Let me tell you about the time my eight-year-old thought I’d lost my mind. I’m sure this will happen MANY times over the next few years, but this one is my all-time favorite moment in my parenting history so far.

Let me start with a little bit of backstory. My daughter, whom I will refer to as Boogie, has been on a rollercoaster of a ride in her few short years. She lost her biological father at three and was diagnosed with ADHD at four. That diagnosis threw us for a constant loop with the revolving door of medicines until we found what worked for her. (That didn’t happen until just recently.) I was her teacher last school year and noticed some things that didn’t quite add up with a simple ADHD diagnosis. That bit of speculation led my husband and I to find a behavioral specialist to investigate this further. Long story short, Boogie is now diagnosed ADHD with a co-morbid mood disorder. Now, I know not all parents are for medication, but it’s what my daughter needs to simply function on a daily basis. Not giving it to her would do more harm than good. BUT that’s a story for another day.

Back to the day where it rained baby powder. My husband was on shift, so it was just me and the girls. It had been a tough week for Boogie with lots of sneaking and blaming things on the dog when she would get caught. I asked her to keep an eye on her sister while I took the garbage to the garage and, of course, all was well at this point. Or so i thought…

I walked back into the living room to a one-year-old covered in powder. I mean head-to-toe covered. And she had the bottle in her hand just staring at me. I gave that small giggle that (as a mom) signals my dread of having to clean it all up. As I dust off the baby I begin to question Boogie on how the powder got everywhere. She simply stated that the baby did it. I took that answer with a grain of salt and went to bathe the snow baby. After getting the now powder paste off of her head, I pull up the baby cam that views the living room to see if I could either get a good laugh at the baby shooting powder all over herself, or discover the truth that I knew would be shown. (Cue the “dun DuN DUNNN!”)

On the video I see Boogie open the powder, sprinkle a little on the floor, and then look at the baby. She then walks over to her and sprinkles just a little on her head. Then she sprinkles a little more…and then a little more…and then half of the bottle. Keep in mind that all of this happened in a matter of one to two minutes. I calmly dress the baby and walk to the living room where Boogie is sitting on the couch. I pull up the video for her to see and she still denies the powder incident. Even with clear evidence, still denies it. This is where it gets good.

Without saying a word, I take the bottle of baby powder and walk to her bedroom. She quickly jumps up and asks with full alarm what I am doing. I ask her again why she put powder on the baby and on the floor. Here’s her response: “I was just trying to be helpful!”… Helpful! So, I open the powder and let it rain all over her bedroom without any hint of emotion. All the while she is screaming at me to stop and begging me not to spray it on her bed. (I drew the line there. No beds were painted white with powder.) After I finished, I turned to look at her and said, “I was just trying to be helpful,” and walked out.

I sat on the couch and just knew she was going to have a meltdown. I was prepared for another full-blown screaming fit. Instead, she runs to the laundry room to grab the broom and vacuum cleaner. She quickly cleans her room completely and then moves on to clean the living room. The bottle of baby powder was put back into the nursery and then she joined me on the couch. We sat for a minute just watching the baby play and she said to me, “I don’t like what you did, but I know why you did it. You wanted to teach me a lesson. I’m sorry I put powder on the baby and lied about it.” I thanked her for cleaning the messes and we pinky promised not to powder anything other than the baby’s bottom ever again.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">See? Even when you lose your mind and throw powder everywhere, it can still end up being a mom win. Also, I feel like I need a disclaimer of some sort here. This is not a normal occurrence in our house. Even if it hadn't turned out quite so well, I would've cleaned the messes up myself. Sometimes you just need to let your frustrations out. (Even if it's in the form of a powder dusting.)See? Even when you lose your mind and throw powder everywhere, it can still end up being a mom win. Also, I feel like I need a disclaimer of some sort here. This is not a normal occurrence in our house. Even if it hadn’t turned out quite so well, I would’ve cleaned the messes up myself. Sometimes you just need to let your frustrations out. (Even if it’s in the form of a powder dusting.)

Til next time! 🙂

As a mom, I have my struggles with my children. Power struggles, bedtime struggles, discipline struggles… Yesterday I figured out I am THAT mom. Big things happen, I remain calm. Small things, well that’s another story.

As I’ve mentioned before, my oldest has a pretty tough time with her ADHD. We’ve been back and forth with approaches, medications, and therapy. Nothing can penetrate that rock solid diagnosis.

I tend to argue and lose my cool with her over what I consider after the fact a small thing. Breakfast? Yep. Clothes? Absolutely. Homework? You bet.

