Friday, November 18, 2016

Yes, They're All Mine - Tales From the Crib By a Mom of Many

There’s a moment when riding a roller coaster that your cart is being pulled ever so slowly up the incline, and you lose all concept of fear. The excitement has yet to kick in and there’s only emptiness coupled with a gnawing sense of anticipation/confusion. Anticipation because obviously, something is on the horizon but confusion because who knows if it’s gonna be any good. And why did you even stand in line for something called the Death Accelerator with no seat belts anyway? Weren’t you just looking for the funnel cake stand? That’s what being a mom of many is like emptiness, confusion, and wishing you’d just had a funnel cake.
There’s a scientific equation (and by scientific, I mean I worked out the math myself while cleaning spit-up from betwixt the couch cushions) that says when the number of children you care for exceeds the number of adults it took to create said children, chaotic results will follow.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Birds, The Bees & The Browns

My 6-year-old had just been picked up from school. The baby sat two seats away from her, eyes fixated on the back of my headrest as Elmo danced across the car movie screen. We were awash in a sea of minivans and hybrids with the rest of the after school traffic. As we trudged slowly down the road I flipped through my mental dinner recipe Rolodex absentmindedly. 
My first grader, oblivious to mommy’s distraction, was regaling the car with a tale of the most exciting things from the day…either fish sticks had been served for lunch or they’d had a fire drill. I’d missed the plot though so it was only by chance I heard, “…but also [friend] came back today. She had a baby!”
The word ‘baby’ stood out in the fog of my mind. My grip tightened on the steering wheel as I held my breath, “What?”

Monday, October 31, 2016

Mail Order Fright

It’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween! Ghouls & goblins have come a-haunting and the crunch of recently fallen leaves marks your every step. Pathways glow from the flicker of twinkling jack-o-lanterns. Best of all, those growls, screeches & screams you hear won’t be my kids fighting over the remote. That alone makes it the most wondrous time of year.
It’s no secret when it comes to holidays, I’m partial to ones that don’t leave me fat, broke or wondering how I can be trusted to raise children when I can’t keep flowers alive. (I’m looking at you Thanksgiving, Christmas & Valentine’s Day.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Not This Again: Five Stages of a Sick Kid

Get the lunches packed. Don’t forget to leave out the kids’ library books to be returned tomorrow. Sweep up the remainder of dinner from under the table. Why is there rice on the wall? How is that possible? Remember to set out your purse, with the keys on top. Note to self: find keys.
We‘ve all been there. Hectic night, no different than most others, but this one is in preparation for an even busier tomorrow. Big day at work or maybe that doctor’s appointment that you had to schedule two months in advance. Either way, tomorrow’s an important one, lots to do.
But we’re smart, mamas, we can keep it together. We’ve made a plan, prepped the kiddos and we willbe good to go. Obviously, that’s when IT happens, though.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Books for Kids Who Love Brown Faces

My love for reading, all things fantasy and the art of storytelling are passions I’ve cultivated my entire life. I can remember being very young and realizing, even then, that reading helped to open doors of understanding. I’d read anything around the house, age appropriate or not to my mother’s dismay, and anxiously looked forward to weekly library trips. Escaping into alternate worlds and watching as the protagonist championed the cause and defeated the villain (with strength I wished I had) was a favorite pastime for my sheltered younger self. It spurred a creative spirit in me I carry to this day.

That enthusiasm is one of the qualities I’d always hoped to pass down to my children. Contrary to my aversion to vegetables and knack for consistently singing the wrong lyrics to songs I’ve known for years, it was a trait they could actually be proud of.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Showers, Surprises & a Britax Stroller Review

This post is sponsored by Britax but all opinions and embarrassing anecdotes are my own! 


Shortly after my husband & I found out I was expecting, we got even more exciting news. My friends wanted to throw us a baby shower and…drumroll…we needed to register for everything we’d like family & friends to buy! That’s right, not only were we getting a little mocha-colored ball of snuggly goodness out of the deal, we could also expect our loved ones to pay for all of her stuff? Why hadn’t we thought of this sooner?! 

We drove to our nearest baby boutique and went absolutely bananas. Boppy? Got that. Baby bouncer seat? Got that. Shopping cart cover? Got that. Wipes warmer? Well her tooshie can’t warm itself, can it? Got that! Playmat with the latest in pediatrician-recommended color-coded brain stimulating toys? Got two of those. When I say that we were stocked, please believe me, baby #1 wanted for nothing, lucky kid.
That face is because he just found out where the baby is coming out.
Come to think of it, maybe I should’ve taken note of everyone’s warm spirits and registered for that all-expenses paid couples vacation we’re still waiting on. Ah well, you live and you learn.

