Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

The Hardest Goodbyes

LifeUnEdited Week #6

I promised I would give you life UnEdited each week, so here it is me getting real with you with my adventures of Parenting and Marriage! If you are just joining us, click here to find out just why we are giving you Life UnEdited!

The Hardest Goodbyes

I feel a physical pang in my stomach that is indescribable. It happens 4 times a year; when I watch two of my greatest joys walk down the long runway to get on the plane to go see their dad. I feel the tears stream silently down my face. I hear the sobs of Talie wanting to chase after her older brothers. I hug her and tell her that they will be back soon, but she doesn’t understand, she is only two. I push TJ in the stroller as I carry a sobbing little girl who just wants her brothers. We miss them already. We walk to the car hugging each other, we get in and start the silent drive home without a piece of us.


The boys’ dad and I have figured out how to co-parent pretty well, always putting the boys’ needs and desires before our own, but it still does not make the sadness go away when they are gone.

You tend to start to miss the endless amounts of laundry they make, their shoes throughout the house. The little scuffles over who’s turn it is to play video games. The jokes they tell, the music they play and sing, and the requests to play outside with them. At dinner, you miss them “accidentally burping” and blaming other bodily functions on each other. I know what you are thinking, how do you miss all of that? but somehow you still do because it is a piece of them.

You find yourself wondering throughout the day what they are doing and wishing you could talk them all the time. You find yourself listening intently for your phone to ring in hopes it is them just to say, “hi!” You find yourself counting down the hours until you get to see each other again. You find yourself thinking the house is way too quiet without them in it.


The hardest goodbyes are watching my kids go away, but these hard goodbyes make all the moments with them even sweeter. It makes you cherish all the moments that everyone else takes for granted. It makes you grateful for the time you do have. It makes you love a little more while they are with you. The reason why I feel the pain when they leave is because I love them so much, and every time I feel that pain makes me realize I love them even more than I did the last time they left.





Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

Sometimes I Don’t Have it in Me

LifeUnEdited Week #4

I promised I would give you life UnEdited each week, so here it is me getting real with you with my adventures of Parenting and Marriage! If you are just joining us, click here to find out just why we are giving you Life UnEdited!

Sometimes I Don’t Have it in Me

Some days I just don’t have it in me to be a mom and a blogger, and to be all honest being a mom comes first. There are those days that I am able to sit and write and promote on social media for hours while the kids play around me and they take long naps so I can focus on my blogs, blogging-lifebut then there are days that at first sign of the computer opening they start the whining and the clinging to my side.


I know to be what they call, a “successful blogger” you need to dedicate ALL YOUR TIME to blogging all day long, but I can’t, I can’t because I care about my kids too much! Do I wish I could pull all-nighters every night to get it all done? Of course, but that’s not reality.

Between kids, church callings, board positions, being a good wife, and a blogger, something always has to give, and it usually is my blog.

My sad lonely blogging chair, when life needs me…

So you know those days when you think to yourself, “I’m going to go read my favorite blog, Confessions of Parenting (wink, wink)” and you don’t see a new post, just know that life is happening and occupying a little more of my time than normal, but don’t worry I will always be back…

So on those days that I don’t have it me to answer your comments or respond to your questions, know that I read each and every one of them! Know that I love hearing from you. Know that you are all the reason that I keep writing. Know that I write my blog for all of you! Know that I share the inner workings of our crazy family life to hopefully make a difference in yours. So, Thank You for always being there for me, even on those days that I don’t have it in me because I am busy being a mom to my kids who really need me that day!









Kids, parenting, remarriage, Step Families, Stepmoms

How To Bond With Your Stepkids

I remember meeting my stepdaughter for the first time. I actually met her before I met my husband. She was 4 at the time and took quite a liking to me… She talked to me about everything: her dad’s boat, how she would draw in the garage on her easel, and even about Princess Dolphin, her rabbit. We established a bond early on without even knowing that I would one day marry her dad!

Soon after meeting Ty’s daughter I met Ty and we decided that we might want to date each other to see where it could go. We casually dated for a couple of months with no intention of involving the kids in our relationship, I mean what if it didn’t work out? That would have been so hard on them!

