The Day I Quit Drinking


Sitting on the beach in Hawaii on January 5th, 2019, I had a drink that was the beginning of the end of my drinking career. I can't say exactly how or why I knew for sure that it was going to be that way, but like I've heard others say before me — once you're ready, you just know it.

I was ready.

Nothing super terrible happened to make me stop drinking. It wasn't a near-death experience nor a midnight hospital visit. It was, however, a lot of little things that very well could have turned into a near-death experience and very easily could have put me in the hospital. How I escaped those situations? To that, I can only say Thank you God.

To fully grasp how much I was drinking, let me put it this way: I hadn't gone more than two days in a row without drinking since my eight year old son was born. And those two days in a row were sparse — they didn't happen often and I could count the times they did occur on one hand. They almost always only happened if I had such a severe hangover that I literally couldn't stomach taking a drop of alcohol because I was busy doing other things (fellow hangover veterans know what "other things" I'm referring to).

Oh, and my drink of choice? Vodka. The hard stuff. And more often than not, I was drinking half a fifth a day. Every single day

Sometimes, near the end, I would drink a smidge over half. I always measured how much I was drinking. It was a way for me to try and "regulate" and keep track of how much I was drinking. Because I wasn't drinking this much on just the weekends, or a night out with wasn't occasional and it wasn't random. It was part of my every day, and of course, I had responsibilities every day so in order to ease my guilt, I did everything in my power to make how much I was drinking seem "ok."

However, my drinking career didn't start only eight years ago. Yes, it had escalated to the point of drinking half a fifth a day for the most recent part of the past eight years, but I started drinking alcohol my senior year of high school, which puts me at just over two entire decades of heavy drinking. (I do want to add that I did stop completely drinking the two times I was pregnant. For me, it wasn't even a question, as I always knew I wanted to be a mom and it just wasn't an option to drink while pregnant. As much as I held onto my desire and willpower to justify my daily drinking, that desire and willpower was just as strong when it came to protecting my babies.)

Sounds extreme, I know. It was. It is. But would it surprise you if I said that almost no one knew I was drinking that much? That outwardly, it seemed like I was going about life in a normal way? My tolerance had worked its way up to me being able to drink that much, and I thought I was handling it just fine. I read stories to my kids every night, I got up in the morning and got them breakfast, drove them to school and got them there on time every day. I never called in sick to work because of my previous night of drinking. See, I had a routine. A "habit." I had a fool proof plan that worked for me so well, I thought I was making it all work seamlessly — doing life, taking care of my responsibilities, being a good mom and wife and all while enjoying my daily adult beverages that I told myself I didn't "have" to have but rather "chose" to have.

And I don't know about you, but when I woke up every single morning, mad at myself once again that I drank way too much the night before and promising myself at 3 a.m. that I was not going to drink the next day, yet always ended up pouring myself a drink right at 4 p.m. on the dot...I started to wonder, am I really choosing this or is it choosing me?

And I had my qualifiers that I had to do every day in order to feel at ease with my alcohol intake. There were things I made myself do daily in order to justify my drinking. Those included drinking tons and tons of water during the day, because if I nourished my body with tons of water before I injected poison into it, well at least I was staying a bit ahead of the game, right? I made sure I worked out consistently, because at least if I'm working out, I won't gain an insane amount of weight from the 800 calories I was drinking nightly, right? I knew that alcohol causes premature aging and *gasp wrinkles, so I spent my money on the expensive face creams that promised to diminish signs of aging, and that had to keep the negative physical effects of alcohol at bay, right? I only drank after 4 p.m., no earlier, because if I wasn't drinking at lunchtime, I surely didn't have a problem like those kind of people, right? I made sure I read my kids books every single night before I put them to bed, because if my drinking wasn't interfering with my parenting, then it couldn't be that bad, right? (Spoiler alert: it was totally interfering with my parenting.) I made sure the house was clean and tidy most days, because if I wasn't living in a pigsty, then I could tell myself the amount of alcohol I was drinking wasn't intruding on me making my house a home. I did so many things to combat my drinking because I had to ease the anxiety I had from my drinking.

Oh yeah, the anxiety. I've struggled with anxiety as far back as I can remember. I've written about it many times, including here, and the funny thing is, I started having anxiety issues right about the time I started drinking. And I absolutely, positively drank to "help" with my anxiety. I could feel my nerves buzzing and working their way up towards my head and the only thing that worked was drinking them back down with vodka. 

Except, I can tell you that it didn't work at all. It never works. 

And it wasn't interfering with my life, right? I mean, I had all these things I did to ensure that I could have my nightly cocktails. I stayed on top of things, I kept up on my responsibilities, I volunteered at my kids' school and I always went to our family doctor in order to make sure I wasn't destroying my liver. I'm not kidding, I would go see our family doctor a few times a year, mainly because I always thought I was dying of cancer. It sounds silly, but I legit would have those thoughts, and with my constant anxiety, it was all I could think about. Of course, I only had those thoughts because I knew a) that alcohol can cause cancer and b) that the amount of alcohol I was drinking was very, very unhealthy. 

Side note: I never once thought that the amount of alcohol I was drinking was not unhealthy. I knew it was, and that is why I did all my "things" to help justify it. But I also believed that it was making me happy, that it was making me fun. I wanted to hold onto my vodka so tightly that I made every excuse in the book.