Monday, October 3, 2016

B is for Boo: A Brown Family Halloween

It's the most wonderful time of the year...(sing it with me)
With the kids trick or treating 
And everyone telling you have no fear,
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Shit or Seek: Potty Training Parenting Fails

There is no panic so great as that which fills my body when I find a discarded diaper on the floor after I've temporarily lost sight of my toddler. It's a little game she invented called Shit or Seek.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

In the Meantime

Rambling stream of consciousness ahead:

I was getting ready to share a post; a link to a blog I’d written. I looked it over one more time and saw all these smiling faces looking back from the pictures I’d included. I skimmed my words again, jumping from anecdote to anecdote and stopped. It seemed so silly. So stupid, really.

Suddenly I felt that familiar shadow, the one that hangs overhead whenever something happens that makes no sense to me. I felt the heaviness that settled in once more yesterday and, instinctively, I held my breath. It’s a common feeling now for me, that tightness in my gut and strain on my chest. It makes me, a 5’4 stay-at-home mom with 3 carseats in the backseat clench the steering wheel a little tighter when I pass a police car, or yell for the kids to stop running and being so playful (acting like children, I suppose) when we’re out in public, it makes me choose my words carefully when I’m talking to my white friends (so as not to offend and appear unnecessarily angry).

It’s an all-consuming fear that stays at the back of my mind these days and even when there are no sensational stories in the news, it nags at me.  That worry and dread that take over and leave me awake at night are powerful, they can wash everything else away. Until the only thing that seems to matter is the bad and the evil and the worry about what the next crazy thing will be. But as I looked again at that blog, and those silly words and smiling faces, I remembered that my sanity matters too.

So while I know everyone is in a certain mindset, and that all this shit that’s going on is threatening to make your head and your heart dark places, know that I’m right here with you. Fighting through it, struggling to see the light and hoping to make it to the other side.

I say all that, so that when you see me post these silly blogs, or share crazy stories about my kids, or pictures where everyone is laughing, you don’t think that I’m ignoring these current events. I’m just trying to get back to my light.  It’s so, so important to my family for me to stay out of the darkness.  And even if it’s temporary, I want to share some of that light with you. So read (or don’t read), but take a break from time to time, and find your happy again so you can stay lifted up.

You can’t fight if you can’t stand.

First Love

I have quite a few friends that are relishing in the wonder and awe that comes with being parents to a first child. Seeing the world through the innocence of a tiny being that you created is the closest thing to heaven on earth. It’s overwhelmingly magical and pure. Something so much deeper than anything you can really put into words.

First Love | Atlanta Area Moms Blog
What everyone thinks a baby’s 1st photo shoot will look like. Photo Cred: L. Hyche

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Rainbow Brown Birthday

You guys, Parker turned 2 and I have ALL the feelings.  Some of which left me researching retro-active birth control when her tantrums got too out of control. Why are 2 year olds such jerks?! But I digress...

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Doing the Thing

I remember it like it was yesterday: picture it, Sicily, 1922…oh, wait, wrong story. Old age, I tell ya.
Let’s try that again: A few weeks ago, sunny Marietta, GA – all 3 kids and I were standing in line at the ice cream shop. No small feat since 2 of my 3 are walking allergy-magnets, which usually cuts down on edible alternatives on the go. But I was feeling (uncharacteristically) generous for a change, so I’d called around, found one of the more trendy gluten-free, dairy-free, taste-optional locales nearby and we set out on our frozen-themed adventure.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Full Disclosure

Dear Stranger,

I write this as a gift to you. I keep running across these overly emotive literary pieces where mommies talk about the ways their kids light up their lives and give meaning to their existence. Or articles on the funny things little ones do that make our days complete. It’s enough to trick the childless masses into believing that life with kids is somehow better.

To that I say, #Lies.

