motherhood. it isn’t what you think.


Motherhood is quite ordinary. My version is anyway.

It’s yoga pants and dirty dishes and diaper explosions. Motherhood is meal planning and mountains of laundry and a soaking wet floor during bath time. It’s being on duty every second of every day, never sleeping soundly ever again and being kicked in the stomach, by tiny feet, all night long. It’s cuddling a feverish toddler instead of mopping the floors. Motherhood is first steps and first dates and first jobs.

Motherhood is grainy selfies in the mirror with no make up on because your life isn’t glamorous but it is your own version of perfect. And that’s worth documenting.



Motherhood is exhausting and overwhelming and magnificent.



Motherhood is deeply personal and wonderfully unique to each woman.

Motherhood is a woman working two jobs and going to college online so she can take care of her little ones. It’s tears cried for the lives of babies lost or never held. It’s heartbreak in the doctor’s office when fertility treatments fail again. Motherhood is a mama flying across the globe to hold her three year old baby for the very first time. It’s a second grade teacher bringing snacks for her students who she knows didn’t have breakfast at home. It’s an auntie playing pirates because they asked so nice, how could she resist?

Motherhood is faithful. Motherhood is brave and courageous and strong. Motherhood is compassionate and gentle and home. Motherhood is a daily battle for patience and grace and joy.

Motherhood is love.



Every woman is writing a story, and in each story motherhood will look different. But whether a woman has twelve kids or zero kids isn’t the point.

The point is that every woman was created to give life.

The unending capacity for deep, life-giving love, is not only given to women who bear children. It lives in all women and is integral to every single relationship we nurture.

Where a woman plants her love, beauty will grow.

So, the simple truth is this…

Motherhood is the quiet place in a woman’s heart whispering that her love will change the world.

So today, on Mother’s Day, I’m choosing to celebrate all women and the gentle, compassionate, stubborn, and fierce way that we love our people. It’s a world-changing sort of love, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.


to the teenager who just drove 60 mph down my street.


I know you don’t know me.

In fact you were driving so fast I doubt you even saw me fly out of my front door trying desperately to catch a glimpse of your license plate so that I could call the police.

Yep. I’m that person.

I grew up. Got old. Became a parent. And now I’m out to destroy all of your fun.

Because here’s the thing. Your sort of fun? It gives me nightmares.

I was shaking as I watched you tear recklessly down my street with no regard for your own life, let alone the life of anyone else.

Let me tell you something I doubt you ever considered. Lean in and listen real close.

While you were taking a joy ride through suburbia, there was a three year old on a tricycle and a five year old close to outgrowing his training wheels, riding down the street.

I heard your souped up engine revving. I knew how fast you were going before I sprinted to my front door. I saw your used Pontiac for a split second. I heard your unnecessarily loud bass. And I caught a glimpse of you and your buddies having the time of your life.

You didn’t have a care in the world.

Can I ask you a question?

How would your world have changed if my five year old son, his name is Ezra by the way, had ridden off the curb? What could you have possibly done if my three year old, his name is Hudson but I call him Tiny, had disobeyed his daddy (as he sometimes does. I mean he is three after all.) and darted into the street?

You would not have been able to stop.

My world would have shattered because you thought you were invincible.

Let that sink in for a minute.

I was seventeen once. I get it. I know it feels like nothing can stop you. But that’s a load of crap.

Every single choice you make has a consequence. That freedom of choice is one of the most incredible and beautiful and terrifying gifts in this life.

Your choices determine your future.

Your choice tonight could have ended someone else’s future. And your own.

I know I said I wanted to call the police on you. And part of me still does. But if I was given the option I think I would make a different call.

I would call your mama.

Because even though you managed to piss me off in two seconds flat, once I knew my babies were safe, I had a thought.

You are somebody’s baby too.

Every single kid in that car is loved by someone, probably lots of someones, and if I were your mama or your aunt or your grandma or your fifth grade teacher, I would want to know you were being an idiot.

So I could slap some sense into you. (Not actually slap. Relax. It’s a figure of speech.)

I know you feel a freedom in being a teenager, probably almost legally an adult. But it’s only fair that you know the truth. It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 21 or 45 or 73. You don’t ever get to stop being somebody’s baby.

Ezra and Hudson will never stop being my babies.

And tonight you helped me realize something. As they get older, become teenagers, start driving and dating and owning smart phones. As they search the world just to find themselves. I do not want to be the cool mom.

I always thought I would be the cool mom, but I just realized how desperately I don’t ever want to be her.

I want to be the mom who makes sure parents are home before my kids go to a friend’s house.
I want to be the mom who asks nosy questions and makes her sons talk to her.
I want to be the mom who holds her boys to the highest standards when it comes to how they treat women.
I want to be the mom who takes away driving privileges if I find out my kids are speeding through neighborhoods.
I want to be the mom who is aware of what my kids are doing online.
I want to be the mom who doesn’t look the other way when her kids act the way society says kids will act.

And if all of that makes me the least cool mom ever? That is fantastic.

Because I know that my boys were created to be amazing men and it is the greatest privilege in my life to be able to guide them on that journey.

And you, dear speeding driver, I believe that for you too. I don’t know you. Or your story. Or who is championing you along the way. My prayer tonight is that someone is. And my guess is that if I were to call your mama or your daddy, and tell them how reckless you were tonight, that you wouldn’t see your beloved Pontiac for quite some time.

See as parents, no matter what the media says or how they try to pit us against each other by talking about parenting styles and discipline tactics and organic vs non organic food, the truth is that we all know parenting is the single hardest job one could ever take on and we need each other.

I hope when my kids do something stupid (as they inevitably will) another parent loves them enough and respects me enough to call me. And I will do the same for them. Because it takes a village. A really freaking big village.

I don’t think you’re a bad kid. I think it’s quite possible you’re a wonderful, funny, intelligent, compassionate kid. You would probably call me ma’am if we ever met and I would tell you never to call me that again. It’s one of the things I like least about the south.