So for me, going to the doctor was another way to condone my continued drinking. I had headaches constantly, and thought I had brain cancer. I went to the doctor and had a brain scan done, no cancer. Then I swore my throat was feeling unusually sore, so I went to the doctor and had a throat scan, no cancer. Then I was absolutely positive that I had breast cancer (reading the stats on alcohol and breast cancer in women scared me, as it should) so I went to the doctor and had a breast scan. No breast cancer. And I kid you not, a few months ago I was positive I had stomach cancer. I mean, I was drinking nightly, I knew all that vodka was just sitting in my stomach, how could it possibly not be eating away at my insides and causing a terminal illness?

I can clearly see now that I was just working my way down my body, scan by scan, to relieve my constant worry and anxiety that what I was doing to myself daily was slowly but surely doing irreparable damage. I was in constant turmoil with my mind and my desire to drink — and then my subsequent shame and regret over how much I had drank — that it was causing physical and mental issues to arise. I can totally remember how relieved I felt whenever the nurse would call and give me the "all clear" results on my liver test (I would always specifically ask for them to test it) and how I  would let out a big sigh of relief and then pour an extra strong drink, because I hadn't destroyed my health yet! Cheers!

Did I also mention we had private insurance? Our deductible was insanely high so almost all these procedures I insisted on having done were paid out of pocket. Did it cause financial stress? Absolutely. But it was something I told myself I had to do in order to feel at ease. Because God forbid I give up the one thing that was causing all my problems (mental, physical or otherwise).

Drinking made me happy, no way would I give it up.

Besides, it wasn't interfering with my life, right? I'm a reader, I love to read. I can't tell you how many times I would pick up my book in the morning and have to re-read multiple chapters, because I didn't remember anything I had read the night before. Or I would start to watch a TV show that I had recorded, with a vague memory of having watched it before, but not being entirely sure. "Not remembering things" was a common occurrence during my drinking days.

Don't laugh, but I love Britney Spears. I grew up with her, listening to her on the radio, and hearing her songs brings me back to good memories from my childhood. So when a friend and I decided to go to Las Vegas and see her perform during her first year of residency, I was beyond excited. Number one, I have always loved Vegas — mainly for the party atmosphere — and on top of that, I get to see my idol perform?!  

When we first looked up tickets to her concert, I knew that nothing would be good enough unless we were up front and close, and I meant the very front row. We paid big bucks to get those premium tickets, and I was so insanely excited on the night of the concert. 

Both my friend and I liked to drink, and we joked with each other before the concert that we were not going to get too drunk to enjoy her show, and I really had that intention. Why would I knowingly drink myself into oblivion before her show and not consciously enjoy it? This was a once in a lifetime opportunity (seriously, I really, really like really love Britney) and I was not going to "not remember" this one.

But that's exactly what happened. At the time, I thought I was being a "responsible drinker" and was controlling myself just enough that I had a fun buzz going but would still be able to enjoy the concert. After all, I'd traveled to Vegas to see her perform, had spent a few hundred dollars to be able to see her up close and I had been anticipating this moment for so long.

I remember almost nothing of that Britney Spears concert. 

That experience is just one of many that I've missed out on due to my drinking. Another time, my husband and I went on an all-expense paid trip to the Dominican Republic. The beach is my thing. It's where I find clarity, rest and peace. The beach in the Dominican Republic was gorgeous: all white sand, teal blue water...I remember being so excited to go on this vacation and experience a different part of the world. I knew I would have cocktails while there, but I thought I would be able to have some drinks and thoroughly enjoy myself. I always thought I would be able to have just a few drinks and thoroughly enjoy myself, yet, that rarely ended up happening. 

I remember bits and pieces from our trip, but the thing I remember the most is one particular night, after drinking all night at a club, my husband and I went back to our room and got into a major fight. (That tends to happen with couples who frequently over-drink, so I've heard.) I'm not exactly sure how it all transpired, but I do know there was yelling and things got heated and a glass was thrown against a wall and shattered in pieces. I remember running out of the room barefoot, well past midnight, up to the concierge and in-between inconsolable sobs, said I needed my own room for the night, as I couldn't sleep in the one I had with my husband. (Now I'm not blaming my husband in this fight at all, I am sure it was 50/50 responsibility. I know how I get when I drink too much and it isn't pretty. That's also a downside with drinking too can't even remember whose fault it is!)

That room I had to have immediately cost $700 for the approx. six hours I used it to get some sleep, i.e. pass out. (Another thing I've learned in two decades of drinking, is it can get really, really expensive. And after it's all said and done, you've got nothing to show for it!) The next morning, my husband and I said our apologies like we always did, went on with our day, laid at the beach, went out to dinner and then had more cocktails because that's just what we did. 

Of course, no one knew that is what happened. If you looked at my social media feed from that time, I posted photo after photo of beautiful sand beaches, swim-up bars and smiling photos of myself in the pool with a cocktail in hand. That's what alcohol would do to me...I'd hide the shameful parts and pretend I had a great time.

To this day, I look back on that vacation as one of the worst times of my life.

So you see, I have a lot of making up to do. I'm not saying the past two decades of my life weren't enjoyable, not at all: I have so many amazing wonderful memories and so many incredible things have happened in my life since then, but at the same time, so have many negative, detrimental and crummy things. I think I'd like to try and see what the next decade can hold without my trusty little sidekick.

That sidekick kinda sucked at his job, anyway.

