The Circle of Life.

Tonight as I was rocking my son to sleep, I closed my eyes. I reached deep into my soul and connected with memories of being rocked and patted and sung to the same exact way so many years ago.

I love Phillip, I love Phillip. Phillip is so good and sweet, I love Phillip.

I learned in Beautiful Babies by Kristen Michaelis, that baby girls are born with the eggs that might eventually become babies. Fun fact, but also deeply and beautifully touching. The egg that eventually created me was formed in my Granna’s womb. My husband’s egg was formed in his grandma’s womb. My son’s egg was formed in his Manna’s womb. These are intimate and eternal connections.

Though we are blessed with a huge, crazy family that loves our son to pieces, my husband and I mourn the loved ones that our little Hawk won’t get to meet. Tonight while I rocked, I was reminded while he may not physically meet them, he is truly, madly loved by them, divinely connected to them, and each one is a special part of who he is and will become. I am so grateful for the circle of life.


Mom Life Picked Me

My shame story starts in 4th grade. Forced to prepare for the TAAS test, my third grade love for creative writing diminished into my 4th grade hatred of English class. I conveniently started getting tummy aches every day when it was time for English class and would instead visit the nurse’s office. I was miserable.

In 5th grade, my favorite teacher, Mrs. P, nourished my spirit & my love for math and all things academic. With this newfound confidence, I decided to run for student body president. I lost.

In 6th grade, all students had to choose between Art/Music/Drama OR Band. I can’t sing or art, so even though I probably would have been SPECTACULAR at drama, fear kept me from picking that route and I chose band. Percussion. Well, wouldn’t you know I can’t percussion either.

In junior high, I finally found something I was good at: volleyball. Freshman year, diving, rolling, and serving were my specialty. I was starting server and defensive specialist. I loved it. Until summer before sophomore year when we were required to run sprint a certain number of laps around the track under a certain time.  I quit my beloved volleyball to avoid the shame of never being able to complete those laps.

Oh, and there was the time I thought I would raise a goat.

In 10th grade, I failed the TAKS writing test. Me, the smart one, the intelligent one, the nerdy one, the straight A student. Failed. Big time. I hated school. With nothing left to enjoy, I ended up graduating high school early just to get away.

In college, I thought I would finally find somewhere to fit in. I applied to be an Aggie Hostess, a group of intimidatingly gorgeous, popular, rich girls who support the football team. Did I mention that I was still in braces at this time? Needless to say, I did not make the cut. Second semester, I joined a group called Aggie Sisters for Christ, but I never belonged. I applied to be a small group leader. 8 people applied and 7 were chosen. Rejected. I joined a group called Ags of Open Acts of Kindness. Served for two semesters and loved it! Applied to be on the board. 4 people applied; 3 were chosen. Rejected.  I graduated college early, chasing the belief that I could escape rejection. But, adult life turned out to be just as harsh. Online applications, job interviews, and rejection.

As women, we smush and smash and contort ourselves – trying to fit into the molds laid before us of who we think we are supposed to be. Who we are told we should want to be. When we are too big, too much, for those molds, we feel rejected. Too much, yet not enough.

When I gave up trying to fit in, the sting of rejection went away. I found a job I loved, a master’s program I enjoyed, and eventually a career path I am very fond of and plan to pursue. I met and married the man who showed me what true strength is made of and helped me discover a love of hiking and adventure.

I didn’t think I wanted to have children. I was sure motherhood would be one more thing I attempted and failed. One more way life told me I was too much, but not enough. But it turned out to be the only mold I’ve ever truly fit. I’ve made more friends since becoming a mom than I’ve made in my entire life. True friends. I’ve become even closer to my own wonderful mom and sister-in-love. Becoming a mother has made me a better, more patient wife.

My loud, my happy, my silly, my protective, my emotional, my strong, there’s room for it all in my baby’s heart. His heart is full; my heart is full.

Mom life picked me.






