10 Life Lessons You Probably Learned in Your Twenties

I’m thrilled to be featured over on Scary Mommy right now, talking a bit about my twenties. Please hop over there, share the post if you love it, and show Scary Mommy some love!


As I near the halfway point of my 29th year, I look back on my fabulous 20s and see a pattern. I see myself getting slightly more tame, busier, and zero percent less awesome.

I find myself more confident, happier, and super excited about the next, supposedly dreaded, decade of my life. I’ve learned important things in the past 10 years, and I’m applying that knowledge to make my next 10 years easier, and hopefully more fun.

– See more at: http://www.scarymommy.com/life-lessons-learned-in-your-20s/#sthash.r4bvcZCk.dpuf

Bedtime Routines

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about our bedtime routines, and how we transitioned our kids from their upstairs rooms to their downstairs ones after the renovation. Since my kids are (newly) three and (almost) one and a half, it’s a little tricky to get bedtime done “right”.

So it made total sense to post about this when I heard about the #mysleepstyle campaign for Wayfair.com for Better Sleep Month this month! Kids can hate bedtime, and so I’m posting today about how we make bedtime go a little more smoothly at our house!

First, I try not to rush a bedtime. In a perfect world, our routine is pretty long. We give the kids a bath, brush their teeth, have some snuggle time (usually reading a book, telling a story, or sometimes a bit of wind-down tv or movie time, and singing a song or two) and then kisses and goodnight. We try not to drag it out forever, because requests for “sing one more song” or “lay with me a while” can lead to another 30 minutes that they should be sleeping but they aren’t. I like for them to fall asleep on their own if possible, so that they can do it later.

Second, my kids always sleep with a swaddle. It was never stuffed animals or pacifiers or anything with them… they just love their swaddles. So I have to make sure they’re in their beds with them, or there wouldn’t be any sleep in my house.

These Aden and Anais swaddles are some of our favorites!
These Aden and Anais swaddles are some of our favorites!

Third, we have “white noise” in their rooms for naps and bedtimes. Depending on the season, it could be a humidifier, a fan, an air purifier, or just a sound machine, but there’s always some white noise. Honestly, I don’t know if they would sleep without it, but I know that in case we’re watching tv too loudly or one of them wakes in the night, it keeps them from hearing every single sound in the house and waking them up.

This is our sound machine. It also hooks up to an MP3 player, but we've never used that feature. Ha!
This is our sound machine. It also hooks up to an MP3 player, but we’ve never used that feature. Ha!

When we moved them into their “big kid rooms” downstairs, we just made sure they had all the comforts of their old rooms, and they transitioned just fine. EK requests for us to leave her door open (which we typically close after she’s asleep) but that’s her only thing that’s different. J also has his “big boy bed” already in his room (he’s still sleeping in the crib) so that when he’s ready for the transition to a real bed, his room won’t change much. When we moved EK to a real bed, it was pretty tough, because she was also changing rooms entirely. Looking back, it might’ve been too much of a transition at once. There was a lot of getting up and down and just never going to sleep and moving her back into her old room just so she’d go to sleep. We weren’t very firm about it, come to think of it!

EK’s bed, fit for a princess!


J's sleeping situation.
J’s sleeping situation.

Well, there you have it! As a mom, that’s #mysleepstyle! Our kids have a routine and a room they love, and often, bedtime goes smoothly for us. What do you do with your kids? Do they have a routine like ours, or a lovey they can’t be without?

Parenting Fail #9337: Peeing Outside

This week, we’ve been visiting my parents in Georgia. They have a pool in the backyard, so my kids have been in and out of it since the moment we pulled in the driveway – literally. We got out of the car, and my parents were chilling on the porch, so of course my kids walked over, saw the pool, and flipped out. It was about 8:00pm, but still light out (summer!) so we just stripped them down, put on their Puddle Jumpers (If y’all don’t know about those, they are lifesavers. No pun intended.) and let them jump in. It was a nice stress release after a looooooong drive. Anyway…

So my kids have been spending lots of time out on the porch, or in the driveway, or walking laps around the house, checking out the nature scene. They’ve also been doing a lot of not really wearing clothes (once again, summer!). I mean, J in a diaper and a shirt, or EK in just her undies, it’s been hot, who cares?

