Easy DIY Thanksgiving decoration!

Surprise! I am alive!

The new house, new town and new job are certainly taking a toll on my free time, or shall I say lack there of.

Now with a beautiful, huge (huge for us after living in an apartment for five years) house I realized why my mom was always stressing about cleaning… there’s never enough time in the day to clean all the dirt. The dust and dirt multiplies like rabbits in my house!

To distract from the constant dust and dirt creation, I’ve decided to try my hand at decorating the house. Emphasis on try.

After Halloween was over I realized I didn’t put a single Halloween or fall decoration up.

Between unpacking, cleaning, traveling and training for work, and more cleaning, I didn’t even pick up a single pumpkin.

That had to change for Thanksgiving, I mean what would the neighbors think? We aren’t super boring, I swear.

I scoured Pinterest for Thanksgiving decorations.. and all I found were construction paper turkeys, kids coloring pages, and strangely, a lot of mason jars filled with dried beans?

I hightly doubted my teenage and preteen stepsons would like to color cornucopias and trace their hands to put on the fridge… I was stuck between construction paper pilgrim hats and a bountiful flock of hand turkeys.

Until the Thanksgiving Tree.


This EASY and beautiful Thanksgiving DIY decoration is the perfect centerpiece for anybody this Thanksgiving!

Plus, it’s a great way to spend the afternoon with family!

We found the sticks while taking a walk, actually my oldest stepson ran down the road with a large tree branch as a joke and it ended up on my kitchen table.

My father-in-law sliced up some branches from his yard while we collected acorns.

Bing-bang-boom, project almost done.

The longest part was cutting and gluing chalkboard paper onto the slices.

Lastly, the best part, what we are thankful for. Everyone, including Mimi, got to write what they were thankful for.


From God to dogs, phones to sisters, the tree has not only fulfilled my need for decorations, but filled our home with so much love!


And my incredibly bad DIYing self made something that may actually be Pinterest worthy!


Don’t worry, I’ll probably do some hand turkeys too, can’t leave those bad boys out.

Cheers, gobble gobble.

Tools:

  • Mason Jar
  • Branches
  • Chalkboard Paper
  • Twine
  • Chalk
  • Something to fill the jar with to keep branches in place

Place branches in jar, write what you’re thankful for in chalk and hang chalkboard ornaments on the branches.

DONEZO

How do we explain all of this hate to our children?

I don’t have much time to write since I am on my lunch break, #workingmomlife. But, in light of the recent violence and murders that occurred within the last 24 hours I felt like something needed to be said.

I had to stop reading, listening, and watching the news this morning – and as a former news journalist that’s a huge deal – because of all of the terrible things going on in the world – this time right in our own country.

I am disgusted, sad and shocked with the actions that have happened in Dallas.

According to CNN, the killing of five police officers and injuring seven others is the deadliest single incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001.

Let’s just let that sink in for a moment, the deadliest law enforcement incident since a massive terrorist attack that changed our nation. And this attack was by a 25-year-old Texas man.

It is terrifying and hard to explain terrorism and war to our children, but now we have to explain the racism and hate that is flowing through our country and taking lives? Lives of those who have sworn to serve and protect us. How do you make sense of that to children and teenagers?

I am not a political person, nor do I always follow up with national news/debates (hence the ‘former’ part of news journalist), but I’d like to think that I do know right from wrong. 

It is wrong to kill people. It is wrong to hate. It is wrong for our country to be divided.

Racism is wrong.

There are good cops, there are bad cops. Just like there are good African Americans and bad, good Caucasians and bad, good Asians and bad – do I need to go on?

It scares me to think of the world my children will grow up in if this is the course our nation is taking. It is scary enough with the enemies we have outside of our boarders – never knowing when another terrorist attack might strike – and now we arguably just as much conflict right here in the U.S.A.

We need to stop flooding our newsfeeds, twitter feeds, youtube channels, etc. with hatred and pointing fingers, and start filling them with love, compassion, understanding.

Let’s treat people equally, no matter their skin color, job description, sexual orientation, etc.

C’mon people.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” – MLK Jr.

Cheers.

Pull your stroller backward on the beach

I was filled with hope, anticipation, excitement and stress as we packed up and made the hike for our first family vacation all together – including the kids’ Maw-Maw.

 We filled our SUV to the brim with three adults, two car seats and two preteens.

I couldn’t wait to finally get some sand between my toes after four long years landlocked and, even more, I couldn’t wait for Charlie to see the beach for the first time and fall in love with it.

