lightly. It’s not always easy and we’ll have many obstacles in our future together but I reaffirm the choice I made that autumn day three years ago every single day by choosing to work through any problems and by nurturing the love we have. That’s the key to a successful marriage, I just happen to be an early learner.

Confessions of a Bookworm

My childhood was much like being drunk. I don’t remember much of it and everyone else has to tell me what happened and remind me of what I did. This has been my coping mechanism in dealing with what was not the ideal childhood experience. So much of it was full of fear and stress that at some point I just blocked it out. What I do remember though is discovering my lifelong passion and love: reading. Reading saved me (Clearly it also gave me a flair for the dramatic as well). The first book that I ever read- the one that changed my life- was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It opened my six-year-old mind up to endless magical possibilities.

I was given my first copy of A Little Princess by my parents for my birthday. I was only six but reading was something that came naturally to me. I was always three or four grade levels above my own in the subject and my teacher, Mrs. Gonzalez, suggested to my parents that they encourage this skill in me. So after I blew out the candles on my birthday cake at the dinner table that night, my mom handed me a small white box with a frilly pink bow on it. I opened it delicately taking my time until my brother ripped the top off while saying something annoying about me being slow or an idiot or maybe a combination of the two. Anyways, it was something less than charming and when I was done giving him the stink eye, I turned back to my gift. There it was: my first book! It belonged to me and only me and it was about a princess with brown hair who wore her hair in curls just like me! I was sure this book was written specifically for me and when I opened it I saw my name with a message underneath. It read: “We love you and are so proud of you. You will always be our little Princess. Love, Mommy and Daddy”. This made it all the more special and I couldn’t wait to go hide in my room and read it.

It was finished the next day. Then I read it again. It was incredible! Nothing else existed when I was reading. It’s like I was transported straight to India where Sara Crewe was raised. I felt homesick with her when she got to England. And I cried like a baby when her Daddy died. It was horrible and amazing all at once. I’m sure I must have been obnoxiously rehashing every detail to everyone in my family for days. It was all I could think about. I felt like I had just made a friend for life. Sara was so much like me. She was quiet, polite, she never said anything hurtful to anyone, she had a doll that had outfits that matched her own and she was considered weird because she loved telling vivid stories that she could come up with on the spot. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone or like a freak. I was also given hope that I too could make friends and that no matter how bad it could get in our home, happily ever after could and would come for me as well.

After I had read the book so many times that I could recite it by memory, my mom told me about the library. Apparently I could go to the library and borrow as many books as I wanted using only a card with my name on it. Life changing to say the least. I went through book after book absorbing as much as I could. I read many books similar to A Little Princess and I even read books on India, England and boarding schools just so that I could understand that original story even better. Eventually I even came to the realization that there were people who wrote these books that I loved so much. It was somebody’s job to make up stories that other people will want to read over and over again. My young mind was blown by the possibilities that life now held for me. I knew right then that I wanted to be a writer.

One book changed my life forever. It showed me that there were other people in the world than the ones that existed in my sheltered life. It showed me that there were places to travel, adventures to be had and memories to be made. I realized that all I needed to do when I needed an escape was to open up a new book. I found out that I could make a living and a life out of my love for reading and writing. I learned to believe that a happy ending was a possibility for anyone who wanted it and who deserved it-even me. One book started a chain reaction in my young life that is still unfolding for me. I’m as much of a bookworm today as I was on my sixth birthday. I still have that first copy of A Little Princess, only now it’s in good company with the nearly hundreds of other books I cherish on my very own bookshelf that lines my bedroom wall.


Hi, I’m new here.  This is my first go at blogging and I’m very nervous. Writing is something that is sacred to me and that I hope will play a big part in my life. If dreams do come true, one day I will support my family with my writing. I’ve been told a few times now that if that is something that I am serious about then I should start a blog.

First thing that I’m nervous about: That no one will care about what I have to say. But then again who cares if no one cares? I’ll write for me and if I’m very lucky, something that I have to say will resonate with someone somewhere.

Next thing that I’m nervous about: That this blog is going to be a mess because I am not in the least bit computer savvy. Slowly I will be cleaning everything up and making things pretty. But for now I just hope that my thoughts are enough.

I have big hopes for this blog and for my future. Feel free to join me in my journey.

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Books like this are my crack. Or maybe, being a bit less extreme, my literary equivalent to chocolate; I can never read too many of them and am liable to gorge myself whenever I get my hands on one. A few months back, my family and I took a road trip to visit my brother and his family. California to South Dakota translates to about a 19 hour drive. One way. Being the book whore that I am, I had a bag in the car with us containing only books. Typically reading in the car gives me an insane case of motion sickness but I knew I was bound to get bored at some point. And by some point, I mean Wyoming.