So yesterday afternoon, we were all out on the porch, and EK had gotten out of the pool and gotten back into just her undies. She was playing with some magnetic letters, and all the sudden I look over and this is happening:

 She’s squatting, watching herself pee, right through the undies, right onto the deck. I just started laughing so hard I couldn’t even tell her to stop! My friend Lauren looked over, and started laughing too, and when Hubby came back outside, I was still laughing so hard I could barely speak. I had literally asked her if she needed to go potty less than five minutes before that. I was a little disappointed, but it was too hilarious for me to care much. Especially because she was proud she’d watched herself go…

 This whole potty training thing has been one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever done with EK. And she’s communicating more and more, so her bathroom commentary is hilarious.

Have you ever had a hilarious potty training fail? Tell me about it!

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! A little life update for ya… on Sunday, we took the road trip from hell to get to Georgia to see my family for a few days. A six hour trip turned into a nine hour trip… needless to say, Monday was a day of recuperation. Or should’ve been. Or whatever. Anyway, we’re here and having a great time! We’ll post some pictures soon.

We went last week for EK’s 3-year check up at the doctor, and came away with a couple of gems, and they’ve been repeated several times since then:

EK: Dr. Rainey says big girls poop in the potty! Like mommy!

EK (with her doctor’s kit in hand): Can I give you a check up? You’re going to be just fine.

One day, getting in the car, Hubby was strapping EK in, and must have pinched her leg a bit: Daddy! You pinched my leg! This is your last chance!

EK, to our babysitter: mommy and daddy are going on a gate.
Babysitter: what do they do on their date?
EK: eat dessert!

EK: My eyes are blue!
Me: actually, your eyes are hazel, just like daddy’s.
(A little while later) EK: my eyes are basil, just like daddy!

J, putting on a tiara: Hat! (He knows boys don’t typically wear tiaras!)

EK, mid road trip to GA: mom! I’m NOT gonna pee in my pull-up!
Me: Great choice, sweetie! I’m so proud!
EK: I have to potty NOW!
Me: Ryan, find a Starbucks! NOW!! (They typically have clean bathrooms.)

Me: Can you tell Necie (my mom) Happy Mother’s Day?
EK: Necie! It’s happy Mother’s Day!

Picking strawberries with my aunt Jan and my mom…
EK: Can I have some ice cream? (They were selling fresh strawberry ice cream)
Me: It’s almost time for lunch. Maybe after lunch!
(A little later, Jan is eating her ice cream.)
EK: Can I have some ice cream?
Jan: Sure, you can have a bite of mine!
EK: No! I want my own!
Jan: I think yours is inside and you can have it later.
EK, coming inside with Jan: Can I have a bite of your ice cream?
Jan: I just finished it….

Hope everyone has a great week!

I’ll Miss Just Having Two.

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

I AM SO EXCITED about this third child we’re going to welcome into our family. We prayed for him (a lot… that story is here.) and have been waiting and waiting for him to arrive. We knew we wanted him from the get-go. We’ve always said we wanted three or four kids, so we knew he was in our plan. We were not (all that) surprised when I found out I was pregnant, and we have not been a bit disappointed since finding out. Now. That being said…

I’m going to miss just having two kiddos.

Today, the three of us were on a walk. We were, as always, in my double jogger (Love it. Gotta have it. Couldn’t have lived my life this far without it.) just cruising the neighborhood with snacks and water bottles, talking about the color of the car that just drove by, the kinds of foliage we passed, and enjoying the not-too-hot-yet sunshine. I had a thought as we rounded the corner towards home: Our days doing this are numbered. Not necessarily because we won’t be able to stroll around the neighborhood any more. But because I’ll either be carrying one on my back/front, or letting EK walk beside the stroller (ie: freaking out that she’ll be running into the street at any moment) or having someone else to come with us to push another single stroller or push mine while I wear the baby. Hubby goes on walks with us fairly often, but usually it’s special time for the three of us. Soon, for a little while at least, our walks will be cut short because baby D will need to nurse, or he’ll have a blowout, or I will just plain be too tired for an hour-long walk like today’s.

