Raising Tots

Finding Nemo…Upside Down

Oh man! Major Mom fail!!

Colt LOVES water.  He loves spray bottles, aquariums, the pool… At the start of our 2017 Staycation Spring Break, Colt got to go pick out a pet fish for his special event that day.  After a few minutes of pointing to every single fish at PetCo, we decided on a pretty goldfish…poor thing.   Continue reading

In My Soul, Raising Teens, Raising Tots

7 Ways for Moms to Adore Themselves 

If you scroll back to the beginning, there came a point where I forgot to love myself.  But this blog is about reminding myself that I’m Adored– and so are you! I am in contact with Moms ALL. THE. TIME.  So many Moms of different ages and different walks of life.  And guess what? We all struggle with loving ourselves!  So here’s my list of how I remember to love myself…. and No, this doesn’t come natural to put loving myself first.  But I’ve learned it’s important, so here we go!

Colt is playing independently outside with his water table (WOW!) as I write this on my phone, so let’s just get right to it. I need to be better at loving ME if I’m going to love the other people & pets in my home!!

1- set the timer. 15 minutes the kids play quietly, you get to read, flip through a magazine. Kick your feet up. (Hope for the best!)

2- just like your husband should get time with his buddies (golf, poker, hiking, sporting events, whatever) you need to schedule time with your girlfriends. Dinner, shopping, coffee, The Bachelor Season Finale party, etc. LAUGH and cry with them!

3- take a shower. That’s great in itself (& sometimes a major milestone of the day) Add: Do a face mask. Pluck your eyebrows. Shave your legs. Feel human– even if there is a kid screaming for 10 minutes in the other room. They are developing their lungs….

4- have a quiet time. I like to read an inspirational blog post, Bible verse, chapter (or a few pages) of a book. Maybe you like to meditate or practice yoga. But steal some time- maybe 10-20 minute blocks for some quiet. (MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM…..)
5- have your husband ask, pick you up and take you on a date(you most likely need to give him instructions) Even if the neighbor kid watches the kids and you walk around the block holding hands. We may not get to be Cinderella in her fancy dress at the ball, but we should feel like a princess once in a while. #PrinceCharming

6- plan a day away. Aim for twice a year if you can. Stay at a friend’s house when they are on vacation if you don’t have the funds, get a hotel room with room service a robe and control of the remote if you can. Bring your journal, or a magazine, or just sleep. Time for you is important (see the theme here?) so plan for it.

7- the most important! SAY NICE THINGS TO YOURSELF. Yes. OUTLOUD. No one is listening- walk by a mirror and say “hey girl! Good to see you today! Wow! I love your hair!!” Or “girl, your butt looks great in those jeans (ok, yoga pants….) Love yourself!

I love you… you need to love you….if you are going to love the chaos, you have to start with your own! This week, WHEN you take some time to love yourself, share it on Social Media with me by using the hashtag #AdoredChaos!

PS– I LOVE the App Bitmoji….Throughout this post you met Mandy, the Bitmoji version!


Bigger isn’t always Better

Happy St Patty’s Day!

Probably Kelly’s favorite holiday of the year– and coincidentally we signed to purchase our home 11 years ago today.  Luck O’ the Irish!

There have been days where this house just doesn’t cut it.  I can’t stand the laundry room, there’s not enough room to entertain, don’t get me started on the closet space design…. but really?  I love our home.  I love our neighbors! And it’s full of 11 years of memories!

Just flipping through changes in Kai’s room floods back memories of playing My Little Pony, Barbie, Just Dance on Wii, family dinners, coloring Easter eggs, decorating Christmas cookies, “the talk”….. I love going through photos.  Pepto-Bismol pink was EXACTLY what she wanted when she chose her 1st paint color. Wow.  Kelly was THRILLED.  And it stayed that way for years, graduating with her age, but not losing that amazing hue.  I can’t find a photo, but it changed to celery green between these 2 fabulous designs…. thank you Grandma Brenda for helping me paint these stripes…I just can’t bring myself to cover them over like she’s asking…but I digress.  I’m sure it will be soon as we are approaching High School now.    (Notice the Lego Friends sets on display…what a sweet period of life that was!)

We’ve done some renovation over the years, personalizing and adding more space, always considering “What if we just move?”.  Refer back up- We love our neighbors! And although it may not be the perfect design, we love our house…our home.  Our little family has grown and changed through so much here.  We have celebrated & laughed here, we brought Colt home here and as we continue to change the look and feel both of the house and the people who reside inside, we are grateful.  We are grateful for each other, for a warm place that brings us comfort and where we can call HOME.

We love you little house!! Bigger isn’t always better!



In My Soul, Raising Teens, Raising Tots

Did you remember your Joy?

Hey Mom,

If you are having a day where your heart is mulling things over like mine today– maybe that overwhelmed feeling has grasped you again, or people are pushing in on your every button– you might need to remember this too– (and based on So. Many. Views. on my last post, I don’t think I’m the only one….)

It’s Just a Phase. Whatever it is, it will pass. We have to keep our eyes on the end goal. 

  1. Personal Joy. 
  2. Healthy kids who find joyful relationships in their lives. 
  3. Serving others, adding Joy to others lives. 

Others can’t steal our Joy once we know where it’s found. Maybe you don’t find your true joy like I find mine. It’s not in my accomplishments, my check marks, my physical appearance, my marriage or my kids. My Joy comes from being a daughter of the King. 

