Motherhood Popular Posts

this stage of life is hard. but it doesn’t have to be lonely.

This stage of life is hard.

You’ve heard that before.

2 under 2

3 under 5

Whatever your number, your combination.

 It’s hard.

You will run ragged cutting the crusts off of sandwiches and wiping noses.  All after waking up 7 times the night before.  Each time a different child.  A different need.  A bottle.  A reassuring back rub.  A hand in the bathroom.

It’s hard.

But you’ve heard that before.

I thought I’d beat the crowds to Costco today.  Thought I’d get there while everyone else was still lounging around the house this gorgeous Sunday morning.  Maybe the crowds would be at church.  Or on the soccer field.

At 8 am I set my imaginary goal to leave by 9:30.  An hour and a half to get ready and out the door.  Just 1 adult and 3, kids since my husband has been away for work.  Or should I say 3 on 1.  Because that’s what it feels like most of the time when he’s gone.

I poured the wrong cereal, stepped on 4 toys and had wiped 2 butts by the time the oven clock showed 8:36.  I had to remind myself to breathe.  Because at this point my fuse isn’t even short.  I think it’s gone.

It’s hard.

I run upstairs to get the kids dressed.  Hand the baby a toy to keep him entertained and wrangle the 3 year old into a shirt and shorts.  I already hear whining from my daughter’s room.  This dress????  Why THIS dress????


Socks.  Where are the socks?  Crap!  I didn’t take the laundry out of the dryer.  Back downstairs.  Throw the laundry on my bed and fold a few items until I come across a matching pair of socks.

I heard my voice bellow up the stairs “letssss gooooooo” and then I wait.  Did they pick up their toys?  I have no idea.  So, I yell again “clean up!!!!!”  There, that should keep them busy for a minute.

I look down at the baby who is just staring at me.  “Sorry for screaming” I mumble and I take him into my room to get dressed.  I brush my teeth and take a quick look at my face.  Yep, totally forgot to take my makeup off last night.  Much less do that new 5 step skin care routine I promised myself I would start.  Oh well.  Throw some water on my face and search for my hat.  What day is today?  Do I have to wash my hair?

I glance at the oven clock.  It’s 9:11.

I yell once again for them to come down.  They stand there sheepishly in bare feet just waiting for me to ask if they picked up their rooms.

 I don’t.

I know the answer.

I toss socks at them, grab the hair detangler and resume last night’s fight with my daughter.  You see, she needed a trim and I thought how hard could it be?  Harder than I thought actually and I spent the rest of the night trying to convince her that no one gets their hair cut in a straight line anymore.

Definitely a pony tail for her.

I wipe faces and tie laces.  Load up the baby and grab an arsenal of snacks and toys.

Oven clock reads 9:41.

Not horrible. We were off.

Apparently so was everyone else because the store was wall to wall people.  Bulk shopping is apparently a big deal on Sunday mornings.  Who knew?

It took almost an hour but we managed to grab the things we needed and make our way to the checkout.  At this point the baby is whining and the kids are sick of sitting so close to one another and of course I brought my expired Costco card.

My kids then spot the food court and start singing for hot dogs.  It’s 11am.  I said I’d grab one and we could take it home.  But I quickly lost that argument because I didn’t have any fight left in me.  So there we sat.  Right by the line to leave.  Hot dogs for them.  Deluxe slice of pizza for me.

Another failed attempt at a diet I guess.

I’m watching the people leave, walking towards the exit of the store.

Combed hair.  High heels.  Dresses.  

Where do these moms come from?!

I literally felt myself sinking lower onto the red plastic bench.  Their kids are older.  Look, her husband is here to help her.  She only has one child.  I reasoned with myself.  I was suddenly suffocating in my yoga pants.  I became very aware of my hat and yesterday’s eye makeup.

 I felt ashamed.

Why couldn’t I get it together?  I should have woken up earlier.  How can they do it and I can’t?

The baby let out a shriek snapping me out of my self loathing trance.  Out of the corner of my eye I watch my son tip his water over.


I have to remind myself, as I stuff the last bite of crust into my mouth.  From the slice I pizza I wasn’t even hungry for.

And then I see her.

2 kids in tow.  And another in the cart.  Scolding one and holding hands with the other.  Her arm sleeve has leftover Crayola paint on it and it’s obvious that she didn’t brush her hair.  I hear the tone of her voice as she asks them what they want to eat.  She’s barely there.  Hanging on by a thread.  I know she just wants to scream “hot dog or pizza damnit!!!!”  But she doesn’t.  Because she’s a good mom.  But I watch her grind her teeth while her toddler chooses.

