Lesson Plans and La Leche Meetings

trying to balance life as both mommy and teacher

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Let’s be honest, my blog hardly gets any action these days, and when I do blog Justin rarely gets mentioned unless it’s poking fun at him (read here), so I thought today on his 29th birthday I would post 29 fun(?) facts about our #1 guy…the good, the bad, the ugly 😉
  1. He’s one of the few people (or maybe he’s the only one) left still playing Pokémon Go and has to have the app open on our nightly walks so he can get his steps in for it.
  2. He hates eating meals outdoors.
  3. Once he falls asleep for the night, there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll be able to wake him up again. And if you do wake him up, he’ll most likely blurt out some off the wall statement.
  4. He goes along with all my crazy ideas, even if he absolutely hates them. Dress up as Willy Wonky? Sure. Attend MommyCon with me? Why not. Have our babies at home? Alrighty. Invite 100 people to our house for Bennett’s birthday? Ehhh. (But he still went with it).
  5. He likes to cruise in the left lane on the highway, even when I’ve told him that it’s against the law.
  6. He’s a Jordan tennis shoe junkie. He’s been known to set his alarm early on a Saturday morning for a new shoe release.
  7. He’s the best at playing with our kids. “Dad come wrestle me!” or “Dad play chase with us!” is a nightly request at our house.
  8. He’s a scotch man. If he pours himself a glass of scotch after the kids go to bed, I know what kind of day he had without even having to ask. 😉
  9. He has heart eyes for Teslas. If we could afford it, he would drive one in a heartbeat.
  10. He’ll research (almost) as much as me when it comes to the well-being of our kids.
  11. He loves listening to a good podcast.
  12. He has a ton of will power when it comes to food. My favorite thing is when we go out to eat and I want to indulge and he orders a salad. NOT.
  13. He does the best impressions of me and literally brings me to tears (laughing tears) when he imitates me.
  14. He’s really good at putting his dirty laundry reeeeaaalllly close to the dirty clothes basket, but not actually in it.
  15. The first (and last) time he went skiing resulted in knee surgery.
  16. He would much rather hire a professional than do a DIY project.
  17. On the flip side, he is really good at watching Youtube videos to learn how to do/fix something. He’s taken our vacuum apart many times and given it new life.
  18. He loves working out and going to the gym – something that we do not have in common.
  19. Most of the time he’s a realist, but there are certain things that he is forever optimistic about.
  20. He’s not afraid to tell it how it is. He doesn’t believe in beating around the bush, and doesn’t feel awkward in those kind of situations.
  21. He prefers cookie cake over real cake.
  22. He is able to strike up a conversation with anyone and is good in social situations – again something that we do no have in common.
  23. He won a coney eating contest and placed third in a wing eating contest.
  24. He’s always hated getting dirty, especially his clothes and hands. I wonder who our kids inherited that from??
  25. The majority of Mack’s wrestling figures were Justin’s. Justin was just as obsessed with his “guys” as Mack.
  26. He’s not the most spontaneous person and has been labeled a “fun sucker” a time or two.
  27. Throughout school he had two nicknames, “Sada” and “Hritz.” Both stuck and he still has friends that call him by those names. Even I will occasionally call him Hritz.
  28. He played basketball all throughout school and for two years in college, and he still plays with a group of guys some mornings before work (although it’s a much slower pace now hahaha).
  29. His number one priority is his family. He’d do pretty much anything to provide for us and make me and the kids happy. And really, what more can you ask for?!

Happiest of birthdays Jus! This is the 14th birthday I’ve celebrated with you, and I can’t wait to celebrate all the rest of them with you.


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Dear Elliot…


Dear Elliot,

This year has been a toughie. We’ve been through a lot of changes, and there’s been a lot of “new” you’ve had to adjust to. New house. New sibling. New preschool. We’ve had our ups and downs, and I’ve said on multiple occasions that four has been your most difficult age yet. Looking back, it’s completely unfair, but I think we’ve relied on you to handle all the change like an adult (or at least someone older than four). I realize now that any one of those things is a big change, let alone all of them pretty much at once. Then throw in all the time we’ve had to spend with Bennett on top of that, and of course you might not be a perfect angel all the time. As we close in on five, I can honestly say that even with some rough patches, year four with you has brought us so much happiness.

