5 favorite at home workouts: CrossFit Inspired, Stay at Home Mom Approved

This week as a way to show my love for Jenny’s Wellness Project and Natalie’s #30daymommybootcamp, as well as share my secret for staying sort-of sane, I’ve compiled five of my favorite workouts that require no equipment, space, and barely any time.  All workouts have been tested on my family room area rug while 3 children play/mostly misbehave, and are timed at about 10 minutes or less.

I learned how to properly perform these movements at CrossFit, and if possible, that’s where I like to do them. Since the mom-life can make it difficult to get out, there are lots of days that I do the following workouts barefoot and with babies. But, If you are in Pittsburgh and able, I really- really- very- very much recommend Alpha Athletics.

As gym class graduates, most of you may already know how to perform the movements. If I had spent less time purposefully messing up volleyball rotation, I may have learned them there too. Just in case of memory lapse, pregnancy brain, or a shared skill in distracting the gym teacher, consult the following videos for proper technique and a glimpse of extremely toned muscles.





1) 10 minute Total body workout:

1 minute of squats

2 minutes burpees

1 minute pushups

2 minutes sit-ups

1 minute jumping jacks

1 minute of squats

2 minutes burpees

Keep track of your reps and see how you improve over time!


2) For your bum:

5 Rounds (or more depending on how badly it hurts) of:

10 squats

10 lunges

Keep track of time and see how it improves!


3) AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in 10 minutes

10 squats

10 situps

10 pushups


4) Get back your six pack right before you get pregnant again

10 Rounds

10 situps

30 second plank


5) NO Rest for the Weary

100 lunges

100 squats

100 burpees

Again, Keep track of your time and see how much it improves over time!


These movements make my motherhood easier, and since clumsy is my most frequent form of movement, you can trust me when I say that they don’t take all too much coordination. The better and more consistently I do them, the less my back hurts, and the stronger I feel. The shortness of the workouts encourages intensity, thus releasing aggression, thus protecting my husband and children from a crazy frustrated mom or furiously folded laundry.

And for your entertainment, and my embarrassment, I’m including a video of me deadlifting a weight that is almost equal, but still a lot less than, the weight of a full size human being approximately 6 inches off of the ground. I never thought I would care about lifting a heavy load, but experiencing an increase of strength really does feel quite good even though the video indicates a very bad mood.


To stronger backs and better bums!

Go to Moxiewife for better 5 favorites!

Life Sunday

Three kids with coughs that could easily cause vomiting at any moment seemed like plenty a reason to separate for morning Mass. Beyond the excitement of an opportunity to wear a non-mucous resistant shirt for the first time in a week, for even just an hour, the powerhouse of a Homily made this Sunday even better. My pastor is capable of something of communicating a spirituality rooted so deeply in Mercy, yet firmly based in Justice, too that his love for God is simply contagious. He’s approachable, yet honest, flexible yet orthodox, and his message today left me in tears.

Several years ago he sat with a young woman preparing to baptize her baby. With the question of “Father’s name and religion” left blank, she felt compelled to explain that she had been raped. Forever impacted by this girl’s generosity and love for her baby, despite the circumstances with which he was conceived, Fr. Thom, tells the same story almost every year after the March for Life, not to politicize, but to share a story about a woman he simply cannot forget.

As I listened, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the infinite power of saying “yes,” especially when its hard. A woman I do not know personally, impacted me to deepen the “yes’s” that are difficult in my life, because she showed courage in hers, took the road less traveled, out of love for a baby, and for that I will always be grateful.

And for the last day of this week that I am reminded to meditate on the importance of valuing life, I’m reposting why I care so deeply about this issue, and why I’ll always pray that more women have the courage to silently impact infinite numbers of people by choosing life.


Pitter-patter is not at all political. It’s unaware of congress, and the president, too. And it might be better off, for I’d hate it to think its just a bunch of cells, lumped together haphazard.

I remember exactly the day and the moment of each of my three when Pitter-patter began to reveal its life’s special purpose.

It was the last Sunday in May, the first time James danced. I sat near a pond off the road called Love Hollow. Grass twirled in my hand as his dad’s arm drew back with his rod, attached to the string, swaying peacefully behind him and then into the water. I sighed in surprise and sat there a while, pressing my hand on his body and mine. The kick, like him, strong and intense like a hammer, seldom stopped moving all those months in my belly.

Sweet baby Josie, danced awfully early. I folded that shirt then dropped it at once, and put back my hand to where it belonged, right onto my belly and close to her jumping joyfully feet. She’s never stopped tapping since 8 weeks gestation, reminding me then, just like she does now, to quit all that laundry, put a smile on my face, and enjoy the freedom of life.