Yesterday, however, we had something major (to her) happen. She dropped her tablet screen down onto the concrete. It still works, but the screen does not register touches and is not safe for swiping even if it was.

I am THAT mom who didn’t punish my child. She was distraught enough that I didn’t even need to say anything. I just told her we’d get it fixed and her punishment is being without it for a while.

So yes, I lose it over the small things, but the big things tend to roll off my back. I’m not sure why, it’s just my response to her. Some might think it should be the other way around.

I don’t think it makes me or anyone else a bad parent to tell and scream over things (big or small). It makes you human. Give yourself and your kids some grace. ❤️

Being a mom (to either fur or human babies) is a daunting task that takes a toll on the time you put into yourself. Here are some quick self-care tips that I’ve found helpful to me as a busy mom.

1. Find a good sugar scrub. Mine is a gentle scrub made by Scentsy. There are so many scents to choose from. I choose Luna due to its soft scent. I try to make time to use it weekly while showering to give myself that extra bit of pampering after the kids are in bed. (Scentsy Link: https://nicolewbarnes.scentsy.us/product/search?query=Body+scrub)

2. Learn some hair hacks for quick and easy hair care and styles. I have unruly, multi textured hair that hates the southern humidity. (Hence the ponytail or bun I constantly rock.) I have found a shampoo/conditioner combo that nourishes my hair and makes it easier to manage. It’s a little more costly, but makes quick styles look so much smoother than cheaper drugstore brands.

3. Do your makeup, even if it’s basic. I don’t do the whole contouring thing, but just swiping on tinted moisturizer, blush, and mascara makes all the difference. I feel presentable and more confident when I am put together.

4. Nap! I don’t get to do this often, but I take advantage of it when I can. Sleep doesn’t come easy for me. If I can catch a few extra minutes of rest, I’m grab a blanket and doze while I can.

5. Give yourself some grace. As a mom, I tend to be hard on myself when my kids are having a bad day or if I burn dinner, etc. Nothing you do will be perfect. It doesn’t need to be. By giving yourself some grace, you are teaching your children that it’s okay to make mistakes.

I’m not really sure if these tips count as self-care, but they make me feel better about myself. Just yesterday I took a day off from housework to go to Bee City (Cottageville, SC) with my in-laws and kids. I needed that break. I needed to see my kids enjoying time away from home and just be 100% with them.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, soon to be moms, and pet moms out there. Take time for yourself and love yourself as much as you love your family. You deserve it!

**I am an Independent Scentsy Consultant. Any purchase made from the above link will result in some compensation for me.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. It doesn’t mean my writing has been stagnant, but that sometimes life takes the majority of my time.

A little update on my short story contest…I didn’t place in the top five to move on to round two. I didn’t even hit the honorable mentions list (of only two). Am I sad? Definitely.

But this is where what I tell my daughter and students comes into play. You try to get better. You won’t succeed every time, but you will improve. Don’t stop trying just because it’s hard.

Sticking with my writing has proven to be very difficult for me. It’s easier to say “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’m too tired to write” than it is to actually do it. And half the time I put it off until whenever.

Times like now is when I want to put it down and walk away the most. But I’m not…I have something to prove to myself, and that is I CAN finish my book. I CAN move past this speed bump.

I WILL get it finished and published for all of you to read! My dream? To see my name on the cover of a finished novel. I am my biggest critic. I am my biggest obstacle. I will overcome myself to be successful.

As I continue to pursue and promote myself as a Freelancer and Ghostwriter, I feel the need to go a little deeper with the services I offer. I will go through each one and explain them a little better. If there’s anything I can help you with, please let me know!!

Ghostwriting- This is basically what happens when a person has a story but not the skills or time to go through the writing process. If the work is published, the ghostwriter doesn’t get any credit or mention in the writing. A good comparison would be paying someone to write your college essays. (Which I’ve never done from either side…)

Proofreading / Editing- You write a piece and I go through to make sure it flows and is properly written. Punctuation, grammar, or spelling errors? I’m on it! Kind of like fine-tuning your work.

Articles / Guest Blogs- Tell me your content preference and I will write a piece for you. I am currently working on affirmations and positive thinking for an app developer. I have done parenting and self-care guest posts also. I enjoy these because it gets my name out to a larger following.

On top of these services, I am currently working on my own things. I have a novel in progress and have entered a few short story contests. I was actually a finalist in one for microfiction! I have dabbled in different genres: romance, horror, crime, suspense…I am looking to work on more fiction and eventually move into non-fiction.