I stressed for weeks about this trip – having everything we needed so we didn’t have to do any last-minute runs to the store, and really, I wanted to make sure everyone had a fantastic time all together since it’s something we rarely get to do.

Side note – my six-year-old step-daughter lives in Tennessee and we get to see her about four times a year, mostly around holidays. This summer we had her for three fantastic weeks, including this beach trip.

We also had a custody hearing for my step-sons a few weeks ago and got pretty much the opposite verdict of what we were all – including the boys – hoping for. And we were all, and still are, pretty bummed about it. So I was hoping this trip would turn around all of our moods and get us back to our fun-loving, happy selves.

And with all the pressure I put on our ‘Amspacker Beach Takeover’ obviously it would not go as I planned.

Charlie did not like the beach. She hated it.

She hated the sound. She hated the smell. She hated the sunblock, the sand and the fact she had to wear an enormous hat to block the sunshine from her beautiful, super iridescent baby skin.

I was that mom with the screaming baby at the beach who was throwing off her sun hat, getting sunblock in her eye and refusing to put her feet in the sand.

Stress level: high.

After she fell into her milk coma, I sat back in the beach chair, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and sank back in defeat into the chair.

“Waaaaaaaa.”

I sat straight up to check Charlie and try to get her back to sleep. But when I opened my eyes it wasn’t Charlie’s cries I was hearing. It was the little boy two umbrellas over who was crying because he couldn’t eat sand.

And as I listened more, in the other direction a mom was yelling at her son for knocking over her toddler’s sand castle. And the tent in front of us had two kids crying because they had to put on more sunblock.

I stood up and looked around and finally realized that it wasn’t just Charlie, and this was what going to the beach was: sad tears, suntans, salty hair, smiles and family together.

I already knew having children meant pretty much everything is unpredictable and as a parent you have to adapt to every situation, and I didn’t know why I thought going to the beach would be different.

 As the salty air hit my face, it was a slap in the face for me to wake up and enjoy this time with my family. I felt the crashing waves on my legs and the pull of the tide and as the water rushed back into the massive Atlantic, it took all my stress and anxiety with it.

I used the rest of our trip coming up with ways to make our trip to the beach and around the sandy towns easier.

Family Beach Trip Tricks and Tips with Toddler and Kids

1.     Bring a stroller to the beach. Use it to help carry all the towels, bags and shovels on the sand and use it as a make shift crib for naps. PULL THE STROLLER BACKWARDS ON THE BEACH, it makes all the difference, and works out your calves.

2.     Buy a baby sun hat with straps. Under my husband’s recommendation, we bought one with no strap and that hat spent more time in the sand and making Charlie mad because we kept putting it on her head and she wanted it off.

3.     Put sunblock on before you get to the beach. It’s less crowded at the beach house/hotel/car than at the beach, there will be no complaints about having sand in the lotion and it usually takes some time for the effects of the sunblock to actually kick in. Spray sunblock is amazing.

4.     Bring baby powder. It will help with wet, sandy hands and feet. It will take away the wetness and the dry sand will just brush right off.

5.     Have drinks handy. From swimming in the salt water to playing in the hot sun, your family needs to stay hydrated. Have a cooler packed with water, juice packs and a sippy cup ready to go.

6.     Use an umbrella, or any other sun-shielding device, like a tent. You will want somewhere to put your babes in the shade and keep cool. We like to rent ours at the beach to help save room in the car.

7.     Swim diapers – pack them but don’t put them on unless your babe is getting in the water. These diapers are great, but they are only made to catch #2 not soak in #1. So if they are in the stroller, car seat, on a towel, etc. and have a swim diaper on it will not stop the flow and everything will get all wet. No bueno.

8.     Create a baby pool – it’s an easy way to get your babe adjusted to the beach and enjoy some of the water. Either bring your own baby pool or create your own with a deep hole and a shower curtain.

9.     Ziploc baggies – are a God send. Perfect for everything you don’t want sandy or wet – cell phones, cameras, binkies, baby blankets, jewelry, etc.

10.  Alcohol. This is your vacation too, mom and dad. Kick back with a cold one and relax!

 Cheers beach bums.

Frustratingly Frustrated

Emotions have been ringing high in my house the last few weeks. There is an underlaying tenseness in the air. And I am too stubborn to let it fade away.

