The Terrible Twos

24th April 2015

It is in the moments of stillness that I reflect on just how blessed I am.

The quiet, soft minutes where I can simply lay my feet up and be.

But recently, these moments have been far and few in-between, making breathing itself feel like an impossible task at times.

It feels like child abuse of a different nature up in here.

You know, the kind where your child abuses you both mentally and physically until you cannot take it anymore and beg them to stop.

Only they don’t stop, and why would they?

Social services won’t be busting down the door to take mom and dad into custody from the neglectful, violent, toddler at large.

No, we are on our own when it comes to trying to find the best way to deal with our kids and the terrible awfulness that is the terrible twos.

So the body flinging grocery store tantrums will commence.

The, “I took my own shoes off but I’m going to scream at you for it the entire car ride” moments will go on as scheduled.

And we will continue to muddle through the sobbing gibberish to find the root of our child’s emotional outbursts.

All the while, trying not to breakdown into a sobbing gibberish mess of our own.

It’s hard ladies. Being a mom is hard.

As I check off every last tactic for fits that I have found from books, blogs, etc. and none of them are working, I wonder if any of these authors have ever actually had children themselves.

Then I imagine I’m alone in the world and my kid is just some freak of nature that is immune to eye contact, time outs, essential oils, and all of the other methods that supposedly work wonders for everyone but me.

Something’s got to give, right?

The crazy thing is that the answer to that question is no, and I think that is what scares me the most.

According to our families, Declan is a terrifying mix of both Derek and myself.

He is curious, fearless, and stubborn like his dad.

Never sits still, can’t be taken out to eat, and is always climbing or getting into something he shouldn’t be.

He is also strong-willed, feisty, and dramatic like his mama.

Discipline only makes him more determined to misbehave and he knows how to put on a BIG show of anger.

I know that his independent, strong personality is a blessing and it’s something I never want to shut down or take from him, but it can make him a real handful to raise sometimes.

So when I am having a particularly hard day, I take a moment at night before I go to bed to list all of the things about him that make raising him easy.

I think about how fun he is to be around when he’s happy.

How he is observant, loving, and joyful.
I meditate on how much he loves to dance, tell stories, grin from ear to ear, and laugh at his own jokes.

And I try to remember that this terrible two shall pass.

Being a mom is hard.

But imagining NOT being a mom is even harder.

So I hold on to the reminder of how blessed I am as my toddler loses it in the middle of Target.

I thank God for Declan as he kicks me and flings poop everywhere during a diaper change.

And if I can keep my mind on the positive in the midst of the chaos, then maybe, just maybe, I’ll make it out of this stage a stronger, better mama than before.

Happy Birthday, Love of Mine

20th April 2015

I love birthdays.

Any excuse to celebrate someone I love is exciting to me, really.

So it should come as no surprise that Derek has had some pretty great celebrations since being with me.

I’ve taken him on trips, thrown him awesome parties, and even flew his mom out from North Carolina one year as a big surprise.

But this year, I really struggled to put something together.

Not because I didn’t want to celebrate him, but because I knew that this year, this day, was different.

At first I thought it would be in bad taste to talk about tragedy on a day of happiness, but then I realized that not talking about it and whiping it under the rug would be a real disservice.

So today, for my husband’s birthday, I would like to do a tribute to his friendship with Brian that lives on even after death.

Derek recently got his first tattoo of a Phoenix.

We call Declan our Phoenix because he came out of the ashes of our heartbreaking loss of our daughter.

But the Phoenix represents even more than our son; it is a symbol of Derek and his entire life.

He repeatedly rises to the challenge as glass shattering, world altering tragedies are thrown his way.

He doesn’t waste his time blaming people or circumstances for his problems. Instead, he holds his head up high and keeps moving forward.

 He inspires me to be a stronger, better person and I am honored to call myself his wife.

My love,

I could buy you the world but I know that all you really want today is to hear Brian’s voice once more and see his face.

I know it isn’t the same, but I tried to make that come true as best as I could for you.

I love you more than you’ll ever know.

Happy Birthday.



Monday Bump: 25 Weeks

20th April 2015

This past week was a doozy.

I ended up being sick until Wednesday so it took a while to get back into our normal routine afterwards.

I’m looking forward to this week though and am optimistic that it will be much better.