Rates for these vary according to project and agreement with the client. I am open to inquiries and questions. I am based in the US, but am not opposed to working with international clients.

To wrap this up, I like dipping my pen into different areas of content. I enjoy reading the work of others and helping them polish it. Words are my therapy. I’d love to help you create your story or proofread your completed work!

Every parent knows the feeling of watching your child hit the milestones for their age group. They also know the tinge of sadness that follows due to their baby growing up. Milestones at any age make for bittersweet moments.

We are currently dealing with an 18-month-old who decided to jump from her crib during a teething pain related rage. Once she fell to the (carpeted) floor, she decided right then and there that the crib was the enemy. How dare it make her fall when she was in pain already?? It wasn’t her fault that she fell.

But it was…Monkey Toes McGhee over here decided to try again at 2:00 one morning. She didn’t fall this time, but got stuck trying to get her leg over the rail. Mommy to the rescue! Disclaimer of sorts: Kid #1 NEVER jumped from her crib…ever… This is where the phrase about siblings being different comes into its truth.

Fast forward to the past two nights…we have her in her toddler bed (with a rail, Karen). We have to sit on the floor by her with one hand in her stomach. This keeps her in place. Once her eyes get heavy, you can slide back to prop up on the recliner. Tonight I was even able to sit in it while she dozed off!! And once the first sounds of snores escape, then I attempt mine.

Let’s just say, my ninja skills are no longer sharp due to the pop rocks in coke sound my joints make. Once I finally made it to the door (after going back to sit by her twice), I worked up my Kim Possible stunt of tip-toeing over the laser beam that is a baby gate.

Success!!!

Now to move on to Pinterest and search for some Super Nanny tips and tricks. Watching my baby grow is bittersweet, but as I was told a few months ago, “Don’t be sad to watch them grow. It’s so much better than the alternative”. My babies will always be my babies, no matter their age or size. I will sit by their beds any time they need me to.

So, today it happened…I received my first rejection on my novel. Granted, I submitted with a partial manuscript and it was my first query on it. Was I upset? Yes. Did my husband hug my while I cried? Also yes. Am I giving in and giving up? No! You see, he helped me realize that rejection isn’t always a bad thing.

Let me begin with a (funny / not so funny) story. The one he used to cheer me up some. Before we became “us”, we were both at very different spots in our lives. I approached him through messenger, we chatted some, and ultimately saw that we both wanted different things. I was…in a sense… rejected. But I didn’t let it get me down. A year later a mutual friend told me my husband was looking for something serious, so I bit the bullet and messaged him again. “How was your fourth?” is the infamous quote of our beginning. A few months later we were engaged, and a year after our first date we got married with our baby on the way. He likes to remind me that if we would have tried that first go around that it would’ve ended way differently than where we are now. Rejection isn’t always a bad thing.

Back to my manuscript rejection…it sucks. It really does. But what writer got a YES the first query they sent? Not one of my favorites (Stephen King). He had a nail, and then a stake, in his wall to hold his rejections. Is there a nail going in the wall next to my desk? You bet! Maybe it’ll become a stake, maybe not. Either way, they will become my push to keep working towards my goal.

Side note: The rejection wasn’t based on the quality of my writing or my story as a whole. It was a “I am not the right fit for this project” from the agency I submitted to.

Here’s my plan from this point on:

1. Keep working on completing my manuscript.

2. Research traditional publishers and continue to look at self-publishing.

3. Enjoy the process even after a rejection.

4. Keep hanging those rejections on the nail!

And 5. Feel the rejections, but celebrate even the smallest wins. You have to allow yourself to feel the disappointment in order to move past it and succeed.

Just a small update from the last week or so…

I haven’t done much writing on my novel in a few days, but have been writing for other projects. I have entered the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge! I’ve only just finished my first round story, but I loved every minute of it.

I was challenged with a genre that I have never written in before: Horror. I was also given a character and a setting, so all I had to do was write based on those three things. I bounced ideas off my husband and he did the same. I settled on one of his and got to work!

I didn’t think it would be too challenging, but I was wrong. It made me think outside of my box. It made me write content that I never thought I would. It made me venture into territory that I’m not comfortable writing. I am so happy with how that story turned out. A little less than a week and 2,500 words later, I submitted it.

Now, judging won’t be for a while, but I’m still on the edge of my seat just waiting on the feedback. That’s the part I’m excited about the most. I would LOVE to win this competition, but with over 6,000 other writers entered, I’ll be completely satisfied with making it to round two.

