8 Things You Should Know About Being A New Mom

Being a new mom is awesome…ly hard. With all of the classes, books, and tips they give you before the baby comes you would think hospitals would have a newborn crash course where they spend another 9 months teaching both you and your new baby how to coexist. But once that bundle of joy pops out of your body you are expected to already be a pro at things you have never actually experienced like breastfeeding, changing diapers on your protesting subject, and somehow stopping the blood curdling screams of a person you just met. While I won’t be able to physically help you through these hurdles I can hopefully offer up some comfort (or maybe just a good laugh) as I share with you what I learned about being a new mom from my own personal experience.


Believe it or not, you will find that you’re crying almost as much (if not more) than your newborn. You’re going to feel like this means that you’re a bad mother or that you don’t love your baby the way you’re “supposed” to. That’s not true. It’s just that breastfeeding is hard, sleep is scarce, and I SAID I NEEDED A COTTON SWADDLE, NOT THE POLYESTER!


Don’t worry.

Everyone has spent the last 9 months with your hormonal ass so they’ll be able to handle a few more weeks of it.

And it will pass.


I mentioned this after I had Declan, but I feel like it is not talked about enough. 5-10 lbs. of human just came out of your who-haw. Or even harder, if you had a c-section then you just went through major surgery. You will quite literally be crab walking around your home for a few weeks wearing nothing but sweat pants and maxi skirts. Did I mention the disposable shorts they call underwear and dinosaur sized pads they give you?

20140529-211355-76435872.jpg Source

And while I wish I could tell you that you’ll look as good as she does in these bad boys 24 hours postpartum, the truth of the matter is you’ll probably be looking more like this:


But the good news is that as your uterus shrinks back down to normal size you will start to see that go down.


No, not “I partied on a Sunday until 3 am and I have to be at work by 6 am for a day full of meetings” tired. I’m talking about a whole new bonus level of exhaustion that you didn’t even know existed. One where you legitimately wonder how you have not died yet because it does not seem physically possible to survive off of such little energy.


It will be overwhelming and at times you won’t know how you’re going to make it through the day, but on the plus side you will have made a new best friend: Coffee. Coffee will become your very best friend.


I don’t care who you are or what you claim now. Once you have that adorable babe in your arms you will find yourself physically unable to keep your thumb off of the camera button on your phone. The real struggle will then be to stop yourself from Instagraming each and every shot you take. Because your child is the cutest baby you have ever seen in your life and you want to make the world a better place by plastering that adorable smile all over it.




“When I had my kid…” is going to become the most popular starter sentence you will ever hear. Most of the time people mean well but it does get exhausting having everyone try to tell you how to raise your child. They will tell you that you are spoiling your baby, not holding them right, or that you need to let them cry. Take it all with a grain of salt and remember that nobody knows your baby like you do and no two kids are the same so what worked for them might not work for you and that’s okay.


What color is a newborn’s poop supposed to be?

Why does my baby cry so much?

If my baby is exposed to rock music will they grow up to rebel against authority?

Can you die from hearing a newborn cry too much?


You get my drift.


It’s not your fault you made a super baby, am I right?

But after spending twenty minutes babbling about the cute way your little one blinks and eats and shits you will notice that your company may look a little less excited than you.


But hey, you’re totally allowed to be annoying right now.

Just make sure to remember to ask them about their lives too.


Before your newborn baby it was like,


But now that you have that bundle of joy in your arms, your life will be more like this:


Nobody said you had to give up everything, right?!



Declan’s Mom

I had a distant memory of a girl.
She was whimsical and spontaneous and free.
She would write songs by the beach and start driving before she had a destination in mind.
Her style was eclectic, her eyes were filled with wonder, her heart was trusting and good.

Sometimes I long for a sense of significance.

At the grocery store I frequent almost every cashier knows Declan.
When we check out they are always talking to him and gushing.
On the rare times I am at the store alone they ask me where he is and remind one another, “this is Declan’s mom”.

I am nameless.
Sometimes it even takes them a moment to recognize me without an adorable baby attached to my hip.


I am Declan’s mom and I am beyond proud to be such.
But I am so much more than that.

I am a writer.
A singer.
An adventurer.
I love to cook and act and try new things.
My heart is in people and I love to help those in need.
I’m a glass half full kind of lady.
I love being goofy & weird.
Random dance parties are a part of my daily life and I believe in the healing powers of chocolate.