I have so much more to say but I will say it for a later post this week and keep today light and easy!

*Note: I am actually 26 weeks today. All posts will be a week behind.*


Declan learned how to say Bennett!

Are you melting?

I’m so in love with my boys and it is beyond exciting to see Declan get so excited about having a name to put to his baby brother.


Terrible twos have hit and they have hit HARD.

Declan’s tantrums are on a whole new level and it has been extremely challenging to work through the mood swings.

I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed that I’ve been getting stress induced Braxton Hicks, which blows.

All I can do is take it day by day though and try to de-stress whenever possible.


On Friday night Derek and I were laying in bed when Bennett started moving up a storm.

It’s the most I’ve ever felt him move and it was triggered by Derek talking to him.

He began to imprint his fingertips into my belly and we could feel Bennett’s fingers imitating the movement which was incredible.

His limbs were so defined and it was amazing to actually be able to feel his hand like that.


I had my first round of pregnancy heartburn which I was SO hoping to avoid this time.

Also, unlike Declan, Bennett is making the most of his space and I now feel him way up on my ribs and way down on my bladder.

Looks like I’ll be getting the best of both worlds when it comes to uncomfortable kicks!


I found a skincare line made for pregnant women called Mumsie and I am in love!

My skin is outrageously sensitive so I get really apprehensive about trying new things.

But being pregnant really limits my options so when I was approached about trying Mumsie and informed that it was made specifically for pregnant women I jumped on board.

The face wash is super mild and doesn’t irritate my skin at all, which is huge for me.

And I absolutely love the stretch mark relief cream!

It has a refreshing scent unlike a lot of other creams I have used and my skin feels so moisturized after using it.

I have stretch marks from my pregnancy with Declan but so far I seem to be keeping any new ones at bay and I feel like the cream is diminishing the appearance of my old ones too.

You can check out the entire product line here and they even sell it in Walmart now so you don’t have to buy online.


I still have been wanting Reese’s eggs so I decided to make a clean eating version of them for us.

They really hit the spot!


The bigger I get the more I miss the abs I had worked so hard to get before getting pregnant.

But I know that this temporary change in my figure is more than worth it and I’m confident that I will be able to get those bad boys back after baby B is born.


Tomorrow is Derek’s birthday and so I’m looking forward to celebrating him!

Monday Bump: 24 Weeks

13th April 2015

Declan came down with a cold on Friday, so naturally, as he is beginning to feel better Derek and I get hit.

I’m actually almost positive that my child is part bionic however, because sick or not, this kid does not stop.

He didn’t nap yesterday so we hoped and prayed that would at least mean a good night’s sleep for our clan.

But he didn’t go to bed until 8 pm and was bright eyed and bushy tailed by 4:30 am.

After 30 minutes of trying to avoid eye contact it became clear that he was ready for the day.

Derek had decided he would take a sick day so I agreed to taking Declan shifts, grabbed my robe, and proceeded to my living room with hyper child in hand.

An hour and a half later Derek came out of our room fully dressed in slacks and a polo, ready for his day.

You son of a bitch, you tricked me.

He laughed and said he knew I was going to be upset but that he totally forgot he had a meeting today with a client from out of state that he couldn’t cancel.

I don’t know if anyone else is the same way, but ever since becoming a mom, when I get sick, I go into serious survival mode.

Realizing I was not going to get that extra sleep and that my solo day was about to begin, I immediately tapped into my body’s emergency stash of energy and started my day.

I grabbed a decaf coffee, baked homemade fruit bars, organized the toy bin, and fed the kittens.

Normally my body would crash the moment Derek walked into the door but he’s got a meeting with his fraternity (he is their advisor) tonight so I’ll be running off of pre-child energy fumes that my body scrounged up for the rest of the day.

And since everyone knows that staring at a computer screen is the ultimate headache reliever, here I am!

*Note: I am actually 25 weeks today. All posts will be a week behind*


As everyone knows, Derek has been through a lot recently with the loss of his best friend.

I knew he needed a guys night out but I also knew he would never schedule one for himself, so I contacted his buddies and planned a surprise “kidnap”.

Friday evening was the big night and he was completely shocked when we walked into a restaurant for dinner and his friends were there and immediately ushering him out, without even letting him say a word.