I know – this seems like a first world problem, along with things like “Do I need to buy a different car to fit all those child seats?” and “It’s going to be tough getting out the door with three jackets and sets of shoes to put on.” I know that these phases are short. The time with these kids being so young and needy will fly, and I may even look back and wish it was still here.

But my walk this afternoon with my two amazing, curious, adorable sweeties shed some light on my feelings and changed how I’ll look at these last 12 weeks before my due date. I won’t try to rush through them. I won’t spend all my time preparing for the next baby – like I would have been able to anyway, right? I’ll be thankful for the time that I can lavish on my eldest two. I’ll cherish the one-on-one time I have with J while EK is at preschool. I’ll enjoy the long walks with just the two of them. I’ll love the girls’ lunch dates I like to have with just EK, or sometimes a girlfriend or two. I’ll love playing on the floor, amidst the giggles and tickles, right before bedtime. I’ll do everything I can with my two before I’ll be splitting my attention with another little sweetie who needs me.

Emotional, Evolving, Steadfast Motherhood


If you could have told me about the feels you have when you join their ranks, I wouldn’t have believed you.

I’ve always been a sensitive person. I’ve cried at silly things my whole life – and of course that hasn’t changed. Books, movies, heartfelt cards and sappy songs all make me cry a little and always have. But moments… they’re what make me tear up nowadays. Little moments, like when my daughter reaches out to hold my hand while we watch a show before bed. Or last night, when Hubby kissed me goodbye as he was leaving for work, my son turned in my lap to give me a smooch on the lips as well. I couldn’t have made that moment up. I cried right there on the spot.

These moments of motherhood are precious and fleeting. They feel numerous and few all at the same time. They can sometimes be trumped by moments of frustration or hurry or tiredness. They can be a little tiny thing that happens every day, and we don’t realize just how magical it is until it stops. Those moments of a milk-drunk newborn as you lay his limp body in the bassinet. The early giggles of an infant whose chubby cheeks jiggle with every laugh. The first few times your child forms the words “I love you.”

In my three short years of motherhood, I am amazed by what I am constantly learning, and doing, and already missing. I am beside myself with excitement over having a new baby in the house again in three months, but I still have a little sadness mingled with my pride when I think about how big my first two “babies” are now. I am thrilled by my children’s personalities and abilities. I am bursting with happiness when I’m simply watching them be themselves.

I am blessed by these kids. I am blessed by the opportunity to be their mom. I am terrified by the responsibility to raise them to be kind and compassionate, not to mention functioning members of society. I am scared to death for them to grow up and not need me anymore. My identity is wrapped up in them without being solely theirs. I am a mother. I’ve been a mother of babies. I am the mother of toddlers. I will be the mother of three. I will be the mother of teenagers, of college students, of adults. I will be a grandmother. Our situation is constantly changing, yet always steady. I am their mother. The mother of my children. The mother of my amazing, beautiful, silly, growing, changing, sometimes frustrating and always loved children.

Elena Kathleen, at one day old.The little gal who made me a mama.
Joseph Stevens, at one day old, meeting his big sister.


I’m not ready yet!

Last night, it happened. Instead of wanting a snuggle and a song tonight, J just wanted to go to bed.

I wasn’t ready for this. He’s my baby! My little tiny boy, who loves snuggles and kisses and resting his head on mama’s chest while she sings!

Granted, he was totally pooped. We had had dinner at our friends’ house, where he also jumped on the trampoline and chased the dog all night. He was more exhausted than normal at bedtime. He even ran amok around the basement right up until the moment I scooped him up and went into his dark bedroom. When I leaned over the crib to get his swaddle, he just sort of lurched forward into the crib – to be honest, I almost lost my hold on him and dropped him in there for real. He just reached down in there, and so I said, “Do you want to just lay down?” and he answered in his little “yes” grunts.

Breaking a mama’s heart.

After I read and sang to EK (at least someone needs it!) I texted my friend Ginna (whose house we had been at), and told her about it. Her response? Yay for another little one on the way, and I will get snuggles for months. That’s a good friend with the perfect reminder! But still… here’s hoping that it was just a fluke, and he’ll still need some snuggles tonight. I’m not ready for my baby to be a big boy.