And then she sees me.

Mopping up spilled water and trying to console the baby.  Yelling at my 3 year old not to walk away from me and begging my 6 year old to help get the trash together.  Time stops for a second.

 And she nods in my direction. 

Seeing me.  Really, truly seeing me.

 I smile.

And then as quickly as it stops, life resumes. We turn our heads and get back to the tasks at hand.

Silently calculating the hours until bedtime.

It’s hard. 

But you’re not alone.

It’s easy to feel “less than” when comparing yourself to others.  They are not all in the same stage of life as you.  They are not all in the same place as you.  This stage of life is hard.  Find your people.  The ones in your boat.  And hang on to them.  For dear life if you have to.  Cry to them.  Complain to them.  Eat rows of cookies with them.

The time will pass.

And one day you will be at Costco when it opens with your perfectly scrubbed children and their straight haircuts.  And you will have washed your hair and put mascara on.  You won’t have baby oatmeal stuck to your shirt.

And when you see another mom in that “oh so hard” stage of life, will you nod at her?  Give her recognition and hope.  Show her that you see her.  Your nod will keep her going.  Remind her that you have been there.  To slow down.  To breathe.  That these years will go too fast.  That she might actually miss them.  She can’t see any of that right now.  As she reminds a child to use table manners and wipes up spilled ketchup.  She just needs your nod to remind her that she is not alone on this journey.

Because we all know it’s hard. 

But it doesn’t have to be lonely.

XO Danielle

I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, pin it, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.

The Life

4 ways to use SHIPT as a dinner delivery service!


Ok, so it’s no secret that dinner delivery/grocery delivery/food prep delivery type of companies are popping up ALL over the place.  And for good reason.  They make my life easier!  And if they are making my life easier, than I know they are helping you too!  There’s only one downfall in my opinion and that’s the cost.  Shocker.  Many of the services offer a month free, or trial services etc and that is super helpful but when those run out you’re back to paying $10-$60 a month or even more!

In my efforts to be the cheapest person in the world I knew I needed to fix this problem.  I needed a service that did IT ALL!  But which one?  Hello Fresh isn’t going to bring me a gallon of milk when I’m out, now are they?  I needed to get creative.


Shipt is a grocery delivery service that will change your world.

Here’s how it works (in a nutshell):

Go on the Shipt app.

Insert your address and time frame that you would like your groceries delivered (1 hour windows starting from 8-9 am!)


This is the best part.  I have created my shopping list in the car pool line, waiting for water to boil, while my kids splashed each other in the tub, the list goes on and on.  I can add a few things, take a break, and then get back to it.  The app saves all items in your cart until you either check out or remove them.

Gone are the days of writing a short list and losing it.  (Story of my life).  Now, when I sign up to bring the juice boxes to the school party, I go in the app and add what I need immediately.  No one is going to throw out my Capri Sun post it.  Or color on it.  It stays in my shopping cart right where I need it.  No more forgetting.  No more running back out to the store for one thing.  And no more dragging the gang through Publix.


Once your finished shopping you simply check out and wait.  You will soon receive a notification with the name and photo of your personal shopper.  Your shopper will communicate with you via text while they are shopping to let you know of items that are possibly out of stock, or nearing the expiration date.  The shopper then delivers your order during the window you selected.  In a blink your groceries will be sitting on the counter.  Or at your front door.  Or wherever you feel comfortable with the shopper leaving them.  You call the shots.  Only thing left to do is check the order, put the groceries away, and then rate and tip your shopper!  Seriously easy!

Now, let me explain how I made SHIPT even better!

Our family is not real big on take out food.  I can’t remember the last time we ordered Chinese delivery or had Pizza Hut ring the door bell.  Call me a control freak but I like to have dinner on the table on my time and not at the mercy of a delivery driver.  (I’ve got issues, this I know).

So, I created 4 quick shopping lists to cover 4 of our families favorite dinner themes.  This has been a lifesaver.  I’ll be reading the kids a book before bed and someone will request breakfast for dinner the next day (yes, we ALWAYS think about food.  All of us).  Sure, we can have breakfast for dinner…except I don’t have eggs, or yogurt and I don’t have time or want to go to the store. So I jump on the app and add my breakfast for dinner list.  Select the 3-4 window the next afternoon and BOOM.  When I am ready to cook at 5pm I have my entire arsenal of breakfast ingredients right there on the counter.

Back in our youth, you know, before kids and bedtimes and blah blah, Mike and I used to grab sushi all the time after working late.  Not so much any more.  But I can plan a quick sushi date in the early afternoon just by adding that specific list to my cart.  Choose a 7-8 delivery and sit back and wait.  All the fixings for a sushi dinner at my disposal including salad, green tea, potstickers and more.  Done and done!

