A little something for your Tuesday

It’s so secret I love Rachel Held Evans. If I could sit down and have coffee with one contemporary author, it’d be her. She posted this thought today and I just had to share.

The alternative to patriarchy is not matriarchy. It’s mutuality, equality. This is what feminism supports. Feminism isn’t about hating men. It’s about advocating for the dignity and equality of women, who continue to face disproportionate violence, discrimination, and marginalization throughout the world due to their gender.

How does this strike y’all? Any thoughts? I love healthy and respectful conversation about this topic! So bring it on if you feel led!

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Awkwardly Confident

It’s no secret that motherhood is full of lessons. It is wonderful for bringing to light a kind of love that you never knew existed in your heart. It allows you to live gleefully through your kiddo’s imagination as you dress up as pirates and walk the plank across the baby pool. And you fully enjoy the empowering task of raising up men/women of character. But what they don’t warn you about is that motherhood can place a giant magnifying glass onto the worst parts of your soul. Sounds awesome right? (insert someone remembering to take birth control pill here….)

But in all seriousness, I feel like I’ve been going through this messy journey of self exploration for over 3 years now. I have learned about patience by trying to explain to my son through gritted teeth that “YOU NEED TO BE MORE PATIENT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!”. I have learned that I needed to be kinder to strangers when I realize that my son watches my every move and if I want him to be a kind man, he needs to see kindness in action. I have learned that if I want my son to share, I’m going to have to start sharing my candy…. but that one is still under construction.

My latest lesson? I have learned that I have a really hard time vocalizing when my heart is hurting. If I’ve been wounded in some way, I’m the first one to make a joke to cover it up or just shrug and say, “I’m totes fine. No worries man.” Because nothing says “I’m totally fine” when speaking like a hybrid mix of Valley-girl and Rastafarian. As my brother kindly pointed out to me the other day in so many grace-filled words “You’re being an idiot and if I hear ‘I’m ok, it’s fine.’ one more time come out of your mouth I’m going to feed you to the seagulls.” And he means it. He sent me a play by play of a seagull attacking a pigeon at Granville Island.

I had a situation with Bud the other day that made me realize I needed to start resolving this issue. Bud’s feelings were hurt at the playground. A kid didn’t want to play with him, blah blah, normal stuff. But my kiddo is a sensitive fella who does not understand why the entire world doesn’t want to proudly wear the other half of his BFF necklace. So he was sad. He walked up to me with his pitiful, defeated face with his lip hung so far out I thought it would get caught under his dirtied up sneakers and said, “Mama, he huwt my feewings” and he looked at me with this look. Moms, you know the look. The look that screams, “Fix this. PWEASE FIX THIS FOR ME!” And while I was tempted to jump up and grab this kid by the popped collar and explain to him that my son was delicious and precious and that kid would be LUCKY to wear his BFF necklace and while we were at it, he should probably just tattoo Bud’s name on his arm because Bud is THAT cool. But I didn’t. Because you know, I try to keep my crazy to minimum in public.

Instead, I looked at Bud and told him that he should calmly walk up to Bane Junior and let him know that he hurt his feelings but it was ok, he forgave him.

And here is how the rest of the conversation went down:


Well son, because even if its awkward, it is important to be confident in how your heart is feeling. If it’s hurt, let that person know it’s hurt. And even if they don’t apologize, you’ve shown that you are confident in yourself and your voice has been heard. And then we always forgive people because anger is exhausting. Do you understand?

I unduhsand. Did you see that squirrel over der Mama?

The lesson may have not been life altering for Bud, but it was for me. I kept thinking about that little conversation we had on the playground and I realized I had been holding in a hurt that hadn’t been voiced. So I came home and wrote an awkward and uncomfortable email to a friend that I had felt hurt by. Immediately I felt like I had done everything I could, even if I never hear from her again. My hurt had been brought into light. I had to learn that to be confident in myself, I have to be confident in my voice and in my emotions…even if it means sending an awkward email.