While the guys went out Declan and I had dinner with their wives and it was really nice getting to catch up with those ladies too!

Derek came home the next morning hurting (hello, hangover) but grateful and I was so happy that operation kidnap was a success.


We still have the kittens a week later.

It has been surprisingly hard to find a shelter that will take in newborns and I refuse to let them be euthanized.

I was really surprised to find out that even humane societieseuthanize newborn kittens because “it would be inhumane to leave them in a cage overnight when they need to be fed every three hours”.

Isn’t killing them inhumane too?

None the less, I’ll keep looking but keep enjoying the little ones too.

Their eyes have started to open and they are oh-so-cute.


One of my dearest friends since high school is due with her first baby five weeks before Bennett’s due date.

She lives in Colorado now so we’ve had to keep up with one another virtually, but she visited this past week so I was able to have lunch with her and attend her baby shower on Saturday.

It was so nice being able to catch up and celebrate her little baby girl!


I’m in full nesting mode now.

I guess it’s a good thing, but it’s making me want to take apart every little tiny thing in my house and redo it.

I’ve been cleaning, tossing, and organizing like a crazy woman.


I had a serious craving for a hot fudge sundae on Saturday that carried over to Sunday.

Derek warned me that once I gave in I would regret it but I did anyway and he was totally right.

But on the plus side, I no longer want to cut off my left leg for one.



Does that count?

It’s not really my pregnancy’s fault, I’m just really tired recently.


We are going to go ahead and schedule another 3D/4D ultrasound like we did with Declan so that we can see baby B again.

I can’t wait to see how much he’s grown!

And Then We Had Kittens

9th April 2015

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram then you may have seen the picture I posted last night of a tiny kitten being bottle fed by yours truly.

I have a “must help all living creatures” (except for spiders and ants) kind of heart and lucky for me, so does my husband.

So when we came across a little bundle of kittens needing our help, we naturally jumped in, hearts first.

Last Friday while playing in the backyard with Declan, Derek noticed that Tucker was acting really strange and trying to get to something near our side fence.

We have a city protected water drain there that is covered with a fence and ivy so that animals (especially our dogs) can’t fall in and get hurt.

When he went to go investigate Derek saw that somehow, a mama cat had gotten herself down there and she wasn’t alone.

She had five kittens with her, clearly newborns and we instantly felt like we needed to help her.

We didn’t want to scare the mama off so we jimmied some food down there far enough away from the kittens for her to know that we were there to help and not threaten.

We fed her again in the morning before heading out to 29 Palms and when we got home that evening the mama and her five babies were gone.

Fast forward to Monday night.

I was home alone with Declan and had just gotten him to bed when I hear the dogs going crazy in the backyard.

I peeked out of our french doors and notice that both dogs were laying in the dirt digging at our back fence.

When I got over there I heard a kitten crying and knew immediately that it must have been one of the ones from Friday.

Our neighbors in the back have a fence built in addition to ours, leaving a gap between the two.

There is no way the mama cat could have fit in the gap, leaving only one explanation:

She dropped the kitten during the move.

I had to wait until Derek got home later that evening and I just hoped that the poor thing was okay.

Once he removed a board from our fence we were surprised to find not one, but three little kittens huddled together.

We took them inside and tried to wrap our heads around what came next.

It was about 7 minutes until 9:00 pm and we knew we needed to feed them, so Derek rushed to PetSmart before they closed.

He came back with kitten formula and a bottle, and we took turns trying to convince the starving babes to eat until we were finally successful and they fell asleep nestled in the little bed we had made them.

In the morning we got to work trying to find a safe place to take them, only to find out that it would be much more difficult than originally anticipated.

Turns out that almost all shelters euthanize newborns because they do not have the staff to bottle feed and care for them.

We’ve talked to private and open rescues alike and so far nobody has space.

So here we are.

I spent four hours this morning trying to get all three kittens to fill their stomachs.

If there is a way to prepare for a second child, taking care of newborn kittens is it.

Between Declan and feeding, cleaning, and tending to the kitties every three hours, I am exhausted.

Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant, maybe it’s because I’m me…

But I feel a sense of responsibility to these little ones.

I would still really like to find a place for these kittens, but if we end up needing to keep them throughout the entire bottle feeding process then it is also something I am prepared to do.

