A Fan Mail Special PLUS An Apology to My Mom Friends From My Former Child-Free Self

I try not to let it go to my head or anything but I get fan mail. Email technically. Like just last week a sweet reader just sent a note saying she missed HOB and asked me to start blogging consistently again soon. Cute right!? But it didn’t really touch my heart like like gem I woke up to the other day:

“First off, your emoticon should portray your ass being enlarged vs.your head as depicted. Since you had Harper, your ass is competitive with some of the best TVs out there. Just keeps getting wider and wider… You should really revamp your tag line as ghetto face polish representative because that’s about all you are. Now go focus on making your ass smaller.”

I didn’t want to rub it in, the fact that I get fan mail and you don’t, but I do so there!

Awkward transition alert!

How cute are my kids? Answer: Very! October 29th was Everly’s first birthday. Here’s a look at her on her actual birth day a year ago and then on her birthday yesterday! Question: Why don’t they call the moment you’re born your ‘first birthday’ because really it is which actually makes your 1st birthday your second one. Oddly, it’s sort of a day without a name that we just call the ‘day you were born’ or ‘when you arrived.’ Whatever. I need to speed this up so I can get it all out while I’m enjoying a 2 child nap.

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Aside from learning your child inside and out and being able to predict their next moves as though they were your own, the other interesting thing about being a parent is how you start to understand how crappy you were to your parent friends when you didn’t have kids and they did. Which leads me to my apology to all of my friends who had kids before me and had to endure my crappy, thoughtless behavior. Sorry ladies and thanks for sticking with me.

 

I’m sorry I judged you when you talked about how busy you were. When a non-mom hears a mom talk about being ‘busy’ or ‘tired’ they’re always like, ‘oh me too’ and yes we’re all overworked, under-vacationed,  insomniac zombies who aren’t rested enough to live a normal life. I get it. BUT (and it’s a BIG BUT here), not having kids means having the option to sleep in. You don’t have little people who need you to get your ass up to feed, diaper, and entertain them at inappropriate hours like 6:30am on a Sunday. So I’m sorry for the eye rolls when you said you were tired and I was like, ‘bitch, take a number’ because what I know now is that my (then) life of dog walks, facials, and blogging really wasn’t all that taxing after all.

I’m sorry I told you that your kids were of course welcome to come over too but then secretly wished they’d just go away after about 20 minutes. Of course you welcome kids over too! Bring them along! This will be fun, I love kids!  But then on the inside I was like, children go away so I can have real conversation and actual fun with your parents. It’s crazy now to think about how gracious my friends were who brought their kids over to my house knowing it was so sterile without toys or activities for their kids. I know now how stressful it is to have your kids somewhere that isn’t all that kid-friendly so you have to balance looking like you’re engaged in the adult stuff with entertaining your kids who are understandably bored.

I’m sorry I didn’t actually care about your kids milestones, birthdays, or other achievements. Your kid craps in a toilet now? Yawn! Oh your son won his little league championship? Zzzzz. It’s not that I didn’t care, it’s that I didn’t understand what those things meant for those kids, or my friends, or that family in general. Every child’s accomplishment is actually one for the whole family which is why I even cry at my girl’s birthday parties. I know now what it takes to lift them up to that next level of life no matter how insignificant it seems.

I’m sorry I thought you were the lamest person ever when you planned activities around napping. This is because when you don’t have kids you think about napping in adult terms, like my kids take naps because they’re just bored and dozed off watching football highlights on the couch. I know now that my friends weren’t planning outings around nap time for only the kids, they were also doing it for me. When we’re out and miss naps, Harper acts like a drunk at a bar who’s looking for a fight. I can see her scan the room looking for things to destroy and it’s our fault damn it. I now know that sleep deprivation shuts off what little rational thoughts kids have so napping is the most essential way you can create normal, loving children who are enjoyable to be around.

I’m sorry I gagged at their messy faces when I was forced to eat a meal around your kids. Well I’m sort of sorry about this one so this one because leaving our girl’s faces painted with food throughout the whole meal isn’t something we do. Wipe as you go, people. It’s easier and it teaches them a skill they’ll need sooner than later so they aren’t the messy-faced kid at school. That said, I literally used to ask for a different table in a restaurant whenever they’d sit us next to a child that looked like they’d eventually be fed something green from a jar. I just couldn’t sit near them. Then I’d be all like- ‘you should have a kid’s section’ and ‘why are kids out in general society anyway?’ Yea, sorry about that.