Rita Therese was 9 weeks along. I laid on the chair and its soft navy back, its cushion absorbing my day’s exhaustion. What a surprise, those feet came to be, reminding of joy, and sacrifice, too. Her kicks the first, that led me to tears, for her soft gentle rhythms weren’t the first event unexpected. Rita, my child, is not a mistake, but a gift sent from heaven, unforeseen yet received.

Pitter-patter cannot vote, or chose at all, which seems not fair, to me, its mother. It cannot march or stand outside the courts with a sign or a hanger. It only pushes and twists and rolls. It taps quite strong before it naps. Hiccups come at the same time each day. Its legs stretch up to my ribs, and like to dance at bedtime. I cannot will it, nor make it stop, just choose whether to enjoy it and exactly how much.

Life is simple; it begins and it grows, so long as its let, and loved just for being.



and voting closes tomorrow! vote here

How to ruin Simon Says

The weather has kept all of the babysitters indoors and we have resorted to a Saturday evening full of playing botched versions of Simon Says. Before motherhood, I may have considered the elementary learning tool to be in “always a safe bet” territory. However, in a classic combination of disobedient children and an unathoritative mother, the learn to listen game quickly transformed into make mom spin until she’s dizzy. Although it started off promising with James following the directions of “touch your head,” and “touch your belly,” as soon as Josie received permission to “spin around,” flower child didn’t stop and James took charge. Rita, still fascinated with the discovery of her belly button since confusing “touch your belly,” with “lift up your shirt,” stood idle, naturally becoming the “wreck me” part of Josie’s destructive spinny path. Cabin fever encouraged me to follow my four year old’s directions right up until “touch your bum and say poopy,” was mistakingly said by our small Simon. His sisters found no objection to continuing playing the game even after it had been seriously ended! and obliged to his next direction to “take off your diapers and run.” So while I catch and cloth what feels like a dozen children, I say to you, Happy Saturday night. May all of your babysitters have snow tires.

And if you want, Vote!

March well my friends.

Today marks the second anniversary of my discovery of the life of Rita Therese. To honor her and the millions of babies for whom we march, pray, think and sacrifice, I’m sharing a very personal story I wrote about how I learned to really be pro-life. I always thought I was, marching, politicizing, and probably judging too. Yet, it wasn’t until I didn’t want to be pregnant, not forever, but for the moment, that I really got it. It was in accepting the difficulty that I found myself and really started to enjoy all of this.

The story is extremely long and extremely dramatic so readers beware. Its also about labor, so boys beware. Its probably also still a rough draft and not at all funny and I’m embarrassed to even have thought or written most of these things, and with all of the running metaphors, I really should be faster. But, since I can’t be in DC to march for the babies, I’m going out on the most risky creative writing limb I’ve ever gone, and trying to be honest about what it feels like to have my own while continuing to pray that others can except the joy every baby, no matter how inconvenient, brings. To me being a mother is like running an endless marathon that makes me laugh and cry harder than I could have ever imagined, and I am eternally grateful to have been given this opportunity.

A Great Race 

The runners sweat drips steadily and peacefully offering the dark hard road its gentle rolling moisture. Just outside my fifth floor window, the pattern of pounding hardens and slows at the wet hill; its incline stifling the swift, continuous stride of their rhythmic feet, the muggy air sticking to its steepness, the cadence of each step slowing towards its unrelenting landing, their socks soaking the rain are soggy. Each step is one closer towards the finish of this Great Race. They are a sea of muddled effort, a community of isolation in tandem and competitive contest in parallel motion. They stare at the road beneath them. Its monotony is inflexible. The cheers of the sidelines are unable to change its interminable blackness. Their clothes are light and revealing the form of their bodies, made of spandex and rayon, their color black with neon flashes. Their reasons for running are confused and frustrated by the incline of the hill, its gradient muddying their purpose, precipice rising with each cold step.

I lay on my side. My eyes brew with envy towards the foggy glass barrier. They continue to pass by, impacting me much more than their knees. I would like to capture the air beneath each foot just before it strikes, that single moment of human flight. I imagine flying by with speed and long legs, toned and tight, without veins, cramps, or extra pounds. My body light and free, my midline strong and balanced, as I soak the sideline cheering, determined and fast, smiling and well trained. My stomach is calm, and unlike the year before, I do not vomit over the highway’s side, in a disgusting display of too eager too early, unable to endure the swishing and churning of nervous acids threatening to expel. My joints, rejuvenated, do not pound. They glide and absorb the landing. They rebound with bouncing speed, each step faster than the last.

“Maybe next year,” I whisper hopefully as I shift my stare below to my feet, swollen and veiny, tired and cramped. The floor beneath them is parquet, small pieces of dull wood composing a puzzle frustrated with no beginning or end. It is just like the one in the living room at home, but hopefully, cleaner. The walls, covered in maroon colored, fruit patterned wallpaper circa 1986, the year of my birth, or some other year of unfortunate fashion, suffocate. I wonder what this room designer is like, the one who decided the color of dry blood for walls looked upon for courage and strength. The one who put that window there with the perfect view of cycled flight fast and free. I think maybe that I hate her.