So if you know of anyone or anywhere that can care for three adorable newborn kittens please let me know.

In the mean time, I’ll be getting some serious Baby Bennett prep in managing my time between my toddler and these babies.

This is what Derek came home to today.

Who says you can’t play bucket head, read a story, and nurse babies at the same time?!

Luckily, Declan  has warmed up to them pretty quickly too.

He even grabs their bottle for me and pets them while I feed them.

If this is any indication as to what kind of big brother he is going to be then I am one happy mama.

I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on the status of these little babes and again, if anyone knows of anywhere in LA or Orange County that can care for newborns please let me know!

Monday Bump: 23 Weeks

7th April 2015

Before I talk about Baby B I have to give a little shoutout to my brother and sister-in-law who just found out today that they are having a baby GIRL!

We currently have all boy grandchildren on our side so I’m excited that they broke the trend and brought a little lady into the mix.

I can’t wait to spoil my sweet little niece!

And now, on to the bump.

*Note: I am actually 24 weeks today. All posts will be a week behind.*


My brother-in-law recently joined the Marines and got stationed in 29 Palms which is awesome for us, because now he is only a few hours away!

So on Saturday we picked up Derek’s grandparents and made our way over to base to visit with him for the day.

We hadn’t seen him since September, right before he left for bootcamp, so it was really nice to be able to catch up and see how much he has grown in the past few months.


I LOVE working out.

It is a huge stress reliever for me and makes me all sorts of happy.

But recently, it’s been getting increasingly harder to do my workouts.

Things like squats, lunges, and planking have taken on a whole new level of difficulty with my low hanging, growing bump.

I plan to power through and modify where I need to regardless though because I’m not ready to give it up yet.


Easter was the cutest.

Declan was so into collecting eggs and it was really exciting watching him explore and find them on his own.

We had brunch with Derek’s grandparents and I made dinner for my family at our house.

It wasn’t until after 8pm when I finally realized that I hadn’t actually sat down for longer than 5 minutes all day.

My feet were swollen and I was exhausted but it was a great day!


I haven’t been to the doctors in two months.

Weird, right?

I’m supposed to get a monthly check up but Kaiser just hasn’t contacted me and I keep forgetting to call.

With Declan, they scheduled all of my appointments for me way in advance but they’ve really been dropping the ball this time at the new location I’m at.

I should probably call and get myself in…

Pretty sure I’m supposed to do my glucose test in the next few weeks.


Reese’s Eggs still.

I was given a basket of them and I made Derek take them to work.


I’ve been really wanting a hot dog and a beer recently.


One of my dear friends who lives in Colorado is in town this week, so I get to have lunch with her Wednesday and then celebrate her upcoming baby girl on Saturday at her shower!

Monday Bump: 22 Weeks

30th March 2015

*Note: I am actually 23 weeks today. All posts will be a week behind*

 Let’s take a moment to talk about this photo.

My wonderful husband decided not to tell me how non-bumpish this looked and instead gave the thumbs up as he took these awful shots and proceeded to put the camera away before date-night.

Le’ sigh.

So here is a very weird and unflattering look and my 22 week bump.

Thanks, babe.


Last Thursday I was having a rough morning.

Declan woke up early throwing a tantrum right out of the gate purely because I was changing his diaper.

I was already crying by 6 am when my husband left for work, wondering how I was going to get through the day.

He ended up wearing himself out and passing out in the car at 8:30 am while we were on the way to our stroller stride class.

So rather than waking him to play before class I sat in my car and let him nap.

Suddenly, one of the moms was tapping on my window, holding a Trader Joes bag filled with clothes.

I opened my door and she said she put together this bag for me full of maternity clothes (especially workout ones) because she thought I would be able to enjoy them.

I was completely blown away by her random act of kindness and so incredible touched.

Since this is the last time I will ever be pregnant (God-willing) I have been slacking on buying anything maternity wear.

I just can’t get behind investing too much money in clothes that I will never wear again.

Her gift was not only needed because my clothes are starting to fit weird, but needed on that specific day to lift my spirits.

My mood completely changed after that and I ended up having an awesome Thursday thanks to one woman’s kind gesture.


I have to pee, like all the time.

Bennett is hanging nice and low just like Declan did but since this is a pregnancy after having a vaginal birth I can definitely feel the difference in bladder control.

