1) What just happened?
Otis was happily playing in his bed (that is in our room) while I got ready in the bathroom. He was talking about monsters and telling the cats to get off the bed. Standard conversation. By the time I walked back in the room I heard snoring. Legitimate, I’m-asleep-for-the-night, toddler snores.

2) Celebrate good times! Come on!
Be for real. We have been sleeping with a little person for over 3 years. When it occurred to us that this might be our first night of sleep without getting pushed off a pillow or kicked in the head we were all…

Because this wasn’t just a win, this was a win that came without blood, sweat, or tears. I don’t care what your personal trainer yells at you while you’re doing those burpees, results CAN come with little to no effort on your part.

3) Realization
But then it hit me. This isn’t wonderful. This is horrible. This is the passage of time. These milestones don’t remind us of how far we’ve come. No, they remind us how close we are to death and the finality of it all. This small freedom just means I’m closer to the ultimate freedom of having no one to make chicken nuggets for, no plastic lawn mowers to move before I pull out of the driveway, no boo-boos to kiss, no dancing to songs no one else can hear. And this pit in my stomach that tells me that it’s true, that this whole ride goes way faster than you could ever really want it to? It’s going to keep coming back. The first day of kindergarten. The last day of kindergarten. Riding a bike by himself. Sleepovers. First dates. A baby.

MY BABY IS (possibly) GOING TO HAVE A BABY (one day).

4) Middle of the Night Decision Making 
I went to bed feeling like I had been dumped without an explanation. Left without anything other than a comforter and a husband to keep me warm. I cried myself to sleep.

Here’s where things get fuzzy.

I remember talking to Mark in the middle of the night. I remember him saying something about how if we wanted Otis in the bed he should be in the bed because we’re the grownups. Or maybe it was all a dream? I don’t know. But I remember getting out of bed, getting Otis (he was calling for me… I think?), and feeling like this was a really good decision.

Feelings of loneliness? Check.
After 1 AM? Check.
Hazy to non-existent decision making skills? Check.
Feeling really confident in a really bad decision? Check.

I basically drunk dialed my 3-year old.

5) It’s all going to be ok.
Yes, I know I’m insane. Yes, I do want Otis in his own bed. Yes, I do want to eventually have my life back.

Ok. Last one was a lie. I love my life the way it is right this very second. I seriously cry every time I think about there not being toys in the driveway and legos in my purse.

And tonight we’ll make sure his bed is proper (he didn’t even have sheets! And I was using his bed as a 2nd hamper!), and he’ll sleep in it like the big kid he is.

But not that night. That night it was all about the toddler cuddles at 3 in the morning…

Reunited. And it feels so good.

We tried to potty train Otis this week.


About that…

Even if it didn’t work out, I still learned a lot about myself in the process.

1. You’ll ignore everyone.
When I told Mark about my plan to potty train he was basically like:

And when I asked Google and Pinterest if little man was ready, they were both like:

But, I’m me and was all:

2. You’ll make up songs.
Potty training is all about making this basic human function FUN! and ENTERTAINING! Except you’re up against non-stop episodes of Caillou and more toys than the eye can see. You must bring your A-game. Even if you aren’t a songwriter, you’ll become one. You’ll sing songs about peeing being fun and the rush of the release.

My finest moment was calling out for everyone to board the Potty Train… Poo-Poo!

No. Really. I said that.

3. Your 90′s will show.
On Day 2 of potty training you’ll name the potty Peter and tell your son that Peter eats pee pee and poo poo. And he’ll freak out. And then you’ll realize that the 90′s had a bigger influence on your parenting style than you care to admit.

4. You’ll be in awe of parents.
You’ll be delusional from going to the bathroom every 15 minutes, and you’ll begin to seriously wonder how anyone gets potty trained at all. Then you’ll be in awe because without parents taking time to make sure people poo and pee in the toilet who knows what this world would look like. Would we have iPhones? Would we have cars? Would we have democracy? Would we have freedom?

If you’ve ever successfully trained a human to excrete into a porcelain jug, this is for you:

5. You’ll give up with grace.
You’ll realize that this little experiment was a disaster, and that you now need to deep clean the carpet.

Basically, The Internet is right and there’s no use in training an uninterested toddler, and if there’s any core value to my parenting style it’s this:

Never work harder than you have to.

1. When we got to the park where we had his birthday party a motorcycle drove by, and it was like God giving Otis a sign that today? Today would be a good day.

2. When my mom saw I’d only brought 3 bags of chips…

3. When everyone sang Happy Birthday to Otis he was basically like…

Because Happy Birthday is his jam.

otis tractor cake clapping
Otis while we sang.

