Words Before ‘Momma’


I tried not to take it personal. Sure I literally grew a human and brought it into this world. Sure, I gave up drinking and sushi and made sure all my cheese was pasteurized for like 9 months… but it’s ok.

After a while it was downright comical… but now… NOW over 630 days later of cleaning puke and bums, carrying a child, sleepless nights, solo nights while Adam is away for school, bananas smashed into my new dress… we FINALLY have it… ‘MOMMA’!

We just about wore the word out in its first weekend in our existence.

And for even more comic relief, here is the list of words that came before, many much before ‘momma’:

  • Trucks (obviously)
  • Dadda
  • Otto (dog #1)
  • Chili (dog #2)
  • Jeep
  • Dump Truck
  • BIG Truck
  • Airplane
  • Boots
  • Boat
  • Blue truck
  • Helicopter (or copTAH)
  • Dog and woof
  • Cow and Moo
  • Cat and Meow (a really good meow too)
  • Elephant
  • Chicken and cluck, cluck
  • Duck and quack, quack
  • Trees
  • Roar
  • Outside
  • Car
  • Puddle
  • No
  • Mine
  • My turn
  • Bottle
  • More
  • Pooh and Tigger
  • Up
  • Binky
  • Uh-oh

You get the picture… it was a lot. Momma seems to be here to stay, we practiced over 630 times this weekend, and I couldn’t be happier. Man, that kid sure knows how to build up anticipation.

Thankful for 5 Years, My Family and New Opportunities

You can read all the blogs and books you want. You can talk to all of your friends and family who have kids. You will learn a lot… but you won’t know what you are going to be like with a child.


A little over a year in and I am still figuring out what I am like as a mom. As with every mom, I have made some sacrifices, slept a little less and probably added some stress to my life. What I am doing is trying to see what are the things that are stressful to me and also make a note of what things I enjoy the most. As I have said before, I have just this one life and only a small amount of time with my son and I plan on doing my best to enjoy it.

Making these notations of stressers and what I want from my life, I have made big and little changes to my day, work flow, expectations and relationships. Probably the largest change is I have made the very big decision to leave my job, at Hall Internet Marketing, that I have had for 5 1/2 years.

When I started, I was a different person and we were a different company. I have had countless opportunities, I have learned so much about business and marketing and I have had the honor of helping the company grow into the solid team it is now. I will miss my work friends, my boss and our clients but I knew it was time to make a move.

With that said, I did find my next adventure and I think you are going to like it… I am going to be joining the wonderful pack over at Planet Dog. If you have heard of them, I am sure you are squealing with delight right now. If you haven’t, let me tell you a little about this great little company that is doing BIG things.


  • Planet Dog is a socially responsible, values-based company, bringing people and dogs together for fun and mutual support.
  • They make their own line of premium products “made for dogs, by dog lovers” – including the award winning Orbee tuff balls & bones and more. Otto likes the new Snoop combined with the Orbee ball.


  • Their mission is to amuse, explore, support, innovate, create, educate, celebrate and philanthropate… all in the name of the dog.
  • They not only have a B2B business with pet products but they also have a B2C component with their online store and their innovative flagship store in Portland.
  • Planet Dog just started a major partnership with the Life is good company.
  • They donate 2% of their sales to their foundation – The Planet Dog Foundation. They just passed $1 million in giving to organizations that raise and train therapy dogs, service dogs, search & rescue dogs, bomb sniffing dogs, police dogs and more.

I cannot think of a better fit for the woman and mom I am right now than Planet Dog. I love their mission, their products, their drive, their vision and zest for a fun and full life.

So on Thanksgiving Eve, I am so, so, sooooooooo thankful.
I am thankful for the past 5+ years with a growing, rewarding job.
I am thankful for my wonderful little family and for Emmett who is really forcing me to take a long, hard look at my life and go after what I want and make big and small changes to get it.
And I am thankful for a new, exciting opportunity with a company I can’t wait to help carry to their next level.