But tonight? Tonight you made a bad choice.

I am so thankful that for today the worst thing that happened is you left skid marks on my street.

But what about next time?

I’m crossing my fingers that there isn’t a next time, but make no mistake. If you speed down my street again I will jump in my minivan and I will follow you to your house. I will knock on your door.

And I will tell your mama everything that happened.

Because every mama deserves the chance to keep her baby safe.

Safe from others. Safe from themselves. Safe.

We can’t protect you from everything. But we spend every single day trying our very best to do just that.

Help us out, won’t you?

The owner of the voice you heard screaming at you from blocks away and the mama of these two babies.


{oh look, i created a monster.} when spirited parents have spirited children.


2:30am this morning. I heard my three year old calling for me. Most of the time if I go lay with him he will fall back to sleep quickly. Other times he is awake for hours. I always know within ten seconds of entering his room which one of those scenarios I’m walking into.

If he cuddles up next to me and closes his eyes, I am in the clear. However, if instead of cuddles he blurts out, “I’m so hungwy!” I know I’m in trouble.

This morning he was hungry.

I got him a banana while he cried because, “it’s gonna take you a long time!” Typically getting a banana takes me anywhere from 12-15 seconds, but when you’re that hungry I guess it could feel like an eternity. Maybe. Possibly. Probably not.

I gave him the banana. He held onto the banana while he wiped his tears and sniffled, still recovering from the long wait and the trauma of it all. Then somehow, tragically, the overripe banana broke right in half.

His eyes grew wide with horror.

I gasped audibly.

All of the things hit the fan in that moment.


This kid is serious about his food. When he is hangry it is not pretty. I’m the same way, so I guess he comes by it honestly. But when you’re hangry, and you’re three, and you’re half asleep, there is no reasoning with you.

His hysterics woke the whole house. He needed a new banana RIGHT NOW! But, as fate would have it, that poor broken banana was the last banana in the whole house. (Note to self. Next time buy more bananas than you could ever possibly need. And then get one more just to be safe.) I told him so and knew that in his mind there was no reason good enough to warrant me not producing a new banana right then and there.

That scene lasted almost an hour.

Because when your banana is broken, the only possible solution is to get another banana.


That’s the thing with three-year-old logic. It is confident and sure and incapable of seeing how any other point of view could possibly be right. It knows what it wants and when things don’t go its way, the wrath is very real. Also, it doesn’t care who is watching. How public their display might be. They will fight for their truth no matter what.


This afternoon we went to Whole Foods. I quickly grabbed the two things I needed and made a beeline for the cashier. The day had already been rough, I had chased my kid around the salad bar island for too long while he laughed hysterically AT me, and for my sanity I needed to get out of there. Little did I know my tiny hurricane had the grand finale up his sleeve.

As I checked out his eyes fell on the carts from hell. You know the ones I’m talking about. The shopping cart with an entire kids car attached to the front. It’s long and impossible to steer and you will always clip someone in the ankles while driving it.

Hudson took off running and practically dove headfirst into the plastic police car. I let him sit there and honk the horn while I paid one million dollars for toothpaste. Maybe he could just get it out of his system.

Denial is such a wonderful place to be.

As I gathered my bags I told him we needed to go. He looked at me like I had lost my mind. He gestured frantically at my shopping bags, tears already coursing down his cheeks, and screamed at me.

“NO!!!!! Put all of that back on the shelf!!!! We have to start over!!!!!!”

I laughed. Out loud. Because I knew he was serious and I knew what was coming. And sometimes you laugh so you don’t cry.

I told him I was so sorry he felt sad, I know he loves this cart. Maybe next time we can use it.

“PUT THE FOOD BACK! We have to start over!!!!!”

Sometimes you can pretend no one is staring at you if you just don’t look up. I zeroed in on my boy’s face and tried to prevent a scene without restocking my sea salt chick peas. I told him I would put the grocery bags into the police car cart and we could drive the new cart to the car.

You would have thought I suggested he give up cheese.

He was now screaming at full volume, face red and tear-stained, I was pretty sure he was going to hyperventilate as he likes to do when he’s really angry. I knew what I had to do.

I crouched down and basically climbed into the cop car to get my arms around him. I wrestled him out of the car, he was flailing and screaming and furious. And the ridiculous thing is I understood why he was mad. He saw a problem. He knew how to fix it. And I wasn’t listening.

Three-year-old logic does not like to be ignored.

Spirited three-year-old logic becomes indignant, and a little violent.

I hoisted my baby boy, who is filled with so much fire, onto my hip. I pushed our cart with the malfunctioning wheel, out of the store, past the staring shoppers, across the parking lot, while   holding on for dear life to a flailing, and surprisingly strong, three-year-old who was not getting his way.

We somehow made it to the car, he eventually calmed down and fell fast asleep. My head was pounding, my nerves frayed, and I needed chocolate like now.


I realized there are four ways to handle spirited three-year-old logic.

  1. Scream and cry louder than them.
  2. Give in to their every demand.
  3. Never go out in public ever again.
  4. Be the adult, choose my words carefully, and help my baby learn how to be in control of his emotions. Understand that the process will be a long one and the journey will not always be smooth, but he is so worth it.

As much as number one seems easier and who doesn’t love a good cry? Today I realized all over again the gift that is my youngest son. He is wild, he is fire, he is spirited, he is passionate and he is strong.


It’s easy for me to see the naughty, to hear the defiance, and want to change his behavior. But once I’m calm, once I stop and breathe, I remember. My greatest responsibility as a mama is not to force my child to fit inside a box of stereotypes, or to make sure he conforms to a list of who he should be and how he should act.

As his mama my job is to love every single part of who he was created to be. I get to celebrate the person he is, encourage his strengths and challenge him in areas where I know he can grow.

I never want that fire in his spirit to be snuffed out. I want it to be used for the extraordinary things I know he is capable of. I just want to teach him how to not let broken bananas or police car shopping carts turn his world upside down.