After awhile Ty and I decided that we really liked each other and wanted to see where this would go, so we decided it was time to have each other meet the kids and see how it went. I remember the first time Ty met Colby, Colby decided to stare him down with the “evil death stare” as we call it in our house… It didn’t go well. The second time they met was after they were all hyped up on Mountain Dew after the San Francisco Giants had just won a playoff game to make it to the World Series. Again, it did not go well! These encounters were not successful. We decided that it was time to really make some special attempts to see if the boys could bond with Ty because let’s be honest, if the kids didn’t like him or got along with him, then a marriage would never work out. The same went for my relationship with Ty’s daughter because if we could not bond then there would always be contention, lucky for me Ty’s daughter and I had already bonded a little bit before.

Bonding with stepchildren is not an easy process, in fact establishing a bond with stepkids is probably one of the most difficult things you will do in your marriage. If you don’t establish a bond you can almost guarantee that your home with always be filled with some sort of contention.

So how do you bond with your Stepchildren?

These 10 Tips will Help you Bond with your Stepkids!

Move slowly. Take your time. Don’t force a relationship immediately. Let your step-child set the pace. You know how all this is new for you? Well, we have to remember that it is all new to them as well. We didn’t fall in love with our spouse overnight, so we can’t expect for our stepkids to fall in love with us overnight.

Discover what your step-child is interested in. Make the effort to find out what some of their favorite things are. Perhaps a sports team, a favorite movie, or food. Do you like these same things? If so, that can help start a relationship. If not, then use their favorite thing to talk to them. “So how did the Giants do last night?” “I love doughnuts too, what’s your favorite kind? Maybe on Saturday, we can go to the doughnut shop together.” “I haven’t seen that movie, what’s it about.” There may be ways to connect with them through these interests.

Treat Them Like Your Family. I know this might sound odd, but it is true. If you stepkids only come every other weekend or for school breaks, it is easy to treat them like a guest in the home, but this doesn’t help establish a relationship. Make sure they feel just as a part of the family as every other family member.

Include Them. If you see your stepchild sitting by themselves, invite them to join in what you are doing. Kids can tell when they are being left out, so make an effort to include them in all things, including chores and household responsibilities.

Be Real. Kids know when you are being fake. They know when you like something or don’t like something. Don’t pretend to be something you are not just to try and establish a relationship. Wait to find something that you BOTH like and bond over that! I promise you will find something

Put in the Time. Bonding with your stepkids doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. It takes energy. It takes effort. The question is Are you willing to put in the time? Once you establish a relationship it doesn’t end there, just like your marriage you need to continue to nurture the relationship for it to continue to grow.

Don’t play favorites. It is easy to favor your new stepchild to make them like you, but this just only causes contention with everybody else. Don’t do it, it hurts everybody in the long run because you don’t want to have your stepchild establish you as the “pushover step-parent”

Give them Time with their Real Parent. You might be wondering how this could help establish a bond with the two of you, but it does! It lets your stepchild know that you care about their relationship with their parent and in turn strengthens yours. So make sure that they have special time together it could be going out for ice cream, reading a book together, or even shooting baskets together.  

Ask Your Spouse for Advice. If you are struggling with bonding with your stepchild, ask your spouse if they have any ideas of ways that you can try and bond with their child. I mean they do know their child best, so it’s the perfect person to seek guidance from!

Learn from others. Bonding with your stepchildren is HARD, hands down. It can be frustrating. Find others who have gone through the blending process so you can talk to them about what works. This will be your greatest blessing in blending a family.

So there you have it!  With these 10 Simple, but effective strategies you will be bonding with your stepchild in no time!

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Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

I Turned Around for Two Seconds

LifeUnEdited Week #3

I promised I would give you life UnEdited each week, so here it is me getting real with you with my adventures of Parenting and Marriage! If you are just joining us, click here to find out just why we are giving you Life UnEdited!


I Turned Around for Two Seconds

You know the saying, “I turned around for two seconds.” Well, it happened to me the other night… I turned around for two seconds and you aren’t going to believe what happened?!

It all started when I was in the kitchen making dinner for my people. My kids were starving (apparently), but I kept reminding them and insisting that dinner would be on the table in just 1 minute.

My older kids were “watching their younger brother” while watching a show on Netflix, which translates to me asking, “Where is Mason?!” pretty consistently now that he is super mobile. After asking a handful of times   I didn’t get an answer, so I rush into the living room and then I saw it, something green around his mouth and on his fingers, so I go in for a closer look… “What the heck is this?”


Yep, you read that right. Play-doh…

Are you flipping kidding me?! How on Earth did he find play-doh?