Declan and I have a unique bond.
He has never taken a bottle which made us pretty much inseparable for the first 6 months of his life.
He likes to bring me a book and sit in my lap while I read it to him over and over again.
He quite literally will crawl up me until his body is covering my face while he sleeps, as if to say that he cannot get close enough to me.
He loves with an intensity that I have never seen before from another child.
And it is so special.

But in the midst of being his everything I feel as if I became nothing.
I was “Declan’s mom and Derek’s wife”.
The only time I sang was to get him to sleep, I would cook merely to put food on the table, and the only time I could squeeze in writing was if I chose it instead of sleep which I desperately needed.

I looked in the mirror one morning and cried.
Mulan style, I rinsed my tired eyes and asked myself who it was staring back at me.
I did not recognize this woman.
She was dull and lifeless.
Anxiety was seeping from her pores and she looked lost.
Where had I gone?
And how long had I been away?

I knew I needed to make a change in my body, my mind, and my soul.
So I did.

I started getting Declan to sleep in his stroller rather than on me, so that I could do my workouts in the morning and have the rest of the day to look forward to.
I went shopping and bought clothes regardless of whether or not it would be easy to breastfeed in them for the first time in over a year.
I did my nails and curled my hair and put on eyeshadow.
I bought bright flowers for the house.
And I started to play music during the day again so I could sing along.

It’s funny really.
I think I subconsciously thought that I had to choose between the two.
Like, I couldn’t be myself and Declan’s mom.
I couldn’t be a devoted mother/wife and still do the things I enjoyed, still be the woman I am.
But now I see that all of the things I love and that make me who I am actually make me a better family member too.

When I sing, the whole house listens in.
When I’m spontaneous, we always end up doing something fun and memorable.
Family dance parties have become something I look forward to every single day.
And I am the happiest version of myself that I have ever been.

My significance is found.
And if I am only remembered as Declan’s mom then I am okay with that.
Because being that woman is pretty awesome.

One Year

It was a long day.
We had spent half of it in the car driving home from Pismo beach and the other half doing birthday party crafts.
But last night I found myself unable to peel my sunken, sleep-lusting eyes away from the tiny little being curled up next to me.
It was his last night in the first year of his life.
I knew once I fell asleep the year would be gone forever, and I was having a hard time parting with it.
I wish I could lock away the last 365 days in a steel vault so that I would forever have every moment, every breath.
But memories have already begun to fade, stories already meshing together.
If I can’t remember what we were doing on November 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm now then I’m surely not going to remember in the years to come.
While I cannot tuck away every waking moment I have made it a point to preserve this year the only way I know how.
Through photos, videos, and writing.
Thank you for following my monthly Declan updates, my “I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing” parenting moments, and for loving my son.


Sweet boy:
You are the light of my life and my greatest gift.
Your father and I are abundantly blessed by your presence.
You bring so much joy to everyone who meets you and it has been such a treat to watch you grow.
I am honored to be your mother and I promise to never stop telling you that.
Sometimes life will knock you down and you will feel defeated, but I will always be right there to help pick you up.
Be kind, love fully, and always save room for dessert.
Happy First Birthday Declan Lael!






Tonight we are taking Declan to Farrell’s for ice cream, tomorrow is his very first Disneyland trip, and Saturday is his birthday party!
This kid is in for a weekend of partying and I will be sure to report back with lots of photos and stories.
My weekend starts now so I hope everyone has a good one!


Surviving Your Friend’s Pregnancy

Let’s face it:
When you get pregnant it affects everyone.
And while it would be awesome if all your friends and family were on the same level of excitement (and misery) as you, it would also be kind of creepy.
It’s like I’m growing a baby right along with you.

Um, no.

But while this post is about you mama, it isn’t for you.
This one goes out to everyone who has been personally victimized by their friend’s pregnancy.
Aka, all of my friends during mine.


It will start as all days do.
You’ll probably be milking a hangover as you eat a bagel and casually scroll Facebook from the comfort of your bed when you see a post that will stop you in your tracks.

Our family is expanding by two feet!

And then there were three!

We’re pregnant!

You immediately begin the five stages of grief.