And besides, there are so many amazing things you can do when you give up alcohol. You can buy nice sunglasses again, and not just the cheap drug store ones, which you always bought because you knew you would end up losing them in the river. You can feel happy when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, and not feel regretful when you see a blotchy, bloated face looking back at you. You can actually yes finally fit into those skinny jeans you've kept hanging in your closet all those years "just in case."

But you can also do so much more than just feel good about your physical appearance and ability to keep track of expensive purchases. You can know, like really know, that you are doing everything in your power to be the best wife you can. You can rest assured at night that when you tuck your kids into bed, they won't smell alcohol on your breath. You can know and feel deep in your soul that yes, you really, truly are happy, and none of that happiness is due to alcohol, thank you very much.

Oh, and waking up without a hangover is pretty much the best thing ever.

So here I am saying goodbye to something that had become as common in my life as toothpaste. I can't say for certainty that I will never drink again, but I can say that I'm feeling pretty good about my decision to not drink right now.

I had one of my last drinks on January 5th, 2019 on a beach in Hawaii. It was splendid, it was momentous, it was time. 

It was a well deserved end to an era. 

Parenting Advice I Do Not And Will Not Follow


A child! On a boat! Without a life jacket! CALL THE AUTHORITIES! 

Well meaning people always like to give parenting advice. The most well meaning ones are usually those who don't have any children. Thems the ones I like to refer to as "shut the f*#k uppers."

Still, even those with fifteen kids want to tell you how to raise yours. As if they would know. I'd like to walk up to one of thems and say, "quick, tell me the names of all your kids, first and middle, hurry hurry you only have 60 seconds!" Yeah take that Mrs. Dugger.

Anyway, what I'm basically saying is just about everyone has some kind of parenting advice they want to dole out. Young, old, left, right, Earth-dwelling or space alien. Everyone's got a dang opinion!

And now, ahem, I'm going to dispense mine.

Or rather, I'm going to rebut some of the most God-awful, nonsensical, incredibly laughable "parenting advice" I've ever heard in my life.

- The viral Facebook post making the rounds telling all mothers alike that "Yelling Is Not An Effective Means of Parenting." There are more than a few of these types of articles, but all essentially say the same thing, which is that yelling is ineffective and potentially harmful to your childs wittle psychy and it's much more effective to get down on their level, and in a soft and respectful manner let them know what the issue is.


Listen. I've tried the "get down on their level and talk quietly in a polite manner" gig, and coming from a mom of two boys, it don't work. It don't even almost work. I've had more luck with running my garbage can to the opposite side of the road in the morning when I forgot to put it out the night before, in hopes that the garbage man would pick it up on his way back down the street. Half the time, he passes right on by with an "ain't my stop chump be more prepared next month" but sometimes when he's having a particularly good day he stops and empties the trash. THAT RIGHT THERE gives me more hope for humanity than "getting down on my childs level and patiently explaining to him why whacking his brother in the face with a snow shovel" is a bad idea.


Not only that, but have you ever been blantanly ignored? Imagine you are standing in the middle of a packed grocery store, and have a very pressing, where to find the chickpeas. Imagine asking in a quiet and respectful voice to every person that walks by where you can find the chickpeas. Now imagine that every single person you ask not only ignores you completely, but acts like you don't even exist. They don't even give you a courteous glance in your general direction before they ignore you.

THAT is what "getting down on their level and talking in a quiet and polite manner" is like as a parent.

Another popular article discouraged the yelling method by stating that "yelling at your kids triggers a fight-or-flight response in their brain."

Shoot I sure hope so! I ain't yelling at him to come and get some freshly baked cookies, I'm yelling at him to STOP STAPLING YOUR BROTHERS EYEBROWS TOGETHER! When I'm THAT angry, he best be running in the direction opposite, far far away from my wrath, leaving behind hundreds of unused staples in his wake.

The ones who say "yelling is ineffective! Don't yell at your kids! It's unkind!" and such forth rubbish should have to come over and babysit mine for two hours. You'll be singing a different tune, let me tell you what.

Yelling serves many purposes, the least of which is that it makes me instantly feel better. And I'm hard pressed to feel like I'm alone in this thinking.

Mothers unite.

- Just say no to screen time in cars. I'm pretty new to this advice, although it's been more and more frequently unsolicitedly given in my direction. Why? No clue. I assume because it's unsolicited parenting advice and that's just what people like to do, nonetheless, it's come up quite a few times recently.

Now, I've made no secret of the fact that I think severely limited screen time is what is best for kids (see, there I go, giving my unsolicited parenting advice out again) but I truly believe it's so (and many, many, many studies prove it's true), but we aren't talking about screen time in general, no no, we are here to discuss screen time in moving vehicles. Aka cars, which is something most of us parents have to operate quite frequently in order to transport our children to their much needed destinations.

Which brings me to a subject so painful to bring up I almost want to bypass it completely but in the spirit of #motherhood, I must press on.

Here it is...

Car fighting.

There is nothing, let me repeat NOTHING more aggravating on this earth than car fighting. This is when you are in a confined space — and strapped in no less! — with your children and they are fighting and yelling. You can't very well turn around and give them the appropriate substantial punishment, because you are driving and need to keep your eyes on the road (although I will admit I've been tempted a time or two during the worst of the car fighting to just drive my car straight off a cliff) but you do need to do something — anything! in order to keep your sanity. I've probably done irreparable damage to my car a time or two from shoving the lever into brake mode while going 40 MPH, just so I can properly turn around in my seat and YELL AT THEM TO STOP FIGHTING!