If you are holding anything back or trying to shove down whatever your heart is feeling, sweet friends, please stop. Your heart was designed to FEEL. Even if it is messy, irrational, or if you haven’t finished processing. Start feeling out loud! Be confident in your awkwardness, in your mess, in your pain. By bringing it to light, darkness doesn’t have power over it anymore. So start talkin’…..


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Fourth of July

For the second year in a row, we had a 4th of July party with our friends. These two families are so important to us. We love each other’s kids like they are our own and it’s so special to me that they’ve been with us since the beginning of “kid-life.” So they essentially have witnessed the demise and destruction of my sanity and love me anyway.

We watched the parade and headed to the park where the town puts on a big to-do with a Bounce House (aka a Hepatitis House) and music. Then we head back and do our own party after naps. Bud actually got to stay awake this year for fireworks (10pm…. and no meltdowns. It was like a Christmas miracle) and he was in awe. He’s still talking about it.

Last year:


This year:



John and Sam are the pyros who get the fireworks going while we make sure the kids don’t blow their faces off and blare firework theme music. Our job as DJs is pretty crucial.
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Bud is clearly unimpressed. But he loved getting to have his own sparkler this year. It’s ok, he only lit half of his hair on fire. I kid, I kid.

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Bud says…

“We never ever ever say shut up.”

“That’s right baby, never.”

“Except trees. Trees can say it.”


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Bud is Three!

Oh man, my Bud is 3.  Three. Three. I still can’t believe it. We had a pirate themed party this year and it was so much fun. Our little dude was celebrated so well by his friends.

His check up went GREAT and we are beyond grateful he’s healthy.


Weight: 30.5 lbs

Height: 38 inches

You are still our skinny guy who likes to eat the bare minimum, you run and scream all day and I swear I can actually see rockets of happiness shooting out of you, you love your baby brother, you still flap your arms when you get excited, you have a habit of holding food in the side of your mouth when you don’t want to eat anymore and it turns into a stand-off until you finally spit it out, you are learning how to really work us over and negotiate “treeeee more minutes mama”, you put your head under water for the first time in the pool in NC, you love your grandparents something fierce, you have wonderful manners, you are so joyful and have the greatest laugh, you love love love your daddy and as soon as his truck pulls in you dance and run to him yelling “DADDY HOME! DADDYS HOME!!!!!!”, you still ride Lightening McQueen every day, you count like a champ and we are slowly but surely learning your letters and numbers by sight. You can throw and kick like a boss, love to catch, and you are your daddy’s pride and joy when you successfully hit a golf ball of the tee.  All in all, we think you are kind of amazing Budman.

Such a blast of joy


I’m not sure what I’m doing with my body in this picture….

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Close enough.




My sweet friend Audrey made this shirt for Bud, so thoughtful! We would ask him how old he was turning and he’d concentrate SO hard on getting three fingers up and yell, “TREEEE!”

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Found these awesome burlap little baggies online and filled them with chocolate gold coins, Ring Pops, and pirate crayons.


And then this happened. Y’all- Sam made this and then I married him all over again.



Happy 3rd little man, love you to the moon.


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Bennet Rippy 8 & 9 Months

BR 8 months BR 9 monthsBennett Rippy,

You are growing so fast and I’m moving so slowly that I’m having to combine your 8 and 9 month updates! And don’t worry, in case you need something to talk to your therapist about, you’ve already turned 10 months so I’m on top of things. But you should know that just because I’m a little slow on the uptake with your monthly updates, I am still relishing in all of your milestones and growth every day!

Here are your stats:

Weight: 20.5 pounds and in the 40%. Although I’m convinced you’re more. You’re such a fat, happy baby, I love it!

Height: 29.4 inches and in the 76%

You still have a huge dome piece, in the 96%! I apparently breed large headed children. I think it is because you and your brother have huge brains.

You now have 6 teeth with one on the top making its way down.