And if I want to teach him self-control, I guess I better exercise my own as well. Because, if you ask my mama she will tell you. The child I call Tiny, the one who tests every limit and toes every line, the one who kisses me fierce and hugs me tight. This little person is the spitting image of his mama. Once upon a time I toed every line and tested every limit and made my fair share of public scenes. I knew I was right and hated to be told I was wrong. And God gave me a mama strong enough to handle my fire but gentle enough to teach that red-headed hurricane how to be the very best version of me she could possibly be.


And she taught me that motherhood is far from easy. There are days I will worry, days I will cry, days I will scream. There will be days like today where the battle of wills seems more like survival of the fittest. But the truth is, the beauty of seeing your child become who they were created to be, playing a role in shaping a life, cheering on someone you believe in more than you ever thought possible, it makes all of those days so very worth it.


On those difficult days, I am so thankful that His mercies are new every morning.

Also, chocolate is a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism.


if you’re wondering why i’m terrified of peanuts.

I haven’t eaten peanuts since 2008.

I used to eat extra crunchy Jif by the spoonful and call it dinner. I needed peanut butter like most adults need coffee. Now I won’t touch anything with peanuts anywhere in the ingredient list.

But why? It’s simple really.

I’m scared of peanuts.

I see that confused look on your face and I truly can’t blame you. I also know your next question.

Are you allergic to peanuts or something?

No. But that is a logical conclusion. Unfortunately anxiety is the opposite of logic.

Anxiety. My lifelong nemesis. A constant companion for most of the days I can remember. However in 2008 my chronic, but underlying, anxiety disorder became a full blown panic disorder.


I was pregnant. Hormones are more powerful than I ever realized. And I lived in crisis mode for nine months. I became paralyzingly afraid that I had developed a severe peanut allergy and if I ate one the worst would happen.

Honestly, peanuts were the least of my worries.

Every second of my life was shrouded in morbid fears that I could not escape. Daily tasks were now risky and dangerous. My physical symptoms spiraled out of control and I rarely left my bed.

And I knew it was crazy. I knew I sounded nuts. I knew no one else was worried about falling through a sewer grate or contracting every deadly disease mentioned on the evening news. I knew not everyone was convinced they were dying.

But you try reasoning with someone knee-deep in a panic attack. It is not typically an effective approach.

Someday I will share my full story of healing and restoration. It would be approximately 79,823,987,564 pages long, but the description on the back would read something like this:

“When an ordinary day becomes the day you have your first panic attack, life probably won’t ever be the same. Six years later I look back on my journey and see the darkest storms of my life but I also see healing, restoration, and hope. Those storms caused total devastation. I was obliterated and left for lost. But hope doesn’t give up. Hope believes, it trusts, it stays. Hope rebuilds what was destroyed. Hope sees what is impossible and knows Jesus still can. Today I can’t believe where I was, how far I’ve come or the beauty of the person rebuilt from that place of desperation and loss. But I know one thing for sure, there is purpose in our pain. Also, I still don’t eat peanuts, but I like to consider that a cute little battle scar.”

Anxiety tried to destroy me. It stole so much, and it will always be a part of my story. But it will not win. Maybe it’s a part of your story, too. Hear me say this. It does not have to win.

I’m not here to talk about how medication or therapy or acupuncture or diet or Jesus (well, I’m always a fan of Jesus) will be your quick fix. I’m not talking about how I beat anxiety and because this and this worked for me it will work for you. I believe with all of my heart that each story is different. Each healing journey is different. But most of all I believe that anxiety does not get to win. Once upon a time I couldn’t imagine beating it and I needed someone to remind me. Some days I still need the reminder.


I have two babies now. They hate it when I call them babies but I tell them to deal with it because they’ll be my babies tomorrow and when they go to prom and when they have babies of their own. I’ll always kiss them in public too. But I digress.

I have two babies. They are the best thing I have ever done, the most precious thing in my life and that is some scary business.

Mixing motherhood with anxiety?

It’s a perfect storm really.

Like I didn’t have enough anxiety ammunition before there were two tiny people I would do anything for.


Now I have to keep them safe? I’m in charge of them? Me? The one who is afraid of peanuts and taxi drivers? Now I have to worry about choking hazards and SIDS and correctly installing a car seat?

(Insert a myriad of colorful language here.)

But hold on. I didn’t see this coming. And I have a sneaking suspicion that you didn’t either. Yes you, mama. The one almost ready to give birth or with a tiny one in your arms while you read this. The one who fights fear all day every day. The one who maybe feels like less than a great mama because anxiety monopolizes your time and your sleep and your smile. I’m talking to you. Listen to me.

If you’ll let them, your tiny child will be the catalyst for healing in your life.


Life is terrifying. We need only turn on the news to understand that this world is broken and life is fragile. It always has been and it always will be. We worry because the worst can happen and someday it might.


Life is more wonderful than it is terrifying. Sometimes I just forget.

When I look at my boys I know that worry is not the legacy I want to pass on. Anxiety is not their birthright. Fear will not define them.

So I fight.

I have fought for six years. I have spent endless hours, and money I didn’t have, to find answers. I have prayed desperate and when words failed me I know Jesus understood my tears. I have doubted. I have questioned. I have been angry and defeated and fatigued. I have screamed at my God in one breath and begged him to save me in the next. I tried to walk away but he followed me.


And in the worst of the terrible moments, when fear was doing a victory lap, I looked into the faces of the babies I adore and I knew if I didn’t want to fight for me I needed to fight for them. I don’t want to teach them a lifestyle of worry. I won’t.

Today I can hardly believe how far I’ve come. The months of constant panic seem more like a bad dream than a life that I lived. But I did live them. I still worry more than most. Anxiety grips me when I least expect it and takes my breath away. But it no longer controls me.

I don’t know what your journey has been like. I don’t know how you will find healing. But I know it is possible. I know you are worth fighting for. I know my Jesus never leaves your side.