Denial: OMG I knew it! I’m so happy for her!

Anger: Wait a minute. Why didn’t she tell me before she announced it on Facebook? What a bitch, she had better not expect me to come to the baby shower.

Bargaining: I should get her a bottle of wine so that she has to drink it with me when she pops that thing out!

Depression: I’m going to end up owning 25 cats and knitting them all sweaters for the harsh California winters.

Acceptance: It’s just a baby. Not like she’s going to change into a completely different person or something.

But of course you’re wrong.
Very, very wrong.

You will start to notice that it physically pains her to talk about anything other than her growing spawn.

And you’re like…

She will begin several sentences by saying,
“I know this is really gross and you probably don’t want to hear it, but…”

Every time you blink there will be a new photo shoot.

She will invite you to her baby gender reveal party and you will secretly wonder why on earth anyone would have an entire event surrounded around finding out what the sex of their baby is.

And you will never look at her the same way again if she makes it a dry party.

Speaking of, “parties” with her will never last past 7:00 pm.

Your days of splitting a cheat dessert after dinner will be long gone.
You turn your head for a moment to grab your fork and she’s already devoured the entire cheesecake slice and now she’s crying uncontrollably because it’s all gone.

Did I mention she will tell you that she misses caffeine every single time she sees you?

When the infamous baby shower comes, you will be at a loss on what to get her.

Does this present say, “Nope. Not bitter at all that I lost my Taco Tuesday PIC.”

And when she finally pops that monster out she will expect you to come to the hospital to visit this weird creature that you have no real attachment to.

You’ll look that little baby in the eyes and uncomfortably say the first thing that comes to mind.

Everyone will laugh, completely unaware that you were 100% serious and your new mom friend will put that tiny little being in your arms.

You’ll be terrified that any move you make will snap it’s neck and put you on death row.

He/She will lock eyes with you and look directly into your soul.

You’ll want to look away because there is way too much shit in there that is not child friendly, but you will find yourself mesmerized by those tiny little eyes attached to that tiny little body.
And for a moment, you will completely get why people decide to have kids.

When the baby is done uncovering your deepest darkest secrets they will then cleanse you of your sins by vomiting all over you.

This will snap you out of your trance and you will be free to leave.

Congratulations, you survived!

Now go enjoy your baby-free life with a trip to the movies.
Or a theme park.
Or a smokey bar with a regular named Patty.
The childless world is your oyster my friend.


Father’s Day

When I fell in love with Derek it was that last night in Vegas, I’m all in kind of love.
We were high on the excitement of each other and drunk on our passionate love.
Only unlike Vegas, we didn’t come home ashamed and broke.
Instead, we were rich with love and found ourselves in a forever honeymoon.
I didn’t think it was possible for love to be any stronger than ours already was.
And then we became parents to our son.

This past (almost) year watching Derek transform from my husband to my husband AND the father of our child has been breathtaking.
I never doubted he would be a wonderful father but I still find myself in awe of him.

I have literally never seen a child in my life get more excited to see their father than Declan does every day when Derek gets home from work.
It’s easy and often expected for a dad to sort of sit on the sidelines and let the mom be the parent.
So I know how fortunate I am to have a partner who is so hands on not because he has to be but because he wants to be.

I have always loved Derek.
But the love I have for him now as I have watched him father our son has surpassed what I ever imagined was possible.

There’s so much more I want to say but I’m finding myself unable to put it into words.
It is very rare for me to be speechless but when it comes to this I just am.
So I will leave you with some photos that speak louder than my words ever could.

Happy Father’s Day my love.

I am honored to parent our child by your side.

Month Eleven

First and foremost I would like to say Happy Memorial Day to everyone.
I just talked to my little brother yesterday who is in the final stage of Army bootcamp and it just reminded me how fortunate we are as a country that our men and women VOLUNTEER to dedicate their lives to protecting us.
It’s because of these volunteers that we get to enjoy a bbq at home today, go on family vacations, and work where we want to.
Were they not to step up and sacrifice so much, we would go back to drafting and I may not be lying next to my husband right now like I am.
So thank you soldiers.
The fallen, the retired, the current, and the training.
Your heroic efforts do not go unnoticed and I am forever grateful.



