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One Year Of Loving You: Letter to my baby on his 1st birthday

Today my baby turns one. I wrote him a letter, so we both could remember what a special time this first year of his life has been.

Tate,
You are asleep on my chest. I run my fingers through your curls and listen to you breath. Your tiny hand holds me tight. I am in awe of you. My heart swells with love for you. That mischievous smile. Those curious eyes. Your laugh. I wish I could bottle up the joy I feel when I hear that playful giggle. My heart needed you. Our family needed you. This world needed you.

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One year ago, I couldn’t begin to imagine what life would be like as a family of four. I didn’t know how hard it would be adjusting to our growing family and my ever expanding heart. I couldn’t comprehend loving another child as much as I loved your big brother, Tucker. I was afraid how he would react to you. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to give you both all of me. I was afraid of the unknown. But despite my fears, I knew in my heart you were someone special. I could feel your light radiating from within me. I could sense your sweetness. I could feel a calm within, even in the chaos of my ever wondering mind. We prayed for you. Waited for you. Dreamed about you.

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You entered this world with such ease. I was shocked at how quickly you were born. You were ready. You are always ready. Fearless, full of life and wonder. You shine with a holy glow. I can feel God’s favor on you. The moment I laid eyes on you a new chamber of my heart burst open with love.

I am in awe of you. Your curiosity for the world around you. Your excitement to learn and grow – and mainly catchup with your brother. The gentleness of your heart, and the fearless drive you carry. You, my beautiful boy, are everything and more than what I could have ever dreamed.

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I blinked and a year flew by. Your first smile, laugh, crawl, steps, and words, all feel so new and exciting but also so far away. But if I close my eyes, I can hear that first cry. I can see the sparkle in your blue eyes from when our eyes locked for the first time. My heart remembers the exact moment and feeling when it opened up completely to you. In my mind, I can stop time and visit every milestone. I can feel the pride and excitement in watching you grow and the subtle sadness of seeing my baby begin to transform into a little boy. I wish sometimes I could make time stand still so I could love on you without distraction. Soak you up completely.

So tonight, I won’t close my eyes just yet. I will try my best to hold onto this moment with my baby in my arms. I will listen to you breath, feel the weight of your body on my chest, hold on to your tiny hand, and pray you never let me go. I will lay here and do my best to soak you up. I will give you all my love and thank God for not stopping time and for letting me watch you grow. I will let my heart go back to those special moments you have given me, but I will pray for the ones that are yet to come.

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Happy Birthday Baby boy. Mama loves you oh so very much.

 

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How to be a Mommy

How to be a Mommy – Whether you are expecting your first child, in the midst of the chaos of chasing little ones or in an empty house where your children have grown, you may still be wondering what the heck you are doing.

Whether you are expecting your first child, in the midst of the chaos of chasing little ones or in an empty house where your children have grown, you may still be wondering what the heck you are doing.

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Do you breastfeed, bottle feed, co-sleep, sleep train, cry it out, vaccinate, baby wear, homeschool, private school, spank, be permissive, authoritative, or a friend? How young is too young for screen time and how much screen time is too much? Do you go sugar free, gmo free, dairy free? Is it normal to be this tired, sad, frustrated, overwhelmed? Can my heart literally explode with love? The list goes on and on, typically at night, on repeat. Daily.

I question what the heck I am doing. I replay the could haves, should haves, and what ifs. I have done things I said I’d never do; like give my kid a freakin Happy Meal because he “REALLLLY” needed one. I’ve gone against advice of people I respect, because despite what they say, my gut tells me something different.

I have discovered that there is no right way to raise a child. Life isn’t a one-size-fits-all lesson that parents can pass down to newbies when they are exhausted, frustrated, or in need of advice. Every child is different. Every parenting style unique. While parenting books, articles and blogs can bring perspective and insight to areas of parenthood, they are a tool to help guide you, not an instruction manual that will explain parenting step by step.

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Being a Mother is trusting yourself and what YOU think will work best for YOUR family and children. Will you do things you never thought you’d do? Yes. Will you get overwhelmed? Lose your temper? Beat yourself up? Yes. And that’s ok.