Let me start over by saying MY emotions have been ringing high for the last few weeks. There’s no doubt. I’ve been cranky, grumpy, tired (i.e. welcome to motherhood), but I, especially, have been on an emotional roller coaster that has apparently gone 90 m.p.h. downhill, crashing into my house.

My grandmother passed away a few weeks ago, my daughter is cutting molars, she and I are weaning from breastfeeding, and we are just days away from a custody hearing for my stepsons. Easy peasy.

My husband and I seem to be nipping at each other’s heels for the sake of, well nothing. Oh that lovely nine-month-plateau, that’s real, right?

And as I have learned through this nipping, I can really only 100% touch base with myself. So, here I am. I’ve realized I’m too stubborn. Too stubborn to give in. Too stubborn to let my guard down. And I’ve gotten to the point where I am too stubborn to fight.

I get extremely frustrated with dealing with all of the emotions in my house. I’ve baked three loaves of banana bread in five days, I ate them all. By myself.

I’ve tried exercising. I’ve tried cleaning. I’ve tried blaming the dog, but she just gives me her big, saggy, sad eyes and my heart melts all over and I’m back to being frustrated.

Until I realized, I haven’t written a post in a while because my emotions were numb. I have plenty of post ideas, rough drafts, brainstorms, ven diagrams, you name it, but I didn’t have the emotion – or understanding of my emotions – behind the words.

I finally found my muse – frustration.

Typing, the finger strokes on a key board, the sound of keys making thoughts come alive – it keeps me steady, its consistent. 

I hope you didn’t come to this post in hopes of finding ways to deal with your emotions or frustrations, because frankly I have no clue. 

Like I said earlier, I can only really check in with my emotions so here it goes.

I am frustrated because I feel like my voice is not heard. I am frustrated because I think I have plateaued. I am frustrated I can’t help with my daughter’s pain. I am frustrated because I can’t help with my husband’s pain. I am frustrated with how people treat other people and think it’s ok. I am frustrated that my dog has suddenly stopped listening. I am frustrated that good people are taken from this earth. I am frustrated with politics. I am frustrated because so many people put their own feelings and bitterness before their children’s well-being.

And though I may feel lonely at times, I know I am not alone with these feelings.

But it’s how we handle these feelings that make us who we are. And set us a part from the rest of the herd.

Don’t dwell on things you cannot change, on rude attitudes, or poisonous people. I am a firm believer in karma, and whenever she comes around it won’t be pretty.

What’s the point in always being angry? Nit-picking? Fighting? Bitterness? Holding grudges?

That doesn’t sound like a fun, light, healthy life to me. Sounds heavy and quite frankly, agonizing.

Now I’m not saying lets sweep everything under the rug until it all piles up and explodes all over the crazy emotional rollercoaster that crashed in my living room. (Psh, I’ve never done that before).

So let’s all take a breath – in through the nose, out through the mouth – sit back and really check in with what fights are worth fighting. And are you arguing for the sake of conversation?

Still frustrated? Talk to the main man upstairs. He always points me in the right direction.

After all these late night ramblings, I’ll cheers you with my three cups of coffee in the morning.

Easiest Crock Pot Burrito Bowls

When it comes to cooking, I’m definitely not a pro. Far from it actually, that’s why I married someone who owns a restaurant.

But, I am trying to learn. So welcome to this fun, smokey, sometimes burnt journey of Chef Jillian.

I need easy, at least a few days a week. This recipe is so easy, it’s one I recommend to my early-20’s brother who would rather go through the drive-thru four times a day than cook a meal in the kitchen. IT’S THAT EASY.

I tend to make this on Sunday afternoons, cook it for four hours, eat till my belly wants to explode and take the rest for lunches throughout the week. It’s also perfect for freezing and put luck meals!

Plus the four key ingredients are probably in your fridge right now

Check the recipe below, I tried to take as many pictures as I could but by the time this bad boy was done I couldn’t take the sweet smells and my stomach was grumbling, I devoured my whole serving and licked the bowl.. so no finished product picture. Whoops.

Crock Pot Burrito Bowls

Serves 6
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 8 hours
Total time 8 hours, 5 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Casual Party
Quick, easy, tasty burrito bowls that fill you up and remind you of warmer weather on a cold winter day.

Ingredients

  • 2lb Chicken Breast
  • 1 jar Salsa (16 oz)
  • 1 can Beans (Black or Kidney (drained))
  • 1lb Frozen Corn
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper (To Taste)
  • 3 cups White Rice
  • 8oz Shredded Cheese (Mexican Blend or Cheddar)

Optional

  • 4oz Green Chilies
  • 1 cup Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 cups Shredded Lettuce
  • 1 can Black Olives (Sliced)

Note

Add any other taco/burrito favorites to transform this easy recipe into your own!

