To the WAHM

February 10, 2016
All of the coffees.

“Mom, I’m having a hard time with this question.”

“I’m going to the bathroom, you’ll have to wait.”

“But mooooom, I need help.”

“And I need to poop. We all have needs. Mine is a bit more urgent.”


“Mom,” the voice is now IN the bathroom, “I really need your help.”


Frustrated sounds as he reluctantly heads back to his desk, which sits right beside mine.

I attempt to guide him to answer the question posed himself, using his own knowledge, and turn back to my own laptop.




Tiny hands pull my chair and spin it away from the computer as I type.

“Hey, I was typing, you little nerd.”


I pick him up and place him on my lap, keying in formulas and counting the minutes to the babysitter’s arrival. Not that she would be able to take him off my hands at this very moment, as he slides into position to nurse.

I set him down after a while, answer some emails, and rub my eyes as I stare at the empty coffee cup. The kitchen is directly behind my desk, so I take the quick stroll to my “break room” to grab a cup.


Tiny person is sitting in front of the kitchen cabinet, taking everything out. He likes this sorting game, and while he nearly always puts everything back, in a surprisingly neat fashion, it’s probably best he wasn’t doing it with cleaners.

I distract him with excited cries of, “Look at the squirrel” and watch him abandon his post in the kitchen and head for the sliding glass door to watch the backyard wildlife.

Nerd Numero Uno

Nerd Numero Uno

“Mom, do you know the answer to this one?”

I shake my head, sitting back behind my desk. “I didn’t read the story, so I don’t. You’ll have to re-read the passage if you can’t remember.”

He sighs, and I hear the familiar ding of a right answer as he clicks.

He usually knows the answer. It’s only too hard when it takes him more than five seconds to figure it out.

The little one is playing quietly in the dog bed.

The quiet is troublesome,  and I see he’s spraying himself with the puppy’s Flea and Tick repellent. It’s made of natural oils, but I’m pretty sure those aren’t good for the eyes, so before that can happen, I walk over to retrieve the bottle.

I head back to the kitchen to get a snack, something to distract him from the apparently horrid loss of the spray I took away.

Back at the laptop, I resume work.

The pungent aroma of essential oils wafts by as the little guy runs by with his toy plane.

My coffee cup is still empty.

Lunch time sneaks up quickly. I slap something together for the bigger kid – leftovers if last night’s dinner wasn’t a struggle, a sandwich if there is homemade bread available, or a quick run to the store if neither is an option.

My hair is in a messy mass atop my head, my shirt stained with mushed banana and the smell of Pirate’s Booty. Thank goodness there is bread in the house and I don’t have to venture out.

Successful snuggles.

Successful snuggles.

The tiny one cries and I look at the clock.


His cries fade to uncontrollable giggles as he runs for the bedroom and climbs on the bed, waiting for me to join him. I crawl next to him, snuggles and nursing ending in nap time if all goes well.

I send the older one to the backyard to do his Superman swings on the hammock, an activity that manages to burn energy and soothe him at the same time.

I contemplate installing a swing inside the house so weather never interferes with the blessing that is Superman swings. I remind myself to research this.

The quiet clink of dishes in the kitchen being unloaded and loaded in the dishwasher soothes me, and I find myself feeling very grateful for babysitters who enjoy cleaning.

They even fold laundry. And put it away.

I haven’t asked if they do windows just yet.

IMG_8484 (2)The afternoon is winding down. I head back to the kitchen and chop veggies, season meats, and make sure everything is prepped so dinner can be assembled at whatever ETA the hubby provides in our usual text routine at this time of day.

Instant messages pop up, as it always seems that the home office has questions as I’m wrapping things up and starting the household duties of the evening.

The babysitter leaves.

I juggle IMs, pots and pans, and tired kids.

Dinner is served, and I sit, realizing my ravenous hunger comes from a lunch of leftover banana, and a bowl of chips and salsa.

Accurate label is accurate.

Accurate label is accurate.

I check the laptop after eating, editing spreadsheets so the next morning is a bit calmer.

Or so I hope.

My coffee cup still sits on my desk.

Still empty.

In bed, the kids fall asleep only an hour after bedtime began, relatively faster than most nights.

I get a text.

Some of us meeting up at 11 tomorrow. Coming?

Happy to be remembered, I reluctantly reply.

I’m sorry, but I’m working.

The silent phone vibrates in my hand, and I let out a sigh as I read the response.

But you work from home, right?



The Pantless Guide to NaNoWriMo – #TBT

October 22, 2015

Pulling a relevant post from the archives because I have lost my mind and decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.

(which isn’t ALTOGETHER crazy, since NaNo is how The Ruth Valley Missing came to be, so you never know…)

See you on the other side….



NaNoWriMo begins very soon. For those of you who don’t know, NaNo (yeah, that’s right, I’m using a nickname ‘cause we are tight like that) is a time when writers spend the month of November cranking out 50,000 words in one month.

This number of words can mean writing an entire (or a solid chunk of a) novel in the span of one month. It also means that the writers who participate are committing themselves to sitting down and regularly doing what they should do: write.

