My Facebook is Full of Lies.

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I have a few confessions to make about the photos you see on my facebook feed.

In this picture, you see two happy, smiling little boys. What you don’t see is my Husband, not home, because he’s busy working his tail off to provide for our family. You don’t see me on the other side of the camera, running on fumes and counting the minutes until bedtime so that I can do something as simple as pee without someone crying for me. You don’t see that Aiden was showing his stubborn streak and was fighting every request I had of him, all night long. You don’t see that Asher hadn’t napped all day, and this photo was snapped in the thirty seconds of contentedness he experienced while snuggled up to his favorite person.liarIn this photo, you see my babes staring into each others faces, seemingly overwhelmed with love. You don’t see that Aiden is only wearing underwear, because I had given up the fight to get him to keep on any other clothing. And you don’t see that two seconds later, Asher nailed him in the eye with a finger.  liar2 In this one, you see a happy, relaxed baby. What you don’t see is the pile of laundry to the left of the frame that I STILL haven’t finished sorting through days later. I’ve pretty much accepted that I won’t get caught up on laundry until all of my children have moved out. liar3 In this photo, you see my squish gumming the heck out of a pickle. And loving it. What you don’t see is the loud, screaming, and embarrassing meltdown that followed moments later because he was overtired. liar4 In this picture, you see my overachieving 5.5 month old pulling himself up on the leg of my yoga pants. What you don’t see is that I’m wearing yoga pants because I still can’t button my pre-baby shorts, and they are showing no signs of fitting comfortably before this summer ends. You don’t see how much pressure I put on myself to lose the baby weight, and how upset I get when the scale doesn’t budge.liar5 In this one, you see my ham of a five-year-old, grinning from ear-to-ear. You also see the pile of books I’ll never have time to finish reading on the end table. What you don’t see is the aforementioned pile of laundry to his right, the thin layer of dust on the bookshelf behind him, and the reward chart in the background that still says “June.”

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I’m never trying to be something I’m not when I post these pictures to social media. I put our happiest moments on social media to show our friends, family, and acquaintances, and accidentally, it paints a picture about our lives that just isn’t true.

I’m not a perfect housekeeper. My house appears cleaner because I’m good at keeping the toys, and the laundry, and the books, and the mess out of the shot. (Did I mention the toys?)

I’m not a perfect wife. My Husband almost always comes home in one of the two craziest hours of the day. First thing in the morning when I’m trying to get Aiden to school, or during the pre-bedtime witching hour full of baths and books and everyone pulling me in 20 different directions. He usually becomes the focus of my frustration and I snap at him and then I feel like the worst wife because it’s not his fault I’m so frustrated. Luckily, he usually sees that frustration and gives me some grace, but that doesn’t mean he deserves it.

I’m not a perfect mom. My kids are loved. SO loved. Overwhelmingly and unconditionally loved. But sometimes, before bedtime hits, I am just so ready for them to go to sleep, and for a moment of peace and quiet that I find myself counting away the minutes. Aiden’s whiny voice grates my nerves and Asher’s clinginess, instead of feeling like a special bond between us, starts to feel like I really wish he would be a little more independent sooner rather than later. Then they’re finally asleep and I sit in the quiet and try and decide what the heck is wrong with me because I start to miss them. I think about how quickly this season of our lives is passing, and my heart aches for more time.

My photos often portray me as having it all together, but I’m human. I’m exhausted, I’m behind on almost every household chore with zero sign of being caught up anytime soon, and I make it through each day with a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus. But where there is so much chaos and exhaustion, there is also so much love and so much happiness. It’s a beautiful mess. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

A Mom’s Thoughts While Grocery Shopping

Yesterday, I took my four-year-old and a one-year-old to the grocery store. I normally save these trips for weekends or evenings when my Husband is home and I can go kid-free. This time, pregnancy cravings forced me to go on a mad hunt for a cocktail shrimp ring and cinnamon toast crunch midday. This despite a max of four hours of sleep the night before due to pelvic pressure and round ligament pain from the apparent dinosaur baby residing in my uterus. This is my story:

Grocery cart

Not a single parking place, this is a great sign. How badly do I want that cereal? Badly enough. OOH THERE’S ONE. BEAT THE OTHER GUY. #WINNING.