A few thousand steps before this hill each racer stood behind the start line attempting to balance anxiety and self -assurance, apprehension and preparedness. For me, the moments before a race are always the same. The physical hunger is subsided by nerves unsettled by the fear of the shotgun, as I wonder if my feet will do what they ought when the sound is heard.  My speech is hurried, quivering, and shaking, and it exposes my crazy. My shoes, recently purchased, are brightly colored cushions on which I rely to absorb the looseness of my joints. I step up as close as I can to the line. I’m almost bouncing; excitement intensifying all the way to my fingertips painted red and vibrant, sleek and loud, and I cannot seem to shake it out. I inhale, unable to catch the air all the way. The height of the breath remains out of reach, stifled by the pounding of my heart. The gun is a pop, the signal to go. My shoes do not absorb the first strike, or the tenth. It is a sloppy stride with too much distance between each step, heels landing flat, and hips bearing down. The height of each breath is still dangling above me, as I wonder if I will complete even one mile. Then, the first burst of moisture is felt on the small of my back, at the point of sciatic pressure and lumbar curve. It gently rolls, spreading to my neck and forehead, each bead a wet release of encouraging stamina. With its break, I find my stride. I begin to fly for millions of singular moments between each pounding rebound.

This pregnancy, too, began with a line. A faint shade of pink, a delicate color for a statement so strong. Its paleness marks the start of my 40-week gestational marathon.  At its sight, buckling knees, sinking hips, shoulders surrendering into the concaves of my chest, flatten my immovable feet further. My breaths exhale to the pit of my stomach, yet they fail to move me at all. The lump in my throat sits large. No matter how tightly I close my eyes, or how much the burrow of my brow reveals my worries; the sight of its positivity remains the same. Hours earlier, the public display of gagging at the site of raw chicken had already indicated pregnancy. The midnight sweats catapulting my head from my pillow and into the toilet further signaling my suspicion. I raise my eyes, watery and beginning to swell. The sight before me was a pale reflection of fear and doubt, disbelief and question. My mind fills with waging battles between midnight bouts of vomiting into porcelain, with early morning toddler wrangling with swollen eyes and creaking joints. Images of three lap children on one airplane with strict aviation laws and other passengers, trips to the grocery store with two hands, three babies, a shopping cart, and produce displays within a toddler’s arms reach, pushing strollers the same size as small European vehicles, crawling under tables to pick up Cheerios, continue to thwart my motivation to move, to blink, to breath. All I want to do is run. To feel the pavement below each strike, to soak its impact fast and hard, to shed my fears through dripping sweat, my feet the vehicle of freedom and distance, my will its driver. Yet, as I strain to lift my heel from the floor, my muscles are tense and inflexible. I am stuck.

I had seen that line before, and I had been ready. There was no regret, no apprehension the two times before. The knowing awareness of her tiny beating heart, pulsing with each of mine, mount the blame already welling, further halting my feet and their steps. Unable to meditate on the life within me, or grapple with any of my practical impediments as the parental unit of three children two and under, a spiral of self-pity commences.  The guilt is heavy and thick and so is the fear.  I look at my arms, and regret their lack of tone. My waist still thin, having never worn that dress. My skin, beginning to age prematurely for its number of years already looks tired. My free time to be traded for naps of tired desperation. At 25, I feel old.

There is a peculiar resentment of my fertility even though I know how precious it is, how delicate, how fleeting. While I am aware of the tiny humanity clinging to my nourishment, relying on the walls of my body and making I do not yet appreciate her, know her, want her. The guilt for harboring such thoughts debilitates my breaths into unrelentingly confusing gasps and sobs. My two children fight and squawk in the kitchen over blueberries and juice boxes, as my husband knocks on the door at the sound of my sobbing. With nine grueling months ahead of me, my breaths continue flickering unsteadily, barely able to support my stance at all. I rest my hand on my womb and search for life, but I can’t yet feel it. The end is millions of miles from that bathroom mirror, and I am desperately seeking a path to escape, to run away as fast as I can, to avoid the reflection staring back at me.

I do not run. “God knows,” I repeat to myself, gently coaching moment after moment, day after day, even though I don’t believe it.  But, growing a baby is a commitment of mind just as it is one of the body, and I refuse to give up. It is a marathon of life, a resurrection of sacrifice, and this is my turn to give what I’ve got.

Its precipice is my looking out this window as laboring my third child intensifies, still wishing I could run away.