Wanna know what they don’t tell you in those birthing classes: all the ways your parenting styles won’t matter AT ALL. Kids, for the most part, are just really bad, short people. And there’s nothing you can do about it. You can try all you want to instill morals and values. Won’t make a lick of difference though. Little Timmy is still gonna be a psycho when he grows up.  And somehow when he’s bathing in chocolate milk and stalking his 3rd ex-wife, people will magically find a way to blame you.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Smoke & Mirrors

Sometimes around late afternoon, usually after a surprisingly uneventful family outing, I’ll look at my babies playing together kindly. I’ll observe as they gesture comically to one another and discuss really “important” things amongst themselves; their murmured chatter and secretive giggling a soft hum creating a personal soundtrack to my day’s end.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Hurt My Kid and I'm Coming After You

Last week I picked out the perfect outfit. I twisted (then re-twisted) my hair and worked to create a make-up look that was 2 parts “I’m a fun girl” and 1 part “I know how to handle business.” I practiced introducing myself and scanned the first page of the newspaper for topical humor (since most of my puns typically revolve around poop or Sesame Street). I wasn’t headed out for a blind date though. I was going to meet my kid’s teacher.

Around these parts, that’s a big damn deal. It’s so important for me to set the right tone. Here’s this other adult charged with nurturing and caring for my child for the next 9 months, it’s serious business and I don't  take it lightly. I looked forward to our initial interaction but my nerves were still wracked. It's hard to figure out a way  to convey the perfect mix of “Hey we’re in this together,” and “If you fuck her up…I fuck YOU up.” A fine line, ya know.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer Blues

I’m anxious about how this will come across. I’ve long known that admitting I have this disorder might somewhat ostracize me from my peers and it pains me to know that my children might be affected in any way by the information that follows.
But as the seasons have changed and yet another school year has ended, I’m finding it harder and harder to go about my daily routines. The struggles I endure exacerbate my symptoms and as a stay at home mom of 3, my babies are often burdened by my sickness.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Top 6 Back to School Saves for Savvy Moms

July is halfway over and if you’re lucky in Metro Atlanta, that means the start of the school year is right around the corner. Where has the time gone? This summer has been an absolute whirlwind of activity for me and my sweet babies so I can honestly say I’m over the damn moon with excitement slightly reluctant to get back to our regular routine.
Last year, with my oldest starting Kindergarten, there were so many new things to consider when preparing for the school year. What with supply lists, new class start times (and new morning schedules to adhere to) and all the things it took to prepare my baby & I emotionally for her first foray into public school, it was enough to make an already unstable caregiver a doting mama’s head spin. That’s why I vowed to do my part and educate the masses this go ‘round.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Toddler Triumphs

This is Stitch, Wheezy and Unidentifiable Rash.

Believe it or not those are not cute family nicknames, they’re the kids’ latest ailments and/or medical conditions. As a stay at home parent, it’s honestly quite embarrassing how often my children manage to injure themselves or one another. You would think I’d have this June Cleaver thing down pat by now, six years into the game. But I don’t. And while I won’t say I’m outright negligent, I will say that the frequency with which we visit our nearest Urgent Care clinic is laughable and compelled me to send the Doctor On Call (the one that knows our names) a Christmas card the past 2 years. So read between the lines here, people.

Fresh Eyes

My husband and I are preparing to sell our first home. The one we bought together as man & wife and the one in which 2 of our 3 babies took their first steps and celebrated Christmases and birthdays. It's a good house. I love it, but that's because I know it. The trick is getting someone else to see the same value in it.

And so we re-painted the rooms, pruned the bushes out front, threw in a couple new appliances to make it look even more spectacular. Then we took another look around, with everything all cleaned up. With fresh eyes we tried to see what the others would see when they looked at the thing that meant so much to us.

Summer Screenings

It's summer already and that means you're hearing the birds chirping, the bees buzzing and the sound of children's laughter wafting in through an open window. Want to know what's heard at my house? A cork popping from a wine bottle.

It isn't that summer's not my thing. It's just that 3 months of uninterrupted togetherness with my 3 little monsters cherubs makes me remember that I'm better at parenting when I have an eight hour school day as a buffer. Okay, so maybe I will survive. But I'll tell you one thing, it won't be because I've spent 12 weeks glueing together macaroni boat crafts and constructing sensory tables for my youngest. Even Martha Stewart would tire of that crap.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Twas the Night Before Last Day of School

Twas the night before last day of school in the house
Not a creature was stirring (except mom’s laptop mouse)
Backpacks were tossed on the floor in a heap
Forgotten already as gleeful children did sleep

The kids were quite happy but anxious was I
As visions of cabin fever crossed my mind’s eye
How had I missed all the camp registrations
Too focused on last Friday’s dinner reservations?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Love Is In the Air

This weekend my daughter's elementary school held its first annual Father/Daughter Dance (insert fat flying Cupid babies in discount Pampers accompanied by a string quartet).