Elliot you are so many things. Smart. Sweet. Funny. Caring. Strong willed. Motherly. Organized. Creative. Dare I say Bossy. These are all wonderful things to be, and several of your traits are ones I see in myself. I think that’s part of our problem to be honest. We are so much alike and both want things done our own way that we butt heads a lot. I’m trying to get better at seeing things through your eyes and really listening to your thoughts and ideas. I know you have a method to your madness (just like I do), and I’m going to really try to let go and let you do things your own way. Even if it’s different than how I would do it.

At the end of the day, you still know how to melt my heart, bring a tear to my eye, and make me burst with pride that you’re mine. You sometimes tell me that I’m your best girl. But you my darling, are truly my best girl and I couldn’t ask for a more perfect daughter for our family.

Love you most!


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Our First Baby

It’s been a little over a month since we said goodbye to our first baby, our gentle giant, our Barkley, and there are still days I expect to see him lounging on the couch or pawing at the back door.


It’s funny how pets take a back seat once kids come along. There were (and are since we still have one dog…and a rabbit) multiple times when we’d get irritated with Barkley for being in the way, knocking kids over on accident, barking during nap time, etc. etc. It wasn’t until he was gone that we realized just how much a part of the family he was. Sure we didn’t take him on as many walks or car rides or ice cream outings once human babies came along, but that never bothered him. Barkley was always at the door greeting us when we came home, licking our faces whenever we sat on the floor, patiently lying still as toddlers used him as a jungle gym, and curling up in the kids’ bedrooms each and every night as their protector. He truly was the perfect family dog, and we miss him daily. Elliot brings him up often, sending nightly prayers to God asking that He take good care of Barkley and give him lots of hugs and kisses for us (cue all the momma tears). On the other hand, kids and their simple thinking is a blessing during times of loss. They constantly remind us that Barkley is in Heaven, running around in no more pain, devouring all the bones he desires, and tearing up stuffed animals to his heart’s content.


I know that pet death is a part of life and many people experience it, but it was uncharted territory for us. We did a few things with the kids to make Barkley’s last weeks enjoyable as well as to prepare the kids for what was about to happen. Besides having many open and honest age-appropriate conversations with the kids, we also bought a couple children’s books to help explain things. We read this and this quite a bit leading up to and after Barkley passed away. Each of us came up with an activity that we wanted to do with Barkley before he died and we made a “Barkley Bucket List” (car ride with the window down, ice cream treat, trip to the pet store, McDonald’s cheeseburger, and so on). And the best thing that we decided to do was family pictures with our ENTIRE family (kids + dogs). Sure it was a hot mess of kids not cooperating and untangling leashes 1,000 times, but we have the best photographer and I was confident she’d be able to pull it off. And did she ever! These family photos are some of my favorite ones ever, and we will cherish them forever.

So without further ado, a photo slideshow to remember the life of our Barkley James, Barkley boy, Barks, Puppa.

Rest In Peace and we’ll meet you at the rainbow bridge❤️



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Our NO, NO, NO Day

I know I hardly blog anymore, but I decided that sometimes during nap time/quiet time, it’s better for my sanity to do something for myself than to try to catch up on dishes, laundry, whatever. So today that’s exactly what I’m doing!

If you have small children, then you have probably read MY NO, NO, NO DAY! once or twice (or perhaps multiple times a week for the past three years).

Bennett has been extra fussy lately (we’re thinking he’s teething), which has resulted in some pretty sleepless nights. This morning he was up around 4:20 and was still fussing at 6:30, which is coincidentally when Macklin rises for the day…and that was the start of our NO, NO, NO DAY.


How I imagined our day going…


How our day actually went.

Today was just too much.

Too much fighting. (them)
Too much yelling. (me)
Too much whining. (them)
Too many threats. (me)
Too many tears. (them and almost me)
Too many messes. (them)
Too many “I’ll play with you after I (fill in the blank).” (me)

SIDE NOTE: Is anyone else terrible at actually playing with their kids? Just me? I’m really good at planning fun activities, art projects, etc. for them, but when it comes to sitting down and playing with them, I’m not so good. I always feel like I’m wasting time that I could be accomplishing something else, but I’m going to make it a serious priority to start making time just to play. Summer goal #1


A much needed reminder that they can all be content and sweet to each other at the same time.