Things Toddlers Say

Sorry for totally missing Tuesday… Cinco de Mayo got me off. Ha! Blame it on anything, right? Anyway, here’s a normal Things Toddlers Say on your Hump Day!

Also, I’ve been thinking… I would technically put EK into the “preschooler” category nowadays, since she’s three and all. I’m going to have to come up with a new branding for this series! I’m taking suggestions. (Note: I like alliteration.) Moving on…

Every once in a while, J puts up one hell of a fight against his car seat. I’m almost unable to get him in there when it’s just me. This particular one of those times, Hubby was helping from the front seat (aka pushing down J’s hips so I could wrestle the screaming, flailing kid). And then Hubby says, “Come on, Joseph! Put your arms in the fun straps!” I was basically worthless after that, dissolving into giggles.

After walking through her grandmother Annie’s garden one afternoon, EK brought me a flower.
Annie: Can you tell Mommy it’s a verbena?
EK: Here Mommy! It’s a banana!
Me: Thanks, sweetie! I thought bananas were yellow! (Verbena is white, FYI. I wouldn’t have known unless I was holding it.)

EK’s new, really sweet thing: I lub you.

J’s new favorite word (said whenever he sees a camera or a phone): CHEESE!!!!!!!

What’s your toddler saying?

My Journey as a Mother: Family Planning (or Lack Thereof)

I’ve been inspired the past couple of weeks to write about our family planning. Or lack thereof. There have been several articles I’ve read on the subject, about opinions on child spacing, and in the light of #mommitment I wanted to share my story (lest y’all think I’m crazy for having my three under three and a half).  

You see, when Hubby and I decided we were ready to start having children, we did what any couple’s first step is: I stopped taking the pill. This was January of 2011. We’d been married for a little over a year and a half, and we knew we wouldn’t immediately get pregnant, but we thought we’d see what happened.

What happened was a few months of “not not trying”, where we didn’t really plan out days or anything, but we knew we’d “pulled the goalie”. Then, after the few months of that, we started actually trying, planning days to try to conceive, and keeping track of every single thing – did you know there were APPS FOR THAT?! After a few months of that process and no baby, I’d spent way too much on pregnancy tests and not enough on newborn-sized onesies, so I tried a new approach. I started taking my basal resting temperature. That meant that right as I woke up, I would take my temperature before getting out of bed, record it, and wait for it to one day spike – ever so slightly-  which meant I’d be ovulating. Well, that day came, and so obviously we tried to conceive. Then the next morning, and the nine or ten after that, my temperature never went back down. I basically thought the system was busted. I can’t be ovulating every day. Well, I wasn’t. Because I was pregnant.

When EK was born 10 months later, I was nursing, and while I know that nursing isn’t birth control, I didn’t go back on any sort of birth control when she was born. Hubby and I figured the Lord had a plan, and we were good with whatever it was. My cycle didn’t come back until four months post-partum, and I breastfed until six months. We weren’t trying to get pregnant, but we obviously weren’t preventing it, either.

In March of the next year, when EK was 11 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. We were thrilled, and couldn’t wait to start telling our families, but before we even got to that point, I was cramping and bleeding, and ended up miscarrying at 7 weeks. I was told that I would start my cycle back in 4-12  weeks (Really? What sort of help is that?!) and not to try to get pregnant again until then. I guess they were basically telling me not to rush back into it, and let my body get back to normal. Well, I was obviously emotionally wrecked and not really in a hurry, at least until my body did what it needed to do. A couple of months later, I was out with some girlfriends, who asked me about it. I started counting the weeks, and realized I was at 13. They hadn’t said it would be any longer than 12 weeks (although, how accurate is it, truly?) so just for good measure, I went home and took a test. Positive! Boom.

This time, I had no inkling how far along I was… I’d had to period to reference my ovulation and conception. It wasn’t until my ultrasound at TEN AND A HALF WEEKS that I’d have the baby before the year was out. How’s that for a crazy few months, and an enormous blessing at the end of them?!