So hey, if you want to keep an eye on what I am up to and where I am spending my time – go check out Planet Dog and the Planet Dog Foundation, Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and I can’t wait to help them tell you their story.

You Only Have This One Life


Life has been a little crazy lately. We are working very hard to make sure we are doing what we think is right for the long haul. Sometimes setting that foundation means you have to be uncomfortable in the ‘right now’.

Adam realized a few years ago that he was not going to be happy with office/desk life and that he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. So I think we are about 4 years into a 10ish year journey to make that dream happen.

I remember pretty clearly the conversation when he figured out this was what he wanted to do with his life. He was afraid that he was too old to start this new journey or that I would not be a willing participant to see him through. There is definitely a difference between being the wife of a businessman for the next 10 years vs. being the wife of a student for the next 10 years. I chose to be the wife of a man who worked his ass off to chase his dreams.

We are both all-in and making this happen.

What about other dreams? It is hard to make plans for other dreams when the one right in your face is larger than an elephant. What about them? What about having children, exciting vacations, building our empire, chasing my own career aspirations? Do I put those on hold and start a To-Do list for 2019?

The smart decision would probably be to do that. Wait until we are settled. Wait until we have the money. Wait until the timing is right.

I never promised you smart decisions.

So blame the baby. Blame the death of my beloved dog. Blame the tragic funerals I have had to attend lately. Blame the pride I have when I see my husband working so hard to chase down his dreams. Blame the cancer diagnoses of friends and family – strong people being put through way more than they deserve. Blame the weather, for all I care but…

I decided waiting for 2019 is too long.

So I am making a few changes. Some big and some tiny.

Tiny changes – Silly things like instead of being pissed iced coffee is so weak, just order a freaking iced Americano. Small behavioral things like complaining less. Bitch fests can be fun but are they helpful? Eat more kale. No, that is a lie. This whole kale phenom needs to slow its roll. So I refuse to buy-in to kale but I am acknowledging there are lots of little things that I can make better about my day to day.

BIG changes – I am going to travel more and not just staycations.

This Fall I am going to Ireland with my mom. We have both always wanted to go but it has never been the right time and we have never had the ‘extra’ money. I don’t think there will ever be the right time or ‘extra’ money. So we are making now the right time.

What about the baby?! The baby is coming too. I have already met people who grumble about traveling with a baby but you know what? I have talked to even more people who are pumped about the idea. So me and my momma and my baby are going to Ireland.

And after Ireland, I plan on going someplace else too. Just not sure where yet.

BIGGER changes – We are moving to the island!

We bought a house (well another house – we have to still sell our current house). We have already started moving. Baby E will be growing up on an island. I was nervous – I am too busy, it is too inconvenient; we can’t host lavish parties that our friends will come to etc.

What I DO have is a network of family and friends to help me raise this amazing little boy – it takes a village right? I can’t think of a better place in the world to raise a child. A boy that can play outside, go to the beach every day and ride his bike to the store when he can still tell you how old he is with one hand. I am going to like that.

And the busy body worries? Convenience of a ferry? Lavish parties? I think more than those things, I need to enjoy my days more and maybe doing less will make me appreciate them more. Oh and I still can throw a lavish party, people will just have to bring sleeping bags.

BIGGEST (and smallest) changes – I am going to appreciate this one life I have.

When I look back at the last decade or so, I know I could do better. I could have been kinder, I could have done more, I could have been happier. As cliché as it is, I think about a poster that I have seen at Saddleback for the past few years. I can’t remember it exactly and if I try Googling it, it seems to be attributed to too many different folks. The message of it is that life isn’t made of minutes or days but of moments.

I want to look back on my life, especially this stretch, and see for myself that I crushed it – baby and all, med school and all, career and all.

You only have this one life. Why are we saving it to live later?

Advice from Strangers

small_3293998483For my ‘adult life’ (I use the term loosely), I comically have been known to take advice from strangers. Weather reports from baristas, romantic advice from patrons at the bar I worked at, dog raising tips from random people I meet at dog parks and health tips from concert goers. I just trust strangers. I’m not sure if it is from being brought up in a small community of just my general gullible nature.