If this was a few months ago, I never would have signed up. I was not comfortable with people knowing what I was working on. I didn’t want people to judge me for my “crazy dream” of being an author. But here I am, putting myself out there and loving the feeling of people knowing that I’m pursuing my dream.

My girls are watching me. I don’t want them to see me fail by just giving up. I have put out into our beautiful universe that I’m writing again. Making others aware has made me more accountable for my work. It’s invigorating!

In what ways have you stepped out of your comfort zone? What goals are you achieving?

This post hits hard on a few levels. We have had a tragedy in our family that has rocked us all to the core. In my little household, it has hit our oldest the hardest. That is where the hardest part of grief comes in.

This past Wednesday my husband responded with his volunteer department to a call that he knew was a family member. He’s worked family calls before, but not like this. It was a call for his cousin’s six year old son. I will not go into details as this isn’t the time or the place. And it’s not my place to do so out of respect for the child’s immediate family. Long story short, the sweet boy passed away.

I have heard panic in my husband’s voice before and I’ve heard him on edge from adrenaline. His voice on that phone call to me was somewhere in between. It’s a sound I don’t think I will ever forget. I will probably even listen for it when he responds to any call from now on. He says he’s fine, but I still worry. Like he’s always been told, it hits different when it’s family.

I was at work when I got this call and left my class in a tizzy and in the hands of another teacher. It was dismissal time, so no instruction was lost. They may only be in second grade, but they know when something’s not right. At this point they knew more than my daughter did.

As I hid in another classroom crying, I managed to call my dad and get him to loop back around to pick her up until I could gather myself and our things. (I should also mention that my mother-in-law had our baby while my husband went to the call.)

I finally managed to keep my composure long enough to sort things out with administration and drive to my parents’ house. My daughter could tell something was off. I mean, Pepaw never picks her up and she not know the reason in advance. It was twenty questions from their house to ours where I met my husband and our other daughter.

Now came the hard part. We had to tell our 8 year old that her partner in crime on that side of our family was gone. I couldn’t do it. It brought back too many memories of me telling her about her father. My husband held her and comforted her as he explained what she would understand.

At first she clammed up and sort of pretended like nothing had happened. She had therapy the next day, so I explained it to the doctor. Still no talking about it. This brings us back to weekly sessions and close monitoring until we feel she is okay. Last night it finally set in. She cried and questioned, got angry that it happened, and even told me not to talk about him.

We were back in school today for some normalcy until arrangements are made. She had a rough start, but managed to make it through with a good report. My husband talked with his full-time chief and still feels okay. This post helped me as writing is my therapy and my family is my biggest concern.

Let me end this by saying I apologize if I step on any toes or make anyone mad. The title is based on my experiences with grief. I am fortunate enough that I’ve only experienced two traumatic losses in my 35 years. The hardest part for me IS watching the ones I love hurt and suffer. I wish I could take their pain and help them cope. But I can’t. With that being said, hug your loved ones a little longer, young and old. You never know when God will need them back.

That term is used in a lot of different ways. Hot Mess Moms range from a strategic messy bun and leggings to bed head and gym shorts. I fell somewhere in the middle of those two this morning.

I start my weekday between 5:40-5:50 am Monday through Friday (and sometimes Saturday depending on my husband’s work schedule or the kids). It started out like any other Thursday morning: slide out of bed, fix my cup of coffee, give Kid #1 her meds, wake the hubby, and so on…By about 6:15 the “poop” hit the roof.

Kid #1 was up and slowly getting motivated to get dressed (10 minutes later than I’d like). The cat was in her room and sniffing around her Barbie house. This was a big no-no this morning. Kid #1 picked up the cat and went to put her out into the hallway. The bad part: our dog was outside the bedroom door making her morning rounds.

Cue screams of near fatal injury!! No, but seriously, the kid ended up with a nasty scratch across her knee from the cat and a few on her left hand. (Writing hand was safe!) I coax her into the bathroom to clean it up and somehow made it worse.

Note to self: cold rags on cuts aren’t good for her. Panic from pain and blood set in and more screams took place. By this time it’s 6:40, my hubby left for work, neither of us are ready to go, and my mother-in-law just pulled up to watch Kid #2.

My options at this point were to give in and just bandage it up or ring in Round 3 of the lightweight championship. I waved the white flag and proved that “out of sight, out of mind” is more than just for toys and stuff. Covered scratch means pain is gone. Now to find a proper school uniform that doesn’t bunch the bandage and fix lunchboxes all while changing the baby, walking the dog, and keeping it together.

