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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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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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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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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Just say YES!!!

The moments that tend to scare us are the ones that build, strengthen, and define us. Chase that feeling. Seek it. Find it. Welcome it.

The moments that tend to scare us are the ones that build, strengthen, and define us. Chase that feeling. Seek it. Find it. Welcome it.

I met my wife, Tami, at Abercrombie & Fitch. It was the first place I worked when I moved to Los Angeles. I walked in, went straight to the counter, and asked the beautiful blonde behind the counter, “y’all hiring?”

She said, “yes!”

That was the first time that she said yes to me, but when she told me that she was the manager and that I was hired, she actually didn’t have the authority to do so.

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I still laugh at that moment, because that’s the woman I fell in love with, and it’s still who she is today. The one who isn’t afraid to have fun. The mother who teaches our kids every day how to laugh, dream, and seek adventure.

The good news is I still got the job, but the even better news is that she continued to say yes to me. Yes to adventures. Yes to fun. Yes to marriage. Yes to family. Just yes.

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She has taught me a lot of lessons over the last 12 years of our relationship (and 7 years of marriage). She’s taught me patience, compassion, loyalty, bravery, commitment, love – all things I thought I knew, but she proved there was more. That we can all search deeper within ourselves and demand more.

The lessons of our marriage have taught me how to succeed in life and in love. You have to be willing to say yes to the things that scare you. Not that she was scared of me, but maybe that she was scared of falling in love or me not being who she saw at first. The point is – The moments that tend to scare us are the ones that build, strengthen, and define us. Chase that feeling. Seek it. Find it. Welcome it.

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My incredible wife, Tami, has encouraged and driven me to say yes to opportunity – to always follow my heart and gut. I can promise you that every opportunity I’ve been afraid of that she’s pushed me to has paid off. Being a naïve 20 year old led me to her, but once I found her, I knew I would never let her go.

Below are my vows from our wedding. These words have never wavered in 7 years, and I intend to lead and also follow her in this incredible life that we have for decades to come. I love you, Tami, and I am so grateful for the lessons you’ve taught me and how to be a better husband, father, and friend.

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“Tami, I remember the first day that we spent together. Standing at the front of the store as people walked by us, we were talking about our dreams, our friends and family. Your passion for all of these made me fall in love with you and I continue to fall in love with you every day. And here we are now, in front of our friends and family with nothing but our dreams.

You have become not just my lover and companion but my best friend. Today, in front of God and our loved ones I vow to be the man that you fell in love with. I promise to love and cherish you, to keep you close and with faithfulness, to always support and encourage you in your career, to make you laugh and hold you when you cry. I promise to be a loving and nurturing father and a man of God. I promise to hold you to the highest respect and honor you as you deserve, and continue to be your best friend for the rest of our lives.”

I love you forever, Princess.

Buddy

7 years and counting…

“That’s him. He’s the one I’ve been waiting for.”

This morning you woke me with a kiss, the same way you have for the past seven years. You said, “Happy Anniversary”, and I smiled and looked at you with sleepy eyes and asked if our life was what you imagined it would be. We both laughed.

The day I met you my heart recognized you. It whispered to me, “That’s him. He’s the one I’ve been waiting for”. We were just a couple of kids with big dreams and an unapologetic love. We grew up together…I mean, we are still growing up together.

When we promised to stand side by side together in life, we knew it wouldn’t always be easy or fun. We couldn’t have imagined the tears life would bring, or dreamed of the love and laughter we’d share.

My heart didn’t think I could love you more, yet everyday you find new ways to show me it can.  I get lost sometimes in being a Mommy. The hand you use to reach for is now being held by five chubby little fingers. The Kisses I freely gave to you often now are used to heal boo boos on our active toddler or cover the face of our smiling baby. I’ve traded sexy lingerie for oversized tshirts and your old sweats. Our bed is now full of puppies and babies. Our days are spent in different worlds. Mine is filled with diapers, dancing, and make believe, while yours is hard at work toward your dreams and our future.  Instead of spontaneous weekend getaways or romantic dinners, I’m thrilled just to snuggle up beside you on our couch and watch an uninterrupted episode of Master Chef.

When I stood in front of our family and friends seven years ago today and promised my love to you for a lifetime, I thought I knew what I was doing. I thought I knew what love was. You’ve showed me that love is ever changing. Our hearts continuously growing. Love is more than flowers, date nights and romance. Love is choosing everyday to put someone else’s needs above our own. Love is seeing the best in someone even when they are at their worst. Love is waking up everyday next to your best friend. It is seeing the person you fell in love with in the faces of our children. It is crying so hard you can’t breath and trusting your partner to catch your tears. Love is laughing with every part of your body. It is silly songs and inside jokes. Love is feeling home when wrapped in your arms.

This morning I asked you if our life is what you imagined it would be. I laughed because it is beyond anything I could have dreamed. Happy Anniversary. I love you.

T

Dreaming Without Sleep

On any given night, you can find me restless and twisted in a pretzel shape, clinging to the edge of my California King bed, and buried under a pile of cuteness. On my feet lies…

On any given night, you can find me restless and twisted in a pretzel shape, clinging to the edge of my California King bed, and buried under a pile of cuteness. On my feet lies our toe biting chihuahua, Buttercup. Stretched horizontally across the bed with his head rested on my hip, leg, or arm, is my sleep talking – sometimes walking – toddler. Snuggled close to my chest with his arms and legs wrapped around me tight is my night nursing infant with his two new razor sharp teeth.  

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In the distance, I hear a familiar sound. It is the gentle sound of someone breathing. The sound of rest. Sleep. Somewhere on the far side of the bed, my husband sleeps peacefully with his legs stretched comfortably and his mind turned off of the night. His arms are wrapped around a pillow, where not long ago I once laid. 

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I look across our bed full of babies, and I smile at my sleeping man. One day soon, I will again be wrapped in his arms asleep. My toddler will soon be a boy who will want to sleep in his own room and my infant will grow to big for my arms and instead sleep comfortably in his own bed. My 12 year old chihuahua will one day not be there to bite my toes when I stretch my legs. My California King bed will one day not feel so small.

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As I lay here twisted on my side, covered in sleeping cuties within an arms reach away from the love of my life, I will say a simple prayer of thanks for a life I never dreamed and don’t know how I deserved. I will cherish my crowded bed and my overflowing heart. I will be grateful for the restless night knowing I get to soak up the quiet moments of my babies growing while they sleep. Tonight, I may be restless but that’s ok when real life is better than my dreams. 

xoxo,
Tami

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