(Required reading: If you haven’t seen Kristen Bell lose it over a sloth, you must.)

4. When the dudes ate the 1/4 pound all-beef hotdogs…

5. How I felt when I showed off my Pinterest craft…

What my friends thought when I showed them my Pinterest craft*…

The Pinterest craft…
pinterest craft train

Train wheels taped to aluminum trays. Choo choo!

Thanks to everyone that came out to celebrate! Happy Birthday, Nugget/Baby Boo/Little Man/Little Buddy!



1. Everywhere I turn people insist that 3 is THE year. They are talking in full sentences and pooping in the toilet and are so close to being legitimate people.

But here’s what I think. I think 3 is the year that parents fully accept that they’re a mediocre parent at best AND EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK. It’s like the first time you fart in front of your significant other and you don’t even panic because you know they love you and a little stink isn’t going to scare anyone. That’s why 3 is awesome. Because everyone quits caring and starts relaxing.

And if not caring had a spirit animal I’m pretty sure it would be Ron Swanson.

2. The not caring goes both ways. When Otis first sang “A, B, C, C, C…” while sitting at the piano you’d think I’d be ecstatic, right? My kid busts out his letters IN THE RIGHT ORDER and I’m pretty sure I should have been giving him a standing ovation or something.
Do you know what I did? I said, “D, E, F, G.” Because I’m a Tiger Mom on the inside.
Anyways, Otis looked at me and was basically like…

3. I once heard that you should wean your kid from The Boob once they can say, “Hey, give me The Boob.” Well, I have another rule to add. You should seriously start potty training when they request scratch time before you put the new diaper on. And you’re probably all, “He is still in diapers! He is 3! OF COURSE you should potty train him by now!”

To which Otis and I are all…

4. Speaking of the diaper vicinity, Otis watches a lot of Caillou. Caillou has introduced him to the world of hockey and hockey sticks. When Otis sees his area he calls it a hockey stick. Or just stick. But his “s” sound still isn’t great so it sounds like… well, you know what it sounds like. When I try to tell Otis that maybe Hockey Stick isn’t the best name, he’s basically like…

5. I’m kind of terrified about Otis’s birthday because it could go in so many directions.

He could be overwhelmed by all of the people.

He could think the whole thing is plain dumb and ask to go home.

Or he could recognize that it’s all of his favorite people in one place and it’ll be a Tiger Woods kind of day.

But none of this really matters because the weather is supposed to be perfect so I’m simply gonna be like this…



Y’all know I love Otis, right? Like, LOVE THIS LITTLE BOY. So much.

But I’m still me. And I still think things are funny. I especially think that there is so much hilariousness to the truth that moms only seeing the good in their baby, especially that first baby.

I mean, you just can’t help but think they are perfection, right? And every picture is worthy of an audience because you are high on nursing hormones or something, and you’re like, “Yes. Everyone wants to see this beautiful baby. Bring me my computer. I must log in to Facebook.”

Then this happens.

newborn otis 4newborn otis 2 newborn otis 1
I’m dying laughing because when my mom posted these on Facebook I looked through them thinking, “He is so perfect.”

And he IS so perfect. But these pictures? This baby looks like he’s, well, drinking something other than breast milk.

I saw them a few months ago and I was like, “What on earth were we thinking? Why are these on the internet?”

But when you’re a new mom even if you’re baby looks like he’s been sipping on some sizzurp all you can see is this…


But seriously. How cute is he?
newborn otis 5


When you count you say “1, 2, 1, 2, 1.” You never say 3 because 3 is when Grandpa ends the swing game. You never want the swing game to end so you simply refuse to say 3. I think you’re on to something, and on Monday, March 31st, if someone asks how old you are we’ll just say 2. Deal?

When I ask you what color something is you always say green because is there any other color that matters in the world of John Deere? Unless something is red. Then you say it’s “apple”. I like to think you might have a future in naming paint colors.

You only sing the alphabet when you’re sitting at a piano. And you only sing “A, B, C, C, C…” Because like an exquisite dinner or fine wine, the alphabet is never something to be rushed. It is to be savored.

Maybe you don’t have a kindergartner-level grasp of many things that your peers are working on, but wow are you aware of your feelings.

When a loud noise surprises you or you see a shadow, you run to me crying that you’re ‘cared.

When I tell you that we’re going to a birthday party that afternoon you sheepishly remind me that you’re shy.

When we are getting in the car to go to Lowe’s for a play date with the lawnmowers you wiggle and squeal that you’re ‘cited.

When we look through the Dolly Parton Book of Feelings and you see the Mad Baby you point at him and say anger. And then you scream that piercing scream to let me know you know how he feels.