2 other favorite dinner nights at our house are make your own PIZZA night and Deli night (Hello fried chicken and mac n cheese).  You can see the 4 shopping lists I created below.






And guess what the best part is.

Each of these “mock orders” that I created hits the $35 mark meaning the delivery is FREE!!  (Another great SHIPT perk.  Any order over $35 is delivered free of charge with your membership!)


Shipt has really been a lifesaver for me in more ways than one!  But having my pre-made, quick dinner grocery lists is probably my favorite feature!

If you click the link and sign up you will get a $10 credit so what are you waiting for!?  Give it a try.  Let someone else navigate those grocery aisles while you tackle other things on your to-do list.  Like laundry.  Maybe next we can figure out a service for folding clothes too.

Do you use Shipt already?  I’d love to hear what you think about it!

XO Danielle

I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, pin it, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.

Motherhood Popular Posts The Life

Gio’s Must See Newborn Photo Shoot!

Well, well.  Look who is finally hopping on to show off Gio’s newborn pictures on his 7th month birthday.  Let’s just say it’s not too easy finding spare time after you’ve had your third baby, ha!  

In all seriousness I am so in love with each and every one of these photos but I may be even more in love with the story behind them.  You see, Gio was born early at 36W5D.  And he landed himself a rather stressful 8 days in the NICU.  When I say stressful, I mean stressful.  Between him being at the hospital, recovering from my 3rd c-section and having 2 other kids who needed me the LAST thing on my brain was his newborn pictures.  

One morning I got a Facebook message from a sweet friend.  Congratulating me on the birth of Gio and reaching out as a fellow NICU mom to offer her support as she remembers sitting in those rocking chairs.  She told me that a good friend of hers was a photographer and wanted her to contact me and offer a complimentary newborn session as she too was the mom of a NICU warrior.  I am not going to lie I did a double take.  I almost didn’t believe it.  There had to be a catch.  Why would this photographer whom I didn’t even know offer to spend her time photographing my newborn son?  


Because her heart is 10x the size of anyone else I know. 

That’s why.

I contacted the photographer, Alissa Delucca and we chatted for a while as if we were old friends.  Kids on both sides blaring in the background and the conversation just flowed.  She asked me all about Gio and what he was staying in the NICU for.  And she genuinely cared.  She explained that because she remembers what a struggle those NICU days were for her, when she heard from her friend that Gio was born early she had it in her heart to reach out and offer to take his photographs for me. 

Did I not tell you how big her heart is?

She invited me to her studio and told me not to worry, she would have everything I needed.  When I arrived, I was a complete mess.  Gio had just woken up (not a good start to a newborn shoot), I was hungry and tired and looked like I hadn’t slept in a month.  Her studio was quite possibly the cutest place I had ever visited.  Halos, flowers, hats and wraps in every color were hanging from the wall.  Gorgeous photographs staring down at me.  Quiet, calm and complete perfection.  She immediately shushed me as I apologized for being late, having no make up on and for Gio, who I was terrified would not sleep a wink for her.  She scooped him into her arms, and told me to sit and drink hot coffee and have snacks while she worked her magic.  You guys…hot coffee and snacks.  Literally a new mom’s dream come true.  

So I sat and watched her work.  She wrapped and soothed my baby.  She posed him perfectly.  He slept.  He didn’t sleep.  I prayed he wouldn’t poop on any of her adorable outfits.  We chatted.  It was really such a great morning. 

When we were all through she showed me a wall of photographs behind a curtain.  She invited me back for my reveal and explained that when I got there she would have the curtains drawn.  She would then pull the curtains back revealing row after row of printed and matted photo for me to fall in love with.  And I did just that. 

A couple of weeks later I returned and got to experience my reveal.  My mom came with me for the ride and we both stood there and stared at all these photos of a perfect, tiny, magnificent little boy.  My little boy.  Naturally I had to have the entire display, ha!  My mom purchased the reveal for me as a baby gift and I have since created a similar display to hang in Gio’s nursery.  My favorite part about it is that when I am ready to take them off the wall (if ever!) I can place all the photos right into the box they came in and it is the perfect keepsake.  

Alissa proves to me that there are still good people out there.  Who act out of kindness without expecting anything in return.  I will forever be grateful for her heart and her talent.   

XO, Danielle

I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, pin it, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.