There are a lot of great resources bouncing around the interwebs at the moment on how to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Plotting methods, character charts, graphs, diagrams; the list goes on. It’s good stuff.

However, I am what is often referred to as a pantser. I’d go as far as saying that I am pantsless. I don’t have a pretty story board with color coordinated sticky notes (although that sounds like a lovely reason to spend some time at the office supply store…ahhh, the smell of fresh notebooks). I don’t always know where my story is going until I am there. For me, that is part of the fun.

Talk of planning makes me twitch. And maybe itch.

So, what is a pantsless writer like myself to do? I mean, if I am meant to crank out such a substantial amount of words in a short period, I should have some plan, right?

What follows is the Pantsless Plan for WriMos:

  • Make a Schedule: No, not for writing, sillies. For all the stuff you need to get done. (see Creative Chores) It is easier to let the words flow if you don’t have a stack of dirty dishes threatening to topple behind you.
  • Gather Sustenance: Your minutes are precious in November. Consider hitting up Coscto for the rain barrel of pretzels, ten pound bag of coffee, and three pound bag of chocolate covered acai berries. I’m watching out for your health by throwing the berries in there.
  • Freeze Meals: Have a family? Large pans of lasagna and pots of stew can be made at the end of October, then frozen in the appropriate serving size.
  • Creative Chores: Writing a book about pirates at sea? Envision the storm-like waves you are creating while scrubbing the toilet. Throw a Cheerio in there and picture the ship being tossed about. Make screaming sounds as you flush and the ship goes down in the whirlpool. Swordfight with the broom handle. Sneak around corners with the vacuum as if your life depended on your stealth.
  • Change Voice Mail Message: Something like, “If this is an emergency, call over and over. Otherwise, I’ll talk to you in December.” If you use an email client that allows you to put an “Out of Office” message on, give that a go, too.
  • Scout Locations: For the sake of your sanity, find spots other than that office chair that already has your butt groove in it where you can write comfortably. Preferably a few places out of the house, but close to home. The backyard, park, bookstore, or coffee shops are all acceptable choices.
  • Pre-Apologies: If you live with anyone, start apologizing now for the following: snapping at them when they interrupt you mid-scene, neglecting your chores (see Make a Schedule to avoid this), and the smell of coffee breath and body odor coming from your writing corner. Come to think of it…
  • Hygiene: Just saying. Although, ‘tis better your body stinks than your words. Shakespeare said that one, right?
  • Print Out Cute Stuff: Everyone needs motivation. This will likely not come from real people around you, who think you are nuts, so try finding adorable animals to hang around your writing nook to encourage you instead.

The only editing you should do in November.











We can’t all be planners. But we can be prepared.

What are your plans for NaNoWriMo? Do they include pants?


What Can You Fix in 21 Days?

October 6, 2015

If you spend any time on social media, you are going to run into all sorts of products I like to call “mom products”.

They don’t necessarily have anything to do with being a mom specifically, but it seems the demographic for buying AND selling the products is right in that motherhood sweet spot.

While I’ve never sold aforementioned products, I also don’t get too cranky about those who sell them. Moms gotta make a living like everyone else, and since these products usually allow a person to work from home, you can see the appeal.

(sidenote: don’t take this as license to invite me to every “i-sell-stuff-party” ever)

One product making the rounds in my Facebook feed over the lat year or so has been the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology – all parts of the BeachBody brand.

Now, I generally tune out to any brand that perpetuates the idea that there is such a thing as a “beach body” (if you are at the beach, TA DA, your body is beach worthy), or the idea that I or anyone else need to be fixed.

And memories of a sorely misguided attempt at weight loss using SlimFast really turned me off to the idea of drinking any kind of shake to shed pounds.



I was weak.

Before and after pictures from people I actually knew made me curious.

And I DID have at least a few pounds I wanted to lose.

I read up a little more and the shakes didn’t seem terrible.

And regular exercise sounded good.

And those little containers were cute.

So I signed up, or more appropriately, turned over my credit card.

I committed to the 21 days of shake-drinking and flab-shaking known as the 21-day fix.

The concept is actually pretty simple. You drink a Shakeology shake for brekkie or lunch (or I guess you could do dinner?) and the rest of your day is a plethora of foods, so long as they fit in their assigned color coded containers.

I’m not gonna lie. I was very tempted to spend my 21 days taking photos of me stuffing a donuts and such into my tiny yellow (carbs!) container, because, JOKES.

But I didn’t.



I signed up with a girl I went to high school. We had overlapping friends in those days, but didn’t run in the same circles. She always seemed nice enough, even if she was infinitely more pretty and popular, and as an adult she only seemed nicer, so I felt like I should put some effort into the 21 days.

Also, I spent money, and it would have been a bit spendy for three weeks worth of jokes on Twitter and Instagram.

Each day had a certain number of containers of food allotted. Four big green containers of veggies. Several purple containers of fruit. A healthy helping of red containers of protein. Much smaller containers of all those things you eat and shouldn’t be eating so much of.