The sheets on the bed that detains me are itchy, confining, and hot. I place my hand on its scratchy covering. I stretch each finger long and wide; their violent texture an inconsolable foundation for finger’s working so hard. I beg the pressure to escape my fingers red painted tips, too flashy a color for birthing a baby. As the height of the pressure declines and releases, I stand so as to shake the labor out from my feet, to release it with kicks and flailing limbs thrusting their way towards nowhere.

The gown is draping, revealing and hot. It does not move with my body. It stifles. It hangs. It sticks. It’s too big, too ugly, too borrowed, and not made for a woman so small or with so many opinions.

The bathroom a few feet away, might as well be ten kilometers from the squishy ball on which I sit, leaking and swaying. It is made for stretching and sit-ups. It is used to ease each mounting pressure with movement, to break the monotony of the bed’s stillness. As if rocking will make it end sooner or squish could absorb the pain.

I breathe in between. My husband is in my face breathing with me. His face is gentle. He is confident of the strength inside me, of my ability to pace, and make it to the end. He can see the womanhood I possess, and all of its feminine power. Yet, as it tightens again, I am weak, and unfeminine, with nothing left to push, and nothing left to give. I feel incapable of handling what is to come naturally for a woman, but probably not one with such small, childlike hips. I dream of running the fastest 10 kilometers of my life in the face of someone who believes in me. Then, the strength for one more contraction comes out through the gasp of my breath.

The haze will not release the sun. It is stuck, just like me at too few centimeters. I am not close, and if I hear the number 6 again, I think I’ll rip out the needle and throw it at the bearer of “only four more to go!” The cheer is meant to be one of encouragement, but with what seems like an eternity of painful distance between one and ten, my screams become grunts of anger.

“Concentrate, you are doing great. It’s just a few miles more” he tries to encourage using words I like, metaphors I understand. My gaze continues in envy, toward that window. “Stop looking at them,” he says catching my focus. He hopes the race ends soon because the envy is distracting, and he is tired, too. The runners now are stragglers, their landings hard and painful, their clothes soaked, their bodies heavy. The good ones have crossed the finish. They eat bananas, compare their times, regret their performance on the hill outside the window through which I blink and stare.

Each contraction, like a hill; the intensity in its rising, lactic acid burning, focus on the breath, my muscles are ripping apart. Each one is growing stronger, a mounting pressure emerging steadily every two minutes. It is as if at first it asks its permission. It hopes for acceptance as its intensity grows. It exists nonetheless, and continues to climb in disobedience.

The sounds of hearts beating muffled and quiet continue to determine the course and pace of my labor. Our beats, united in both stress and calm, as her fast pulse is in sync with mine. She is squeezed, yet endures, moving down. It is difficult, though, to think of her, or anyone else, in moments that feel like such insurmountable personal weakness. I bear the consequence of another with parched breath, dry and stale. The faces of those surrounding me are all in mine, as I demand they push both my spirit and already bruised back. Yet, no amount of muscle or sweat could absorb my body that feels much too small to bring forth the life of my own, let alone someone else’s.

The sound down the hall is of a woman’s final push. It is a desperate scream and a call to God. The newborn cry follows. It is perfect and pure. It could be heard as motivation, of a finish line close, just a few more breaths. Yet, my concentration to bear down and breathe is baffled and thwarted. My envy is fueled by a finish line crossed by someone other than me. I request help with the pain. My sister interrupts, “Just one more. Pretend it’s a mile.” I do one more. She’s a runner, too.

They pray around me, with beads of peace and rhythm, so long as I don’t find it annoying. The repetition reminds me to breath, to experience my body. I listen to its strength, one step at a time, one cycle into the next, one bead after the other.

“It’s time,” the doctor says, and my eyes well with tears. “Are you excited?” I ask, with the finish line in sight, and they are crying, too.

The lights are bright, and reveal too much of a lady. The stirrups offer cold support, but their presence seems more appropriate on a horse for someone strong enough to use them. The mirror should be thrown and cracked and broken. The silver table, ready to greet her, with a test and to find her weight, seems too cold, far away, and rather judgmental.

My stomach tightens. I close my eyes. My breaths astonish my body’s dependent weakness, its bending and bruising. They hold my limbs, hanging and disconnected. I push. I pray. I cry.