And just for the record — This is not a sponsored post by any means.  Alissa didn’t even know I was a blogger until we chatted on the phone.  She offered herself and her services to us simply out of the goodness of her heart.  She is a good person with a heart of gold.  She gifted me with the photography session and a bunch of digital files of my choosing just because she felt lead to do so.  I wanted to share her amazing photos and the experience I had with her with all of you.  I hope you enjoy the photographs as much as we do.  

Alissa’s studio is located in Boca Raton, Florida and you can find her here!

Motherhood The Life


Well friends, we are in the final stretch before Christmas.  Also known as panic mode.  My to-do list is a mile long but I just want to sit on the couch, watch the grinch and pray for snow.  Anyone else?

Last year I surprised Juliana and Joey with a special fancy Christmas dinner for two.  I pulled their table over to the Christmas tree and decorated it for them.  I invited them to come to my “restaurant” and served them dinner.  They had a blast!  I love the idea of making the kids their own “fancy dinner” every year in front of the tree.  It really made them feel grown up and special.  And who wouldn’t want to be served dinner in front of a beautiful Christmas tree?

I couldn’t find my tablecloth this year so I just laid out some cloth napkins over their table.  Guess what?  They aren’t going to care what the table is decorated in.  They are just going to remember how special their little dinner made them feel.  Juliana still talks about last years!  

This time I asked her what she would like for dinner and of course she chose breakfast.  Not exactly “fancy” like I had in mind but I guess I couldn’t expect her to request lobster tails.  Breakfast for dinner it was.  I “fancied” it up by serving the sprinkle yogurt in special dishes.  They absolutely loved it.  

They sat nicely, used perfect manners and ate everything on their plates.  Pretty much the exact opposite of how they act when out at a real restaurant.  Go figure.  They topped the night off with ice cream sundaes.  

I really think the kids love to do this and I really love doing it for them.  Maybe when they are teenagers they will request steak and lobster at their fancy kids only dinner but for now they are happy with cheese omelettes and Christmas tree shaped jelly toast.  And if that’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.  

What are your favorite traditions?  Are they old and passed down?  Or did you make them up yourself, like our little dinner party over here?

Whatever they may be, I hope your season is just full of them.

XO, Danielle

I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, pin it, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.

Motherhood Popular Posts The Life

the funny thing about breastfeeding.

I had this wild notion to breastfeed my 3rd baby.  Before you get all twisted at the thought of “wild notion” let me explain.  The idea of breastfeeding to me was and still is a bit wild.  As in wild animals.  Dairy farms.  Nursing pups.  Baboons on display at the zoo with babies hanging from their nipples.  Wild.  Now before you start on the breast is best commentary, come on down from your righteous throne and get over it.  Not everyone feels that way. 

Fed is best. 


You won’t win that argument here.

My babies have been fed formula, pumped milk and now exclusively breast fed and honestly they all cry and whine and I’m sure they’ll all grow up to similar degrees of crazy so let’s just agree to feed our babies and leave it at that. 

K, thanks.  

So where were we.  I decided to breastfeed baby 3 for a number of reasons.  All my babies were c sections and a small part of me feels like I may have missed something in the delivery that may have made me feel…a little more heroic.  I mean, you have moms pushing babies out of their VAGINAS and I’m over here with my hair blown out on an operating table asking them for a xanax cocktail through my IV.  And as sad as I may be about missing out on my babies trip down the birth canal, my vagina is still in tact so there’s a silver lining. 

However my fear of missing out on important life experiences made me realize that if I didn’t try to breastfeed baby 3 I would never have another opportunity.  That and the promise google made to me that my uterus would shrink at a record pace.  Spoiler alert, googles a liar. 

A dirty, rotten liar.  

So I made the decision to try to breastfeed.  It went like this “ok boobs.  We’re gonna give this a go.  Don’t look at me like that, I don’t think I’ll like it either.  You either step up to the plate or sit on the sidelines but I can promise you that if you don’t give it your all on the first shot we are calling game and headed back home to our comfort zone”. 

I was feeling pretty good about myself and my decision until we got to the hospital.  I immediately got asked the number one question.  Breast or bottle feeding?  The nurse just stared at me with those pleading, “please say breast because it just makes the world a better place” eyes.  Breast it was.  But I just want to know why they are so damn nosy about all of it.  I mean, here I am hiding behind my curtain.  Trying to maintain the 1/2 an ounce of dignity I have left since someone came in every 4 hours during the night to change my wee wee pad and spray my privates with warm water.  And all I can hear is “did he latch?  How’s he doing?”. 

And the panic sets in.