It seems as though it took way too long for me to make dinner according to the nine-month-old, I guess he knew that it was another night of Hamburger Helper, Go Me!

Please tell me I’m not the only mom on this planet that has let their kid take a bite of this stuff in lieu of their awesome cooking skills!

~Written by Shiree. Shiree is an intern that is currently finishing up her degree in marriage and family studies. We are so glad to have her working with us this semester.






baby, Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

3 Surprisingly Simple Steps to Connect with your Child

How-to-Connect-with-your-kidsWe all have a desire to be close to each one of our children. This connection is important for their growth and happiness. Kids that are more connected with their parents are more likely to want to do good and make their parents happy.

We all want to be close to our children, but let’s be honest many times life gets in the way, our schedules are all busy, and it is hard to get that connection time that we both need. And then on top of that, we spend much of the time shaping and correcting them so they turn out to be AMAZING RESPONSIBLE ADULTS, which at times comes across as nagging, yelling or criticizing them for what they are or aren’t doing. Did you know research suggests for every negative interaction (yelling, criticizing, nagging) we need to have 5 Positive interactions to make up for it?

You might be thinking to yourself about now, how on Earth can I do it all so that my child feels loved and I can connect with them every day and make up for all the negative interactions? I will let you in on a little secret I learned….

Ready for it?

The more time you spend connecting with your kids each day, the stronger your bond will become, and in time you will start to see less and less negative interactions!

Don’t believe me?

With these Surprisingly Simple Steps, you will Start Connecting with your child on a whole new level and your connection will GROW!


Kids need tangible, physical contact with a parent every day. In fact, they need at least 8 touches a day. When your kids are small and cuddly it seems like an easier task, but as they get older this can become more difficult. Think outside the box, perhaps a small hug, high fives, pats on the back, secret handshakes, a touch on the arm, or moving hair out of their eyes.


When we classify talk, it’s not just any “small talk”. You need to engage your child in at least one worthwhile conversation every day. This talk needs to have eye to eye interaction! This is essential for all KIDS! So stop what you are doing, slow down, and look them in the eyes as you communicate.


You want to spend 9 Meaningful Minutes A Day!

The first 3 minutes of the day, right after they wake up.

The 3 minutes after they walk in the door after school.

The last 3 minutes of the day, right before bed.

These 9 minutes of the day can have a powerful and significant influence on your child. But they can also be the most challenging minutes of the day. Start by shutting down electronics, getting off of the phone, and actively engaging your child for 3 minutes. Set the tone for your child by being positive, encouraging, and patient.

There it is. Nothing too crazy. Simply intentional and meaningful parenting.

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Kids, parenting, Uncategorized

12 Chores Your Kids Need to Be Doing

Do you feel like you are the only one that ever cleans and picks up around your house?

I know I DO!

I have days where I feel like from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed I am running around the house like a crazy person doing laundry, making beds, scrubbing toilets, sweeping the floors, along with about 100 other tasks.

I have always struggled with finding the balance between my kids helping around the house and my kids having fun.  Between going to school all day, homework, and extracurricular activities I have always felt like their was very little time for kids to be kids so I have done 99.9% of the housework, until one day when I DISCOVERED there are many things kids can do that just take a FEW MINUTES HERE AND A FEW MINUTES THERE to really help out around the house!

Are you like me and do too much for your kids?

Do you want to teach your kids responsibilities on the limited amount of time that you have?

It is so important to teach our kids to be responsible now so they can be responsible as adults! We TEACH THEM RESPONSIBILITY by giving them chores (or in our house, we call them jobs) to do to help the household run effectively!  

Here are 12 Jobs that take less than 15 minutes that your kids need to be doing to help around the house!


12 Jobs Your Kids Need to Be Doing

Pick Up After Themselves: Nothing drives me more bonkers than finding stuff everywhere that it doesn’t belong! Chase is the worst! I think Chase thinks that by the front door is an extension of his bedroom and the playroom is just one giant laundry basket for his dirty socks!

No matter how old your kids are they can pick up after themselves. If they use it, they need to put it away!

Making their Beds: Each member of the house should make their own bed. I remember the first time the boys made their beds… the sheets were not pulled up, the comforter was on sideways, and the blanket they sleep with was a big rolled up ball thrown in the middle of the bed!

I so badly wanted to go and FIX IT, but I didn’t because #1 rule of kids doing chores is don’t go behind them and fix it or they will never learn.