You CRAWLED! A few weeks ago you just up and started crawling! And now you’re unstoppable. You love sneaking into the laundry room and splashing in dog’s water bowl. You pull up to standing on about anything. And you’ve even taken a few steps with your push toy… who knows, you might walk before your brother did!


We had a big trip to NC to visit family and you did great. However, you have decided that somewhere in the 5:20-5:45 hour is your new wake up time. No son. Just no. But it’s been a month now and you’re still doing it. And honestly- what’s with the crappy naps huh?


You still smile at everything and everyone. You do this adorable coy little grin and nuzzle yourself into my neck when someone says hello or if you catch yourself in the mirror. And you’re starting blow kisses at mama, which pretty much makes me feel like I’m running through a field of unicorns and puppy kisses.


You flap your arms in delight just like your brother did/does. You chew on everything. You love the sound of your voice and just holler when you need us to pay a little more attention to you. I can’t get over how sweet you are and despite the early mornings and crappy naps, I breathe in every adorable ounce of you and can’t wait to see the little boy you become.

Mama loves you little man.

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Summer Time

Summer, you are a wild beast that brings me popsicle drips down my sons’ chins, late nights, early mornings, squeals through the sprinkler, and margaritas on the porch. Your smell floods my senses with your fresh hydrangeas, sunscreen, and burgers on the grill. I think I like you Summer. I think I like you just fine.

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Oh Bennett Rippy

You are so dreamy my son.

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To be loved…

I have been outspoken about my lack of confidence before and how my Sam came into play. Well, I had another “aha!” moment as I was reading my friend Margot’s new book “Not Who I Imagined”. (You should get it by the way) Anyway, she was talking about how she struggled with not receiving love or feeling welcomed. Nouwen even says that we struggle with a fear of not being welcomed into this earth or being welcomed into the life after this earth. And Margot points out that even in the most functional families or life stories, we all wonder whether or not we’re worth loving.

On the week before my 8 year wedding anniversary, I read that sentence and it shook me. And it shook me in a way that shattered my heart with gratitude. Sam showed me that I was worth loving in a way that I didn’t think I deserved – romantic love.

I never felt lacking in love by my family, in fact, I have the most affirming family in the world. My parents are so affirming that their crazy children think we are capable of doing anything… which is probably why two of us are trying to be writers (least.lucrative.career.ever.).  I never went a day without being told “I love you” by both parents. I got plenty of snuggles, hugs, and kisses. But at around age 17, I began to wonder if I’d ever be worthy of romantic love because I never could quite fit into the Nicholas Sparks’ female rom-com mold.

Truth is, I have a sense of humor that I thought more identified with the male species… although now I realize there are thousands of hilarious females who are finally breaking out of that box.

I curse a lot.

There are weeks when I won’t put on a drop of make-up (and I’m not one of those cute Jennifer Garner types, I need make-up on my face region).

I like to hunt and fish.

I don’t care about getting my hands dirty, both figuratively and literally.

And because I grew up surrounded by 6 boys, I used to be terrible at processing my emotions in a healthy way. Before the past 7 years or so, I would just solve my problems by going for a run or making a joke to get out of a serious conversation. (Now I just watch Parenthood anytime I am feeling emotionally constipated and the tears start a flowin’) 

I just figured my destiny was to play the role of the best friend forever- stuck in a tragic terrible movie that only plays on TBS at 10pm. I was just missing the nerdy glasses and Chuck Taylors.

But then, when I was least expecting it, Sam saw me.

He saw me.

He saw the silliness, the sense of humor, the dirty hands, and he loved it all. I thought I’d have to do a lot of convincing to whatever man finally asked me out. I thought I’d have to play the part of the cute, baby talking female who says things like, “Oh gee, I don’t really eat refined sugar.” and then after they put a ring on it, reveal my secret hoarder’s closet full of Gobstoppers and Chewy Sprees. But Sam showed me he wanted me before I had time to do any convincing.