I have two bits of advice for you to consider:

  1. Stop comparing yourself and children to other families.
    Things that work for others won’t work for you. You were made to raise your babies in a way that no other mother would know how to. It is your arms, kisses, and voice that can bring comfort to your children. It’s your silly dances, spontaneous adventures and outlook on life that will help shape them into who they are meant to be.
  2. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
    Everyday isn’t instagram perfect. Who cares if you have piles of laundry, a messy house and didn’t have a chance to shower let alone put on makeup? I don’t. I get it. I’m with you. No one is perfect.

Being a Mommy means sacrificing daily, loving unconditionally, and living and breathing for your children. You are doing your best and that’s all that matters. You don’t get sick days, vacation days, and can’t play hooky from being a Mom. You are wanted, needed and most importantly loved, always. Cut yourself some slack. Raising humans is hard.

You are wanted, needed and most importantly loved, always.

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Dear Boys, Mommy has no idea what she’s doing

Hello My Sweet Boys,

I want to let you in on a secret. I have no idea what I’m doing. Loving you comes without effort. It is just like breathing. No one had to show me how to breath, because it was something I was made to do. Just like loving you, I was made to love you. The raising you part, that’s a little tricky sometimes.
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You may find it hard to believe, but I’m still a work in progress. I’m finding me, while helping shape you. I don’t always know what to say. I don’t always know what to do. I sure as heck have no clue how to get you — TUCKER! PHOENIX! WYRICK! — to eat anything besides cheeseburgers, french fries and ranch. I’m trying though.

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Everyday, I’m trying my best to show you a world filled with love.

I do my best to keep magic and wonder alive. I do my best teach you about kindness and respect. I do my best to play. I try to let go of my grown-up responsibilities and enjoy these special moments with you without distraction.

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You are both growing bigger everyday. This exhausting, confusing, frustrating, overwhelmingly wonderful time is fast fading. You won’t always need my kisses to make you feel better. My cuddles won’t be the only way you can fall asleep. You won’t always reach for my hand, ask for my help, or just want to be with me and only me. You will grow strong, confident and independent.

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Each day I do my best to help you grow into the incredible young men I know you were meant to be. I want you to know I may not always get things right. I will make mistakes, lose my temper, get overwhelmed, and exhausted. I won’t always know what to do, but I will always know how to love you. I just breath you in.

Loving you forever,
Mommy

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I am my worst enemy


I don’t know about you, but when the dishes and the laundry pile up and the dogs won’t stop barking and my kids won’
t stop fighting; there is a voice that taunts me in in the chaos. It’s my own.

I’m the worst

I’m a failure

“I’m a terrible Mom

These are just a few of the lies I tell myself. I beat myself up when I’m tired or frustrated. I kick myself when I’m down, and I go for the jugular, clinging to my biggest insecurities. Only recently have I started to take notice to the daily abuse I inflict on myself.


I speak affirmations over my children. When they get mad, lose their temper, or act out, I make them say, “I am kind. I am brave. I am strong. I can do hard things.”

I remind them of their greatness when they feel weak, scared, or overwhelmed. I will say to my four year old, “You are so smart” and instead of shooting my compliment down he will say, “I know Mommy.”


He owns it. Embraces it even. Yet, if my husband calls me beautiful, I roll my eyes or point out my dirty hair, tired eyes, and worn out sweats.

If I create a fun activity for my kids and another Mom sends me a sweet message, I immediately feel the need to respond with what a mess I am and that I don’t have this whole raising kids thing figured out.


I’m not writing this searching for complements or affirmations. I’m writing this because I know I’m not the only villain in my own story. I see my beautiful friends. I watch them juggle impossible schedules, family, and work. I see their greatness, and I hear them speak of what they perceive as failures. They see their messy house, rambunctious children, dirty clothes, and laundry list of things they never get time to accomplish. But I see powerful women. I see them as the glue that holds their families together. I see loving supportive wives and mothers. I see hard-working boss babes.

Today, talk to yourself the way you would a toddler. If you lose your temper, remember the root of you is good and kind. If you are afraid of the “what if’s”, remember YOU ARE BRAVE. If you are exhausted and the day feels like it will never end, tell yourself YOU ARE STRONG. If you feel overwhelmed, know YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS.


Love yourself the way you love your child. Be gentle with your heart. You too are learning and growing.


You are kind.

You are brave.

You are strong.

You can do hard things.

I’m A Mother, What’s Your Superpower?