I know my boys may someday face fear that feels unbeatable. That thought brings me to my knees. Not my babies. Not them. Please, no.

I can’t protect them from everything. Including their own fears. But I can show them what it looks like to never give up. I can show them that prayer changes things. I can be an example of vulnerability and honesty and willingness to share my journey if it could possibly help one person. I can discuss anxiety like the true thief it is instead of teaching them to be ashamed or embarrassed by it. I can teach them that life is a gift and to celebrate the beauty instead of being paralyzed by fear.

I can teach them that if a day comes when fear feels too strong that there is always hope.

I will show them that sometimes true courage is driving a car for the first time in half a decade. Tell them that bravery is not just for knights and ninjas. Sometimes the bravest person is the one who flies across the country by herself, shaking and sweating, because anxiety sucks but Jesus makes me brave.

And who knows. Maybe someday I’ll show them that healing is eating a handful of peanuts. Unless you’re actually have a peanut allergy. Then please do not eat a handful of peanuts.


ten things my husband can sleep through. and why it makes me crazy.

You guys. I am so tired.

So very tired.

I blame it on the fact that I don’t think I’ve achieved REM sleep since my first child was born. That is almost six years people. Six years! That’s a long freaking time to be half awake.

Last night my three year old and my almost six year old took turns waking up every two hours just to torture me and also to remind me why another newborn is just not gonna happen right now.

Sometimes I think about how tired I am and I get angry.

When an Irish girl gets angry it is not pretty. Trust me. I get angry because no matter how hard I try, no matter how long my day, how busy we were, how excited I am for sleep, once my head hits the pillow at night I am just laying there waiting, expecting, knowing, that the second I give in to true deep sleep it will happen.

A child is going to climb into my bed and knee me in the gut for the rest of the night. Someone will need a drink. At least one child will develop a mystery nighttime only illness that will definitely be gone when the sun comes up but for now it is terrible and life threatening and the only thing that will heal them is for me to not sleep at all ever again. There will be a wet bed. A spontaneous bloody nose. Or a dog will vomit ON MY PILLOW.

If I go to sleep something will happen to destroy that sleep so I will just never let myself fully sleep again because then I can’t be disappointed when they literally rip my dreams away from me.

Then I glance over to the other side of the bed and I see my handsome, funny, smart, loving husband sleeping like it is truly his job and he is the employee of the freaking month.

How dare he knock me up and then get a good night’s sleep every single night for the duration of my kid’s childhood while I lay awake and do all of the worrying.

And honestly? I want to smack him. Right there in the chiseled jawline. 

Who am I kidding. He would just sleep right through it.

He has always been able to sleep right through it.

One time I handed him our newborn son because I was deteriorating fast under the pressure of being a new mom, having breasts that felt like they were on fire every time that little person tried to nurse, and zero sleep. I slept hard that night. It was bliss. Then in the morning my husband informs me that he has no recollection of actually being handed the baby and he woke up in the hallway, carrying my child, not knowing how long he had been pacing in his sleep.

He was never allowed to help with the children at night ever again. For their safety and my sanity.

And so he slept. And I let him. But I didn’t like it.

I did actually try to ask him for help at night one more time with our second son. I called his name. I didn’t yell. I didn’t shake him. Just tried to wake him up gently. We lived in Hawaii at the time and our apartment had recently been invaded by enormous centipedes. When he heard me call his name something in him assumed there was a centipede crawling ON him. He jumped out of bed to save himself and RAN INTO THE WALL.

That was the end of asking him for help at night.

During the day we are a team. A task force. An unstoppable parenting duo.

At night?

Not so much.

His sleeping skills are so impressive I’ve made a list of all the incredible events he has managed to sleep through.

10 things my husband can sleep through

  1. A screaming newborn at 2am. No matter how long they scream, no matter how long I laid there and pretended to be asleep to see if he would wake up and get his child, he never stirred.
  2. Being sprayed in the face by an out of control stream of breast milk while the baby screams because he can’t latch on and I cry because I can’t remember what sleep feels like.
  3. Middle of the night snack and drink requests. He snores while I’m a waitress at a 24 hour diner.
  4. Croup attacks, puking kiddos, and growing pains.
  5. Getting peed on by a three year old. The kid wakes up. Mama wakes up. Daddy sleeps in the soggy sheets. 
  6. Seventeen alarm clocks.
  7. Me, throwing the curtains open, and yelling that we have to leave the house in three minutes.
  8. Me, shaking him violently, and screaming that we have to leave the house in thirty seconds.
  9. Dogs barking two inches from his ear.
  10. Brothers fighting, biting, pinching, and kicking. On top of him. All 85 pounds of them crushing his skull. And he’ll never know.

But we all know the one thing he would wake up for. Every. Single. Time. I won’t say it here because my mother-in-law reads my blog. (Hi mom!) But you know it and I know it and that’s all that matters.

Almost seven years into marriage we have reached an understanding. He gets to sleep. He also gets to do the dishes. I’m still tired but I really hate doing dishes so we call it a deal. And we keep the peace.


See. Peace.

#helovesme #johnnyandgingerforever #heapprovedthispost

Okay now tell me, so I know I’m not the only one, what ridiculousness does your husband sleep through?

confessions of an impatient mom.

They say patience is a virtue. I looked up the definition of patience, just to see if maybe there was a loophole I could cling to for dear life and claim to posses said virtue.

Patience. The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Well crap. That settles it.

I am the most impatient person in the world.


I have never been a patient person. Growing up I would see something I wanted and immediately the obsession would begin. I would harass my parents, think about it constantly, there may have been some whining involved. Charming right? I was also pretty good with words so I could usually talk my way into things.

Just last week I found a three page essay I wrote to my parents when I was fifteen years old. It was typed, with proper heading, and entitled “The Pros and Cons of a Cellular Phone.” It included golden arguments such as, “If I am ever with one of my friends and they run out of gas or they have a flat tire, someone kidnaps us etc, and they don’t have a phone, I will have one.” I rocked that neon yellow phone hard.