This is where the uninvited, undesired parenting advice comes in. "Don't have your kids watch movies in the car, it's bad enough that they spend too much time on electronics at home. Spend that precious time you have with them talking to them, getting to know them and understanding their deepest utmost feelings and desires."

Fellow moms, all at once now...HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

ha. good one.

What those that don't know, don't that all kids in a car, left to their own devices, will ultimately try and have a ninja competition. Don't matter that they are strapped in with seatbelts and don't matter that they have a peripheral area of two feet by two does.not.matter.

They will continue to kick and hit and throw — don't leave out kicking the back of your chair violently — until you either a) skid like the 2005 Ice Capades Olympics onto the shoulder of the highway and do something you might highly regret or b) calmly and assuredly pop in a Pixar animation DVD and let them veg out to mind-numbing nothingness while you continue on living and breathing a not-wanting-to-drive-off-a-cliff civilized life.

Car fighting. I'm telling you what, will be the death of us mothers. But screen time in cars just might give us a few extra lifelines, and I'll gladly take 'em.

- Don't fight with your spouse in front of your kids. Thems say if you fight in front of your children, they will become scarred for life and will grow up and live tortured soulless lives. I say mind your own and come speak to me when you and your significant other are perfect specimens.

But in all honestly, what reasonably in love couple never fight in front of their children?! If a couple never fights in front of their children, are they even a couple? A human? Alive?! I understand and completely agree that throwing dishes at each other in the midst of an argument isn't ideal in raising well balanced children, but come on...a little brawl here and there won't damage them for life, it might even help them see how two people in love can have a disagreement, make up and get on with life.

It can even help in serving them a few life lessons, such as if he asks me where his dinner is as I'm simultaneously attempting to pull it out of the oven, he will hear my unpolished and vulgar opinion of exactly where his current dinner is. Momma may be sweet but she ain't no patsy, and my kids need to see that side of me.

We can't all save our fights for private time because if all we did in our private time was fight, children would cease to exist.

So yes, my husband and I occasionally fight in front of our children. I mean, they fight in front of us all the time, so it only seems fair.

- Don't spank your kids, it's abusive. I'm not even going to give an opinion on this one, because I couldn't care less either way. The only reason I don't spank my kids is because it hurts my hand more than it hurts their butt.

Besides, as we have already established, I prefer yelling.

Why I Vow To Never Again Take Another Selfie.


One of the many selfies I've posted in the past.  RIP. 
P.S. You look absolutely and utterly ridiculous.

*I apologize in advance for the overuse of the words "stupid" and "selfie" in this post, 
but I saw no way around it. They are, quite literally, one and the same.

I would like to publicly exclaim that from this day forth, I will never post another selfie to any form of social media. Ever.

I'm not quite sure when I came to this conclusion, but it has to of been somewhere around three months ago, when I posted my last - and final - selfie to instagram.

You see, I've matured and grown a lot since then. You could say I've had a "come to Jesus" moment. Kind of like when I finally affirmed that bras are evil and school pick-up lines are for the weak

You know, major life defining moments. 

It's no secret that social media has made us all narcissistic, overbearing simpletons to an extent, but nothing has upped the game quite like selfies. Photos taken solely of our own faces purely for the desire to be admired and marveled at by total strangers.

I'm finally at a point in my life where I can recognize that nothing looks more stupid than when someone holds out their phone to face their face (it even sounds stupid), and then they smile or pout or lovingly gaze at themselves, and then they post a photo to social media of their own stupid face.

It's an act that takes such an unbelievable amount of egocentricity and self-involvment that the only thing more vain would be if you just started kissing yourself on the screen. A full on make-out session with yourself, by yourself. That's the best way I can describe it, and I've honestly had many talks with myself lately about why I ever participated in such a silly operation.

Not only is it awkward for one to be doing it, but it's awkward for those around you also. It's like, "don't mind me over here, I'll just stand here and wait while you two have a moment."

"You two" of course meaning you and your phone.

Sidenote: Nothing can make a grown adult feel more stupid than when they get done taking a selfie and look over at their eight year old staring at them. Dear Lord what are we teaching our youth.

But I think my born-again realization came when I realized that honestly, sincerely and without any equivocation, people just really don't care.

Like, at all.

No one wants to see my stupid face selfie just as much as I don't want to see your stupid face selfie.

The person who cares the most about your selfie is



I understand some peoples selfies can garner hundreds if not thousands of comments. The throngs of "OMG you are so gorgeous" or "how do you always look so amazing" or "#hairgoals" are not comments said by others because they care about your selfie you just posted. 

They comment those fruitless compliments because they want you to notice them, they want you to comment back on their simple selfie or they just simply want to make their own presence known.

And let's be honest here, people post selfies because they want other people to notice them, they want fruitless compliments on how OMG gorgeous they are and they want to make their own presence known.

It's a vicious circle and at the center of it all is egoism, self-absorption and narcissism at its finest.

And if you don't have anything more interesting to post than your own stupid face, are you really that interesting at all?

As I stand on my soap box and point a finger down at all you self-important, megalomania people, remember I was one of you just three short months ago. And I've been one almost my entire social-media life. I honestly used to believe, as of three months and some change ago, that my few thousand social media followers actually wanted to and got excited by seeing my stupid selfies. 