Thank you to my inner circle who’s got me. Sharing my frustration, encouraging me to believe the truth about myself and supporting me to make the healthy decisions that center me again in my Joy- I appreciate you more than you know. 

It’s my word of the year because I need to reflect on it everyday. And throughout the day:

  • What brings me true Joy?
  • Does this reaction steal my Joy?
  • Does this decision fit in my personal manifesto (see future post)?

So Mom, Step back. Go somewhere quiet or for a walk. Breathe. Remember you don’t have to do it alone. 
Love you,


In My Soul

Smiling on the outside, not so much on the inside

I’m going to be completely authentic here, it’s actually kind of scary to put out here for anyone to read.  But- It’s what I want this blog to be, its why I started it.  Every post I thought about publishing the last week seemed fake…forced.  I needed time to ponder this.

Do you ever step back, away from yourself even and think “How did I get like this?”

I heard this term in a podcast I was listening to last week at the gym…during some ME time I took…the only day I went to the gym in the last week and a half…. but I digress… this isn’t a confession…haha

Smiling Depression.  I’m familiar with Depression (which never seemed to fit me), Postpartum depression (I do believe I had after Colt was born), but WHAT…is Smiling Depression? Continue reading

Raising Teens, Raising Tots

I’m Not Married To Him…or Her

1 Corinthians 13:4-5: You hear this passage a lot in weddings. “Love is…..” beautiful. Meaningful. Completely fits the moment of 2 people coming together forever.
And then another love comes along. In my case a love that baked for 9 months; twice.  The love that comes with being a Mom.

Two favorite moments:

  1. At a wedding when the groom first gets a look at his bride (yes, that’s also from 27 Dresses!)
  2. Whenever I see the deep joy and love in Kelly’s eyes as he looks at Colt. {insert heart melting}

In my #AdoredChaos, I spend each day parenting two uniquely strong-willed children.  In a moment of weakness one afternoon, I escaped to my room and fell at the side of my bed on my knees to journal a prayer and spend a moment in silence.  I have resolved to do everything I can not to lose my mind temper and be a better Mom.  Then I read this passage.

Recently it has become abundantly clear that God was stretching me in patience, a fruit of the spirit that I don’t eat enough of.  I am passionate! I make quick decisions! I fall in between the generation that knew how to wait and the one who wants immediate gratification– I’m basically the generation where the bridge broke down when patience was crossing.  So now, of course, my patience is being tested every day. (our hands aren’t for hitting, put down your phone, is that how we eat our food, are you sure that’s the right way to manage your time…) Moms!!  You know– it’s the script coming out of your mouth- some call it nagging- before you can stop yourself.  We all have this dialogue right?

Kindness isn’t being nice.  Kindness is telling the truth in love.  Sometimes I feel unkind and am at a loss on how to respond. I’m so thankful for tools being taught to me.  Practice, practice, practice….

Questions do creep in…WHY? This isn’t fair, that Mom gets to…. I work to keep envy in check. I do think he’s better than everyone else. 😉 She’s smart and she’s beautiful and she’s strong… 😍 I can be boastful at times, even if it’s just in my heart.


im-a-great-momFor over a decade, I have truly felt that I’m a great Mom.  I would seek guidance when I needed it, but overall, I thought parenting came pretty naturally to me and I’ve had good examples ahead of me.  Conceited? No….confident. But lately, humility had to kick in to learn how to help him. Maybe I didn’t have all the answers and parenting can be harder than I thought.  Improperly….. rude.  There are times I wish I could take back my words, passive aggressive comments or pointing out a mistake before celebrating the good.

To a fault, I put my kids before myself and my husband.  I’ve had to learn to be a little more selfish and set aside time for me, time for him with dates and quality time.  I’ve actually had to ask his forgiveness for this.  And a lot of that “me time” is from 4-6am or 9-11pm….and an occasional escape with a book or with girlfriends….OK! And MAYBE Social Media perusing…GUILTY!

I lose my temper when provoked.  Coupled with lack of patience, I have taught myself to walk away and breathe for a moment…20 moments.  Some days I succeed– star on the chart for me!! Some days I fight not to scream, yell and fly off the handle.

And a list of wrong-doings.  I don’t like when others keeps lists like that about me, but I’m guilty of doing it to myself- and my kids.  Bringing up a past mistake in the middle of a discussion or argument…we need to learn from the past in order to move forward – no list needed.  Grace.  Forgiveness. Growth.

After all this, what I know to be true is 💗💗I LOVE MY KIDS!💗💗  God’s word challenges me to love them better.  To make ME better.  To serve Him, by serving THEM.  With a village of other moms around me, I will love them patiently & kindly.  I hope you’re finding that village here too in your own #AdoredChaos!

In My Soul

Ocean tides….

I’ve said it before I’m surrounded by strong, inspirational women- and I LOVE it!!  Some  organically cross paths with me, some I seek out, sometimes both.  I recently had a take away from Coletta Smith, the new Mrs. MHC Pastor’s Wife 😍 “There are things that can be toxic for us during  a season; they aren’t necessarily bad, they may even be good things, but things that aren’t good for us at that time.  Are we willing to allow God to move us to a different place for that season?”  Mandy’s on the move ladies (and gents!)…. Continue reading