MOMMYYYYY WE HAVE TO GO INSIDE AND FIND A BIG BUGGY! 

That’s cool, I’ll just turbo waddle through the parking lot, heavy baby on my hip, maternity pants sliding down awkwardly, and holding the four-year-old’s hand all while simultaneously praying that he doesn’t let go and that this store is out of the Cadillac-esque buggies. YES! THEY ARE OUT! THERE IS A GOD!

Looks like they are out of the big buggies, Bubba. (cue whine commencement.) Oh darn, now how am I going to make my three-display-destruction-per-trip quota.

MOMMY LOOK!

Oh, THANK YOU SO MUCH (other Mom exiting store) for giving us yours. I sincerely hope your kids force you to listen to a Yo Gabba Gabba soundtrack the whole way home.

Okay, get in, get what I came for, get out….OMG CHRISTMAS STUFF IS UP….NO. Focus.

Mommyyyyyyy, can we go look at the Christmas stuff?? Absolutely, after I get a few other things! Well, at least I can blame him now.

Oooh, there are the shrimp rings. Yes! I wonder how many people are judging me? Let me just poke out my belly a little extra, then they will understand. Well, at least the women.

Okay…cereal aisle…cinnamon toast crunch, get in mah belly. No, Bubba we don’t need Lucky Charms…Yes, Mommy is getting cereal…we don’t need more than one kind today…Because, the baby wants it…Fine, just put them in the buggy. Why does he always have such valid points? He’s four.

Ooh, we need milk, and cheese sticks, and yogurt, and why did I come here hungry? Where’s the wine aisle? Oh yeah, pregnant. Grape juice it is.

Let’s just go look at the Christmas things now. Oooh the crafty things! Don’t even go there, Taylor. You’ll never get out of here. Okay, how do I get there without passing the toy aisle…

TOYSSSSSS MOMMY WE HAVE TO LOOK SO I CAN WRITE MY LETTER TO SANTA TODAY. 

Crap.

I want that one. Okay. And that one. Okay. And this one too. We’ll see. I’ll just ask Santa. You go right ahead.

I just want to get to the Christmas section already. 

Okay, Mommy. Let’s just go look at Christmas stuff now! Did he just hear me think that?

Push that button, Mommy! (cue obnoxiously loud version of a moose singing Jingle Bells.) People are starting to stare. One-year-old is starting to fidget. Even she’s embarrassed at how loud that dang moose is.

Push that button too, Mommy! Pleaseeee!! Last one, Bubba. (cue obnoxiously loud snowman version of Winter Wonderland.) Seriously? Now I remember why I don’t buy these things. 

Okay, Bubba. Let’s go. BUT WHY? Because the baby is crushing Mommy’s pelvis when she walks. WHAT’S A PELVIS? Mommy’s buttbone. He’s crushing Mommy’s buttbone. I’ll regret that one later. 

Okay, find a check out line. We’re almost out. Can I have skittles? No, you don’t need skittles. Can I have tic-tacs? No, you don’t need tic-tacs. Remind me to thank Nini again for getting him hooked on those. Why are you so mean, Mommy? I know, mean, mean Mommy trying to keep your teeth from rotting out. What was I thinking? Crap, now who is he talking to now? Why doesn’t he understand stranger-danger?

…and my name is Batman and I’m four years old. My mommy has a baby in her tummy and he’s a boy and his name will be ‘Ass-er Charies.’ He will come out of Mommy’s bellybutton but right now he’s crushing her buttbone. She told me so. That’s why we’re leaving. Oh, and because I probably have to go poop soon because my farts smell like tacos.

Oh. My. God.

Okay, Bubba. Now that you’ve told the man way more than he ever needs to know, let’s go.

Okay! You can call my Mommy and talk about it some more! Her number is 9…OKAY, AIDEN. LET’S GO.

BUT MOMMY HOW IS MY NEW FRIEND GOING TO CALL ME…..(cue Mommy waving goodbye at the poor, unsuspecting man who just wanted to buy his trashbags and beer in peace and running out the door.)

I am never coming here again. Ever. Husband is doing all the grocery shopping from now on. I’m done. All I have to do is get these kiddos buckled in and it’s home for naptime. 

No, we’re not going to McDonald’s. No, we’re not going to Chick-fil-a. No, we’re not going to Subway.