The moment is the same each time for each race, not the circumstance but the feeling. The cadence slows, my muscles cramp, my heart beats fast, and my breaths can no longer keep up with its rhythm as airways tighten and restrict. I am pushed to the point of puking, or my shoulder bleeds from a messy fall, my knees smash into pavement, and I cannot remember how I stood up or why. To quit is impossible, but continuing seems so, too. The temptation is to be still, but that’s when the pain sets, swelling to the point of bursting. That’s where the will is made, the pain ignored even though I’m screaming, the movements persist not automatically, but to the tempo and tune of “almost there, cycle again, breath once more, exhale now, land and absorb, bring flight to it now, strike again, another step closer, inhale, repeat.” Then it’s over. The ending is immediate and abrupt. The path of the course, the rhythm of my treads, their circles and landings in duplicated recurrence are erased by the pavement behind me. The tempo of my body is made still, as my mind begins to race with adrenaline, sigh in elation, bounce in jubilation. Life is clear, and I am capable. My memory is oblivious to its trauma, my mouth grins a gloating smile, soreness is hung by happiness, and a sweaty release goes unnoticed. I did it. I finished, and the road behind me no longer matters.

The Ring of Fire is the name for this moment in labor. New life at the threshold of birth pushes to escape. Its breath is not yet present, but its power is full and robust, demanding to be noticed as it paralyzes and humiliates, authorizes and inspires. Then, it is a slide and a slither, a sobering instant streamlining unfathomable pain with a blink and a cry. The physical relief is not at first noticed. Rather, it is a surge of joy just as powerful as the pain, overwhelming just the same, grateful gasps resounding and repeating.

The room and its window no longer matter. The walls, the floor, the lights, and their faces are a background blur.

Her name is Rita.

I am her mother.

Her cries cleanse us both. What was once fear is purified by her gentleness, what was once saturated by guilt is transformed by her innocence. This baby I never thought I wanted, lying naked in my arms. Her innocence is exposed, my desire for her insatiable.

The first look between a husband and wife after giving birth surely must exist in eternity. The recollection of yelling, cursing, and nearly strangling him moments earlier is erased and forgotten. His smile is one of proud fulfillment, tears revealing his thanksgiving at the sight of his second baby girl. Memories of the gentle acceptance spoken by his first knock on the door in the moment of my discovery of pregnancy echo. His strong arms are protective, surrounding my frail figure, a tender reminder to breath slow; their embrace coaching my anxiety to absorb into the kind beat of his heart.

Awe is what I feel as she is given to me. My shaking arms hold her, as she is placed directly on my chest. Her tiny breaths are in sync with mine. These first moments of life hold humanity’s most important truths. It is where innocence stems, newness is revealed, and purpose is born, all in the form of a baby. She is a miracle made flesh. A person, there all along, when I looked in that mirror and had all those questions, faced all those doubts, but I didn’t believe it. She was there all along, in me, all along. And with her in sight, the race so hard, so long, so painful, is forgotten and left behind.

A gaze is created through the reflection of myself in her, so small and new. It is an eternal stare, one of incarnate union that no one but I, her mother, can claim or recognize. There is finally a visual depiction of the language silently communicated by our bodies since the moment of her conception, a significance and purpose that I did not understand until her 7 pound body, made from and kept by the flesh of my own, lays there blinking and cooing at her brand new world. The victory is her presence, her body my reward.

364 days later I ran the Great Race again in a personal record. Five fast miles in, with the barrier to my left, and my window up five floors to my right, there is a hesitation in my stride. I begin to slow out of a curious desire to stop and stay awhile, to let that spot impact my knees just a little longer than my pace and its energy want. As I look up at my window from the other side, it was gratitude in place of envy, freedom in the place of guilt, desire in the place of regret. The road race’s finish line is a ways ahead of this spot that marked my effort, my desire to flee, my decision to accept, the courage to sacrifice in the Great Race of motherhood. I pause for a moment, praying and cheering for those women in their beds, with their itchy gowns and ugly walls, in their panting and breathing, their swelling and their cramping. “You can do it,” I cheer and I hope they can feel my motivation because each and every one of them is doing great, and so am I. With a wave and a smile I ran to the finish having already experienced the victory long before my clock time indicates.

“Did you win, Mom?” my oldest, age 3, blurts out in enthusiasm as I return home to our home, quite comfortable in its mess. He stands sturdily with his favorite racecar in his right hand. His hairs stick like wires, long eyelashes blinking quickly and inquisitively. He is barefoot and strong, clumsy and curious. My husband stands tall cooking breakfast with a smile, offering water, supporting me still. My daughter, age two, bounces happily towards me, her blond curls, voluminous and buoyant, spunkily rebounding with each of her steps. There is chocolate on her face and she only wears a diaper. She swiftly wraps her arms around my leg, her happiness exuberant as she repeats her sounding joy, “Yay, Mommy!” Baby Rita, just one day from her first birthday, sits content and glad, still in her pajamas, her tiny palms clapping while cooing and laughing. She would jump to me if she could, her smile containing the most cheerful peace, her chub the perfect amount for a happy baby.

“Absolutely,” I reply.