Why did I think this? Because I got glowing comments about my physical appearance. And for a hot minute, I felt good about myself. Like, oh, wow, total strangers think I'm slightly above average looking, woop woop better go out and celebrate!

Yet I guarantee that everyone who commented on my stupid selfie never thought of it again. They kept scrolling on down, stopping to comment on someone else's stupid selfie and never once gave my stupid selfie another thought. (Just typing those words "stupid selfie" over and over again makes me want to go eat straight mayonnaise.)

And do they really think I'm OMG so gorgeous or are they just wanting me to tell them how OMG so gorgeous they are? My favorite is when I see someone tell someone's selfie how pretty they are, and then that person comments back "oh please, you're one to talk" and then the other comments back "but srsly, you are such a dreamboat" and then the other comments back "I know you are but what am I" and it's just a never-ending cycle of pure and utter dumbness. 

And the fact that the Kardashians managed to help get that awful word inserted into Webster's Dictionary alone should be reason enough to never ever take one ever again. (Even more disturbing, Kim K also has been known to post pictures of her butt to social media with the hashtag "belfie," which stands for "butt selfie." Please dear God no.)

And don't even get me started on those that take selfies for "selfless" reasons. (That's an oxymoron if I ever heard one.) Like the girls who take selfies bare faced with no makeup and hashtag it #natural, as if they are being brave and helping womankind everywhere. 

"What? You look that gorgeous with no makeup on?!?! How do you do it?! #luckyyyyyyyyy"

No no, you see, the ones who post those kind of selfies are even more self-serving and want even more admiration and pats on the back. 

Scenario: A Very Inspiring Person posts a selfie of themselves with baby spit-up on their face.
Random commenter: "what?! You are so inspirational! How do you do it all?"
Very Inspiring Person: "it's easy! If I can do it so can you! Btw, my book on inspiration and how I do it all is on sale right now! Buy it here!"

Rhyme time! It's apparent that you are transparent.

Ok, so some of you may be thinking, "but Raven, you are merely a commoner, a lowly servant, and I...well I am a Queen with approx. 456,000 more social media followers than you. I have to take selfies because it's my job and I get paid the big bucks. You would too if you were me."

I see your point but I'll raise you this: no you don't, you still look stupid, and still...wait for one cares. Yes, they may care about the product you are hocking and many probably thousands will buy it and you can jet off to India with your earnings. You do you girl and make that bank but there are literally five, if not a good 32 other options for photographing whatever it is you are photographing.

I understand if someone is having a bad day and they need virtual validation to go on with life, and if so, have someone, anyone! take a photo of you and then post that. Your fans will still see what you look like (as if they could forget) and you will still get fawning compliments over the state of your overly-filtered face.

Despite all the positive feedback you might get, and despite how many likes or shares or tweets or praises you may get, the reality is simply that no. one. cares. It's all self-serving, on everyone's part. 

And being "super important" on social media — which ultimately means nothing — but being absent from your real life with real people that really do care about you, well...

Use your face in a positive way. Go let your kids look at it while you play trains with them. Let your husband touch it while making out like teenagers on the couch. Look the damn cashier in the eye while you check out at the grocery store instead of being too preoccupied looking at your social media checking how many comments you got on your damn stupid face selfie!!

Girl, RELAX.

So no, I will no longer be taking any more selfies for the rest of my social media career. I am too self-respecting and noble to lower myself to that standard of self-worship. If I ever do, you can call me out on it, but I know I won't. 

Some things are just a matter of moral virtue.

*See also:

Why We Are Not A Theme Park Family


First of all, ain't no one have time to stand in those lines.

At least The Smiths don't.

Serious question: for those of you that do have time to stand in line over an hour or more just to ride a 45-second mediocre clunker, how do you reconcile that with yourself? I ask with zero judgement, just honestly curious. I get it if I was at the theme park alone, and I had a good book to read and could read in peace and quiet without little humans screaming in my face and ears about having to wait so long in line, but with kids? I just honestly want to know how you do it. Do you do it because you love them? Hate yourself? Have a slight BDSM fetish? 

Look. No parent is ever happy in those lines. Look around next time. They are all scowling, yelling at their children, grabbing them by their shirt collars, stressed to the max, or almost to the very front of the line when their child says they have to go to the bathroom right then or else!

My kids just aren't wired to stand quietly in line for an hour with absolutely nothing to do. More so, neither are their parents.

Everyone honestly just looks a little bit miserable in what those declare "the happiest place on earth."

I've made no secret of the fact that I limit screen time firmly. No gaming devices in this house (besides our kid-friendly Amazon tablet that doesn't see the light of day M-F) and we will go weeks or months without any sort of screen time at all. Do I feel my kids are missing out?

Quite the opposite. I feel my kids are actually having a fulfilling childhood and are enjoying the outdoors, as they should. My boys have been very active in the remodel of our home and when my youngest turned 8 just this past month, his most favorite birthday gift was a loaded tool set. We got chickens about 6 months ago and it's the kids' responsibility to take care of them and clean up the poop. Yes, they bitch and moan about having to stay outside sometimes but if I could care less, I would. 