One day I showed up at my house with a dog that my friend was giving away, because the second I saw that pup, I desperately needed a dog. We had Maggie for thirteen years.

Waiting for Christmas morning was torture. Forget about college application responses. And sitting by the phone wondering when that super cute boy was going to call me? No way. I would just call him. Patience may be a problem, but boldness I posses.

I think we all have stories like this. Learning patience is part of growing up. Controlling our reactions is part of maturing. Realizing when something is a want and not a need, I think they call that adulthood. Living with life’s little annoyances, is something we all do. Nobody enjoys slow drivers, or traffic jams, or long lines at target. But most of the time we don’t fly off the handle, yelling at the cashier to hurry it up or lay on our horn in standstill traffic because we think it will magically make things change. (Notice I said most of the time. There’s always that one horn honker.) So then we think wow, I’m a really cool, calm, collected, person. My patience is to be admired. At least that’s what I thought.

Then I had kids.


Two of them.


My days were suddenly filled with breastfeeding and cuddling and kissing and staring. My nights were no longer filled with sleep. It is so much harder to feel wonder and awe when your exhaustion is overwhelming. When I heard my tiny son cry in the middle of the night my immediate reaction was not joy and delight. It was frustration, maybe even a twinge of annoyance. Then the entire time I fed him, I was racked with guilt because I wasn’t loving every single second of this motherhood journey. I was tapping my foot and waiting impatiently for him to fall back to sleep so I could also. What was wrong with me?

Toddlerhood came quickly. So did my second son. Managing a two year old and a newborn is similar to climbing Mount Everest. But probably a little bit harder. In my postpartum haze, still nursing a toddler as well as a ravenous newborn, and sleeping almost never, I wondered how we would make it.

But we did, and now here we are.




The last five years have tested me and stretched me and broken me in so many ways. This journey of motherhood is not for the faint of heart. But it is for the heart who knows imperfection is beautiful and that in our weakness He makes us strong.

The reality is this.

I still sigh too often while they search long for the right pair of shoes. I hurry them more than I let them tarry looking at a tiny bug. My words feel sharp when they delay bedtime or don’t clean up right away. There are days my hands are too busy with a to do list and I know I have missed cuddles we both needed, giggles that bring joy uncontainable, and quiet moments that I cannot steal back.

You see I am still not a patient person. But I do pray for patience every single morning, the second my eyes open and I remember that his mercies are brand new right now and today is a whole new chance to love better, speak gently, stare longer, and choose my words with meticulous care.

I recently read these painful but beautiful words from Mr. Jon Bloom, the president of Desiring God. “The pattern in everything is this, the greater joys are obtained through struggle and difficulty and pain – things you must force yourself to do when you don’t feel like it.”

I always feel like loving my boys deep. But I do not always feel like fighting for the discipline and self-control required to exercise true patience. Sometimes it is easier to throw a tantrum when they throw a tantrum. Or yell at them from across the room instead of dropping my task and calmly discipling them in the way the should go. Too many times I have let words come out sharp and painful instead of breathing deep and choosing words that encourage and heal.

To live a life of patience takes energy and dedication and consistency and a whole lot of patience. It is mundane and exhausting and overwhelming. It is a battle with the strong will of a three year old who knows better than you. It is a struggle with the questionable logic of a five year old.

It is an opportunity to fall on your knees.

When the day is too long and the bickering is too loud. When you cannot do it all and the beds are undone. When they need all of you but you have nothing left.

When motherhood seems too tall a mountain to climb.


He is enough.

The God that created me and you, the one who loved us first and always. He knows our hearts, our hopes, our dreams, and our weaknesses. He invites us to come to Him. He wants us to ask Him to be strong where we are not. He gives patience. He gives self-control. He gives peace.

But sometimes in the busy I forget to ask. Which is really a shame because oh, when I do ask. When I remember that I cannot carry the weight of our tiny little world alone. When I lay on my face, words fall short, but tears are the cry of my heart. When I decrease so He can increase. Our life changes.

This surrender, this daily acknowledgement that I need Him so desperately, it’s not easy. It is a struggle. It is a daily choice. It is the breaking of patterns and pride worn deep into the fabric of who I am and who I do not want to raise my boys to be. So I work hard to remember, I fight long to die to myself so these boys can see their mama choose Jesus time and time again.

It may not be simple but it is so very worth it.

You see my boys don’t need me to be perfect. They need me to be a mama willing to admit mistakes, ask forgiveness, pray hard, then pray some more, practice what she preaches, laugh hard and love deep. They need a mama who may not be a patient person but who is committed to learning more and more every day how to practice the art of patience.

And that I can do.

So can you.

Along the journey, let’s always remind ourselves. Practice does not make perfect, but practice does become habit. And I want to be in the habit of living a life worthy of their imitation and admiration. Also all of their belly laughs.


hi. my sons have long hair. now watch your mouth.


I always knew my boys would have long hair. I mean the thought of cutting it when they were little just never crossed my mind. What’s more adorable than a sweet baby boy? A sweet baby boy with long gorgeous hair of course. Admittedly this is my own personal opinion, but I stand by it.


What I never expected, and in hindsight possibly should have seen coming, was the countless people who would glance at my boys for a split second and automatically assume they are girls. It happens ALL. THE. TIME. And I really don’t mind. I look at my kids and I see boys with long hair, but I also understand how a passerby could glance at them and make a quick assumption that long hair equals a girl.


It’s not always a true assumption, but it is an innocent one.


When someone refers to one of my boys as a girl, I smile kindly and let them know that he is in fact a boy, with long hair. Most people quickly apologize or simply say, “Oops! of course he is!” and we move on. But sometimes the conversation takes a slightly different path, and then I start to mind.

This was my interaction with a kind and well-meaning cashier last week.

Cashier: Oh she’s beautiful!

Me: Thank you! He is actually a boy, he just has long hair. (Somewhere in the background the child in question is interjecting with an adamant, “I am not a girl!”)