When we’ve just completed a tickle attack on Daddy, you giggle that you’re having fun.

I’m confident that by the time you go to college you’ll be able to count past 3, know all your colors, and sing the alphabet all the way to the end. Those things will come in their own time. But in a world that tells little boys that their feelings aren’t valid and should be locked away, I can’t express how proud I am that you’re paying so much attention to your heart.

Thank you, Little Man, for inspiring me with your courage.feel the fear

20110330-Otis-9239-2 I am not going to lie. I still don’t love these pictures. I am swollen and tired and, well, ugly.

When I first saw them, weeks after giving birth, I wanted to cry a little bit. Where is the normally bright-eyed girl? Who is the tired, puffy hag holding my baby? The worst part was that people saw me while I looked like death warmed over, and those people said things like, “You look great!”

And I believed them.


I don’t think my mom knew what I was thinking (because who experiences the miracle of giving birth to a healthy child and whines out loud that the lighting is bad?), but she made a comment while in the hospital that stuck with me. She said, “You’ll love these pictures one day.”

I didn’t believe her at the time. I was pretty sure that I would never want to see these pictures again. Glad we had them, but if they could get lost in the abyss that is Mark’s Dropbox that would be great.

But I’m starting to believe her. A little bit.

I love that Mark was there to take pictures before the party got started. I love that he was wise enough to only take one.

20110330-Otis-9195-2 (1)
I love that blurry smile. I love that the feeling of complete and unconditional love for Otis the minute I laid eyes on him wasn’t just a figment of my imagination.

I love how in this picture I have absolutely no clue how much love and laughter was truly born that day, or how much more I could fall in love with that guy next to me. I also love that the swelling does go down. A little bit.

I won’t ever hear “You don’t even look like you gave birth!”, but you know what? That’s ok because maybe looking like a supermodel after labor is a little overrated anyways*.

*Things I probably won’t really believe until Otis’s 30th birthday.



It’s Otis’s birthday week, and I’m pretty excited. And a bit amazed that we’ve been doing this for almost 3 years. More than that, amazed that everyone seems to be relatively happy and healthy.

Obviously this time of the year means that we’re looking at pictures and saying things like, “I can’t believe he was soooo smaaaaaalllll!”

And I really can’t believe it. And I knew that every year the memory of under-10 pounds Otis would get fuzzier as the years went by. So I decided to do what most parents do nowadays and take a monthly picture of my nugget with an object so that I could see how big he was in relation to it. Theory of Relativity, People. Learn it, know it, love it.

Most of you probably picked that object out while you were pregnant because you’re good people. Smart people. You chose good and smart objects, like an inherited stuffed animal or the nursery rocking chair or a desk-sized calendar.

So cute, right?

I wasn’t so… thoughtful. No, I dropped the ball on this one (surprised?) and ended up looking around our basically empty apartment grasping for anything that might have special meaning AND remind me how tiny my 4 week old baby was at the time.

Do you know what I chose? Do you know?

A ketchup bottle.

Picture or it didn’t happen?

Fair enough.



And it made sense to me! We use ketchup regularly so I’d always be familiar with the general size and, more importantly, it was there in our house at the same time that I wanted to take a picture #impatient #planningbedamned.

The best part? There are like 15 more pictures because Mark wanted to make sure that I got the best photo he could of our new baby and A BOTTLE OF KETCHUP.

I can’t even believe I’m talking about this in public.

To be fair, what sentimental conversation doesn’t start with, “I remember when you were the size OF A KETCHUP BOTTLE…”

Thankfully we have good friends that send us handmade stuffed animals that save us from having a baby book filled with babies and condiments.
1 month

1. Otis is always really clingy when we first get somewhere. This past weekend we went to a party to celebrate Baby E’s first birthday and there were lots of new people there so I knew that Otis would do his best impression of a koala bear most of the day, and he did. But about an hour in to the party he started getting comfortable and was walking around the yard, chasing bubbles, and being uber dramatic about going down steps.

Here’s the thing. As soon as he got comfortable and started making friends and influencing people I noticed that I WAS THE ONE HAVING SEPARATION ANXIETY. Where am I supposed to put my hands? Who am I supposed to talk to? WHY AM I SO AWKWARD?!?!

Basically, I realized that I’m not Otis’s security blanket.


He is mine.

2. A few years ago I told my songwriter husband that writing a blog post is so much more difficult than writing a song. I mean, a song is like 60 words tops. A blog post? As many words as you’d like, but usually a ton more than 60.

I even went so far as to say that if I wanted to I could write a Grammy-winning song. I said that. Those words came out of my mouth and into my songwriter husband’s ears.