Linking with Kendra because, to me, my baby’s life is a miracle 🙂

Seven Late Quick Takes/Confessions

Fashionably late to Jens

1) There have been many, including when I drove to Target solo only to realize I left my wallet and returned home to realize my wallet was actually in the car only to realize my babysitting time was over. There was also the time I got legitimately beat in a game of soccer by a four-year old, and when Josie figured out how to open a sippy cup before me. But I have to say that the most demoralizing moment of the week was when baby Rita threw a box of macaroni and cheese at my head and it knocked me over.

2) As we ate my lazy crock pot creation of mexican chicken, James, attempting to gain the favor as favorite child, and since the main ingredient is cheese, declared, “Mom, this is my favorite meal!” Thankful and relieved, I replied in all sincerity, “thank you, I made it with love.” “What is love?” he asked. Both parents tried their best to offer intelligent, age appropriate answers, involving an emphasis on God and an appreciation of others. With confidence and pride in our responses, we, once lovebirds, and now parents, fully capable of addressing the existential roots of our four-year olds life, received a follow-up. “Thank you, that’s good. My second question is: what is a coffee filter?” Back to reality we went.

Other questions James, our four-year old, asked included:

“Do you have a headache because you have a hangover again, Dad?”

“Is there a real bone in my bonehead?”

“When is Jesus actually going to come for dinner? And do we only get to eat bread? Or can we eat some steak?”

“Um mom, I just checked the time on your phone and it says ‘dinnertime.’ Where’s my food?”

3) The pungent stench indicated squashed stink bug indubitably. I looked around, opened her hands to investigate, but was halted by her baby death grip. Then, as she giggled her way past me, proud of her escape, the evidence was slobbered on the floor. The bug’s remains were chewed to the crisp and seemingly enjoyed. And to anyone who believes stink bug stench is bad, its much worse on a baby’s breath and somehow lasts for hours.

4) Last week our newly repaired car was returned to us due to an incident involving a side mirror, a garage, and me. Tomorrow it will return to the repair shop for the exact same reason.

5) If I could adopt any of my children’s qualities for my own, it would be the ability to see the world as an imaginary wonderland in which side-walk salt is delicious rock candy, drizzled romantically on the ground beneath my steps just waiting to be tasted and enjoyed, because why wouldn’t a magical candy fairy surprise me with sparkling treats after a trip to the library? Although I squeezed Josie’s cheeks to release the toxic solid antifreeze from her mouth in record time and tenacity, I did feel a bit guilty about bursting her perceived magical experience.

6) Parent tip: If a new babysitter is coming to the house to meet the family and consider working, it is best to know the location of the children. After 15 minutes we found them in my closet underneath a pile of just recently organized clothing, but boy, was that embarrassing.

7) Do yourself a giant favor and Meet Shyla. She’s hilarious and Christ centered, beautiful and simple, talented and efficient in the kitchen, and God’s most recent gift to the internet full of mom bloggers. She has coined the phrase Motha Blogga and I will forever be eternally grateful. Follow her, like her, send her a line, tell her how beautiful her new haircut is, and how funny it is that she thinks she looks like Mrs. Hughes. And Shyla, you are welcome for the 2-5 visitors.


Peace, peeps.

5 Favorite Dead of Winter Clearance Sales

Linking with Hallie for Five Favorites!

Winter weather got you down? Not looking forward to anything until St. Patrick’s Day? Too many polar vortex issues to get you out of the house and into a store? Join me in my online shopping addiction, and never again buy full price (Fashion Morality 101). These are some of the brands I trust most to wash, wear, wash again, absorb baby puke, wash again, etc…

I’ve created outfits to Mom it Up in Style and On a Budget.

1) JCrew

They are taking an extra 40% of already marked down items. Here are a few that I love and may have already purchased.

geo fan necklaceCrepe baseball topTall Minnie pant in stretch twillHoundstooth baseball cap in beigeCrystal triangles braceletTall Minnie pant in stretch twillTipped sweatshirt

One of my favorite color combinations: Black, White, and Gold and Red (Or a Jewel Tone). It flatters all skin tones, and its simultaneously classic yet bold, too.

Necklace: 40% off 49.99 (original 78)

Tipped Sweatshirt: 40% off 49.99 (original 78)

Red or Emerald Pants: 40% off 49.99 (original 89.50)

Baseball Tee: 40% 59.99 (Original 98)

Bracelet: 40% off 49.99 (original 98)

Hat: 40% 19.99 (Original 48)

2) Bebe and Express

Both Bebe and Express are an extra 50% off! Before the temptation to quit reading my blog forever due to “slutty outfit recommendations” overpowers, search well and judge not, especially if, like me, you are petite and childlike, because Bebe, though often plastic or made with more cutouts than actual purple Cheetah fabric fits (me).

To ensure I actually wear my clothes more, I made a NY resolution to wear denim less and get more fun with pants. This week I’ve worn the same black cord motorcycle zipper pants three days in a row without a visit to the laundry, so the resolution should probably be reconsidered as it is much more gross and a lot less fashionable than I imagined.