WELL WHAT AM I GOING TO EAT?

Lucky Charms. PB&J when we get home.

THAT DOES NOT SOUND YUMMY! Everyone comfy and ready? 

Aaaaaand, I forgot the milk.

Click here to follow me on instagram for daily posts on life with Aiden & his soon arriving brother, “Ass-er.” 🙂

A Letter to my Pre-Mom Self

letterIt’s okay.

I know you’re terrified. It’s okay to be scared. Your life is about to change more than you can imagine.

I know you’re in the midst of trying to decipher the difference between all of those diapers, and the bottles, and the pacifiers, and I won’t even mention the pumps. But, guess what?

They don’t matter.

I know that you think you don’t know a single thing about raising children. But who really does? Relax. You, like all other mommies, are going to figure it out as you go along. You’ll be fine.

Don’t worry so much about your birth plan. Things in childbirth rarely go as planned. Just plan to do whatever it takes to bring that sweet boy (yes, it’s a boy!) into the world safely.

Recovering from your cesarean is going to suck. Physically and emotionally. Take it easy while you recover physically, and accept help when it’s offered. Emotionally will take longer. Just know that you are not a failure. You made the safest choice for your little boy, and that matters so much more than the method he used to enter this world.

Your boobs are going to hurt. Like, imagine the pain comparisons you’ve read in one of the ten baby books you own, and then multiply it tenfold. Breastfeeding is hard. Again, accept the help when it’s offered and ask for help when you need it instead of trying to figure it out yourself.

Don’t expect to sleep for a while. Even if he does, you’ll be too busy staring at him, in amazement at this life you created, and you’ll constantly be checking to make sure he’s breathing. Showers will also be few and far between. Don’t fret, you’ll be too exhausted to go out into public anyway.

When you bring him home, don’t be alarmed when you become so overwhelmed with love that you just cry. This doesn’t go away. Before you know it, you’ll be preparing yourself to send him off to kindergarten. So enjoy the seasons as they come.

Know that you will be different. Your mind, YOUR BODY, your everything. You will transform from selfish to selfless, constantly putting this other life before yours, before you even realize what happens. Your body will never be the same. Your stretch marks will fade eventually, your boobs will go back down to their “normal” size, but you will notice that your feet and fingers are a little fatter than they were before. And your behind will stay a little more round than you remember. Embrace your new body. It did the job God intended for it to do.

Your relationships will be different. Some friends will stick by you. Some will fade into the background. You’ll probably feel alone from time-to-time. Get out and make some friends who are at the same stage in life as you. You can’t expect those not in your shoes to understand what your life is like now.

Your house will never be clean. Well, it might for the first five minutes after you finish tidying and then sit down. Then your boy will wake up from his nap, your Husband will come home from work, dinner will need to be made, and someone will spill something, somewhere. Don’t let it drive you crazy. Life happens.

You will quickly realize that you don’t know why in the world you ever stressed over bottles and diapers. This mom-thing will come so naturally to you that you’ll wonder why you ever worried. You’ll quickly realize that before you had your sweet baby, there was always some piece of the puzzle that was missing and you just had no idea. Now, your heart and home will feel complete.

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Popped! (16 Weeks)

16How far along? Sixteen weeks!

Are you showing? Absolutely.IMG_5022

Gender: We’ll find out in nine days!! 🙂

Total weight gain: I have gained 0.4lbs. I’ll take it. 

Maternity clothes: Oh yes.  

Stretch marks: Just the pre-existing ones. But my lower belly is starting to get itchy. Coconut oil, for the win!

Sleeping: So-so.

Food Cravings: MILK. And chocolate! 

Anything making you sick or queasy? Mostly gone! (Knock on wood.)

Miss Anything? Energy, Sleep, Wine, and Sushi. 

Movement: More frequent flutters and a few actual jabs. Which are more like strong pokes at this point. Jellybean started jabbing at the laptop as I typed this!

Labor signs: Nope!

Symptoms: Light stretching/cramps, pure exhaustion, emotional, and the acne of a teenager. Oh, and heartburn has arrived with a vengeance.  

Belly Button in or out: Still in, but weird and bumpy-ish. I don’t think it’ll hold on very long this time around.

Wedding rings on or off: On

Happy or moody: Happy for the most part! But also emotional. 