Directions

Crock Pot
Step 1
Add chicken, salsa, corn, beans and green chilies (optional) to crock pot. Follow with all spices and salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good mix to make sure all of the chicken is covered.
Step 2
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, high for 4 hours.
Step 3
Toward the end of cook cycle, cook rice according to package directions and prepare lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.
Step 4
After cook time, shred chicken (chicken will either come apart by stirring it or you can take it out and shred it with two forks and put it back in the crock pot). Stir up all of the ingredients.
Step 5
Build your burrito bowl! I generally build it with rice on the bottom, burrito mix, lettuce, tomato, olives, sour cream and cheese! Yum!

Working Overtime

I spent my Monday off running errands with my daughter, and overdosing my usage of the kitchen, which means there will be plenty of recipes coming your way this week (teaser – spinach and apple muffins, crock pot burrito bowls and of course lots of chocolate).

Having days like today make me appreciate my time that I do get to spend at home with my family.

While nursing my daughter to sleep for her first nap of the day, I reminisced about close to a year ago when baby C was first born and I was struggling with going back to work.

I found myself having anxiety about leaving C, stressing over pumping milk, keeping up my supply, not being able to soothe her cries and missing out on her life. Missing her smiles, coos, what if she did something she’s never done before and I don’t get to see it?

Forty hours a week away from my baby, it seemed like the impossible.

My husband was very sick through the last few weeks of my pregnancy all the way through the first six weeks of our baby’s life. He was actually admitted to the hospital twice, the first time just days after she was born, and the second time was the night before I was supposed to go back to work. My first thought was, “Yes, I don’t have to go back to work yet!” immediately followed by, “Holy sh*t woman, your husband is in the hospital, snap out of it!”

That was my wake up call. That was my ‘earth to mommy, time to put your big-girl work pants back on.’

I took the extra few days to make sure everything was set for C’s first days of daycare and organized the house in-between visiting the hospital and caring for my six-week old daughter.

The night before my first day at work was terrible. The babe didn’t sleep, couldn’t sleep, it was almost if she knew I was going to be away from her.

After no more than a few hours of sleep it was time to get up. Getting ready for work the next week seemed strange, like I was watching myself get dressed and put make up on. I got up earlier than I needed to and I spent those last fleeting minutes nursing this tiny little nugget.

As I drove to work, which is only a mile away, I held back tears and the feeling of guilt for going back to work and leaving her in the care of someone else instead of taking care of her myself. My body was at work, but my heart and head were at home with my Michelin-man thighed daughter with an even bigger smile.

I thought my first few days at work would drag and I would count down the minutes until I could go home, but between getting back on task, pumping and talking about C, my days went by faster than I could ever imagine. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and now being a working mom is second nature.

  • Relax. Easy for me to tell you, right? But you have to soothe your anxiety and breathe. Not only is your stress doing damage to you, baby and hubby will feed off your vibes too.
  • Take pictures. Bring in frames, keep out your phone, DIY the crap out of your office with that baby’s face. Keeping pictures near will help you remember why you are going back to work in the first place.
  • Know why you are going back to work. It doesn’t make a difference if you can’t afford to stay home or enjoy your job, either way they both end with it being the best thing for your family and you. That’s the priority.
  • Have a plan if pumping. Make a plan when and where you are going to pump/store your milk before your first day. And talk to your boss/immediate co-workers about your schedule so they know when you will be unavailable.
  • Create a relationship with daycare provider. Keeping close touch with whoever will be taking care of your child is irreplaceable during those first few weeks. Be honest with them if you want pictures and updates throughout the day, or if you don’t. Creating a comfortable relationship with them will help just not for everyday communication, but you when you’re on the verge of a breakdown and have to see their face either in FaceTime or picture. And don’t worry, you won’t be the first, or the last.
  • Enjoy the time you’re at home. And if you can, keep work at work so you are 100% present at home.

Lastly, and most importantly..

  • Drop the guilt. You know, that sinking feeling like you’re doing something wrong by going back to work, kick it to the curb. I’ll be the first to tell you, you are not doing anything wrong by going back to work. Do not feel guilty!