Today Declan is 11 months old.
It makes my eyes all watery when I think about the fact that almost a year has passed and I can never get that time or those moments back.
But on the flip side, I am so amazed by my son and everything he has accomplished in such a short time.



I’ve been very candid about how attached Declan is to me.

It has been both incredible and difficult to navigate at times.
But he beginning to establish his independence from me and let other people hold him, play with him, etc.
I can even walk out of the room to pee now!


Declan is starting to understand that things are meant to be more than simply chew toys.
He’s started to put toys in buckets, understand different shapes, and even mimic the actions we do.
Example: He has seen Derek and I grab the doggie door cover and put it on several times.
Out of nowhere one day he walked over there, grabbed it, and tried to put it on himself.


(Don’t mind me all weird in the background, lol)

It’s now one of his favorite things to do.


We’ve been using the same photographer (Theresia Villanueva Photography) since our first pregnancy because we just love her so much.
Unfortunately for us, (but amazing for her!) her fiancé just got a pilot gig in Dubai so this was our last round of pictures with her before they leave.

Here are a few of my favorites.








If he knows he is not supposed to play with something he wants it that much more.
If he knows he’s not supposed to do something he will smile at me first, then do it anyway.
Yesterday he kept pulling my hair and when I finally batted his hand away he began to hit me.
Our solution is to basically put him in an infant time out (aka we just put him down and don’t hold him).
He hates it but I think it’s working.


The bigger he gets the harder it is to share a bed with him.


See what I mean?
We plan to start slowly transitioning him to his own space.
We will see how that goes.

Next month is sure to be an exciting one with his first Disney trip and first birthday!
I’d better start getting serious about party planning.

But let’s be honest, I’ve been planning this thing for months!



Sometimes I need to look back and reflect on everything in order to appreciate where I am now.
This past week and a half has been one of those times.
May 11th marked two years since we found out we would never get to hold our daughter on this earth.
May 11th was also Mother’s Day this year.
I found myself encapsulated in emotions.
I wanted to cuddle Declan extra tight but he only wanted his daddy for the majority of the day.
I wanted to cry out to him:
I need you today.
But my words wouldn’t have been heard over the cries for his father and the giggles once they were united.
So instead I found joy in watching the two of them together.
I immersed myself in the happiness of my boys and forgot to allow myself time.
Time to mourn.
To feel.
To heal.

Day after day since then it has seemed as though every minute of my time has been filled with something else to do.
And day after day I can feel my body, mind, and soul being worn down more and more.
So today, right now, I’m willing myself to reflect.

Because I can’t heal unless I do and I can’t keep pretending like I’m not hurting when I am.

April 3, 2012 I announced our first pregnancy.


“I have been completely M.I.A. from my blog recently, and it is in large part because I knew if I posted I wouldn’t be able to resist talking about things like:
Throwing up allllll the time
Loving cream cheese
Being sleepier than normal
Hating cream cheese
And all other emotional/hormonal outbursts.
That’s right…

We’re Pregnant!”

On May 11, 2012 we found out our baby would not survive


“We are advised that the longest they personally have ever seen a pregnancy like this go was 26 weeks, but that my condition doesn’t even stand a chance to last that long.
More like 1-2 weeks.
We finally left the doctors office and by this time the hospital was closed.
I had red eyes and a fever of 100.1 as we walked down the empty hallway hand in hand, dead inside.”

On May 30, 2012 we found out our lost baby was a little girl.


“It soothes my soul being able to put a name to our angel.

She is named. She is safe. She is loved.”

On November 16, 2012 we recognized Kinlie’s due date.

“I’ll never let her be forgotten.
She will forever be a part of my soul.
But today I let go.
Let go of the hurt.
Let go of the disappointment.
Let go of the anger.
And I celebrate her.
I celebrate the joy she brought into our lives.
I celebrate the change she brought to my outlook on life.
I celebrate the growth she prompted in my heart.
And I celebrate the fact that child no bigger than a peach changed lives for the better.”

A year ago I shared what I thought a letter from her to us would look like.


“Hold onto that feeling of joy you had while I was with you and clear yourselves of the sorrow.
Remember me as that twinkle in your eyes when you first found out I existed.
And don’t be afraid to be happy.
Don’t beat yourselves up when you refer to my brother as your first child to strangers.
I know you love me.
And I know that I am forever yours.
Your little baby.
Your angel in heaven.
Your daughter.
Until we meet again my sweets.”