My three favorite pants that aren’t jeans from Bebe. It’s these or kids sizes for the most part, because I’m 5ft and smaller than most 7th graders. 

Multi Zip Icon Skinny Jeans at bebeSafari Cargo Pants at bebeHigh Waist Soft Pants at bebe

Take an additional 30-50% off

Red Pants 79.99 (Original 109)

Silk Cargo Khakis 75 (Original 109)

High Waist Silk Patterned Pants Go Crazy!

Express:  19.99-29.99 plus an additonal 50%!!!!!!

Tartan Plaid isn’t just for little girls Christmas Dresses!!



3) Piperline and Banana Republic and Old Navy

Coats Galore!! This is the BEST time of year to buy a new coat. Prices are lowest on coats in January than any other month. My Picks:

Find them Here All of my picks are $50-100.

Tulle Slim Fitted Raglan CoatPim + Larkin Bow Detail CoatTinley Road Vegan Leather Peplum JacketFree People Collapsing Twill Snap JacketTulle Contrast Binding Coat

Rhyme Los Angeles Taylor Leather Trim Coat

4) Splits59

So no matter how many New Year Resolutions I make regarding less denim, Stylish active wear is a must, and as every mom knows, it tends to be what we live in most days. I’m Ok with that if it looks like this:

Pose FX Racerback Pullover - White/SilverNova Classic Capri Tight - ScarletDanica Liquid Cheetah Support TankDismount Viper Scoop NeckDismount Racer Scoop NeckGinger Racer 3/4 Length Tight w/ Lamé

Everything here is under $50 and can be found here. I have to be honest, however. No matter how fashionable, Lululemon fits my body better and washes better. But, with these prices and durability, I’d say its worth it.

5) BCBG and Saks Fifth Avenue

Relatively all of my high end merchandise is purchased at off season deals. Sometimes I wonder if women don’t even look at the really nice stuff in fear that they can’t afford it. Good deals are about timing and persistence. Treat yourself to beautiful fabrics that last and make you feel like a movie star.  Here are some of my favorite fancy dresses that are affordable and relatively season-less.

Joelle Tiered Maxi Pleated Dress

Kat Lace Tiered Dress

Lena Draped Gown

Starr Deep V-Neck Silk Halter Dress

All of these dress are an additional 40% off of the redline. The most expensive gown pictured is $73. Originally, they were $300-400. Go here

And a few designers that you will see at the Oscars.

Aidan Mattox - Sequined Sheath Dress Aiden Mattox: $132. 75

Rebecca Minkoff - Harriet Shadow Leather-Panel Dress

Rebecca Minkoff: $149.40 (Original $500!!!!)

Parker - Kate Leather-Sequin Mini Dress

Parker $115 (Original $385!!)

Alice + Olivia - Nelly Embroidered V-Back Dress

Alice and Olivia: $132 (Original $440)

Find them all at SaksFifthAvenue and keep the packaging forever.

The happiest of shopping in the most boring of months!!! Please let me know if you find anything that works for you. I experience just as much adrenaline in finding other people deals as I do finding my own deals 🙂 

My Favorite Fancy Dresses that other Better Looking People were probably paid to wear

Instead of boring you with a picture of “What I Wore to the Grocery Store,” (vegan leather pullover, motorcycle cords –> confidence in discipline) let’s gawk over the pretty people.


Her concert wasn’t my favorite. This dress is awesome and made by one of my favorite and most elegantly feminine designers Carolina Herrera.


It took a significant amount of personal gratitude mantras to silence the jealousy of seeing such a stunning pregnant fashion statement and remembering all those times I looked like a tent. Bravo beauty, and may your pregnancy go well.


Anyone else wonder how much this awesome gown weighs?


This is my favorite of the Black and White trends.


White and Emerald!! I’d maybe spend a salary on this one.



I know lots of smarter fashion critics hated this but I thought it was so much fun and a fresh take on baby pink and baby blue. These are also the colors of the tutus Josie most frequently requests I wear, so maybe I’m just reminded of the joys of playing dress up.



Classic and fits like a glove.



I have no idea who this is but the color is my favorite and I wonder if she felt like a superhero.

In the unfinished and hilariously fantastic words of Matthew McConaughey “Keep On.”