You’re an employee, you’re a boss, you’re a coworker.. You’re a mom. That means you’re also a master chef, cleaning lady, sex-pot wife, Thursday night tv watcher, toenail painter, DIY-er, laundry folder extrodinare, do I need to go on?

I’m not going to lie, it’s hard, exhausting, stressful and so much more, but it’s worth it. The first few days will be hard, but life has this crazy way of moving fast and not stopping for anyone, including you momma.

You can do this, you can do everything – you created a life, how hard can work be?

You are woman, let’s hear you roar.

Oh, and don’t forget the coffee. Lots of coffee.

Cheers to you, you 40 hour+ lioness. Rawr.

10 Ways to Spend Time on You

 

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I am so amazed and dumbfounded by the amount of support my last post received. I am in awe of every click and every view and I am so happy it was able to touch so many people! Thank you!!


I was to the point that I scraped multiple posts because I was second guessing if I could live up to my last post’s potential. Like I set my own bar too high.

But I couldn’t stop myself. I love to write, I love to express my thoughts and emotions. And if people want to read them and enjoy them, well, then I am one lucky lady!

I’ve been extra motivated lately, extra empowered, extra eager, extra feisty… extra. I sat back today for a second and tried to think why… where’s the extra coming from? My husband did buy a new coffee pot (after I didn’t know my own strength and smashed the old pot in the dishwasher), but this hasn’t just been a caffeinated rush. Then I thought to my husband snoozing on the couch, my daughter napping, the dog’s faint barks in her slumber, and then it hit me – SLEEP!

After nine long months, my darling daughter has finally started to sleep through the night! And so have I (the first few nights were rough for me).

I realized I have extra energy because I’m sleeping in longer than 45 minute spans, but this extra ‘oomph’ is because I am finally able to spend some time on myself!

Woo hoo, party time, time to spend time on myself!

Wait.. what do I do for myself? No baby to feed, change or dress, dog already has been walked and fed. What do I do now?

I realized I had no idea what to do for me, so after wasting precious free time sitting around not knowing what to do for myself, I came up with a list of 10 WAYS TO SPEND TIME ON YOU, whether you have a spare 5 minutes or a solid weekend.

  1. Paint your nails. So this doesn’t really pertain to men, but hey don’t knock it until you try it. I always feel better, clean, funky and fresh with a new coat on my tips. It’s an easy fix, as long as all the dishes, food, babies, husbands, laundry can wait 15 minutes to dry because let’s be honest, there’s no worse feeling than finagling a tiny brush around your dominate hand and then smudging the heck out of it.
  2. Couch and chill. No Mickey Mouse Club, no Peppa Pig, no Doc McStuffins (or ESPN First Take). Set yourself up in front of the boob tube and sit back, put those feet up (hopefully slipper clad) and let your mind take a break.
  3. Shop. Surf the web, wander through the aisles of Target, or anywhere and everywhere in between. It’s something you can do that can be a quick trip to a few different online pages or a weekend getaway. Get something for yourself – doesn’t matter if it costs $50 or $.50. Spend some of your hard-earned money on you.
  4. Get Outside. Now, this really only works if the weather corporates, which it has been such a warm winter here I’ve been on a few walks this week! Take a jog, take a walk, skip, do cartwheels down the sidewalk – anything to get some fresh air in those lungs. You’ll be surprised with how rejuvinated you feel.
  5. Read. Read a book, read a magazine, hell reading this blog counts!! Get sucked into a story, article, joke – get your head out of your busy schedule and succumb to a love story, murder mystery, biography. Let your mind take a journey to any world at any time all while enjoying your couch. Again, slippers aren’t necessary but are recommended.
  6. Play a Game. With a friend, play a game by yourself. Doesn’t matter either way, just don’t play it on your phone or computer. Take a break from all of the screens in your life. Pull out that old, wrinkled deck of cards in the corner of your junk drawer or finagle a board game down from the top of the closet. Get those dice rolling.
  7. Phone a Friend. After your done playing solitaire, call up that best friend you haven’t seen or talked to in a while. Call your grandparents, you know they won’t keep you on the phone long but you can feel the love and see their smiles through the phone when you call.
  8. Enjoy your favorite food or drink. This one might seem silly, c’mon Jill, I eat and drink multiple times a day. Here’s the key, actually enjoy it. Don’t chug your water, juice, wine, vodka, etc. sip it, enjoy it. Don’t inhale your favorite food because you know you only have a few seconds until the baby needs another bite or you only have one free finger in your balancing act to try to feed yourself. Sit down, relax, put your napkin on your lap and breathe in your meal.
  9. Take a Shower. One that isn’t interrupted by baby cries, phones ringing or rushing around before work. Soak up the hot water, shave your legs and sing the whole Adele album. You know once that shower is on your voice sounds just like hers. Hello. It’s me.
  10.  