When things get tough with deployments, long and stressful work hours, the ebb and flow of parenting, I want to remember how life-changing it was for me to meet Sam. I love that man and the father, husband, and leader he has become. I am not writing this to fluff his ego. I’m writing this so I don’t forget to rejoice in the view-changer that he was for me.

He showed me that I am in fact, worthy of romantic love.

He showed me that I wouldn’t have to change a thing about myself and he’d chuckle his sexy little chuckle at my inability to keep a car clean.

He tells me I’m beautiful when I have greasy hair and no make-up on.

And best yet, he laughs and joins in on my inappropriate jokes.

Happy 8 years my love.

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The story of how we may become Amish… also, I’m not dead.

So I know you may have thought that I fell off of a cliff or drowned in a baby pool full of Sprees but have no fear, I just visited family in North Carolina for 3 weeks and decided to NOT.EVEN.TAKE.MY.LAPTOP.  You heard me.

But I’m back and I have to tell you that I may never step foot on a plane again. I would have rather paid 5 million dollars to Samuel L. Jackson himself to let me fly on a plane full of snakes than experience the flight TO North Caroline and FROM North Carolina again.

The flight to NC was deceivingly going okay because I had Sam with me but when we finally reached Charlotte airport after being in the air for 6 hours, the pilot comes on and says “Sorry everyone, I know that you think you’ve reached your destination after 6 hours in the air but we have to hover because Charlotte airport is closed because there are thunderstorms and there are no planes landing or taking off.”



“Sorry folks, it looks like the airport is still closed but we are out of gas so we are being rerouted to Columbia, South Carolina to refuel.”


30 minutes later we land in Columbia and they refuel but we aren’t moving. WE.ARE.NOT.MOVING.

Y’all- my kids have not so much as blinked for a long time in over 10 hours at this point.

“Sorry folks, the Charlotte airport is still closed so we are going to have to stay here on the tarmac until we get word we can land in Charlotte again.”

At this point, all hell breaks loose on the plane. People start pitching some serious fits. One lady gets in the flight attendant’s face waving her iPhone aka her Doppler Radar in his face and he gets super sassy back at her and all I can think (and hope) is that they get in an all-out wrestling match in the tiny aisle full of sweaty and cranky passengers. Because dammit, if I’m stuck on a plane I at least want some entertainment.


“Sorry folks, we won’t know anything for another hour but if you would like to get off this plane, you can. But you won’t have your luggage and we aren’t hooking up to a bridge so you can just walk down the stairs and onto the tarmac and find your own way home.”

I look at Sam with complete panic in my eyes and we both try and do the math on which one will take longer: rent a car and drive to Winston or sit on the plane some more with some seriously exhausted children. We choose to get off the plane and walk down the stairs (mainly because I wanted to look like the President) and take control of our own destiny and rent a car and drive the 3 hours to Winston.

Y’all. I just can’t even. 

What happened over these next 3 hours I just can’t describe. The horror rivals watching The Ring with the lights off and having someone explain to me about how gluten is evil. I’m convinced I may have PTSD. We almost couldn’t find carseats from the car rental place and the carseats that we did in fact receive could have fallen apart if I sneezed too hard on them which was a great sign since we were about to drive THREE HOURS THROUGH A THUNDERSTORM. Then yall- the screams that followed over the next three hours…. they still ring in my ears.

1am and we pull into my parents driveway sans luggage, two over-tired children, bobo carseats, and finally crash hard into the beds as I claim to Sam that we will walk or take a horse drawn carriage everywhere we need to go from now on because planes and cars are from the devil. Maybe that’s how the Amish community started, they all had a horrible flying experience and were like “NEVER AGAIN, WE SHALL RIDE HORSES AND BUILD OUR OWN CARSEATS OUT OF WOOD”. Amish people, serious question, do you have room for one more? I already have the hair for it and I think I’d look bangin’ in a bonnet. Bonnet be bangin’.

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