Cashier: What?! (pointing directly at my son while my son sees and hears the whole conversation) You’re telling me this is a boy?

Me: (smiling but desperately trying to move the conversation in a different direction) Yep!

Cashier: (shaking head in disbelief) Seriously? 

Me: I throw his hair in an ponytail when it’s extra hot out. But trust me, he’s a boy. 

Cashier: (jaw literally dropping) You do what?! (looks around frantically) POLICE! POLICE!

The cashier drops the act, winks at me, finishes bagging my purchases and calls me sweetheart as we walk away.

(end scene)

Because really, I felt like I was in a bad sitcom just then.

The issue is not that people mistake my boys for girls. The issue is not that I don’t want anyone to ever say anything that might possibly offend one of my offspring. The issue is not that the cashier suggested I should be arrested for putting my son’s hair in a ponytail.  The issue is not that I can’t take a joke.

You want to know the issue?

When you make jokes about who my child is or is not, when they hear you say that something about them is unacceptable, when you point at them and question what they know to be true about themselves, you change the person they see in the mirror.

The heart of the matter has nothing to do with my boy’s hair length, and everything to do with adults thinking before they speak to kids.


Even as adults, the words people say to us are powerful. A stranger on social media leaving a hurtful comment can bring all of my insecurities screaming to the surface. How much harder for a child, one who is just beginning to discover who they are and who they want to become, to navigate sarcastic or joking comments centered around their identity.

You can call me dramatic, it has happened before, but consider this.

We see so many kids, children so young, struggling with anxiety and depression and self harm and eating disorders and on and on. So often the blame is placed on their peers or Hollywood. I can’t help but wonder, if they were asked, how many of those precious kids carry deep wounds from the careless words of an adult.

I do not think that the sweet, misguided, cashier wounded my son. In fact my three-year old has seemingly forgotten the whole interaction. But last year, after too many similar situations, my oldest son asked me to cut his long hair. His words broke my heart. “I love my long hair mama, but I don’t want people to think I’m a girl anymore.” We cut his hair the next day. He stared at himself long in the mirror and I asked if he liked his haircut. He nodded, “Yeah, I like it. I liked my long hair better, but now no one will call me a girl.”


I am left wondering, how many thousands of interactions will my boys have with adults during these precious, formative years of childhood? How many of them will be life-giving? How many will cause them to question their value? Their identity? Their purpose?

How many children have changed who they were because someone told them what they are, who they are, is less than enough?


I cannot protect my sons from everything. Or even most things. Trust me, I have moments I want to be like the mom from Bubble Boy and never let them out into the real world, lest they scrape their knee or get knocked over by a bully or catch the common cold. I sometimes mutter under my breath in the grocery store aisles, while my kids beg for Froot Loops, about food dyes and gmos and evil marketing companies preying on children with cartoons and preservatives. I have had my heart-broken watching other kids ignore or refuse to play with my boys. I also understand that these are all normal, albeit difficult, parts of childhood. And sometimes they even get the Froot Loops.

The thing I refuse to accept, no matter how normal or common it may be, is adults speaking anything but life into children.

We have all been there. We have all gone through the awkward, uncomfortable, scary, hormonal, acne-ridden journey that is growing up. Remember that before you roll your eyes at rowdy teenagers aimlessly wandering the mall on Saturday afternoon. Think about it before you wonder why the exhausted and overwhelmed six-year-old throwing a tantrum in public can’t control himself. Before you make a joke, ask yourself if you would have thought it was funny at their age, or would it have stung?


And hey, don’t be afraid to apologize if you say something without thinking.

I’m a red-headed Irish woman who lived most of her adult life in New York. I was born with a temper and a wild spirit. When I think something, I say it. And too often those sharp words land on my boys. I am not perfect. I never will be. I will always make mistakes. But one thing is for sure, my boys have heard, and will continue to hear, me apologize to them when I accidentally say something hurtful.

Because when I say I want adults to speak life into my kids, and any kids they happen to encounter, that expectation starts with me.



thirty-two things i’ve learned about being a mama.

Last week I turned thirty-two. So I figured, why not share a list of thirty-two things I have learned about being a mama? Naturally this post is fashionably late because some tiny people demanded every second of my attention and every ounce of my energy over the weekend and I had to write this list in between preparing snacks and wiping butts and building Lego sets and refereeing wrestling matches. They are so lucky they have dimples.


Thirty two things I have learned about being a mama.