What I did do was I would take them in there and give them some helpful tips… it’s easier if you find a corner of the sheet and pull it up… Lay the blanket on the ground and put the corners together… These tips after a while helped because now they head into their rooms and make their bed and it looks pretty good all on their own!

Toddlers can even make their bed… Teach them young! Talie and I will go to her room and I will tell her step by step what I am doing; she tries to help where she can. Then she puts the pillows on the bed and all her animals.

Laundry: I do all the laundry in the house. The older kids have been taught how to if they need to in an emergency or if they want something washed not on laundry day. Yep! You heard that we have laundry days: Mondays and Thursdays. The Kids are responsible for getting all their laundry down to the laundry room before school; if it doesn’t make it there, it doesn’t get washed! After it is washed I will fold it and then they are responsible for taking it and putting it away. If the kids are home and I need the laundry moved from the washer to the dryer they will do that as well.

Trash: The kids take turns emptying the kitchen trash as needed. Trash day is Friday so on Thursday Chase is responsible for collecting all the trash around the house and taking it outside and then Colby takes the cans to the corner. After the trash has come, he brings the cans back up to the house.  

Set the Table: The kids take turns setting the table by week. They are responsible for placemats, plates, silverware, napkins, and filling glasses with water. Talie will help whoever is setting the table.

Clear the Table: Each member of the family clears their own plate, scrapes the food into the trash, scrubs it with the scrubber and puts it in the dishwasher. You are probably thinking certainly a toddler doesn’t do this, but they can and should! You can assist them in carrying it over to the trash and help them scrape it clean. Then help them scrub it with the scrubber. Trust me! Your toddler will love this part! Then you can show them how it goes in the dishwasher.

Emptying Dishwasher: The kids take turns emptying the dishwasher as well. They are responsible for putting everything away. If they can’t reach where something goes they get a stool or ask for help. Even little kids can help sort silverware or put plastic cups away.

Clean Room: They are responsible for tidying up their room. They need to make sure drawers are pushed in, laundry is in the basket, and their dresser is clean. I also have them vacuum their floor.

Clean Bathroom: All the older kids are in charge of a bathroom in the house. They scrub the sink, the toilet, and the bathtub. They clean the mirror and the floor. I remember the first time they “cleaned the bathroom”! I walked in and you could still see the pee stains on the boys’ toilet… I REALLY WANTED TO CLEAN IT MYSELF at that point, but I resisted. I pointed out everything that needed some more love, and they were so annoyed with me because we went back and forth for over an hour with things that needed to be cleaned again, but now they have gotten it and can clean a bathroom in about 15ish minutes that looks pretty good and smells fresh!

Meal Planning: I know you are probably trying to figure out how meal planning is a chore, but in our house it is! Every Sunday we sit down as a family and figure out what we are going to eat. Everyone has a say and we decide on our meals as a family. If you say, “I don’t care.” That means you aren’t allowed to complain that week with what we have! Meal planning teaches kids to plan and to budget. If they say we want steak then they know we have to eat spaghetti a different night so that we stay within our grocery budget.

Yard Work: Kids need to help take care of the yard, not just play in it! There are weeds that need to be pulled, sidewalks that need sweeping, gardens that need to be watered, lawns that need mowing, etc. The kids need to learn these jobs so when they live on their own one day they know how to do things!

Cleaning up after Pets: If you have pets, the kids should be feeding them, walking them, and cleaning up after them! This teaches them to care for and be responsible for something other than themselves.

There you have it! 12 Jobs that Kids Need to be Doing that all Take 15 minutes or less!

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Kids, parenting, Parenting is hard

My Bed is a Dumping Ground for Bodies

LifeUnEdited Week #2~I promised I would give you life UnEdited each week, so here it is me getting real with you with my adventures of Parenting and Marriage! If you are just joining us, click here to find out just why we are giving you Life UnEdited!


This week my bed has been a dumping ground for bodies at night. Tony HATES to sleep in his crib… He loves to just snuggle in with me all night long and eat whenever he pleases, lucky me, right? My sleep is always so restful! But lately, we have had an adorable 2-year-old coming down once again to visit in the middle of the night! She then wants a drink, wants to talk to me, and even thinks we should watch TV! Does anyone else have this problem???? I know I’ve blogged about how to keep her in bed here, but there are still those nights that she comes for a visit and here’s the thing I deep down don’t care because these moments will all pass too quickly and I’m going to miss this!