And on her due date last year I realized the sacrifice made to bring Declan into this world.

“It’s weird when you think about the fact that someone had to cease to exist in order for the other to live.
I wouldn’t get to hold them both, not in this world.”

Reflection and time help you see things that you couldn’t before.

Realizing that if your ex had never cheated on you then you wouldn’t have met the love of your life.

That if you had gone away to school you would have missed that last moment with your grandma the night she died.

That if your daughter had survived you wouldn’t have your son.

I wouldn’t change even the tiniest hair on Declan’s head.
I wouldn’t trade a single moment.

I don’t understand why they couldn’t share this world together with me.
But that’s okay.


The Mommy’s Who Suck at Meeting Other Moms Club

Our days have become pretty routine.
Wake up, eat breakfast, diaper change, and play.
Followed by more food, more diaper changes, and more playing, with a trip to the grocery store thrown in at some point before Derek gets home.
But today as I drove home from the store I intentionally made a premature left hand turn and found myself at the park.
I wrapped my son in the Ergo and followed the cement path to the playground entrance.
He loves the swings but prefers to be wrapped on me for the ride rather than in the infant ones.
The sun kissed our necks, the breeze whispered sweet nothings, and in this moment I felt at peace.
I watched Declan’s eyes shift to follow the other kids playing and decided it was time to unwrap and let him explore.
His feet touched the textured ground and he turned back to me with a whimper of uncertainty.
I gently caressed his head and reassured him that he had nothing to fear.
He stood there for a moment in silence.

Then he let out a cry of joy, clapped his hands, and flew.
He glided around the playground so swift and smoothly, like a boat on the calm, glassy morning river.
And then he stopped, completely memorized by the other children.
I realized he and I were having the same thought at the same time.
He watched the children, longing for their companionship yet too timid to motion to them just as I watched the mothers without making any move in their direction.
After all, they switched from English to Spanish the minute we walked up so they didn’t seem interested in making new friends.
Maybe that’s how he felt as well about the children running right past without blinking an eye in his direction.
I felt the weight of both our needs tug on my heart and left with a guilt leached on me.
My son deserves companionship.
He craves friendship.
But I feel so lost and overwhelmed in the sea of mothers.


A few weeks ago I tried to join a local mommy and me group.
They have yet to accept my request but their site is updated daily, so I know they’ve seen it.
I’ve looked into classes but can’t find anything in my area.
I feel like the new kid in school, walking aimlessly around the halls trying to find my place.
And watching my son pine for companions makes me feel like I’m getting a big fat F in motherhood.

I need to talk with someone who’s experienced nighttime tantrums just as much as Declan needs to talk to someone who knows what he’s really saying when he repeats the word yes over and over again.
My closest mommy friend lives thousands of miles away and even though I’m thankful we are there for each other I wish we could sit on the same couch, drink from the same bottle of wine, and watch our kids play together while we chat about the horrors of diaper changes and the joys of nap time.

Maybe I should start my own group.
The Mommy’s Who Suck At Meeting Other Moms Club.
Our mascot will be the toothy smile emoji


(This one)

and we will converse over pieces of food found in our hair and sippy cups filled with wine iced tea.
We won’t make people pay membership fees or put in an application to be reviewed.
We’ll just have our kids be the rulers of the club and let their innocence remind us daily of a time when making friends was as simple as playing on the same playground at the same time.

So if you’re interested in a judgement free, application free, and possibly sanity free play date (depending on how much sleep I got) let me know.
Because Declan is eagerly waiting to make a new friend and I could use one too.

Why Raising A Hyperactive Kid Is Awesome

Whenever I take Declan anywhere for an extended period of time people are always in shock of just how much energy he has.
I can never tell if it’s the “I’m impressed” kind of shocked or the “his mom must have been popping Adderall like it was jelly beans while he was in the womb” version.

Moms are always talking about how good their babes are.
My baby sleeps through the night, he’s so good!
My baby eats without any mess, she’s so good!
My baby kicks back and let’s me do whatever I want with my day, they’re so good!