Best moments this week: Feeling flutters more often! Seeing a healthy growing bean on the ultrasound!

Looking forward to: More energy. It’s starting to pick up finally!

We had an ultrasound this week while testing a new doctor, and Hubby swears he sees boy-parts. I don’t see any parts, boy or girl. Remember that episode of Friends when Rachel and Ross have their ultrasound? Remember Rachel’s reaction? Yep. 1 2I couldn’t even tell you for sure if that’s a butt shot. That’s how bad I am at deciphering this mess.

Our actual gender scan is NEXT FRIDAY! WHOOP. Be sure to follow me on instagram to know whether Jellybean is a he or a she before anyone else! 🙂

 

Beach Bear Cupcakes

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For Aiden’s End-Of-Year party, I made Beach Bear Cupcakes! This is my go-to cupcake recipe. For the cupcake and the icing, I obviously used blue food-coloring. You’ll also need:

-Blue Crystal Sprinkles

-Teddy Grahams

-Lifesavers.

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Ingredients:
2/3 c. butter, soft
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. milk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
3. In a large bowl mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat eggs in one at a time. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into batter alternately with milk.
4. Spoon into prepared muffin cups.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in preheated oven.

Icing:

2 oz (60g) butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
A dash of salt

Preparation:

1. Whip butter in an electric mixer on medium speed for about 8 minutes or until it becomes creamy.
2. Pour in rest of the ingredients and continue blending them on low speed for a minute, then change the speed and keep mixing for another 6 minutes or until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. You can also add food coloring.

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To decorate:

1. Use food coloring to make icing blue. Spread on each cupcake.

2. Use food processor to crush at least a cup of teddy grahams. (This is your sand.) Spread in half moon shape on the cupcake.

3. Sprinkle the blue crystal sprinkles on remaining icing.

4. Stick bears in their inner tubes and place on the icing. And you’re done!

Cute, easy, and a huge hit with the kids!

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Have You Ever Wondered Why Moms Don’t Shower?

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So, up until this afternoon, I had no idea whatsoever what my contribution to this series would be. Then, I got the brilliant idea to take a quick shower while both Aiden and the little girl I care for were napping- an extremely rare occasion. I hadn’t washed my hair in two-ish days and the idea of a five minute shower sounded like the mom-equivalent of an all expenses paid vacation.

Aiden was snoozing in my bed, so I tiptoed past him, grabbed a towel and bolted into the bathroom. Peeked over my shoulder, and he was still snoring. Okay, I’m going for it.

So, I turn on the water, strip down and hop in. For a moment, I close my eyes and just take in the calm, peaceful silence. Clearly, what I’m experiencing is a slight taste of what Heaven will be like. Then, a sound simultaneously ruins my moment and nearly causes me to pee myself.

“HeHeHe.”

I whip around so quickly I almost lose my balance, and see none other than my three-year-old with this mischievous “up-to-something” face peeking around the shower curtain.

“OH WOW! WHO DREW THOSE LINES ON YOUR BELLY!?”

He’s referring, of course to the stretch marks that his own nearly ten-pound-infant-body left as a souvenir of pregnancy.

“AIDEN! GO LAY BACK DOWN!”

It was a shout more out of having the poo scared out of me, not so much out of anger. Though I was definitely frustrated.

“BUT MOMMMYYYYYYYYYYY, I NEEDA SHOWER TOO! I WANNA PLAY IN DA WATERFALL! CAN I PWEEEEEASEEE COME IN?!”

So naturally, I did what any other mom would do in a moment like this and resorted to bribery. Obviously.

“Aiden, if you go lay down and watch Wallykazaam, I will give you a popsicle when I get out.”

Naturally, I mean a super organic-Pinterest-homemade-fresh-fruit-popsicle that I made myself and NOT the fudgesicle hidden in the back of the freezer. Naturally.

“YAYYY! YOU DA BEST MOMMY EBER!”

I watch as he returns to the bed and then go back into the solitude of my vacation shower. It’s not nearly as stress-free now that I know that he is awake ten feet away, but still. It’s worth a try. I squirt the shampoo into my hand and began to lather up the mane that is my hai….

“I HABBBBB TOOOO POOOOOOOOOOOOOP!”

Of course you do.

“Ok, go ahead and use Mommy’s potty and I’ll help you in just a minute.”