I am sitting on my couch in a living room covered with toys. I’ve surrendered my impulse to pick up the mess and let my children play. My dogs WON’T STOP BARKING.

I am sitting on my couch in a living room covered with toys. I’ve surrendered my impulse to pick up the mess and let my children play. My dogs WON’T STOP BARKING.

I’m writing this blog on my phone hoping I finish it before my kids realize I’ve sat down for a second. My husband is out of town for work, so I’m on a solo mission to survive the kids and dogs without help until he returns. That’s one of the downfalls of being in a big city with no family nearby. When my husband leaves town it’s just me and the kiddos.

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Single parents I don’t know how you do it. You have superhuman strength. This is a strength that mothers know well. It is a power we may not appreciate or even acknowledge. Truth is, moms are superheroes. We may not fly around in a cape and tights, but each day we fight the good fight.

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Often battling our minds more than our children, we question our decisions, beat ourselves up over the little things, and don’t give ourselves enough credit. We have the power to cry silently. Exhausted, broken, sick, or hurting, we muster the strength to smile, play, and care for our families. We give our all while sacrificing ourselves in the process. Surviving on sandwich crust, coffee, and wine we face meltdowns with patience and humor…sometimes. Our lips can heal booboos and our voices soothe the angriest toddler, and our arms bring comfort and refuge with just a hug.

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We have the strength to carry two sleeping kids and groceries up a flight of stairs without waking either child. We can ninja roll away from their beds in perfect silence, unless a squeaky toy alerts our escape. We can stop a child in their tracks with one earnest stare. Our sleeves have wiped away tears and boogers. We have wiped too many butts to count. Even taking on the stinkiest diaper explosions. We’ve been thrown up on, peed on, coughed on, and loved on by our children.

We have crossed hot lava, taken many trips across the ocean with pirates, and even traveled to the moon; all without leaving the comforts of our living room.

We love our children unconditionally. Sometimes we want to Hulk smash the piles of toys scattered around our messy homes, but we would feel lost without the chaos and wonder our children bring. We may not feel strong when we sneak away to cry, but Mamas, I hope you know that — even on the toughest days — you are a superhero. Keep fighting the good fight. You may not be saving the world, but you are the world to your children.

xoxo,
Tami

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Wild, Free, and 4 Years Old | A Letter To My Birthday Boy

On Sunday, Tucker turned four. I wrote him a letter just as I’ve done every year since his birth. Maybe this blog will be a time capsule of sorts when my boys are older. Or maybe my letter will make you smile as you thinking about your own little one. Regardless, I hope my letter will bring Tucker joy. Enjoy.

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Hello Professor Poop Poop. The 3 year old you thought anything poop or fart related was hilarious. LOL. How can it be that four years ago you entered this world? Four years ago I became a Mother? Four years ago, God planned for your April Fool’s Day arrival. He knew no other day would be more fitting for my little comedian.

You are always trying to make me, Daddy, and Tate laugh. You love to tell silly jokes, make funny faces in the mirror, and bust out goofy dance moves. You’ve got some wicked break dancing skills for an untrained dancer. You love to sing and rhyme and play. Every day you seek adventure. You are a fearless leader and make friends with everyone. You are so incredibly smart. You try so hard to read and are eager to learn. Always asking questions and taking in the world.

You are strong willed, but also kind. Every morning when you wake up you climb up into my arms, give me a big hug and a kiss, and say, “It’s morning time Mommy”. You giggle as you kiss your brothers face and snuggle up on Daddy’s chest. When I ask you what you dreamed about, you always say, “You”.

You sure know how to melt a girls heart. You get that from your Daddy. You hold my door wherever we go and say, “Ladies first”. Then, you smile proudly as I walk by. You love to pick me flowers on our walks, hold my hand, and snuggle. On my most exhausting, frustrating or even just mundane days you catch me off guard when you smile sweetly and say, “Mommy you are beautiful”. My eyes swell with joy at your sweetness.

You, my little wild child, are a beautiful gift. I am so very much in love with you, little man. You make Daddy and I so proud. I can’t wait to see what joy and laughter this year brings. Don’t lose your silly side, my love. Hold on to your sweetness too. The world needs more beautiful souls like yours. So shine bright, baby doll, and spread that light wherever you go.

I love you to the stars and back.
Mommy

The world needs more beautiful souls like yours.