I just don't. *insert dgaf emoji here

This article says that children these days spend only half as much time playing outside as their parents did. Most of my childhood memories consist of late nights with my sisters in our tree, playing kick the bucket with my cousins and boating on the river until we went to sleep. I refuse, I just flat refuse to give in to the "modern way of parenting" and hand over my child a $700 device. HA.

So yes, we just got back from the dreaded Legoland in San Diego and we won't be making that mistake, or any like it, in the future. (Not even going to start on the subject that the prices to enter are insane — almost $500 for our family of 4 — and they charge a small child for a burger and then once you are in, almost everything "super fun and exciting" costs even more money. I've been played before when I realized Jonathan Taylor Thomas was not getting nor reading my love letters I sent him in the 90's and I refuse to be played like that again.)

It all comes down to time. Time is money, honey. And I prefer to spend my time, and my money, how I please. I couldn't help but feel like a cow getting herded into the gates...everyone schlupps along, blindly following the crowd. (Much like people and the flu shot but let's not even go there...for now.)

Needless to say, we went back to the beach.

Freedom, as I like to call it.

We had plans to visit SeaWorld the following day, however based on our farm animal experience, we went back to what felt like home.

My boys ran free, their hearts were full and their energy was exhausted.

We had dinner that night along the beach, and although my boys weren't making a scene or being unruly, I did have to constantly be on guard and you know, mother my children in order for the night to go smoothly. I noticed a table to my right with three young children...I hadn't heard a peep out of them for quite a while so I looked over and kid you not, every child was on their own cellphone, watching youtube or God knows what, but they were so entranced and glued to their screens that I couldn't get their attention with a snap of my finger if I wanted to.

And I was once again, grateful that Rob and I are on the same page when it comes to those harmful devices on our children.

Just say no to theme parks, crack machines and cow herding.

Yes to the beach.

Always yes to the beach.

When I Finally Realized That Less Is More


Yes I know, my last post was all about how much I was frustrated with and hated on this current home remodel.

And now I'm here to tell you that it's the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I've always loved the theory of minimalism. I always knew that less was more "in theory" yet I kept accumulating stuff. I needed more clothes, more home furnishings, more high tech objects, more photo albums to hold my more photos and more cabinets to hold my more dishes and more drawers to hold my more stuffs.

Just stuff!

It was all. just. stuff.

When we started the remodel on the top floor, we ended up tearing out a storage closet. We were going to make it a big open space but soon realized part of the closet was a load-bearing wall and we would have to re-sheetrock a portion of it back in. Rob had put up a half wall and asked if I just wanted him to remake the storage closet back to it's original condition.

In the meantime, one week earlier, we had emptied that storage closet completely, taking everything that was in it downstairs. I had sorted through the contents and ended up throwing away 40 percent of the stuffs and giving away the other 60 percent to donation. I realized I hadn't even seen or used almost all of it, and getting rid of it felt good. Freeing

So when Rob asked if I wanted him to put the closet back together, I thought, "what for? So we can put more stuff in it that we don't need, won't see, and won't use?" 

Instead, I looked at the space with fresh eyes. I saw what it could be — a Lego nook for my kids, an art station or a blank wall to showcase our family photos. Why build yet another storage closet to stuff? What is the point of "storing stuff" anyway? It's behind closed doors, out of sight and therefore almost always, out of mind. Don't we want our material and physical possessions to be seen and used? I mean, we spend our hard earned money on these things, yet we stuff it back into dark musty corners of our many storage closets and forget about its existence for months, weeks, decades...forever.

It's like that saying, "out of sight, out of mind," except no, it doesn't work that way! We always know when our closets are full of crap. It's why we don't want to open them and procrastinate cleaning them out. It's why we just shove stuff in there and then close it real fast like before everything comes tumbling out, moving on to something else entirely so we can stop thinking about it. It's a drag and a major inconvenience and a complete bewilderment and it absolutely messes with our mental happiness and propensity. 

So we push it aside, let it collect dust and try to forget about it all together. 

So now I beg to ask the question...are we talking about our stuffs or our sanity? 

My answer to my husband was no, I would not prefer him to rebuild the storage closet. The space held so many possibilities and besides, we still had two storage closets left. In a home of just over 3000 square feet, two storage closets were more than enough. And when I go to clean and sort those out? I have a good feeling I could consolidate it down to one. One storage closet in our entire home. Some may think that sounds absurd, but why? Again, why do we need so much stuff that just sits in darkness and collects dust? It's the theory of having nice china in the home, that only gets used on sparse occasions.

I have never understood that thinking and never will. For one, we don't own any china because we have children and children break things. For two, I'm an adult and I break things. Yes I like having nice dishware but I couldn't imagine spending a good chunk of change on an apparatus I will only use for eating off of. I would much rather spend that chunk on vacations or manicures or insurance policies or toilet know, things that actually have use. Things where I can see exactly where my money is going, and knowing that is it going to good use. (Or, semi-good use. Manicures are definitely not necessities but at least I can look at my nicely polished fingers every day as opposed to adoring my expensive china on Thanksgiving and Britney Spear's birthday only.)

Speaking of closets, Rob and I were discussing starting the downstairs phase of remodeling and he had an idea and ran it by me — he wanted to blow out our already walk-in closets to make them even larger walk-in closets. 