After J was born at the end of that year (2013), I nursed him for eight wonderful months, and when he weaned himself, my cycle started back. I had exactly two periods, and found out I was pregnant again. And here I am! 27 weeks with my third little miracle.

Now, did I plan it out this way? No. Did I try to plan differently? No. Am I aware how blessed I am to be fertile and healthy and blessed with three children in four years? Absolutely. I know everyone is not this way – and especially on timing, wouldn’t necessarily want to be this way. Are we often a bit of a madhouse around here? Yes. Do I expect it to get much better? Not for a while. But do I love my little tinies, how close they are together, and how happy they make me? 100%.

I do get some comments and looks at the grocery store when people see me with my littles, and obviously another on the way. “You sure had them close together!” and “You know what causes that, right?” are things I hear a lot. Yes, they are obviously close together, thankyouverymuch. Yes, I CLEARLY know what causes that. I’m a grown woman, amIright? So while I didn’t try to ensure my kids would be mistaken for Irish twins, or likely straight up triplets when they hit high school or so, I wasn’t against having them all in diapers at the same time, or all in college at the same time. I’ll survive. And they will thrive.


Happy Monday! I’m linking up as usual with Becky at Choose Happy and the other great bloggers for this week’s Currently. I’m also joining Jenna and Anne for their monthly currently link up.We love getting to know new people, and hearing what’s going on in your life. Link up and join us!

Organizing || Our whole house, but a few projects in particular. I just finished organizing EK’s art supplies – which she has a lot of for a three-year-old. She’s quite the little artist!

We also just (partially at least) set up the still-temporary guest bedroom for my mom, who came and stayed with us this weekend. The guest bedroom has officially been four different rooms in our house. Sheesh.

As you can see by the art pile in the corner, it’s not finished… ha!

Craving || venti iced chai lattes from Starbucks (with four pumps instead of six). Now you know what my current craving AND current Starbucks order is! The weather is warm, I’m on a limited caffeine intake plan (because pregnant) and so I’m relying on these babies to get me through. And I can’t handle quite as much sweetness as they come normally, so I basically get a grande amount of syrup in a venti sized drink. Most of the baristas charge me accordingly, which is lovely of them!

This picture brings me to my next point…

Wearing || this gorgeous nail polish! It may be the only thing you see on my nails all summer. I grabbed it at the drugstore totally randomly because I love that super bright coral, and it’s Nicole by OPI so I knew it would be a good polish. Anyone else have the perfect summer color?

Working on || my fitness. I haven’t been doing a great job, y’all. Confession time: every time I get a compliment on how I look good pregnant, I’m reminded how it must be leftover from my running routine I had going before I got pregnant. I do yoga every week, once or twice, which is great, but the weather really killed me. When it was cold, I totally holed up at home and didn’t do anything. A-ny-thin-gah. Basically I let my formerly toned self turn into a slob. My eating habits have stayed alright, but I’m letting myself indulge a little more than usual. (I’m pregnant, right?!) So by telling you that I’m working on my fitness, I’ve had a couple of good days here, and my plan is to keep it up. Now that the weather is much more cooperative, I’ll at least be walking more often.

My preferred workout view… outside with my Kindle.
Reading || The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I know y’all think I totally forgot about that whole reading challenge I started. Well, I didn’t. I just have been busy/crazy/lazy/tired. Yeah, those are all excuses, but it’s just my life right now. Anyway, I just started this book today, and I’m hoping to stick with it. In fact, when I’m done writing this post, it’s next on my to-do list.  It’ll fulfill the “classic romance” category of the challenge. I’ve read so many classic romances (Pride & Prejudice, anyone? I’ve read it 14 or so times.) that I wanted a “classic” one that was slightly less popular. So Edith Wharton it was.

Naming || our baby! I think I’ve told tons of y’all because you’ve asked me, but I haven’t really officially posted it up. So anyway, baby boy #2’s name will be Davis Ryan Hsu! I personally love it (obviously- that’s why I chose it) and I think it’s a lovely name. Davis we chose simply because we like it, and Ryan is Hubby’s name, of course. So there ya go – sweet little Davis will be making his debut sometime near late July.

Well that’s all about me for now!! What’s going on with you?