On the way there I started the book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It was actually pretty fantastic and kept me entertained for a good amount of the trip. But I would put it down often to nap or take pictures and I didn’t actually finish until two weeks later right before we were about to make the trip home. The day before we left, my brother (being the splendid guy he is) bought me a new book for the drive. I chose The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and long story short: Best book I have ever read. Motion sickness be damned, I finished it by the time we reached Arizona. And by that time I was mess. John Green broke my heart into tiny little pieces. If I were Superman this little book would be my Kryptonite.

 The Fault In Our Stars introduces Green's first female protagonist, Hazel Grace Lancaster, who was diagnosed with a Stage IV thyroid cancer at the age of 12. By a medical miracle, she is now 16, but remains terminal knowing that one day, the cancer will come back to claim her. During a cancer support group meeting, she meets the enigmatic Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor who is instantly drawn to her. Cautious but also curious, she starts spending time with Augustus, inadvertently changing her life as she knows it.

Conventional stories of cancer victims focus on their inspiring hope, faith, and strength. Forget that. At the end of the day, most of us would not be radiating sunshine if we were afflicted by the big “C”. Anyone who has seen a loved one go through the pains of cancer or any other terminal illness can attest to the horrible impact that it has on patients. John Green recognizes this and allows his characters to express the truth about mortality. His honesty in how patients feel on the day-to-day basis and the roller-coaster of emotions they go through is authentic and leaves the reader with the very essence of what it is like to deal with the horrors of cancer.

This was the first time that I have had the pleasure of reading John Greens work and I am in love with his writing. He creates the most amazing, multi-dimensional characters that shatter the boundaries of a simple paper page. He is this incredibly intelligent man who writes incredibly intelligent things that makes you really think and wonder. And he has the ability to break hearts and mend them back together, in the most crooked way possible. As an aspiring writer, there were countless times that I read a line and just thought, "Damn. I wish I had written that." There were lines that made me laugh out loud. There were lines that I had to highlight and reread. There were lines that I read out loud to my husband just so that he could be affected in the way that I was. There were lines that captured the feelings that I have but that I could never put into words. "My thoughts are like stars that I cannot fathom into constellations." Dear God, how did this man get in my head?

You should know that this book will make you cry. A lot. This book made my heart ache and my eyes burn with tears. There was just so much emotion in the pages of this book that it was so hard not to feel them. But it is so very worth it. It's a beautifully honest story about death but more importantly about life and it will stay with you long after you read it.

Find Your Joy

A few weeks ago, I got myself stuck in a horrible self-loathing rut. I was on Facebook and saw friends talking about moving into new houses, buying new cars, going to amazing concerts, traveling around the world, running marathons and going on shopping sprees. Then I went onto Pinterest and looked through board after board of people who were more creative than me, prettier than me, in better shape than me, and who clearly led more fabulous lives than me.
What started as a less-than-confident day spiraled out of control into a sob fest that not even a Nicholas Sparks marathon could replicate all with just a few clicks of the mouse. I was a mess and it was pathetic.
Thankfully, I snapped out of it pretty quick because A. I am an ugly crier and B. I was completely ignoring the fact that I have a fantastic life! I’m surrounded by loving family and friends that are always there for me (even when I’m being a whiny drama queen), I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, hot running water, a pile of books next to my bed… Yeah, life is pretty sweet. But I completely ignored all that when I saw some cool pictures online.
Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings and we are all guilty of it sometimes. Social media is not helping us out either. In fact, it makes it easier to feel horrible about ourselves and our lives. It was then that I decided that I needed some serious digital detox.
I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone so I wouldn’t find myself mindlessly scrolling through a news feed full of people sunbathing at the beach or checking into my favorite restaurant for dinner and drinks. I made a pact with myself that the extra time in my day I had been using to live vicariously through others would now be used to make my own life one worth envying. Because let’s get real for a minute — if you are miserable, you are choosing to be miserable. If you feel like you are watching everyone else live out the life of your dreams, it is because you are choosing to sit on the sidelines and watch.
Make a change quickly! Step away from the computer and call a friend. Go out and have an adventure. Make some memories, laugh until your stomach hurts, go on a road trip, take a fantastically weird fitness class like hot hula, go on a bike ride, blast music and have a dance party, get dressed up for no reason, and step out of your comfort zone and make some new friends. Don’t let comparison steal your joy.
This is your life. Live it. Own it. Do things that will make you smile when you think back on them. I took my own advice (for once in my life) and I love the change. It’s hard to feel jealous of people when you embrace your own awesomeness. Once you realize that you are in charge of the kind of life you live, the possibilities are endless.