Well, Mark’s gotten back on the musical horse and has been working on a song and he asked for my help since, you know, I can write Grammy-winning songs just like that.

Y’all. Songwriting is forreal hard.

Every time I suggested something he was all, “Well, that’s nice, but it isn’t singable.”

Not singable? It rhymed. Making it singable is Mariah’s job. Duh.

Anyways, songwriting makes my head hurt so every time Mark comes in the room asking what I think about some lyric I’m all…

3. A few weeks ago I convinced Otis I was a magician. He would hold something in his outstretched hand (like my wedding ring because everyone lets their 2-year old play with their jewelry, right?) and I would wave my hand over it, say “Abra Ca Dabra”, swipe the ring, and exclaim that it had disappeared!

He loved it.

Like, if any other kid saw my magic show they’d be all…

But my kid? He’s all…

And that’s how I know he’s mine.

4. I was 4 days late for my period this week, and was convinced that I was pregnant. I was talking to Mark about it and he says, “Yeah, I’d be a little irritated if you were pregnant.”

“Irritated? Who would you be irritated with?”

“You, I guess.”

“You know how this happens, right? You KNOW that this happens because of HINT, HINT that YOU ask for. THAT YOU ASK FOR.”

(PS I’m not pregnant. Just late. Which is sad because that officially means my entire being is incapable of showing up on time to anything.)

5. I got a Galaxy S4, and I just have to say that Otis and I really miss our iPhone. Yes, Otis played with my iPhone a lot, and he loved it. It’s easy and intuitive and the Galaxy is a lot of things, but right now it doesn’t feel very intuitive. I’m fine with the learning curve, but my son? His anger at this phone is kind of hilarious. He goes in looking for a Caillou video and comes out looking like…

He should totally be in an Apple ad if Apple was comfortable admitting that they are the Fisher-Price of smart phones.



For this Five on Friday I thought I’d talk about 5 things that make our marriage work for us because, um, why not, right?

  1. I’m on baby duty after work, and Mark takes care of the chores.
    When I get home from work I am Just Mom. I take care of Otis. I entertain him. I change his diapers. I feed him. I discipline him when he starts acting crazy.
    Mark is in charge of the chores. He makes the dinner and cleans up the dinner. He starts laundry (I usually have to remind him #keepitreal #heaintamindreader). He cleans up before I get home so the house is usually pretty nice when I walk in and a disaster when I go to bed because Otis and I are messy, messy creatures.
    The faster Mark gets all of the daily things done the faster he gets to do whatever he wants. I fully support him zoning out for the rest of the night because hanging out with a toddler all day is tiring. I get to come home and just enjoy my baby.
    Best of both worlds, right?
  2. Our house is messy.
    Mark is still a dude. His idea of clean and my idea of clean aren’t exactly the same thing, but I think this is a really great example of choosing your battles. I could give him heck about incorrectly folded toddler clothes or the 32 jackets hanging on the staircase rail, but why? I don’t want to spend the evening upset and no one is coming over so who cares? Also, all those jackets are probably mine so…
  3. Watch the clock.
    We watch our time like hawks. We make sure Mark gets plenty of alone time because he’s an Introvert and needs it.

    I make sure to get plenty of Otis time because I’m a mama bear and I need it.

    And donut time brings the whole family together.
  4. Say thank you.
    Every person in a household is doing something to make it better. Even if they’re the only one that understands the contribution. Need an example?
    My tires need to be replaced, but we’re kinda lazy. In the mean time, Mark looks at my tires nearly every day to make sure they are all the way inflated. Ok, I don’t know what he’s looking for because they always look great to me, but he always insists that I need to let him put air in them. But he usually waits to put air until I’m walking out the door. But you guys know me, right? If I’m walking out the door that probably means I was supposed to be somewhere 5 minutes ago. So I’m all..

    But then he starts talking about car accidents and death and then I’m all, “Fine, whatever. MAKE ME LATE.”

    And then he feels unappreciated because, well, I don’t appreciate him. And when he’s done I drive off mad, but then start realizing that he really does care and doesn’t want me to die and then I call him and I’m all…

    Appreciate each other even if you don’t understand each other.
  5. Keep it clean.
    We talk all of the time. ALL OF THE TIME. Sometimes our talks sound like Steel Magnolias and sometimes they sound like Fight Club, but we always talk.
    Talking, for us, is like emotional clean up. We make sure that we’ve dealt with any hurtful words or building resentment. Basically, our marriage is the only thing we “clean” on a regular basis, and that’s fine by me.  Sorry, Upstairs Bathroom.

What are your marriage/love secrets?


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