    Sleep.
    This really should be the first one (I took a nap with my baby after work today). Snag your favorite corner of the couch for just ten minutes of shut-eye, or even just quiet time. Let your mind and body just take a break.

Now if you’re like me, you like lists and this one was great but kind of exhausting, how in the hell are you going to find time to do all of that with everything else going on in your life?

Well, good news for you, you can already cross something off that list, you read this blog! Good for you, overachiever. You go Glen CoCo.

Cheers.

 

Be Good to Me

I live in a small town. Not the smallest of small, we have more than one stop light, but it’s still a ‘you can’t go to Wal-Mart without seeing at least 25% of your high school class’ kind of town.

And while it may be annoying or feel strangling at times, an amazing thing about the valley is how quickly we can be united.

The last week in my hometown caused excruciating pain for so many people. Without getting into the details, and this isn’t the reason for the post (I’ll get to the point I promise), through the pain and loss, people have once again found old friends, reminisced over what once was and helped each other heal raw hearts.

But the most raw of hearts was one that I never fully recognized before. One that was always there, but I never completely understood. A mother’s heart.

Upon going to a viewing for an amazing friend, I watched a mother step up beyond anything she could have ever dreamed of to be there for her children. To stand tall and strong while others couldn’t and to take the hit and reminder of loss over and over and over again and never falter because if mom falls, so does the mountain.

I didn’t mean to kick this blog off on a super serious note (I’m writing with a big ol’ glass of red wine and an even bigger bag of licorice) and I tried to write about anything else, but I can’t get the strength of this mother out of my head.

My momma and me in Nashville!
With my momma in Nashville!

It made me think of my mom, step-mom, mother-in-law, mom’s of best friends, moms on Facebook and moms everywhere – I am in awe of how strong you are. And you have to be for your partners, children, and let’s face it, everyone else. There is no weak day for a mom, there really never is a “I need a minute.” Despite what they are going through, there is always the momma bear looking over her cubs, no matter where they are.

My momma-in-law!
My momma-in-law!

I don’t know for sure if I noticed this because I am a new mom, but I will say that’s why now, but it really opened my eyes to how strong moms really are. How much they carry everyday when times aren’t rough, and the tougher the times – the more moms take on without a care, most of the time.

I just hope that I can live up to my new-found expectations of moms everywhere.

9-months preggo with my step-mom
With my step-mom at my baby shower!

So here’s to you moms, for never letting too much leg show, feeding us with your delicious cuisine (once my mom made a pea pie, PEA PIE), and always being the strength we need to go on. Whether its carrying us on your hip, sending us to timeout to learn that oh so valuable lesson or holding back tears while hundreds of other people are mourning the loss of your child.

Thank you for being the strength we always needed.

Old moms, new moms, friend’s moms, step-moms, stay-at-home moms, working moms, dance moms, soccer moms and every mom in-between – you get all the cheers.

(Oh, dads are pretty great too!)

Cheers

So here it goes.. my journey into the blogging world. As a first post, it seems obligatory to do some introductions, so here it goes:

I’m Jillian and 2015 was a big year for me, it brought the birth of my amazing daughter and it was the year I married my best friend.

Lesson 1: Always undress baby when feeding.. even if it looks easy and not messy. Babies are always messy.
Lesson 1: Always undress baby when feeding.. even if it looks easy and not messy. Babies are always messy.

Our life is far from the typical American dream family with a two-story home with red shutters, yard, golden retriever (no offense golden lovers!) and a white picket fence. In fact, we live in an apartment above my husband’s restaurant with great dane that looks like a cow and our yard is the side lot off the parking lot. I am also a step-mother to three wonderful children, two boys and a girl.

This big, floppy, drool machine is our dear Molly.
This big, floppy, drool machine is our dear Molly.

Though being atypical is amazing, it doesn’t come without challenges. Hence this blog. It’s a place for my crazy stories of being a new wife, a new mother (my daughter has been crying and crawling up my leg this entire post), a diary of my journey navigating and growing a blended family, easy recipes, attempts at DIY projects and everything in-between.

I hope you join me on this trip around the sun. So sit back, grab a drink sippy cup or champagne flute – and enjoy the ride! Cheers!