A Mass Grade for Josie

Immediately following her morning juice and just before the eggs were scrambled, but most certainly long before the matriarch sipped her coffee, she dragged the stool around the corner and into the pantry unnoticed. Sensing the Sunday in the morning she counted on just enough hasty and distracted scrambling that the sound of the stool dragging across the floor would blend into the crazy of her mother’s thoughts. She recognized her opportunity at her mother’s running up the steps while the eggs cooled in the pan. Unattended time ticked away as Mom searched for matching dresses and bows. Opportunity continued when big brother James succumbed to the stress of struggling with his pants button and cried helplessly for his mommy at the top of the stairs. Her nearly perfect, yet beginning to catch onto the behavioral paradigms of her family, baby sister Rita, maintained her morning slumber. Dad, wishing he could continue his own slumber, did not hesitate to take his time picking his shirt despite his wife’s spastic handling of the morning and life.

There Josie stood on top of the stool. The kitchen and the pantry for those brief seconds were hers and her freedom to taste limited only by her mother’s negligent grocery shopping. She perused and touched and discarded anything not resembling “treat.” As she heard the “We have to leave for Mass in twenty minutes!” warning #1, she popped the golden chocolate truffle into her mouth in rambunctious delight, savoring its rich, expensive smoothness. Careful not to leave any evidence on her face, she used her freshly washed curls to wipe up the excess chocolate-drool mixture and continued her quest to fill up on sugar before her mother requested her presence at the breakfast table.

The perusing continued. Her notice of a large container filled to the brim with golden wrapped squares shaped in the perfect size for storing in pockets, underneath her bed, or to be stashed in the elastic waist of her diaper, took her breath away. With a few claps and jumps, her breath returned and into the jar her tiny hand wiggled. To ensure efficient eating, she unwrapped 7 at a time. At the notice of an adult’s entrance into the room, she shoved all of them into her mouth.

“Why all the tears, Miss Josephine?” her still not dressed mother asked in the most calm way she could when encountering ear drum piercing, but not indicative of bodily injury, crying.

There was no answer, only ferocious spitting. Seven semi-chewed, looked liked candy to her, chicken soup bouillon cubes, were expelled.

Her mother tried to comfort and then decided not to. That toddler had it coming and disgustingly salty seemed like sweet parenting justice.

With chewed bouillon all over the floor, the family piled into the car and headed to church. Wearing a Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer hat backwards, to ensure and exude coolness, she announced her need to pee and desire for underwear 17 times, each time progressing in loudness and intensity. Then, she vehemently demanded a sip of juice, also known as the Blood of Christ, repeatedly and recklessly abandoned to the care of volume or level of inappropriateness. While she was careful to communicate on the borderline between whine and sweet speech impediment to strangers, the final straw of ripping the missile as her parents begged for strength and guidance landed her a Mass Grade of a big fat F.

Until next week…

Happy Sunday! May there be no crusted bouillon on anyone’s floors.

Word of the Year.

Linking with one of the most beautiful woman the internet has the gift of getting to know: Anna of IHOD. She inspires with grace, style, beauty and thrift and she does it all with meaningful purpose. 


If one were to enter my home and listen to the surroundings for more than three minutes, it would be naturally assumed that the word for the year is “Poopy.” Evidence would indicate that the word should indubitably be spoken in response to “how are you?” “what would you like for lunch?” and “would you like to help me?” or anytime at all for any reason at all, because, no matter how many times corrected, “Poopy” will always be hilarious.

Contrary to the word used with the most frequency and the one that instigates the most innapropriate laughter in children ages 1-3 and sometimes the should-be-more- authoritative 27 year old female, I’m aspiring to a more noble lexicon, and I’m dragging everyone with me.

GRATEFUL is the word, and hopefully one day, a state of being, too.

There are moments when it hits me over the head and I fall to my knees because God’s love is just so obvious. I”m consumed with an all encompassing gratitude, energized by its presence, willing to do anything in His name, including playing Candy Land with a one year old, while my two year old paints my nails. Gracias Dios!

There are other moments when there is a combination of Rice Krispies and Chocolate Syrup making more of a visual impression than the floor underneath it, my back hurts, I’m dirtier than the house, one kid cries because she stole the syrup and the other does a full body layout to lick it all up, and ‘this is all so hard’. In the spirit of the year, let me be the first to say, “thank you, baby Rita, for using your tongue to help your mother clean, and the intensity with which you licked did not go unnoticed!”

In moments of suffering, much greater than those instigated by a noisy cereal, I want to maintain the knowing that comes in instances of happiness, of strong feelings, opportunities and passion, and I want to express it with a grateful spirit and a happy soul, even when it hurts, and especially when it hurts, so that the moments of clarity consume my heart more than the moments of sticky mess and ear drum ringing crying.  And, of all the things in this world, and all the people, too, I want the Big Guy to know that He is the best, and there is no one I’d rather get to know and I really really mean it.

To help us along we will be living with less and giving more to the poor, or in the words of Josie, “the poe,” and in the words of James the “pow” and in the words of Rita, “mine.”

Read the much better posts on In Honor of Design. And with 50 weeks left in 2014, let me be the tardiest to say, Happy New Year.