I can be sitting and the minute I stand up I instantly feel like I’ve had to pee for an hour and the pressure on my bladder is so intense.

So much for getting relief from that in the second trimester!


For Valentines Day Derek got us tickets to go see Amy Schumer live and the the show was finally here on Friday night.

I love a strong, female comedian that has no boundaries and Amy is one of my favorites so I was really excited about going to see her.

My parents watched Declan and Derek and I got dressed up and made our way to downtown la.

We went to a hoity toity restaurant where we laughed at how out of place we were and then continue to laugh our faces off at the show afterwards.

It was a really wonderful date night together.


The struggle has been SO real with sweets recently.

All I want to do is binge on chocolate all day long but I also don’t want to gain a gajillion pounds which has left me in quite the predicament.

Derek screwed me by buying my favorite candy from a kid raising money for his basketball team.

He bought two bags of peanut M&MS; one for me and one for him.

I polished mine off and then begged him for his bag too….

I told Derek I need him to step up and start helping me say no and remind me that I can make clean alternatives to pretty much every craving I have.

And NOT buy my favorite candy, like, ever.

Hopefully it will work!


Peanut M&MS and Reese’s peanut butter eggs



I haven’t been able to catch up on sleep since our cruise and I’ve been drinking decaf coffees trying to pretend that I’m guzzling enough caffiene to get me through the day.


I’m having my family over for Easter and we are going to visit Derek’s little brother at his base (he’s in the Marines) on Saturday so I’m excited for a family-filled weekend.

Cruisin’ Away

24th March 2015

I didn’t even start to pack our bags until the morning we were leaving.

I guess you could say that the normal vacation anticipation just wasn’t there.

The flight was a long one.

Not because of 5 1/2 hours in the air or the antsy, hyper kid bouncing on my pregnant belly.

It was the staggering silence.

The weight of the world crushing my husband’s lungs as we just sat there.

We settled into our hotel room at 12:30 am and fell asleep with a dark cloud hanging over the bed.

When we boarded the ship the following day I felt the mood shift a little.

Once we set sail the air felt lighter and we finally started to breathe.

The next 8 days were a healthy combination of laughter, tears, frustration, and joy.

As time and tragedies have shown us, Derek and I seem to be able to weather even the strongest storms together, and we became even closer.

We learned a lot of new things while on our cruise.

1: Days at sea confined on a ship with minimal activities for kids 2 and under are challenging.

Declan threw a tantrum almost every time we went back to the room and wanted to be able to zigzag around the entire ship all day long, which was difficult considering the other 4,000 people onboard that also needed to walk places.

We loved having Declan with us but definitely won’t be doing another cruise with our kids until they are 8 or older (sorry Bennett).

2: Dining room dinners are the shit.

The first night we naively skipped the main dining room meal and we felt like fools for it on day 2.

I didn’t know what to expect when it came to food on a ship but it was incredible.

Plus they have you take all of these cheesy photos which I loved.

It’s worth mentioning that everyone lost their cool when Declan came strolling through the main deck in his suit on formal night.

We had people getting up from their dining tables to come over to us and tell us how adorable he was.

I’m pretty sure he got like 10 numbers that night, little stud.

3: Everything cool happens past my bedtime.

They had babysitting onboard but we spent 7 of the 8 nights falling asleep by 10 pm with Declan in our room.

Apparently they had all sorts of late night activities like a 70’s dance party, pirate night, and couples game show but we missed all of that.

The only night we went out was our last night there and naturally it was the most mellow night of them all onboard.

4: Declan loves cookies.

(The above is the results of trying to take a cookie away from Declan)

We may or may not have let our son have one too many chocolate chip cookies during our vacation.

Let’s just say that I think Declan and I made Royal Caribbean regret the whole “complimentary cookies whenever you want” thing with how many we devoured.

5: St. Kitts and Labadee are amazing.

These were our two favorite ports.

In St. Kitts, we took a private tour of the island where we got to see the rainforest along with the culture of the entire island.

Then we spent the rest of the day hanging out with monkeys by the beach.

In Labadee we spent the day splashing in the beautiful water and eating.

6: St. Martin and San Juan were so-so.

St. Martin had gorgeous beaches but it was overpopulated and a little too commercialized for our liking.