The day of the Boston Marathon bombing… the hour of the Boston Marathon bombing, Adam and I were driving back from New York City with the baby. When we got word of what had happened from a concerned friend that called us, we very soon after pulled off the highway – part for a dirty diaper change and part just to stop driving so we could process what the heck was going on.

We got off the highway in Massachusetts and stopped at a Dunkin Donuts. The only people there were a handful of old guys playing cribbage in the corner. After we got our coffee, a man who was playing cribbage motioned for me to come over to the table. He pointed at the pacifier in my hand.

Old Guy: ‘You know what they are saying now don’tcha?’
Me: ‘No’
My head: Here we go with the pacifiers are bad for babies lecture.

Old Guy: ‘Well how do ya clean that thing?’
Me: ‘We have these special wipes for them or I swap it out if it is really icky.’
My head: I know, I know… I am supposed to BOIL it every time it comes into contact with a molecule yadda yadda.

Old Guy: You don’t need those. They say now that moms should just wash them off with their own mouths. It’ll help the baby from getting sick and developing allergies’.
Me: Oh interesting. Thanks. Have a great afternoon.
My head: Why is my husband so damn slow all the time. I’m going to wait outside.

New Study on Cleaning Pacifiers

Sam-Beckett-quantum-leapThis week on the news, multiple sources are talking about a new study out of Sweden that says moms should clean their baby’s pacifiers with their mouths.

“By the time babies were 18 months old, those whose parents sucked their pacifiers were less likely to have asthma and eczema, and the researchers concluded that this was because parents exposed their babies to bacteria in their saliva, stimulating babies’ immune systems. There was also a trend toward a reduction in allergy signs.”


So who was that old guy at the Dunkin Donuts a month ago who told me the same thing? Was he a doctor? Was he from the future? Was he Dr. Samuel Beckett?

I may never know but he didn’t do much for my weakness of taking advice from strangers. He may have made my condition worse.

What the Heck is a Work, Life, Baby Balance?

work-life-babySheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, is a successful working mom.
Her husband is a successful working father, CEO of Survey Monkey.
How the hell did they manage that?

Sheryl has a book coming out in March called Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. I will be buying it, of course. As you can imagine, we are trying to figure out this whole work/life/baby balance ourselves and I can tell you this much… it is tough!

I read a lot of blogs, I follow along with what Marissa Mayer is up to, I Google a lot of things – oftentimes at 3am, when the baby has woken up for his midnight snack. I will buy Sheryl’s book and add to her fortune. I am interested in her perspective and who couldn’t use a little rah rah rah at 3am on a weeknight, when you have an 8am meeting the next day?!?

Just from following Sheryl in the past, I know she expresses the importance of:

  • Two engaged parents in childcare (50/50 split)
  • Fair grounds from employers for men and women
  • Flexible jobs for both parents
  • Woman pushing themselves

Before reading the book, I know a few things of my own too:

  • Don’t take too much advice from other people on what works for them, it has to work for you
  • Make your own rules and go after what is important to you and your family
  • Sheryl and Marissa have more money than I will ever have, so they have a few more options than I do

I don’t know what a work, life, baby, dog, exercise, social life balance is. I am working on it. As I work on it, I can only hope that I help make some changes for anyone else who comes behind me, I hope someone can learn from my mistakes and successes and I hope I can be honest with myself and the people around me about how it is going.

In the meantime, if you want to know more about working women and moms, you can read this Business Insider article, you can pre-order Sheryl’s book, you can read this piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter on why women can’t have it all or watch this interview from Sheryl on how she does ‘have it all’.

Time Management and Axe Sharpening

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree
and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

– Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Holy smokes am I learning a thing or two about how much (or how little) you can cram into a single day. Now if only I could figure out when to run and when to blog with this new crazy schedule. Hmm…

Be a Part of the Memory

I really hate having my picture taken but I really like photos. I just hate being in photos. That is why this recent article from the Huffington Post really got to me.