It was actually a pretty manageable amount of food. Rather than focusing on restrictions, it was more about retraining myself to pay attention to portion control, and to make sure those portions were balanced well across various foods.

Shrimp and cauliflower "grits"

Shrimp and cauliflower “grits”

Also, the yellow container can be wine. So there’s that.

Each day of the week also had an assigned workout. For someone who hasn’t worked out regularly in ::ahem, cough, garbled number:: years, this was a huge adjustment.

Not only the physical exertion, but the idea of taking 30 minutes of my day for me was a huge change. Between the kids and work, I don’t spend much time during the day on me.

Post-workout selfie

Post-workout selfie

So what did I think of all these changes?

I won’t lie.

I don’t have the same adoring relationship with the Shakeology shakes so many people seem to. I found that with fruit added, or on the rougher days, cold brew unsweetened coffee, there were palatable. But not delicious.

However, they did force me to eat breakfast, something I am terrible about. And they gave me an extra bit of energy.

Which was good, because those 30 minute workouts I mentioned? TOTALLY KICKED MY  BUTT.

They had one person in the video who did altered versions of a lot of exercises and I was totally following her. I’m just not that little tight-pants, sports bra, all-abs lady who doesn’t break a sweat.

I’m more the sippin-coffee, reading-a-book, singing-showtunes girl, for the record.


At the end of the three weeks, I found myself 9 pounds lighter. Inches missing from my waist and hips.

More energy.

And most importantly, after it’s all said and done, I plan on doing another 21 days. I haven’t gained the weight back. While I’m not on the same exercise/diet regimen, the habits I developed over those 21 days made for a positive change that will keep me eating well, and staying active.

Would I recommend the program for others?

If you need a program that tells you exactly what you need to do, a program that will jump start healthier habits, and a program you don’t mind dropping a bit of dough on, this may be the thing for you.

Find a coach that will keep you motivated – mine was great, checking in with her team every day, encouraging us in our progress, supporting us when we felt we couldn’t do it. She never once made me feel like I was just another sales figure.

Definitely find someone who is doing more than just selling you the product, someone who is genuinely as excited to see your results as their own.

While I might not continue to follow the program to the “t”, I’ll be using the skills I learned (or refreshed) to keep a more healthy view of my eating and exercise habits.

Whether your goals are a six pack, or just healthier living, this is definitely a program worth trying.

Food (Nom Nom Nom)

Healthy Mini-Meatloaf

September 17, 2015

I’ve been doing some healthy eating thing for the last week or so.

Not that I eat badly in general. But with the craziness of life, I admittedly am not much for calorie counting.

On my current eating and exercise plan, I’m making healthier choices and trying to be more aware of how much I have of any given thing.

I guess that’s what most people call a “diet”. But I really don’t care for that word.

Diets, in my mind, tend to be overly restrictive and, as a result, are hard to sustain.

I mean, if you tell me I absolutely can’t have bacon, I WILL break and eat a whole pound of it. (That that, THE MAN.)

But, if you tell me I can eat most things, in moderation, and once in a while have a little something that is entirely unhealthy, well, I may be more on board.

I’ve jump started that approach by doing the 21 Day Fix. (note: this post is not about that. I’ll give my whole thoughts on the Fix when I’m through the 21 days)

In my single days, changes to my diet were different. I was the only one affected by these changes, so I didn’t always have to give much thought to what I was making. If I wanted to eat yet another salad with grilled chicken, so be it.

But I have a picky 6 year old and a husband who has grown accustomed to yummy dinners over the last 13+ years.

To that end, when I’m eating differently, I like to try new recipes that will keep the hubs and child relatively happy and satisfied.

And let’s be honest. I love food. Just because I’m making healthier choices doesn’t mean they shouldn’t taste good.

This recipe came from two places – a husband who loves a good meatloaf (with a wife who never makes the stuff) and the desire for a quick and easy recipe that fit my current eating plan.

To my surprise, this meatloaf tasted really good. It was a hit with the boys (as evidenced by the fact that they didn’t break out the ketchup bottle), and mini versions mean a faster cooking time and easy leftover storage.











This is basically a dump and combine recipe, so even if you aren’t much for spending time in the kitchen, you can handle this.

Once you’ve diced your onion (I like a finer dice since the meat loaf is small), dump it in a bowl with all the above ingredients. For those watching their sugar intake, you want to go with a good quality, no sugar added tomato sauce. There are plenty of really yummy ones out there, and the best tasting ones tend to be the ones that are NOT branded as “diet”.

I seasoned with a healthy pinch of salt and granulated garlic, but you can season with whatever flavors float your meat boat.




Smush everything together – hands are the best tools here.

Roll healthy handfuls of the mixture together and place in a non-stick cupcake pan.

Promptly after making this, I tossed this pan and got a new one.

Promptly after making this, I tossed this pan and got a new one.

Bake at 400F for 35-40 minutes.

It’s seriously that easy.

I’m experimenting with a lot of favorites here, but I’d love to hear some of yours. Feel free to share in the comments!