That last part I managed pretty easily…until I realized my work stuff was still scattered on the table and no one has had breakfast yet. Defeat! I threw muffins in a lunch bag with sandwiches and jello and grabbed my coffee to go. Five minutes late, but still making it. Did I mention that I forgot to let the dog out? Thank God for my in-laws!

I’m driving the speed limit(ish) to school/work and get behind every driver that wants to drive five under the posted speed. I don’t get a chance to pass, so this adds another five minutes to what I was already running behind. By this time I’ve scrubbed most of my makeup off in frustration and my hair is pulled back before my day at work even begins.

Needless to say, I was late to work and hungry with cold coffee and not at all put together. The plus side to all of this: I teach and my coworkers get it, I wear a mask and cover the flustered cheeks, my hair is already out of my face, and my students were strangely calm this morning.

I 100% qualified for that Hot Mess Mom title today. Was it the worst it could have been? No. Do I want to try to handle worse? Also no. Am I grateful for every minute I was gifted today, even the tough ones? Absolutely!!

What about you? Tell me your Hot Mess Mom (or Dad) stories. Make me feel better about my struggle. 😆

This past winter break I vowed to not touch any work stuff for the duration of the two weeks. And you know what? I succeeded! (Shocking, I know!) The first week consisted of Christmas gatherings and family. The second was visiting elderly family in Virginia and having a small town getaway as a family.

I would love to introduce you to Hillsville, Virginia. About two hours above Charlotte, North Carolina and an hour from Roanoke is the small town of Hillsville. If you’re looking for big city shopping and dining, you’ll have to travel a little farther. But if you want a great day trip with that cozy, mountain town feel, spend some time in Hillsville.

We went a few years ago when the weather was warmer. We rode the winding roads, stopped by some creek accesses, and just enjoyed the views. But nothing beats visiting when there’s a blanket of snow.

We stayed with family, so the cost was very minimal for us. They have a sled in their garage that hadn’t been used in about twenty years, but my daughters and I put an end to that. At 35 years old I was able to sled for the first time! I enjoyed this first with both of my girls while my husband gave us the push start. I then let him go down the hill to watch the girls faces while going downhill. That was a sight and sound we will never forget! (We have two snow babies who just happen to live near the ocean.)

After an eventful day of sledding and snowball fights, we put the toddler down for a nap. Our family members were gracious enough to let us take the oldest out for a ride to see the snowy view. We went the same places as our first visit, but it looked totally different with the glistening white layer of snow. Even the creek accesses were breathtaking.

Now, I’m the mom that likes to explore whenever possible, so I found a walking trail nearby for us to visit the next day. It’s about three miles of a gravel path with bridges over different passes of a mountain creek. Beautiful…breathtaking…just, wow.

Beaver Dam Walking Trail is an easy entry to pass by if you’re not looking for it. There is parking, but it’s on one side of the road down a slope. There’s also a small sign pointing to the location. We parked and carefully walked up icy steps to the roadside where we had to cross and walk down more icy steps. Not an easy feat with an excited eight year old and a toddler on Dad’s shoulders. The path started out grassy and bordered by trees on one side and a pasture on the other. First wildlife sighting: a horse grazing in the brush of the pasture.

The further we walked the whiter the path became. The tree cover kept the sun from melting the snow too quickly. The creek ran down the left side of us lined by beautiful river rocks. The first bridge we came to was painted red, but covered in white. We had MANY photo opportunities on the trail. With all four of us enjoying it, I took close to a hundred…I’m sure my husband hated me by the twentieth one.

We walked about halfway down the trail, stopping to enjoy every bridge. We crossed five total by the halfway mark. There were also benches and a covered shelter to sit on and just enjoy the wilderness. If we wouldn’t have had the kids we would’ve walked the whole trail, but after about a while our oldest just “couldn’t go any further”.

I’m sure Beaver Dam Walking Trail is very pretty in the warmer months, but I’m grateful that the snow stuck around for us to enjoy it icy and white. We didn’t see any more wildlife but did see tracks of a few different animals. We are planning to visit again in the summer if everything works out to enjoy the things Hillsville has to offer then also.

Hillsville is nestled not far from North Carolina and some larger areas of Virginia. We were close enough to go and do if we wanted, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle to enjoy the quiet of the mountains. If you ever get a chance, stop by and spend the day there! You won’t regret it.

Beaver Dam Creek Walking Trail