Now listen. I've seen the Real Housewives and their massive extremely over-indulgent preposterous closets. And every single time I see the enormous, outrageous square feet of those closets, I legit want to puke. Seriously, putting aside all the jokes and snide comments that can (and should) be made, it makes me physically ill. Because every time I see all that excess, I can't help but take my mind to those in need. WHAT is the purpose of having a room that big (a room that in many, many circumstances, is the size of a great deal of peoples actual homes) and moreso, who can wear that many clothes? Who needs that many shoes? Why in all that is holy do you have so many handbags?!

And I ask sincerely.


Why? Is it filling a void, an insecurity, a need to prove something? I don't know. What I do know is that I personally do not need a bigger walk-in closet. The only purpose for a bigger closet is to fill it with more stuffs. More stuffs that I won't wear, don't need and most definitely won't make me a better person because of.

It's no secret that having a cluttered home makes for a cluttered mind. It literally has been proven that having a home in disarray physically and mentally affects a persons wellbeing. I know that for me personally, when my house is in chaos, it affects my entire mood. I have been known to just leave my house when it's at it's worst just to seek out open spaces. 

But why can't my home — my safe place, my sanctuary, my haven — be full of open spaces? During this remodel, I've found myself craving more space. And not just space for more stuff...more space for just space! More space for a clear mind and a clear body and a clear soul. More space for less clutter, less disorder, less stress.

More space for just

more space.

A less cluttered and chaotic home results in a less cluttered and chaotic mind.

and Soul.

Forgoing that butt-ugly Louis Vuitton is worth the peace of mind, don't ya think?

To Be Free


When I was in San Diego last month, Rob and I were at the beach, sitting in the sand, looking at the water and relaxing. I noticed out of the corner of my eye a guy whom had climbed up onto the stone wall separating the boardwalk from the beach and watched him close his eyes, raise his head to the sky and put his arms out as if praising the sea.

He stood there for a while, longer than it would have been normally acceptable — eyes closed, head up, arms out — and I watched as people who walked by gave him a double-take, presumably wondering what in the world he was doing.

And all I could think was, I feel you man, I feel you.

I'm a believer. In God, first and foremost, and in the wonderment of God's most magnificent creation, the paradise.

The Paradise: glittering water, shimmering sand and salty air.

A lot of people say they feel at home by the water, and maybe they do, I'm definitely not here to discount that. They know how they feel, and maybe it is a heart wrenching, gut tugging, spirit soaring experience.

But for me...

it's so much more than that.

I stop living one life — and I start living another — the second I step onto the beach. It literally transforms me and I can feel it to the very depths of my bones. More so, I feel it in my soul.

My husband and I were with a couple friend of ours and we were having dinner at a beach-side restaurant. I ate my food, delicious it was, and looked out at the ocean through the open air building. We had a few more drinks, some really good conversation and yet I felt the ocean calling me.

It sounds cheesy, I'm the first to admit. What, the ocean "called you?" On the phone? Internally? Spiritually? Yeah ok.

And yet, that's just exactly what it did.

I'm willing to admit some hard truths in my life. Such as... bras were created by the devil, common core math isn't actually so terrible, beauty fades and more wrinkles will arrive. But one hard truth that keeps pulling at the recesses of my heart is that my soul is not whole unless I am standing on The Paradise. The truth is, my soul wears half of a best friend necklace — you know the one, where a jagged line separates the words "best" and friend?" — and the ocean wears the other half.

My core being is jagged until I reach the sand.

Every time I think about it, I can physically put myself on that beach, waves lapping at my feet, soul literally soaring. It's a feeling I get when I think about delivering my firstborn in the hospital room, or the day I jumped out of a plane, or the moment I was almost positive that a 6'4" bouncer mama in Vegas named CoCo was going to kick my ass if I made just one.more.move.

Life changers, you know the ones.

It's why as a family, we always choose the place where the palm trees grow as our vacation destination. Sure, I could visit other landmarks such as the museums of Europe or the streets of Denmark...but life is short, and when you know what makes you happy, you tend to stray the way of that happiness.

Again, life is short, and the heart knows what it wants.

And my heart will always want to be with its other jagged half.

And together, we are free.

Things I Don't Understand As An Adult


 friends on boats...something I definitely understand as an adult

- Couples that sleep in Queen size beds together. Do you like each other like, a lot a lot? Or rather, do you hate each other? Because I can see no other explanation for a couple who dedicated their lives to be together forever to want to be that close in proximity during that sweet, sweet, dreaming period. It's bizarre. It makes no sense. You're weird and I hope you don't get divorced in the next five years but friend things are not looking good for you.

And if you sleep in a Full? He is definitely cheating on you with your sister.

- HGTV's show House Hunters. Did you know they are total liars!? I only discovered this recently, but every couple who appears on House Hunters has already chosen their home before they sign on to "look at different properties." As in, a couple can only be chosen to be on House Hunters if they are already in escrow for their home. Which might be ok, because entertainment is entertainment and I'm not naive to how TV is all #fakenews, but these people take it to a whole new level! Once the couples have seen all their "prospective homes," they then sit and "deliberate" on which one they will choose. They say things like, "this was a really hard decision" and "we thought long and hard before we came to this conclusion" and I want to be all "b*tch you lie! " How someone can go on TV and flat out fabricate like that in front of millions, I will never quite understand. I did not have sexual relations with that woman I only had one, officer Yes they're real

- Alcohol, or rather, the relationship with alcohol as we get older. Sure, when we are young, dumb and underage and ask some ninny to buy us a Mad Dog 20/20 from the Quikmart, we can feel on top of the world and like we can conquer anything. But what happens when we turn into, like, actual adults? The other day, someone mentioned to me my alcohol intake and commented on how well I seem to be doing in spite of it. Thanks? Regardless, it's hard for me to tell at times if booze if my friend or foe. Obvs, that time in high school when I ended up face down, bottoms up in the middle of a dairy with a fan as a pillow and a girl named Coco threatening to kick my ass proves without a shadow of a doubt that tequila is most definitely a foe, but then there was that time in Vegas where I was front and center in some cage on a rotating dance floor with everyone from Alaska to Jersey City cheering me on where the booze was without a doubt my friend. Color me confused.