Sweets for Your Sweets: My Sugar Cookie Recipe

I love Valentine’s Day. The overpriced flowers, cheesy cards and obligatory dates. I love LOVE. I’m a hopeless romantic and am happy to have an excuse to show PDA, make treats, and force my husband to watch a romantic comedy.

Now that I’m a Mama, one of my favorite things to do is bake with my boys. People think I’m crazy baking with a baby and a three year old. When I show up to a party with homemade treats, I’m often asked how I can find the time to bake up goodies with little ones running around…or crawling.

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The answer is simple. I don’t. Instead I make my oldest my sous chef and my youngest my accessory. I wear baby Tate and pull up a step stool for Tucker. Since Tucker was about two, he’s been helping me bake. Candies, cookies, pies, all kinds of yummy treats. The kitchen is my happy place so why wouldn’t I want to share it with my boys?

As a Valentine’s Treat, pun intended, I thought I’d share an easy sugar cookie recipe that you can enjoy with the ones you love. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

XoXo’s
Tami

 

Sugar Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Salted Butter (Room Temperer)
  • 1 Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 1/2 Cups Flour
  • *Extra flour to dust dough for rolling

Icing Ingredients

  • 6 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup Whole Milk or Almond Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 Teaspoons Almond Extract
  • Food Coloring *Optional

Sugar Cookie Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350
  • In an electric mixer or with a handheld mixer, blend sugar and butter on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract until combined and blended.
  • Slowly add flour while mixing until you have smooth dough. If it is sticky to the touch, add more flour.
  • Separate dough into two large balls.
  • Wrap the dough in seran wrap and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
  • Remove from the refrigerator and unwrap the dough and roll it out with a roller until it is flat and about 1/4 inch tall.
  • Use whatever cookie cutters tickle your fancy and cut out your cookie shapes.
  • Place cookie dough on lightly greased baking sheet and place in the oven for 6-9 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool completely before decorating.

Icing Directions:

  • In an electric mixer or with a handheld mixer, combine powdered sugar and milk until smooth (slowly adding extra milk 1 tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency).
  • Add corn syrup and almond extract.
  • Blend until smooth (I like the consistency to be somewhere between toothpaste and corn syrup consistency.)
  • Separate into bowls, add desired food colors to your icing, and mix the icing and food color.

    PRO TIP: When icing cookies, I suggest piping edges of the cookie first and then flooding the inside to create a nice even surface.

Let your imagination run free and decorate your little heart out. Let me know how your cookies turn out and if you have any tips, tricks or suggestions.

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My Girl Tribe

I am in a house full of boys. All three handsome, kind, and funny. While I can appreciate a good fart joke from my three year old, wrestling with my 10 month old and laughing at the chaos with my husband; even in a house full of love, I still get lonely. I dive in each day committed to my family. Sacrificing my time for them. Sometimes I lose myself while helping them discover who they are. It is in these moments when I’m distracted, tired,  and overwhelmed that a simple unexpected text can change my day.

I am surrounded by incredible women. Strong, beautiful, driven, loving, selfless women. Women who chase their dreams and sometimes their children. They are my prayer warriors, cheerleaders, and therapist.

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They are who I text when the weight of the world feels to heavy to carry alone. They are a listening ear, a much needed hug, and well deserved glass of wine. They make me laugh like a kid and have comforted me when I’ve cried. Selflessly, they have watched my children, brought me food, even sent cleaners to my house just to give me a break. Nia, I still to this day am so touched by your thoughtfulness and genuine, loving heart.


Before diapers, husbands, and careers, we were girls with similar dreams. Following our hearts we each sought and earned a crown. Literally. Pageantry brought us together. What a strange way to find lifelong friends. To strangers you are Miss USA, Miss California, Miss Wyoming, Miss Montana, Miss Arizona. You are the actress people love and adore, the blogger with adventure and style, the boss babe business woman, and the loving Mommy. To so many people you are so many different things, but to me you are a friend. You are a part of my tribe.

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I am so thankful for the incredible women God has so thoughtfully woven into my life.

They encourage me, challenge me and love me.

My prayer for you is that you find your tribe. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and inspire you. When you forget who you are, let them remind you. Let them catch the pieces of your world when it feels like it’s falling apart. Find them and love them. Be the friend to them that you long for. Who is your tribe?

Let me know in the comments below!