If you go through the thousands of pictures on my computer, you will find lots of pictures of my wonderful (and good looking) husband, dogs, friends and family plus scenes from my beautiful state but you will rarely see me. I have found it easier to be the picture taker/family photographer than to be the subject of a photo. I smile awkward, I never (never ever) ‘do’ my hair, I move around too much and I just always look strange in photos.

The day after my son was born, my husband’s grandmother went into hospice. She has since left us. This transition of adding one new life and losing another can get you into some strange places in your mind. Life truly is a journey and when I look back on the documented proof of my journey, I want it to look like I was in it. I want our baby to see me. I love this quote from the Huffington Post article:

“When I look at pictures of my own mother, I don’t look at cellulite or hair debacles. I just see her — her kind eyes, her open-mouthed, joyful smile, her familiar clothes. That’s the mother I remember. My mother’s body is the vessel that carries all the memories of my childhood. I always loved that her stomach was soft, her skin freckled, her fingers long. I didn’t care that she didn’t look like a model. She was my mama.”

When I look at pictures of people close to me I do just see ‘them’. You don’t notice their outfit, a blemish on their skin or any imperfections – you just see a picture of them.

So to get off on the right foot when our baby was one week old, we had a wonderful friend, Erin from Erin Kroll Photography, come and do a family photo shoot with us.

I didn’t have time to get my hair cut, I didn’t get any sleep the night before, the shirt I wanted to wear had throw up on it, I am carrying a few extra pounds post baby, I was running late and was actually still getting ready when the Erin came, we never settled on an outfit for the baby to wear, the dogs were hyper and not helpful and I was super anxious the whole time. Know what?!? The photos came out amazing. I absolutely love them and I am sooooo happy that we did this.


Erin was amazing (you should totally hire her). She made it easy for us and comfortable. She has the right eye and tools to make a beautiful product. Professional photographer aside – I am so happy that we have these pictures of all of us to look back on. From here on in, I am going to make more of an effort to be in the photos and a part of each of these memories. I think more of you camera shy people should too!

Three Physical Ailments New Moms Suffer From that No One Warned You About

new momI’m a reader and a studier. If there is something that I don’t know about that interests me or effects me, I look into it. I love how-to books, business books and true stories about humans conquering new things. So when I found out I was pregnant, it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I read up on it – What to Expect, Bringing up Bebe, Eat, Sleep, Poop, Girlfriend’s Guide, Happiest Baby on the Block etc.

Some were good and some were awful but none of them prepared me for three physical ailments that I am suffering from. I thought I would help other new moms and moms-to-be so they can be prepared and know that they are not alone…

  1. Inability to stop rocking – Whether I am holding the baby or not, I cannot stop rocking back and forth. The rocking can be mild to severe and many times you won’t even notice you are doing it. A few ways to see if you are inadvertently rocking is to stand near a mirror, if your reflection is rocking… you probably are too. Keep an ear out for your floor creaking, the audio cue could alert you that you are rocking and be causing the creaking noise. You can also ask for help and tell a friend or loved one about your concern that you are rocking uncontrollably and ask them to point out if they notice your rhythmic swaying.
  2. Constant need to sing about daily mundane activities – I call this Snow White’s Disease. You will feel like a weird-animated princess when you notice that you have been taking your daily tasks and making them into stupid songs. I have made up songs about unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry and of course about changing diapers. My poor child will know the lyrics to ‘Please Don’t Pee on Me While a Change Your Diaper’ while other kids are listening to classical music and lullabies. Poor kid.
  3. Can’t wipe this stupid smile off my face – Maybe the most concerning of all is the muscle spasms in my face that make it so I can’t stop smiling. You body is ripped to shreds, you never sleep, you are still a little tubby from the pregnancy but for some reason you can’t stop smiling. Smiling at absolutely nothing. Concerning right?! This could be a phase.

There you have it – the three physical ailments no one warned me about. I hope this helps more of you out there who feel like you are alone! I have my follow up doctor’s appointment this week and I will be asking them about these. I will update this post if there is a prescription or steps to take to reverse these conditions.