I remove the fiery, painful suds that have now taken up residence in my eye socket. I regain my vision just in time to see a little head peeking around the curtain, again.

“I need help with my button..” 

I try to strategically reach around the curtain without causing the need to answer any more anatomical questions he may have. Successfully unbutton his shorts and watch him sit on the toilet. I feel like it’s safe to return to quickly wash my body. He is a man after all, even if he’s the smaller version. I’ve got time. I start to lather up and use the washcloth when…

“Uh, I fink I hab a problem.”

Totally something every mother wants to hear her child say.

“What kind of problem?”

“I hab an accident… your towel is wet. And your phone has pee sprinkles on it too.”

I peek around the curtain again to see that my towel is in fact soaked, as well as the rest of the floor, and my iPhone is in fact covered with “pee sprinkles.” Great. I’ll have fun explaining this one to the guys at the phone store, not to mention my Husband. I reach down and dry the phone with a non-pee-soaked area of the towel and toss it a safe distance from the bathroom. I tell Aiden to finish his business while I rinse off, and then I will help him.

I give up on even attempting to wash the remainder of my body and just begin to rinse off.

“Uh, Mommy? I fink my butt is empty. I just had to pee after all!”

I’m pretty much ready to scream at this point. Instead, I take a deep breath and tell him to put his undies (they were safely dry on the other side of the room) back on and hang out until I’m done. I finish rinsing off, turn off the water, and step out of the shower…

And directly into a puddle of pee. 

I wish I could say that this kind of thing doesn’t happen often, but I would be lying. It’s a daily occurrence. Not specifically the pee-puddle-stepping, but there’s always something. There are moments when I just want to scream out of pure frustration over Murphy’s Law taking effect, but then there are ten more moments like right now that make up for it. This little hot mess of mine is currently snuggled up to my side sleeping soundly as I type, because he “had a nightmare and needed to keep Mommy safe.”

Melt my heart, why don’t you?

All of the other moms have already said it, but I’m going to say it again for the sole reason of it being true. There is NO WAY to be a perfect parent. You WILL mess up. You WILL lose your temper. You WILL cry yourself to sleep. You WILL get overwhelmed. The way you learn from your mistakes is what defines you, not the mistake itself. I could’ve lost my temper with him today, and easily. But, instead I took a deep breath, cleaned the pee off of my feet, and then gave him a fudgesicle super organic-Pinterest-homemade-fresh-fruit-popsicle like I promised.

Something Mandy said in an earlier post this week really resonated with me. “Let your face speak what’s in your heart.” I want Aiden to always look at me and see the love that I have for ALL of him, even the parts that drive me nuts and cause me to step in fresh urine.

CIPTay

I’m Taylor! I’m the writer at Not Just Another Teen Mom, and I feel so blessed to have had all of these amazing moms guest posting this week. I encourage you to check them all out and read them carefully. Also, make sure to check out their personal blogs linked to their posts. 

HUGE Thank you to Lauren, Val, Amanda, Lila, Mandy, Bridget, Calli, & Katie. Be sure to click their name to be directed to their post. 

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Superhero Cupcakes.

Aiden’s class celebrated his summer birthday today, and he of course wanted superhero cupcakes. I attempted to make these for his birthday last year, and failed. (They were brown.)

How to make them without making them turn brown? Start by finding my go-to recipe for cupcakes here. Once you have your batter, split it into four bowls. Add your food coloring. You will need A LOT (especially the red) to get vibrant, bright, bold colors. I’m not exaggerating. Unless you want pink, then have it your way!

1

Add a dollop of each color to each wrapper. DO NOT TRY TO MIX OR FLATTEN THEM. This is how you end up with brown poopcakes. They will settle while baking and will NOT be lumpy.

2

See?

Now add your icing and sprinkles!

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Then top with two-stickers-stuck-together-on-a-toothpick-Superhero toppers. (These were a hit, and super easy! Made them while the cupcakes baked.)

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They were also delicious!

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Happy (almost) Birthday to Aiden!

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Oh, did I mention that NJATM is now officially http://www.notjustanotherteenmom.COM?! So stoked. Thanks for being such great followers!

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Coming soon to NJATM, my personal review of doTerra essential oils!

Have a product you want me to review and write about? Email me at NATMBlog@gmail.com!