  1. Childbirth is painful. Babies are worth it.
  2. Recovering from childbirth is NOTHING like they show on tv. It is messy and painful and exhausting and there is no mascara involved. Hollywood needs to stop the lies.
  3. It is completely normal to drive away from the hospital, or birthing center, or exit the birthing tub in your living room, with your newborn and be in literal shock that they handed you a tiny person and let you keep it. I mean what do you know about being responsible for an entire human being? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. And our kids are just fine.
  4. Yoga pants are always an option.
  5. Simplicity is underrated. 
  6. There will always be a catastrophe the second you try to shower or nap or poop.
  7. It’s not a TRUE catastrophe unless someone is bleeding.
  8. Listening to your kids is not the same thing as really hearing them.
  9. Embrace the minivan.
  10. Comparison has the power to destroy me. And you. Fight it. Hard.
  11. Target is out to steal all of our money and also to cause enormous embarrassing tantrum scenes in the Lego aisle. To avoid the tantrum, run past the toy aisles while covering your kids eyes. People will stare, but who the heck cares? You are winning at life.
  12. Busy is not better. In fact it’s way worse.
  13. Sugar is the enemy. The beautiful, delicious enemy out to destroy attitudes and teeth and bedtime.
  14. Playing with your kids is never a waste of time. Even though your weapon sound effects are embarrassing and your super hero voices are laughable. All your kids notice is that you are there. With them. Doing something they love.
  15. Jesus loves you. Even when your patience is short and your voice is sharp. Even when you’re locked in the bathroom hiding from your hurricane of a toddler and reminding yourself to breathe. And even when you’re tucked tight in bed bingeing on Friends and anything chocolate you can find.
  16. Take the time to put yourself in your kids shoes. It will change how you parent. And teach them how lovely empathy is.
  17. Other mamas are not the enemy. In fact we’re on the same team. Act like it.
  18. Kids wake up earlier on the weekends. Netflix is your friend. Before you leave an opinionated comment about screen time, please reread number seventeen.
  19. You will always be five minutes late, no matter how many empty threats or weak bribes you throw at your kids, they just won’t stop taking time to enjoy every tiny stick and bug and spider they see. Maybe you need to take a lesson from them on enjoying the little things. Also you should probably leave ten minutes earlier.
  20. Notice the wonderful in your kids more than you notice the naughty. Then take the time to tell them.
  21. Assume the best of your kids. Of other kids. Of other parents. Of yourself.
  22. Prayer is powerful.
  23. It truly does take a village. Ask for help. Offer help. We are so much stronger together.
  24. You will never take sleep for granted ever again. Or having more than four inches of your own bed to sleep on. Or privacy. Or peace and quiet. Or your waistline. Or peeing alone.
  25. Whining is mama kryptonite. If our kids ever find out they will officially win.
  26. Selective hearing is the super power every child is born with. They perfect their skills at a very young age. Be vigilant.
  27. Dance parties can instantaneously fix almost any problem.
  28. Grace is a gift. Give it. Receive it. Live in it.
  29. Poop jokes bring kids endless amounts of joy. If you tell a poop joke you are automatically the coolest parent. Ever.
  30. Trust yourself. You have totally got this.
  31. Live a life worthy of your kids imitation. Let them see you make mistakes. Hear you ask for forgiveness. Watch you pray, read, serve, laugh and love deep. Oh, and being silly. Definitely let them see you being silly.
  32. Your kids are not perfect. You are not perfect. But you are perfect for each other.


keep the training wheels. toss the tv.

I adore my children.

I believe that most who know me, know this is true.


Lately I feel like the president of the Crappy Mom Club.

Impatient. Short fused. Ugly voice. Snapping at my kids. Forgetting gentleness. Telling them we’ll cuddle later. Yelling across the house when I hear bickering. And on and on.

There are a million things I want to blame it on. I’ve considered deleting this post a dozen times already. But this is the real. The raw. The ugly.

Last night Ezra was fighting sleep. Like always. And not listening to me. Like always. And watching a movie. Like always. And I snapped. It wasn’t kind or loving or even remotely thought through.

“Ezra! I am so sick of your attitude!”

He looked at me. Held my gaze. I saw in his eyes the same nasty glare that was in mine at that exact moment.

“I am so sick of you!”

I gasped. He quickly said, “Sorry mom!” And rolled back to his show.

I, however, was not so quick to recover. What is happening to my child? Who was that? The past couple of months I have watched him struggle to listen. Fail to obey simple instructions. I have seen him become angry. I have watched my sweet boy react physically when a friend or his brother upset him. He has started bursting into tears the second something doesn’t go his way instead of communicating with words.

And I have blamed my frustration. My stress. My bad attitude. My terrible parenting. On my kids and the way they drive me wild.

Then I felt the tap tap tap on my shoulder. The tap I hate because it means I have done something wrong. The tap I trust with my whole heart because I know it is my Jesus making me more like him.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

My sweet child. Listen to me. Those boys you love. The ones you hold so dear. They will only become the men they are meant to be if you guide them there. Speak gently. Love fiercely. Teach wisely. And live a life worthy of emulating.

Truth I already knew.
Truth I forget all too often.
Truth so heartbreaking. So convicting. So very clear.

Truth overflowing with hope.

I grasped tight. I clung desperate. I claimed that hope as my own.

In the book, Home-Making, by J.R. Miller (one of the best books ever written, in my opinion) the truth is shared as this.

“Selfishness in parents will spread the same unhappy spirit through all the household life. They must be, not in seeming but in reality, what they want their children to be. The lessons they would teach, they must live.”

Oh my heart. My aching, heavy heart.

How dare I act one way and expect my children to act another.
How dare I speak with courtesy and compassion to a stranger, yet pour my frustration out on my babies.
How dare I forget each word I utter has the power of life and death.
How dare I act like the very person I never want to be.
How dare I think I can raise Godly men without first falling daily at the feet of my Jesus.
How dare I think anything good will pour from me when my cup is dry.
How dare I give anything less than the best of me to my boys.

How gracious is my God to gently remind me. Lovingly guide me. Tirelessly teach me. How to be the mama my boys need.

Every time I think I’m ready to take the training wheels off. Think I can handle this parenting thing on my own. Think that I’ve got this.

Tap. tap. tap.
He reminds me.

Parenting always requires training wheels. We are never perfect. We never have it all figured out. And his guidance, his wisdom, his grace, his love, is how we make it through. How our children become their very best selves. How our mistakes are forgiven and relationships are restored.

I think I’ll keep those training wheels. 

I’ll choose not to become overwhelmed by how imperfect I am. How many things I need to work on. How many ways I fail. I will focus on being the best version of me I can be today. Breathing deep and asking myself,

“Is this the way I would want my children to act in this situation?”

Simple enough in theory. Overwhelmingly difficult in execution. Life changing power in this new habit.

Today is day one of this venture into more purposeful parenting. More humble loving. More depth in relationship. And within this large idea of how to be better, there are several practical changes I know we need to make in our household. Changes long thought about but too overwhelming or scary to face. Until now.

Because let’s face it. Our kids are worth being better for. No matter how hard it might seem.

So we start small. One change at a time. Change number one is an enormous thorn in my side. A terrible habit that formed slowly and gradually became a regular part of our daily routine.

Television. Way. Too. Much. Television.

Well, Netflix, YouTube Toy Reviews and Disney Movies to be exact. But too much screen time all the same.