They have an awesome beach where the airplanes fly right over the water which was amazing but it was littered with people like spring break in Cancun which made it so much less appealing.

We watched one plane fly over and then left.

San Juan had some cool things like their fortresses and cobblestone roads  but was otherwise just a busy city.

The food was delicious though which made it worth our while.

All and all it was a great trip.

We binge watched “Ink Master” while double-fisting oatmeal cookies, saw countless beautiful sites, cried and laughed together, and bonded as a family.

Life is a crazy, unpredictable adventure and I wouldn’t want to go through it with anyone else.

Monday Bump: 21 Weeks

23rd March 2015


These past two weeks have been a bit of a blur.

It feels like I’m standing in the middle of a traffic circle, watching the colors of car lights all blend together into one as they circle around me at warp speed.

We lost Brian, spent the entire next week trying to wrap our heads around the loss, and then hopped on a plane for a vacation.

It felt weird, being surrounded by so many people without a care in the world while our hearts were breaking, but I’ll save the story of our actual trip for tomorrow.

Today I wanted to check in and share a little bit about what baby Bennett has been up to.

*Note: I am actually 22 weeks today. All posts will be a week behind*


Derek getting to not only feel Bennett’s kicks for the first time but actually see them as well.

Baby kicks are seriously the best part of pregnancy and I’m excited that Derek can finally share in on the fun.

Next step is getting Declan to sit still long enough to feel one.


Declan yelling at both Derek and I for touching “his baby” and shoving our hands away.

He also refuses to let Derek touch, talk to, or be next to my belly which I’m hoping is just a phase.


Being pregnant in paradise.

(Hello being able to eat what I want, whenever I want, for 8 days straight!)


Being pregnant in paradise.

(Hello Braxton Hicks and round ligament pains conveniently popping up  every time I had to walk any sort of distance).


Oatmeal cookies.

They were everywhere!


I definitely missed being able to have a glass of wine at dinner or a cocktail on the beach during this trip.


All of the damage control we will be doing this week to try and compensate for the mass amounts of food we consumed.

*I didn’t post a week 19 or 20 update but wanted to still have the baby notes for Bennett later on.



10th March 2015

It was the sort of thing you would see in a movie or read about in a book.

A classic tale of two best friends since birth, making plans for an afternoon together that would never come.

We were already asleep at 10 pm on March 6 when Derek got the call.

My husband, who normally would never get up to answer the phone did for some reason on Friday night.

On the other line he heard:

“Son, Brian is dead.”

What happened next is hard to say.

A hurricane of questions, disbelief, and agonizing sorrow set in and as the sun rose hours and several phone calls later, we were hit with the revelation that neither of us had dreamt it and that he was really gone.

They were supposed to spend the day together.

They were supposed to grow old together.

Everybody wants to talk about how he died.

But I’d rather talk about how he lived.

Brian was one of the most diverse individuals I have ever met.

He wore a hat to every occasion (including his own wedding), loved guns, and spent his Wednesday night’s watching American Idol by himself because he had a passion for talented people.

He could quote the entire “Pitch Perfect” movie and name every player on the Redskins active NFL roster.

He was unapologetically honest, stubborn, and free spirited.

But he would give the shirt off his back to help you, no questions asked.

He was the guy in everyones corner, always fighting for the people he cared about.

The very first time I ever met Brian he immediately invited me into his family.

Important to Derek meant important to him and he never wavered from that.

Even though he was tough as nails, he wasn’t afraid to sit you down and tell you just how much he loved and cared about you and he would do so almost every time he saw you.

I loved that about him.

His honesty and willingness to be so open hearted was inspiring.

He truly lived everyday like it was his last.

He worked hard, played hard.

Loved hard.

When I heard that people started trickling into his home the following morning and spent the entire weekend in community with his wife and each other I wasn’t surprised.

Of course everyone just showed up.

Brian’s home wasn’t just a place for people to have a good time.

Brian WAS home for people.

He was comfort.

He was joy.

He was a party and he was a helping hand.

He gave the people in his life a place to belong:

Standing right beside him.

The footprint he left on this earth is enormous. 

The lives he touched, countless.

To simply say he will be missed feels like an injustice.

He will be so much more than missed.

He will be so much more than remembered.

He will be celebrated, daily.

And he wouldn’t want it any other way.

I love you Bri Bri.