I kid.
But when you’ve just spent the last two hours of your life getting your child to sleep for the night it can be pretty disheartening to see a bunch of other moms posting on Facebook:

“Little one fell right asleep as usual and sleeps uninterrupted for a gajillion hours so now I’m baking a pie from scratch, deep cleaning the house, and crocheting mittens for orphaned kittens.”

We get it.
You are mom of the century and your baby has somehow managed to fit perfectly into your old lifestyle rather than completely change the way you do everything.

But for the moms who read posts like that as they clean sweet potatoes out of their hair while chasing after their little one before they reach the drawer they aren’t supposed to open again, this ones for you.


1. It’s Good For Your Health:
When you’ve got a hyperactive tot you will never find yourself sitting on the couch for an extended period of time watching reruns of Friends.
That’s because there is always something going on whether it be building a fort or chasing them endlessly around the house.
Believe it or not, the energy you exert while doing these things is called exercise and it’s far better for you than vegging on the couch all day while your baby chills in their swing.

I know.
But you’ll be thanking your kid later for not letting you, trust me.

2. It Teaches You Valuable Life Skills:

britta perry i got skills gif

Nothing teaches you patience better than changing a hyperactive kid’s diaper.
You learn just how important it is to be flexible when you’ve got a weeks worth of laundry piled up and no time to do it.
And you adapt quickly to anything and everything thrown your way because yesterday all he wanted to do was play with blocks but today those blocks are the bane of his existence.

3. They Have Big Highs:

Low can be very, very low with a hyperactive child.
I’m talking full blown Jim Harbaugh tantrums because you took a piece of paper from them.

But on the flip side, their highs are very high.
Loud giggles, lots of clapping, and enormous smiles that you just can’t beat.


4. They Don’t Follow, They Lead:

Abe Lincoln is a badass. found it on the interwebz.. AMERICA! YEAH!

These kids refuse to follow the crowd.
They wear their clothes inside out because they think it looks better, run left when everyone else is going right, and shout on the rooftops while the rest of the crowd is silent.

They are unapologetically themselves and possess natural leadership qualities because of it.

5. They Love Deeply:

Probably my favorite thing about my hyperactive son is how tenderly he loves.
I feel like his heightened sense of life has also heightened his sense of affection.
He freely gives kisses, loves family hugs, and needs cuddles to sleep.
Just yesterday I told him I loved him and he responded by grabbing my face and pulling me in for a smooch.

So maybe our kids are not the type to take to story time at the library.
And who cares if you never have time to watch the Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills.

Our kids are awesome just the same for everything that society says makes them “too busy” or “hard to handle”.

Just keep doing your thang mama and next time you feel judgmental eyes on you and your little bundle of energy pass an expressive look right back their way.


Month Ten

I don’t typically post on the weekends but since Declan is 10 months old today I decided to make an exception!

As I type this he has gone back to sleep (after waking us up at 5 am) and is cuddled up in my arms making cooing sounds.
These moments are truly what life is all about.


We’ve officially got a walker on our hands!
He took his first steps a few days before he hit 9 months and within a week he was full blown walking.
Every week he practices a new skill within like walking in circles while clapping, quick turns, and my least favorite; running.
But more on that later.


He’s started to really get into playing and initiating games.
His favorites include hiding and playing a mix of peek-a-boo/hide-n-seek and crawling under/in things like chairs, tables, etc. with the intent of making you get him out.
He also loves to be chased.


Declan loves to be the center of attention and to entertain the people around him.
Last week during a doctor visit he took it upon himself to be Patch Adams and put on a show for the entire waiting room.

I didn’t get it on video but he went up to every group and tried to perform for them, it was too cute.


I don’t know what it is about this kid but he refuses to stop moving even when his body is begging him to.
This results in him falling every few steps he takes.
But he gets back up and tries to run.
His exhausted body just can’t keep up with his mind though and so he looks like a drunk guy stumbling home from the bars.


Full blown tantrums have begun.
Like, he puts his whole body into it.
Currently it’s trial and error for me, trying to find the best way to handle these outbursts.
Wow does he have a strong personality though and damn it sucks dealing with a flailing child in public because you won’t let them put your keys in their mouth.

Despite that I am loving life as a stay at home mom with my son.
I consider myself so blessed to have the opportunity to spend so much quality time with him.
Tonight is my first overnighter without him since he was born so wish me luck!

Hope everyone is having a beautiful weekend.