What started as a show or two a day became much more and the worst part of this habit is that for a year or more, Ezra has fallen asleep at night while watching his beloved “calm down shows.” Sometimes it takes hours for him to fall asleep, we’re talking midnight or later, but I so desperately craved quiet time to myself, that at the time it didn’t matter what the cost. So what if he watches shows at night? It can’t be that big of a deal. Can it?

The past several weeks as I began to feel more strongly about kicking this habit of ours, I started reading articles and watching videos about the effects of too much tv and young kids brains. The science behind it has brought me to tears on more than one occasion. How easy it was to stick my kids in front of the tv and not think about how detrimental it really was because I chose not to do the research.

The more I have read. The more I have learned. And the more convinced I am that the majority of Ezra’s behavioral issues lately are a result of way too much screen time. Too much stimulation for his little brain. If this sounds dramatic, I promise you it’s not. Below I have posted a fantastic TED Talk, delivered by a doctor who has done extensive research into the effects of tv on a young brain. It is well worth your time to watch.

How could I watch that and not be changed? How could I see Ezra’s shortening attention span and his disinterest in books and games that are “boring”, and not see the connection?

I made a mistake. 

But we’re changing it. 

We have already cut tv completely out of our days, except for Hudson’s nap time when Ezra watches a couple shows. It’s been about a week and it has been ROUGH at times, but the boys have begun to engage in much more imaginative play. They are playing together more. They are creating games. They are also bickering more. But at least I know that means their minds are engaged.

Tonight is the night I have been preparing Ezra for. Tonight we are not going to watch any shows at bedtime. Him or me. I am committed to not watching shows of my own when my boys are awake, so they know this is a change for the whole family. (I’ll still watch a Star Trek episode or two after they doze off… obviously.) I need prayers for strength and resolve to not give in, but I think we’re ready and I know a couple of rough nights will be totally worth it on the other end. The next goal will be to cut out Ezra’s shows during Hudson’s nap time. My ultimate goal is not to have them never ever watch a show again. My goal is for shows to be an occasional treat. For movie nights to be something looked forward to and not expected. For interest in books and play to be chosen over the desire, or the tantrum, demanding mindless entertainment. For me to engage my kids in my daily tasks instead of having Disney Junior babysit while I clean the house.

Even reading those goals I get a little overwhelmed. My palms are sweaty. I’m a tad nauseous. But I mean it. I’m sticking to it. And if you want to follow our journey, or even better, want to join in (we’re stronger in numbers) visit or share on the tag #purposefullyunplugged on Instagram.

Thank you Jesus for grace.

To Ezra and the littlest h. A letter about loss. And love.

Dear Ezra and Hudson,

My sons who I love.

Sit down, scoot close, cuddle tight, listen big.

I have so much to tell you but the words are quite hard. Bear with me, be patient, it’s worth it, you’ll see.

Two of the people who love you the most, the deepest, the fiercest, the loudest, they’re gone. Jesus, he holds them in his hands, he needed them home, so they had to go. But forever you must know, how extravagantly they love you and how although their faces will never light up as you enter the room, so much of who they are is forever inside of you.

Your grandpa, what a man. Tall and skinny, brilliant but not so witty. He smiled easy, spoke wisdom, and only ordered water at restaurants. His shorts were often too short, pinched pennies caused holes in his socks, he backed into the garage door twice, in one week, and he was the last to get a joke. He prayed for you before I dreamed of you. He woke at five o’clock in the morning every day to play tennis with me, not because I would one day win Wimbledon, but because for that hour he got all of my attention, and I got all of his. He never gave up on me no matter how hard I refused his hugs, and the only thing he loved more than your grandma, was his Jesus.

If he were here, you boys would be his delight. His eyes would shine at the shout of, “Grandpa!” a role that breaks my heart to never see him play. He would make you promise to work harder than you think you can, read more than is recommended, take the scenic route every time, and never EVER get a credit card. And above all he would make sure you did all that while falling desperately in love with your Jesus.

Your Auntie H, she proved family is not decided by blood. Louder than a blow horn, and more beautiful than we could convince her to see. The day after I met her, I couldn’t imagine life without. I still can’t. She laughed too loud, ended up at the Mississippi River in a quest to be six hours in the other direction, she reminded me how important it is to play, I reminded her how important it is to be on time. At least I learned something. She collected earrings, and Starbucks gift cards, and friends. So many called her theirs, I still don’t know how I was lucky enough to be called hers. She stole your grandpa’s pen once, she held me at his funeral, and she was listening to a recording of his sermon on grief when her life ended too soon. Our God is a God of details.

After she died, I found a sealed letter in her room addressed to, My Koslowskis. We were hers, she was ours, and this will always be true. My firstborn, she helped you learn to walk, my tiniest you forever carry the h in your name for her. If she could see you now, you would be deaf from the decibel level, and overflowing with a love only h knew how to give. Unconditional, unending, fierce, loyal, without judgement, and contagious. The love I try every day to emulate, because with it she changed the world. She would make you promise to love well, be true to you no matter how many people stare, look for the hurting and be Jesus to them, occasionally lose your directions and find an adventure instead, and wear the biggest sunglasses you can find, like, bordering on ridiculous, big. Because bordering on ridiculous was exactly what our h did best, and we adored her for it.

Oh sweet boys, grief is a confusing place. One day the pain, so new, too raw, overwhelms and envelops, life is a fog. Then, life continues, as it tends to do, and one morning you wake and go about your day. Only when you lay down, once the sun is gone, do you realize that their memory was not your constant companion that day. You whisper their name but their face takes an extra second, maybe two, to become clear in your mind. And grief springs brand new. Too many days without them has made their memory dull, it’s not okay, it cannot be ok, they’re too important to fade. So although life moves forward, we will alway talk, always share, always remember these two who love you so dear.

These two who are so intricate a part of who I have become, who your daddy has become, that there is no way you will not continue to be shaped by them. Short shorts, bad time management, and all.