Fitness · Motherhood · Wellness

What I Learned Hiking 30 Miles With My Newborn

This April, my son and I completed the Hike It Baby 30 Challenge! Hike It Baby is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families get outside and get moving! There are local groups all over the country! The challenge consisted of logging 30 miles within the month of April. Before having a baby, 30 miles could have easily been logged over the course of 3-4 days. This April, I barely scraped by, hitting 30.17 miles on the last day, but I loved the challenge and I’m looking forward to the next one in September!

Here’s what I learned hiking 30 miles with my newborn:

1. Babies LOVE to be outdoors!! My son is happiest outside. This is a huge motivator for me to get outside every day, even in the rain.

2. Every mile counts. Some days, I would just strap him on and walk to the stop sign and back, logging just under a mile. I rarely was able to log more than 2 miles in one day. This was good though, because it required me to be consistent and get outside every single day.

3. The right carrier matters! I wish I had done more research about baby carriers before I had my little guy. I probably would have purchased a LilleBaby All Seasons carrier, but my Boba 4G worked out just fine and I’m looking forward to using my Onya Pure when he gets a bit bigger.

4. Motherhood doesn’t mean the end to your hobbies and adventures. Sure, it’s a little harder to squeeze in a hike and I worry much more about the heat and I have to pack three bags just to go to the local park for an hour, but it’s worth it to share the outdoors with my son. I hope he continues to love it as he grows older!


A Birthday Story

Ever since I can remember, one of my favorite things has been for my mom to tell me my birthday story. This consists of “When you turned 1, we had a carrot cake. You wore a pink outfit with big black polka dots. When you turned 2, we had a Little Mermaid party…” and on and on. Sometimes we remember them all, sometimes we get them mixed up. Some birthdays were unforgettable, like the now infamous (to me and my mother only) 12 hour birthday cake where we made a swimming pool out of mini M&Ms and teddy grahams with icing swimsuits or the time when I decidedly told my parents that “four-year-olds can do anything.”

Now, this fun tradition has been passed down to the next generation and my sweet niece will ask her Manna to hear about her “wittle daddy” and his birthday story.

Me and my brother are very lucky to have parents who always made our birthdays very special – and still do! Being that our birthdays are about 6 weeks apart, they could have made us share a party, but they always gave us our own day. We got to pick the theme, invite our friends, and there was always cake. Usually chocolate cake. With chocolate icing.

This year, I almost forgot my own birthday.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been preoccupied with counting how many weeks old my sweet son is turning (23 tomorrow). Maybe it’s because I’ve a little busy fighting the almighty nap war, trying to learn how to make a more decent meal than tacos, starting a part-time job working from home, cultivating new friendships with the sweetest mamas around, and changing poopy diapers. So many poopy diapers.

Or maybe, it’s because I have fully embraced the fact that when you become mommy, you’re writing someone else’s birthday story. You’re the one who gets to remember the cake and pick the flavor until they’re old enough. You’re the one who gets to send out the invitations and make the reservations to rent the Y pool (wait, what do winter birthdays even do?). You’re the one who, even though you do it every other day of the year, gets to pour your heart and soul into your kid and give them a special day.

Today and forever, I get to be Will’s wife and Hawk’s mommy, and that is better than all the cake in the world.

Just for Fun

$4 flag for the 4th of July

Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday… fireworks, sunshine, and four days before my birthday! This year, I wanted to do something special for the 4th of July. Several of my neighbors had some cool decorations out, so I decided to make a flag for our front flowerbed (since there will probably never be plants there).

It was one of the easiest things I have ever done, and I got lots of compliments on it, so I thought I would share with you all!


  • Pallet – $0
    These are pretty easy to find for free – my husband brought mine home from work, but places like Home Depot and Lowe’s have them as well.
  • Paint – $2.70
    I used Anita’s paint from Hobby Lobby which is  normally .77 and was on sale for 30% off. I used two red, two white, and one blue! You can use classic rw&b or mix it up and pick some bright variations of these colors!
  • Stencil – $1.19
    I picked up an adorable flag stencil (reg. $1.99 and used the 40% off hobby lobby coupon). There was also one with funky-shaped stars which would be totally cute for those of you who are not as Type A as me.
  • Paint Brushes – $0
    Most crafters have paintbrushes laying around the house! If not, the cheap-o ones from Hobby Lobby work just fine!