At this point I am literally shoving my nipple into the babies mouth.  The baby is reaching up with his mouth wide open similar to a seal at feeding time, yet this guy isn’t catching any fish.  I’m shoving, he’s missing.  Nurse Nosy is still on the other side of the curtain playing a rapid fire game of 20 questions.  Just when I started to literally drip sweat and curse and threaten that if the baby didn’t latch in another 20 seconds I would be submitting my paperwork to the Similac strong moms webpage and going to feed him a bottle, he latched. 

And so our breastfeeding journey began.

 One of the best parts about breastfeeding besides the obvious health benefits is that it’s freeeeeee.  And trust me I know plenty of “if it’s free it’s for me moms” that breastfeed primarily for this purpose.  (I was hoping for the miraculously shrinking uterus but we will touch on that later.). I just want to be the first to let you know that the whole promise of free… falls flat.  Flat on its face in the nursing aisle at target as you’re tossing these items into your cart.

Nursing pads: because your sick of walking around with big old wet spots on your shirt and shoving toilet paper in your bra is so middle school.

Nipple cream: because no one told you that achieving that perfect latch can also feel like 38 million of the tiniest and sharpest knives exiting your nipples.  Oh, and not to mention things crack and bleed and blister.  And yeah, I’m not talking about your heels in the winter.  I’m still talking about your poor, sweet nipples.  They will take a beating.  And you will pay any amount of money to numb them.

Milk producing aides: maybe your lucky to be able to nurse your baby 8 times a day and still manage to pump 20 oz to build up a freezer stash.  Maybe you’ve been blessed by the gods in the milky heavens.  However if you weren’t, which I assume many are not…you will find yourself eating certain foods to “up” your production.  Things are going well you think but then you see those mamas posting pictures of their stash in the Facebook pages.  Suddenly you have this competitive need to pump enough milk to feed every infant in your town.  No, your entire state.  So in go the supplements.  drops, chews, drinks, cookies.  Challenge accepted.

And just when you think your cart is finally full don’t forget to grab that nursing cover, because god forbid someone know what’s going on under there // a nursing bra, because yes you will have to leave the house and wear a bra at some point // milk freezer bags, to store all that extra supply obviously // and set a reminder to order all new pump parts because you could swear you read somewhere to change them out every few months.  

Another fun breastfeeding fact is that you can throw your schedule out the window.  I am hardly a type A but I do like my babies on a schedule.  Eat at 8, sleep at 10, repeat all day until bedtime.  But no.  Breastfeeding is an entirely different animal.  It’s more along the lines of eat, eat, eat, cry to eat, eat more, snack time, eat because the snack wasn’t enough, eat, eat, eat and bedtime.  Bedtime of course means another 3 maybe 4 meals.

I mean.  Oh my word!  There is really no point to wearing a shirt in the beginning.  And I promise you it’s normal to google things such as:

“Why does my baby nurse constantly?”

“Can my baby really be this hungry?”

“Can someone please explain the nursing benefits to me again because I would really love to take a shower without a baby hanging from my boob?”

And the answers? 

It’s for comfort, growth spurt, developmental learning.  

Great.  So I’m a human pacifier to the fastest growing baby who will one day cure cancer.

I guess I can live with that.

But honestly speaking, how can we forget to talk about the bond.  No one can describe or explain that one.  It’s a try it for yourself and see.  It’s why I forgot everything that I wrote above and kept on nursing past my goal.  It’s a feeling that your baby has needs that only you can fulfill and while it can and will be exhausting it’s also extremely gratifying.   Those sweet nursing moments sitting in a big chair with only a lamp on for light will be memories that I will never forget. 

And trust me, I didn’t think I would be able to do it. 

I didn’t think I would be physically able to handle being the only person able to do every feeding with 2 other kids running around.  Or have the guts to nurse in public.  I tell you, no one was as shocked as I was to be sitting on a public bench with a baby on my boob.   But you’ll sort of just become a total mama bear, or perhaps mama cow fits better.  You will surprise yourself in what you are capable of.  And you will be so happy that you did it.

So yes, breastfeeding definitely has more to it then the pamphlets in labor and delivery let on.  The ups and downs will leave you exhausted and you will want to quit all of the time.  But you won’t.  And when you do, you will cry.  I can promise you that.  My only hope is that you have a smooth sailing journey nursing journey.  That you let the good outweigh the bad, that your nipples don’t bleed and that you produce more milk then a dairy farm.  Oh and that your uterus shrinks at a rapid pace.  Because if you haven’t guessed, mine did not and so I pray you are one of the chosen ones. 

So go on, give your girls a little pep talk and good luck!

XO Danielle

I love to connect with my readers on social media, so feel free to share this with a friend, pin it, and find me on Instagram and Facebook.