What I know now is that when you don’t have kids, there really isn’t a way to understand them as completely as when you do. Other people’s lives always look weird from the outside and there’s nothing that looks more strange, confusing, miserable, and confronting like seeing your friends in their new role as a parent. To my child-free friends; sleep in, go out, be reckless, travel, and do it up. As long as you don’t talk about how busy you are…

Best Beauty Buys at Trader Joe’s

When Trader Joe’s opened three (!) stores here in Colorado everyone was buzzing- even those who had never stepped foot into one were excited to see what all the hype was about. I knew what I was in for having lived in Arizona and California where I enjoyed all that TJ’s has to offer, but the things I was most excited about weren’t food (or wine..) related at all. It’s the cheap face washes, soaps, lotions, and oils in their concise beauty aisle. Here’s a rundown of a few along with their can’t-beat prices.

Top to bottom, left to right:

Spa Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil: This light castile-like soap cleanses skin and leaves a tingly fresh feeling behind from the tea tree. It’s a great basic cleanser for day and night and all skin types.

Moisturizing Shave Cream: This is one of my favorite shave creams. It’s so rich that a tiny amount goes a long way, this tube will last me several months.

Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50: You can’t do much better than $6 for a big can of SPF 50. You can spray down the whole family all summer long.

100% Pure Jojoba Oil: I LOVE this oil so much that I used to buy several of and bring them back to Colorado whenever we’d visit CA. I don’t know what it is about this body oil but it’s a perfect balance of hydration and slip. You can even rub it on your eyes to pre-cleanse to remove eye makeup or use it on your face. It’s that good.

All-In-One Facial Cleanser: I haven’t used this cleanser but at $6, another great deal.

Coconut Body Butter: I bought this and I’m obsessed. The smell of coconut is intoxicating to me and this has a balanced scent that’s sweet and tropical.  It’s the best bargain I saw, $5 for a body butter that’s normally sold for $20 at other stores. A must-have for sure.

Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Moisturizer: A good, lightweight all-purpose moisturizer for those who are looking for something basic and effective.

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6 Tips For Taking Family Photos With Toddlers & Babies

Fact: Most of those adorably posed, perfect looking family photos hide a secret most people will never know. The day was most likely a total mess. We’ll ours was anyway.

Our good friend and celeb photog extraordinaire Jensen Sutta came to our house the other day to photograph our family. They were our first formal pics as a foursome and I didn’t really know what to expect. As it turns out I over-planned on some things (poses!) and under planned on others (pretty much everything else.) I have some tips below so you can learn from my mistakes. Some of it is toddler-centric but most of it will help with kids of all ages.

Ditch the over planning:

Pinterest does have a lot of ideas but let them be just that- ideas. You can’t overplay a series of shots that your kids may not be agreeable to. It’s about capturing the moment, joyful play, and real smiles. Pick the clothes (casual or more dressed), and the setting (park, backyard, studio), and let your photographer lead the rest. The pic I like best was on marshy grass (with my heels sinking in) on a little tiny hill right by our fence. Not a sweeping, movie-worthy setting and certainly nothing I would think to choose but he make it look really cool.

Plan it around nap times and meals:

You want rested, fed, happy kids so stack the deck in your favor going in.

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Bring along snacks:

Harper is so enchanted with crackers right now. I think they would’ve gone a long way to bribe her into sitting still, smiling, not running, or whatever else we needed that she didn’t do.

Pack a little kit:

If you’ll be outside walking around it pays to grab a little bag and throw in zippy cups, sunscreen, snacks, safety pins for clothing fixes, and even toys. Anything to keep them happy since you’re basically asking them to be in a play environment (like outside or a park) but not necessarily play.

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Practice:

We didn’t prep our toddler enough. A little role play taking photos (because we usually take candids) would’ve gone a long way so she understood what was expected and what was happening. Make it a game and reward for standing still, kissing daddy on the cheek, or good smiles. We only have a few photos of Harper looking at the camera and giving a real smile. I wish there were more.

Make sure the clothes fit:

When we first tried Harper’s skirt on just days before the shoot it was a little big but nothing major, but once she was running and moving around it was literally on the ground. A quick try on doesn’t tell you how the clothes will function in real life. I should’ve let her wear it around for a while so I wasn’t running home for pins mid-shoot.

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Ultimately though we got some beautiful pictures that we’re thrilled about. Next time, I’ll be better prepared.