I chose to cut my pallet down leaving five planks so that I could have red on the top and red on the bottom like the American flag. I measured enough space to repeat my stencil twice, and that made up the blue portion of the flag.

flag craft


There you have it – easy and cheap, but a huge visual impact! I plan to leave this out all summer! Then maybe I’ll figure out how to make a cute pallet Christmas tree!


Motherhood · Recipes · Wellness

If You Ever Get Tired of Tacos

You guys, I am bad at cooking. I burn everything, mainly because that’s the way I like it. I also have an unusual disdain for trying anything new. I’ve been ordering the same meal at the Cheesecake Factory (and every other restaurant we frequent) for 10 years. My usual weekday meals consist of eggs for breakfast and taco meat for lunch with a side of potatoes and avocado. Seriously. Every day. I really don’t mind repeating meals over and over throughout the week – it cuts down on cooking/cleaning time, wasted food, and decisions.

Honestly, I think my dislike of cooking is more of a lack of confidence, so I jumped on google and found some recipes that I thought I could try out. I found this recipe from Paleo Hacks and knew I could work with it. I am so excited to share, because it was delicious, free (we had ALL the ingredients on hand), and fun to make!

easy sushi recipe

Sushi Towers

1 filet mahi mahi (I pan-fried mine)
1 can salmon
-Mix each of these with a dollop of paleo mayo
1 cucumber
1 large avocado
1 cup cooked white rice
Makes 4 Sushi Towers

Layer a measuring cup with chopped cucumber, mashed avocado, the fish of your choice, and fill to the top with rice! Put a plate on top, flip it over, tap the measuring cup, and you have a super fancy meal!





Breastfeeding · Nutrition · Postpartum

How to Whole30 With a Newborn

Whether it is your first or your thirtieth round of Whole30, having a newborn throws a kink in the best laid plans for success. There are a number of reasons new mamas might want to complete a Whole30. My main reasons were more energy and less anxiety.

If you’re ready to jump in to the Whole30, here are my best tips for doing it with your mini-me in tow.

  1. Find recipes that you enjoy cold.
    Not only will you have to eat on-the-go, but even when you’re at home, reheating food is a luxury with a newborn. Leftover steak is delicious straight from the fridge. Believe me.
  2. Get a handy lunch carrier.
    You will be out and about with your little one, and we know everything takes longer than you think it will. Do yourself a favor and pack a mini-meal any time you’re leaving the house for more than an hour!
  3. Eat breakfast. No. Matter. What.
    It doesn’t matter if it’s not “breakfast food” – just eat a meal that follows the meal template.
  4. Keep a “treat” on hand.
    Without breaking the SWYPO rule, keep something on hand that you can reach for in the difficult moments. A favorite treat of mine is grapefruit La Croix in a wine glass.
  5. Plan around growth spurts.
    This is the BEST advice I have for you. Basically ALL of the newborn stage is a growth spurt, and the first three leaps come at 5, 8, and 12 weeks. Do your best to have extra food on hand, especially if you are breastfeeding your little one.
  6. Don’t be afraid to quit.
    Consider your goals and whether or not a Whole30 is right for you! Do you simply need to be more mindful of your eating habits? Do you need to become more comfortable with your postpartum body? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and we don’t need one more reason as mamas to be hard on ourselves. Maybe commit to just giving up sugar and dairy and not worrying about grains. Maybe work really hard toward 80/20.

Whatever you decide to do, get plenty of support from your partner and and the rest of your tribe and know that with each healthy choice you make, you and your baby are reaping the endless benefits found in choosing to eat real food!

Have you Whole30d postpartum? How did it go? What tips would you share?