-British people.

- Hotel gyms. I mentioned this on my Facebook page the other day and got all sorts of weird responses from people who actually work out while on vacation. Come again? Exercise? On vacation? I don't get it. When I scroll through potential online hotel photos, I want to see the beach, the pool, the bar...anything but the gym! It's called a vacation for a reason. The last thing I'm going to use my precious time doing while on a hard-earned tropical paradise is spending it in a sweaty, stinky gym. Yeah yeah, "working out is a lifestyle" as someone once said, but so is "sippin' cocktails, poppin' bottles and wearing see-through Amazon suits on the beach like dem models", am I right or am I right?!


- Snapchat and Instagram/facebook live. I admit, it took me a while to understand this. And by understand this, I mean understand what a cavalier, pretentious, smug, ego-inducing, vain thing it is to do. In other words, bizarre. I'm all for online blogging and facebook and instagram and using up all my precious time on all those other useless social media channels, but to actually take your phone, turn the camera to selfie mode, and record yourself talking or eating or grocery shopping or whatever the hell else it is you important do you think you are?! And again, I did it for a hot second, back before I finally turned into an adult. But I have since deleted my Snapchat app and have yet to do one Facebook live. Whenever I'm browsing through instagram and I see the notification up top that so-and-so has started a live video, I quickly dismiss the notification with a little, "woop! Someone is feeling the need for social validation right about now." If you do this on the reg, good for you and I hope you get what you need out of it, just know that you are your own biggest fan.

- Other moms whose homes don't have major gouging divets in their drywalls. If I come over for a playdate and don't see Hot Wheel imprints in your hardwood floors, we can't be friends, because I don't understand your utter lack of parenting.

- Cat ears. Grow up you pussy.

Sh*t My Kid Says


::Talking to Gunner about the movie Zootopia and the theme of not letting anyone ever tell you that you can't do something::

me: so whenever someone says you can't do something, don't listen to them.

gunner: ok, so when you tell me I can't do something, I just won't listen to you.

me: no, that's different. nice try smartass. 


::After the boys got a haircut::

me: you boys look sharp!

gunner: what does that mean?

me: it means you look flyyyyyyy.

gunner: I don't understand anything you are saying.

me: I mean damn boy you be lookin' foine! 

gunner: what is wrong with you.


gunner: can I take my pocket knife to school?

me: no son, that is criminal.

gunner: what does criminal mean?

me: it means slow drivers, open mouth eaters, loud theater talkers, redheads. 

gunner: what are redheads?

me: criminals.


::As Rob and I were sitting together at the dinner table::

gunner: can we go open that package the UPS guy brought earlier?

me: {gives him my evil wide eye look that says he's in trouble}

gunner: what? you told me not to tell dad how many times he comes during the week and I didn't.

me: thanks for doing me a solid there.

rob: your mom told you not to tell me what?

me: rob stop it. inappropriate.


::we got chicks and are hoping for fresh eggs soon::

gunner: how do we know if the eggs they poop out are eating eggs or their babies?

me: um, I think we know by how many spots they have on them? like if a ladybug has odd number spots, it's a girl and if they have even number spots, it's a boy. or like how I once heard that you can tell if a bee is a boy or girl by how many stripes they have, or kinda like how you can tell if a llama is pregnant by how many lady lumps she has? That's how you can tell.

gunner: I'm asking dad.


And a few past conversations that I'm including here in the "hall of fame" of sh*t my kids say because it's been a while, and I like halls of fame. And I like to think I live there. With my crown and endless supply of Tito's.

me: I'm a homebody.

gunner: what does that mean?

me: it means I would rather be at home most of the time rather than any place else.

gunner: I'm a homebody too. I'm definitely not a schoolbody.


colt: mommy, I'm a kitty.

me: awww. I love kitties.

colt: mom, kitty wants a cookie.

me: son, mommy wants a Ferrari.


::When I was in a pinch to get Gunner dressed and out the door as we were way late for school::

gunner: I hate this shirt! this is a girl shirt.

me: no it's not, it's a unisex shirt.

gunner: what is a unisex shirt?

me: it means it's appropriate for both girls and boys.

gunner: but it has a princess on it.

me: that's not a princess. it's just a really pretty boy who grew his hair out long.

gunner: he has boobs.


colt: werkjdsf lfdv lzdfkgjubfdgh dkjebzx

me: what?

colt: oisdfb wiu fkjhsdbwe vkjzsd

me: what??

gunner: he said he wants some juice and a waffle.

me: oh. ok. thanks.


side note: how do you know if the eggs they poop out are eggs you fry up and make into a bacon sandwich or if they are fluffy feathery babies? I legit am confused. I can make the best vodka soda from scratch but honestly don't know how to answer this question for my 9 year old.