It would go down as the 3rd Valentine's Day celebration my husband would have with our oldest girl and she was absolutely delighted. At 6, Ashton is the bearer of a romantic heart that confounds me to no end. She's much more sensitive and "aware" of boys than I ever was at that age. In fact, when she found out her dad would be willing to cut short his business trip and make it back in time for the soirée, she informed him that she already had a boyfriend (so if he showed up, my husband would've gotten kicked to the curb - insert side eye). Never mind the boyfriend in question is a classmate from her Preschool class that she hasn't seen in a year, for her, the heart wants what it wants.

Pre-K boo thang.
Oddly enough though, this was the first time my son voiced his displeasure at being excluded from the pomp & circumstance of the holiday date. Not one to leave a kid out (never know who'll end up being the breadwinner that determines which old folks home I go into), and since grandma happened to be in town and was free to care for the baby, I decided it was as good a time as any to start a Mommy/Son date night tradition. He was utterly tickled and I was quite happy to share in the festivities with my best boy.

So on Saturday, while Ashton gushed about wearing make up and begged to wear my heels, Roman prepared to deck himself out in his most dapper attire. I allowed my big girl to don her fanciest jewelry (a pair of dangling fairy earrings that jingled when she walked) and a touch of lip gloss. Meanwhile, my boy insisted on getting himself ready - the same way daddy does - on his own. It wasn't until I heard a yell from down the hallway, "Mommy, should I wear underwear?" that I realized perhaps I hadn't explained to him what a Mommy/Son date would (and would not) entail.

Always one to push the fashion envelope.
Nonetheless, he came up with an ensemble that was surprisingly spot-on for a night on the town. Seeing the opportunity for endless pics, I coordinated and threw on a blazer of my own so that we'd match. After he first clarified to me that I wasn't a man (I'll be explaining gender stereotypes to my little cave man in due time *sigh*), he did admit that I looked nice and we set out for a fun filled evening. His only caveat had been that we go somewhere "fancy" and that I drive ("even though the boy drives on a date") because he didn't want to break my car by driving himself.

Highlights were plentiful but included Roman being complimented so profusely that he tired of using his manners and eventually told someone, "I know I'm cute already. It's 'cause I'm on a date!" His referencing me as "me'lady" all evening with what was supposed to be a British accent (possibly due to the Mary Poppins re-watching we've done this week). And also when he told me that I'd had enough of the cake we shared for dessert because he wanted the rest of the whipped cream topping for himself (to be fair, this was not the first time a date tried to regulate my sweets intake - the first time didn't turn out as well for the guy though). 

It was also an interactive outing, we colored, played tic tac toe on his children's menu and I Spy as we watched the other restaurant goers. He finally sat on my lap and rested his head on my bosom as the night drew long (also not the first time I've had that happen on a date) but overall, it was one of the more pleasant evenings I've had with a male. And considering he paid - thrusting the fistful of bills his dad had stuck in his pocket beforehand at the surprised waitress - I think I came out ahead.

We'll definitely be adding Mommy/Son nights into our regular rotation and who knows, maybe next year I'll even follow his direction and wear a proper "lady dress." Happy Valentine's Day, from all of my loves to all of yours!

No babies were harmed in the taking of this picture.
Though she was pissed when she found out she wasn't invited to the after party.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Deep Thoughts At the Gynecologist

It's that time of year again. I got myself all gussied up, dabbed on a bit of lip gloss and remembered to draw my eyebrows in with the pencil that actually matched the color of my hair. I put on a casual white tee, and some fitted jeans - so it wouldn't appear I was trying too hard - but threw on a blazer at the last minute to pull things together a bit more. I even broke out the matching Victoria's Secret set with the lace border. I practiced an "effortless" smile in the mirror and again for a few minutes in the car before setting out.

You see, today I'm off to the gynecologist.

Monday, January 4, 2016

15 Greats of 2015

With 2015 at a close, all of the deep thinkers are getting introspective and profound. That's what watching your life quickly Whip & Nae Nae past does to you. It makes a mofo all sentimental and shit. I've been reading the posts of some really good writers as they reflect & pontificate and cite 12 months of growth and evolution...meanwhile I'm wondering if I can still serve the kids this refrigerated turkey from Christmas.