The point of this post is not just to complain (although that’s how it comes across). It’s to say that if you’ve had a bad day like we’ve had today, tomorrow is a new day. As the book says “We all have those days sometimes, but perhaps you will be more cheerful tomorrow.” And bonus! Even though today seemed like the Mondayest Tuesday ever, just think when we wake up tomorrow, the week is already half over!

Now fingers crossed that tomorrow is also like little Bella’s and we’re cheerful ALL. DAY. LONG.

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Introducing Baby

I’m definitely NOT preparing to announce a new baby any time soon, but several of my friends are which has inspired this post. I thought it’d be fun to round up some of my favorite ways to introduce a new babe because who doesn’t love new babies?!



I love the idea of a simple swaddle so baby is the focus, and how gorgeous is that Pom swaddle?

If you know me, you know I’m a lover of June and January for my kids, and they just released their new Coming Home Collection full of adorable baby essentials. That snow set is perfection! Shop it now and receive an extra 20% off your first order.

Along the same lines as a swaddle are those sweet knotted gowns. I love the floral print, but there are gender neutral and boy colors that look just as cozy.

If you have your act together and have a name chosen well before D day, there are lots of personalized options to announce baby’s name. I love the little knotted hats and swaddle blankets, which is similar to what we did with Macklin (good thing we didn’t go this route with Bennett since we were planning on a girl name 😜). My absolute favorite is those personalized onesies which are so simple, but so cute and the name banners hung on the side of a hospital bassinet are just darling.

If you are waiting to see your new squish before deciding on a name, you can jump on the name tag or letter board craze, and personalize it after baby is earthside.

5august 1week bennett

You can’t go wrong, no matter what you choose because a new babe is sweet enough all on its own. So which one is your favorite?

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Life is Good

I’m going to keep this short and sweet…famous last words.

I’ve posted several times when life has been tough, but I want to make sure to also document when times are good. That way when times get tough again (and there will be more tough times), I can look back and remind myself that we will get through it.


Here we are six months into this three kid gig, and for the first time I feel like things are under control. All of Bennett’s major health concerns are resolved (for now), we’re starting to get into some semblance of a routine, and I feel confident caring for all three kids on my own. Sure our days are crazy, and if you walk in our house at any point during the day there will be some level of chaos, but it’s much more manageable and less overwhelming than it has been.


At a time when life could’ve ripped us apart, Justin and I are closer than ever and so blessed to have each other on this journey. The kids have adjusted to their new sibling, and seeing the bond that the three of them are building makes my heart burst (and makes me want 50 more babies). Life with a child with special needs will always have its challenges and struggles, but I never realized all the blessings and happiness that comes with it too. I’m really feeling content and at peace with how life is treating us at the moment, and I truly could not imagine being any happier than I am this moment.


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Dear Bennett (Months 2-4)

We’re going to pretend he’s not already 5 months old…oops!




My Dearest Bennett Boy,

These last few months have been a whirlwind of hospital stays, doctors appointments, and adjusting to new routines, but they’ve also been filled with love, joy, and happiness. You’ve truly taught us to slow down and enjoy the little things in life.

Every day with you is different and unpredictable, but we’re starting to get in a groove and figure things out. We know your quirks, your preferences, and the surefire ways to make you smile and laugh. We’re slowly putting the pieces of your puzzle together, and what a rewarding journey it’s already been.

There are times when I am not feeling very strong, and I ask God why He chose me to be your mother. I don’t feel like I’m cut out for the job. But then I’m quickly reminded that I need you about as much as you need me. You have taught me more in your short 4 (well 5…ahem) months of life, and I have a feeling there’s a lot more that you’re going to teach me as we walk this road.

My favorite times with you are in the quiet of the night (when your crazy siblings are asleep) and I can just hold you and try to memorize all your little features. When you and I lock eyes, I feel this deep connection and I just know that everything’s going to be alright. We’re going to be alright. There are so many uncertainties, but the one thing that I’m certain of is that my love for you is fierce, unwavering, and unconditional and I will not let anything stand in my way of giving you everything you need and deserve to be able to thrive.

You are loved by so many, sweet Bennett boy!